James Lincoln Collier was born in 1928. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1950 and served in the infantry during the Korean War. After college, Collier worked first for six years as a magazine editor, writing in his spare time. In 1958, he quit to work free-lance, and has since then published over six hundred magazine articles for periodicals such as, Playboy, Esquire, the New York Times Magazine and the Village Voice. Collier has also published a half dozen books for adults, the most recent being The Making of Jazz, which was nominated for an American Book Award, was named to the London Observer's Books of the Year List for 1979, and has been published in English, French, German, and Russian editions. Collier also published twenty-three children's books, five in collaboration with his brother, Christopher Collier. These have been published in seven languages, and have won the Child Study Association Book Award, a Newbery Honor Medal, a Jane Addams Peace Prize, and a National Book Award nomination. Many of them have appeared on the ALA Notable Book List, and others on the New York Public Library's recommended book list. Collier is also a professional trombonist, and writes fiction and nonfiction on the subject of music. His book, Rock Star, won an award from the Child Study Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College. My Brother Sam Is Dead was a Newbery Honor Book in 1975 and was designated a Notable Book by the American Library Association as well as being nominated for a National Book Award in 1975. Jump Ship to Freedom was named a Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies in 1981 by a joint committee of the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children's Book Council. War Comes to Willy Freeman is a companion book to the novel.
Christopher Collins is a writer of historical novels for children. Collier has taught at both the University of Bridgeport and the University of Connecticut. He has also served as Connecticut's State Historian. The violence and profanity in Collier's works is very controversial, rendering them banned from reading curriculums in certain schools. Despite the controversy, Collier's book My Brother Sam is Dead won a Newberry Honor in 1975. He has also written War Comes to Willie Freeman, and The Literature of Connecticut History and Roger Sherman's Connecticut for adults.