John Payne is a native of Poplar Bluff. He graduated from Washington University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in history. After receiving his undergraduate degree, John worked toward teacher certification at Webster University, receiving it in 2008. During the 2008–2009 school year, he taught social studies at East Carter County High School in Ellsinore, but left teaching to pursue a career as a writer. John currently lives in the city of Saint Louis.