Austin was born in Salt Lake City, Utah where he lived until the age of four. His love for stories began at this early age where he fell in love with movies such as Star Wars, Hercules, and The Lion King. One of his earliest memories is sitting in front of an old box T.V. watching Star Wars with a toy lightsaber, ready to fight Darth Vader. When the fight was finished and Obi-wan Kanobi was struck down, young Austin would pretend to disappear under the blue fuzzy blanket (his favorite) where he would watch the rest of the movie.
From Salt Lake, Austin’s family moved to Grand Junction, Colorado where they would live until he was the age of nine. It was in these growing years that he would find his love for reading and writing. It may come to a surprise to some, but Austin had a difficult time learning to read. In the first grade, much to his chagrin, he was frequently escorted out of class where he would sit with an independent reading tutor. Not only did this frustrate him, but it did little to help correct the problem. Despite the difficulty, he still loved stories and enjoyed having them read to him. Sitting on the classroom rug, it was at this time the first ideas for a story began to grow in his small mind. A vision of a boy turned Racoon who fought crime with his friends.
Fortunately for Austin, the difficulty in learning to read would be resolved by perhaps the most influential teacher he would ever have. Mrs. Shawn Hayes. Austin was placed in Mrs. Hayes class for both the Second and Third grade. He had the same classmates, friends, and environment which allowed him to learn and grow. Mrs. Hayes had a wonderful way of teaching her students to create mental pictures when read to, which helped grow and develop Austin’s imagination. By the end of his time in her class, Austin was reading ahead of his grade and began to tackle books like Harry Potter, Eragon, and The Chronicles of Narnia. For the rest of his life he would become an avid reader who is always in search of new stories. The unfortunate side effect would be that most of his time would be spent up in the clouds.
During the middle of the Fourth Grade, Austin would move back to Salt Lake where he would live until he was Eighteen. During his first year back, Austin made several great friends and he began his first journey into the idea of role playing games. A Runescape obsessed group of boys would enact their own narrated stories outside. Though it was far from the traditional D&D style games with paper and dice, these stories captured the same wonder and sense of imagination. It was during these years that he would dream of becoming an author. It was what he knew he wanted to do and be, a dream that has since stayed with him. Like a thorn in his side, he could never be satisfied if he wasn’t creating or imagining something.
Austin made several attempts at writing a story, but he had a habit of abandoning stories after a few pages or if he was lucky, a chapter or two. He had several more great teachers and leaders in his life that encouraged his creativity and parents who were willing to put up with a child that didn’t quite live on a place they liked to call earth.
Aspiration Stage & Early Career
It was in high school that Austin attempted to complete his first novel. Getting over half way through it, he set down the project unable to finish. Austin learned first hand how difficult it could be to write a full length story, especially when that story just kept getting bigger and bigger. He would eventually write another short novel, one that was not terribly good and only a hundred pages or so, before graduating from Herriman High School in 2014.
From October of 2014 to October of 2016, Austin served as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His mission was assigned to Mexico where he lived in the cities of Cuernavaca, Acapulco, Chilponsingo, Iguala, and Puente de Ixtla. Inspired by both the people he met there and the new cities in which he lived, Austin began to write down notes for new stories and ideas. While on his mission he made friends with Robert Smith, a fellow writer and storyteller, who would listen to his stories and encouraged Austin to write them.
After returning home from Mexico, Austin began attending the Utah Valley University with the original intent of studying Computer Science. After considering the list of classes which included calculus, physics, and a number of other rigorous courses, he decided that Computer Science was not going to be for him and he switched his major to Journalism. (His heart had always been in writing anyway.)
Six months after returning to Utah, Austin wrote and completed his first novel. It was terrible. Really terrible. It is a common phrase among writers to say “show not tell” and this book was about seven hundred pages of tell. You can view an image of the manuscript to the right.
During the subsequent four years, he would continue to write, completing three more novels, seeing progress with each one. Austin would change his major again to Digital Marketing, after looking more into the job field and doing research on jobs which would provide him with a good living and still leave him both the time and desire to write.
During his time at UVU, he stayed in touch with Robert and they both attended the lecture series held by Brandon Sanderson at Brigham Young University. Austin attended unenrolled (lucky for him no one noticed.) He also took several writing courses from David Farland whose insights into the writing community have helped alter Austin’s perspective and given him encouragement.
Austin is currently working as a web developer for Sixth Media and works freelance through his Company Alizarin 9 Inc. Although he has many career goals and aspirations, he holds onto his desire to share his stories with the world and Austin spends most nights writing at his desk.
During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, Austin dove back into art. Drawing and sketching was something he often did as a youth and he fell out of the habit just after graduating high school. Finding himself with both ample time and a desire to find another distraction since new movies were no longer being released in theaters, he began to draw and paint. It came as a pleasant surprise when he discovered he had a talent for painting and that it was a relaxing way to express a new aspect of his creativity.
It always seemed like an unrealistic dream to become both a novelist and a painter, but Austin is sure that he will always find time for both. He hopes to one day paint the covers and do artwork for a planned epic fantasy series he will one day write. To him, this will be the culmination of everything he’s ever learned to do and what he sees as his Silmarillion.
Austin published his first novel Child of Fire in May 2021 which is available to purchase on Amazon. He is currently working on its sequel which he hopes to publish by the end of the year. Signup for Austin’s Newsletter to get notifications on new books and other project news.