Author Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1943. He earned degrees in English from the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. He taught English at his former high school for three years and worked for a time on his doctorate in Ireland. He began writing in 1969 and published two books of poetry in 1972. His novel Julia (1975) was an attempt to find a successful genre in which to work, after his first novel, Marriages (1973), did not sell well. He found that he had a talent for writing horror thrillers in the Gothic tradition. His stories are complex and well paced, with authentic settings that add to the believability of the plot. He is particularly good at creating grotesque characters and gruesome situations; the eeriness of his work is captivating. He has won numerous awards including the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award.