Novelist Stephen Coonts was born and raised in West Virginia. Commissioned in the Navy in 1968, he flew A-6 Intruders from USS Enterprise during the last few years of the Vietnam War. In 1980 he graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law, practiced for six years, and started writing novels. His first, Flight of the Intruder, was a huge hit and launched a new career. He spent the summer of 1991 flying a Stearman to all of the lower 48 states; his book about the adventure, The Cannibal Queen, is an aviation classic.