About Ryan Elson – Author

It’s widely known that you have to be a little bit crazy in order to think you can make a living as an author. For this reason, it’s a wonder that it took Ryan so long to get there in the first place.

Ryan was born during one of the most brutally cold Januaries that Chicago has ever seen. Perhaps that should have been an indication that he was bound for great things. Okay, maybe not, but it is an interesting aside.

It all started when Ryan was two years old. At that time, he loved nothing more than to take several large puzzles, mix the pieces from all of them together, and then set to work solving each one (well, he may have loved eating eggs more than puzzles). In elementary school, he wrote a self-illustrated children’s book called The Revenge of the Porcu, an epic (and slightly unusual) tale about how the passenger pigeon went extinct and how the porcupine got its quills.

A long dry period commenced during which Ryan graduated from high school and then Iowa State before starting down a typical career path (i.e., working until he died). Along the way, he picked up a love of camping, hiking, and prettymuch anything outdoorsy.

His job as electrical engineer at a cement plant took him to California. But with the collapse of the economy came the closure of the plant, and Ryan had to find other work. He found employment with a defense contractor, where he worked for almost two years, even though he never enjoyed the job.

One day, Ryan put in his two weeks notice with his boss. It was time to do something new. Reenter writing. After trying his hand at science fiction, Ryan decided that travel writing came more naturally to him. So when his youngest sister announced her engagement, Ryan planned a road trip that became the basis for his first book, Don’t Step on the Dirt.  Ryan is currently working on several other projects, including another comedic travelogue, Parched Cactus and Speed Leafing, a book on Internet genealogy, and a couple of science fiction books.


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