W. R. Flynn was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, one of seven children of a civil engineer at an open pit taconite mine. He was later raised in a rough neighborhood near Oakland, California, a few blocks from Foothill Boulevard. When Flynn was in his 20s, he pulled his way out of poverty by working his way through college as a steelworker in Seattle, Washington. He earned a BA in history from the University of Washington at the age of 28 and a masters degree in education from Western Washington University at age 32. Enjoying an interesting and colorful life, he travelled throughout much of the communist world during the 1980s including a one month experience working on a farm in Cuba. Since the 1990s, Flynn has travelled to Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Ireland, Canada, Mexico and Singapore with his wife and children. Retired from a career in law enforcement, he now spends his time writing books and raising his family.