Born in Buena Vista, Va., Gary Jennings worked as an account executive in advertising and as managing editor of Dude and Gent magazines before becoming a full time writer. His early works were written for young adults, but he has since become well known as a writer of extensively researched, epic historical fiction. Jennings immerses himself in the culture of the period and locale to gain the background for his novels. Before writing Aztec (1980), Jennings lived in Mexico for 12 years and studied the Nahuatl language. The popularity of this novel resulted in the sequel, Aztec Autumn (1997). To give depth and flavor to his novel, The Journeyer (1984), Jennings followed a route to China, sometimes traveling by camel or elephant, in the manner of Marco Polo.