An English professor in real life, Jan Finkel spent most of his career at Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, right in the heart of Appalachia. He lives with his wife of 35 years on Deep Creek Lake in the mountains of western Maryland, where he outwits an occasional largemouth. He passes his time contemplating great books and baseball, often simultaneously. (He confesses to confusing Pete Rose with Chillingworth and Ahab.) When he isn't indulging his passions, he enjoys listening to country music—only the ladies—and jazz. He likes to visit his son and daughter not only because they and their spouses are good people, but also because they just happen to live in Nashville and New Orleans.