John Ballem was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia and was educated at Dalhousie and Harvard Universities. He was appointed to the Queen's Counsel in 1966, awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Calgary in 1993, and received a Distinguished Service Award for Legal Scholorship from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association in 2009. An expert horseman and former Navy pilot, John travels extensively throughout the world, most recently to the North Pole in 2005, Easter Island in 2006 and Antarctica in 2006 and 2008. He reached the South Pole in January 2009. He has published 12 novels, 2 volumes of poetry, numerous short stories, and a textbook on oil and gas law, now in its 4th edition. His latest novel, A Victim of Convenience, was published by Dundurn in 2006. The Oil Patch Quartet, an omnibus volume of four of his previously published novels set in the Alberta oil patch, was a Calgary bestseller in 2005.