JOHN CRAIG MCDONALD lives in Blountville, Tennessee, with Karen, his wife of thirty-three years, two cats and two dogs, and the occasional raccoon, snake, bird, rabbit, and tree frog that make their way into the house. Their daughter, Kate, and her husband, Justin Reynolds, live in the Borders of Scotland, not far from where the action in his novels take place. Their son, Seth, and his wife, Kristine, live in Cincinnati, Ohio.
For most of the last twenty-six years Craig has taught at King College in Bristol, Tennessee. Presently, he directs the Snider honors program there. His hobbies are reading, writing, gardening, carpentry, and watching British mysteries with Karen.
Craig’s interest in the Scottish Middle Ages in large part grew out of his heritage. A descendant of emigrant Scots from the 1760s, he studied medieval Scottish literature while a doctoral student at the University of York in England. His scholarly publications include articles on 15th-century Scottish literature and history and an edition of the last part of The Meroure of Wyssdome, published by the Scottish Text Society in 1990. The Meroure features prominently in An Early Fall. Craig is presently working on two novels: one about Angus MacKay, first Piper to the Sovereign during the reign of Queen Victoria; the other, a story that grows out of Jesus’ encounter with the Gadarene demoniac.
Craig also writes poetry and hymns. In 2001 he was commissioned by Patrick Flannagan, director of music at King College, to write a cycle of poems, which were set to music by the composer Kenton Coe; and in 2008 he and composer Ann Holler were commissioned to write a hymn in honor of the sesquicentennial of First Presbyterian Church, Bristol. Craig has also collaborated with singer/songwriter Mariel Story. His poems have been published in Sojourners Magazine and Haven’s Grey.
Of An Early Fall, Craig states: “As in my first novel, Among His Personal Effects, I have sought to remain true to the spirit of this tragic period in Scotland’s history. At the same time, the story gave me the chance to ponder a timeless feature of what it means to be human, namely, the wide-ranging effects of our smallest choices and the grace that suffuses even the most terrible of them. I hope to have been faithful to what I have been given.”
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