James Phelan was born on the 21st of May, 1979, in Melbourne, Australia. His creative spirit was nurtured from a young age, and he credits his overactive imagination to being exposed to authors such as Roald Dahl and Paul Jennings, as well as such works as The Hobbit, Treasure Island, The Jungle Book, Tales of the Punjab, Siddhartha, and The Little Prince.
As a teenager James discovered a love of geo-political thrillers, of being entertained and informed on topical global events. James cites influences on the Fox series from reading such authors as Alistair MacLean, Clive Cussler, Jeffery Archer, Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Jack Higgins, Robert Ludlum, John le Carre, Ian Fleming, and Jeffery Deaver.
After high school James went on to study in Architecture, and then English Literature, eventually graduating with a PhD in Writing. It was during his masters degree and while working at The Age newspaper James developed the idea that would become his first published book, and would lead to seeing his novels in print. As part of the research for the Fox series, James consults several active and retired members of the Australian Defence Force, as well as journalists and NGO personnel that have experienced most of what he writes about.
James currently lives in Melbourne. He regularly talks at schools, libraries, and literary festivals in Australia and overseas. He has written several short stories that have appeared in anthologies and periodicals, and has contributed chapters to serialised novels.