Richard Whitten Barnes was born in Minnesota but grew up on the north side of Chicago. A music scholarship took him to Michigan State University, where he majored in chemistry. He is now retired from a long career in international chemical sales and marketing, which has taken him all over the world. Barnes is a veteran in the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and an avid sailor. He lives in Lake Wylie, S.C., but spends summers with his wife Marg and dog Sparty at their cottage on St. Joseph Island, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Huron where this story is set.