Bio

I grew up in southern Virginia and attended the College of William & Mary and the University of Virginia School of Law. My legal career was as a trial attorney with one of Baltimore’s oldest and largest law firms, Semmes, Bowen & Semmes.  

American history, particularly concerning the presidency, has always interested me. Over the years, I have dragged my wife and son to more presidential homes, libraries, graves, and other sites than I would like to admit. 

My interest in presidential history led to two non-fiction books about presidential nominating conventions, The First American Political Conventions (2012) and President-Making in the Gilded Age (2016). The books were well-received and The New Yorker referred to them as “invaluable” and to me as “the most exhaustive chronicler of the conventions.” I have spoken at several presidential sites and have been interviewed about the books by TIME, Newsweek, NBC News, Politico, Baltimore Sun, Retro Report, History Channel, YAHOO News, and other media outlets.

In the past couple of years, I have tried my hand at historical fiction. My first novel, And Tyler No More, is set in the 1840s and concerns a plot to assassinate President John Tyler over the annexation of Texas by the United States. Soon, I will be releasing my second one, And Union No More, which is set in the Kansas Territory in the 1850s and concerns the battles there over slavery, and whether Kansas will enter the Union as a free state or an enslaved state. I have appreciated the opportunities and challenges that this different genre presents and I hope that you will enjoy the stories.