Jonathan Carroll was born in 1949 in Dobbs Ferry, New York, to two artistic parents, Sidney Carroll, a screenwriter whose film credits include The Hustler, starring Paul Newman, and June Carroll, an actress and lyricist. The family migrated between the east and west coasts, while Carroll was growing up, finally enrolling him in a boarding school in Connecticut. He developed an interest in writing while in high school and graduated cum laude from Rutgers University. He next pursued a master's degree in creative writing at the University of Virginia. Carroll's first novel, Land of the Laughs, was published in 1980 and was followed by Voice of Our Shadow. His novels are difficult to classify into one genre. The novels are full of fantasy and imagination, yet remain profound. His work inspires cult followings and is especially popular in France and Germany. An expatriate since the 1970s, Carroll lives in Vienna.