Conrad Stilling is the pen name of Mark E. DeVries. Why a pen name? Aside from being cool and amazing, it turns out that Mark DeVries is a very common name. There is even a published author with that name, but Conrad Stillings are almost non-existant, and in the world of Google search, that’s a definite plus.
Mark was born in London, Ontario. Growing up, he hated reading and did the minimum amount required for school assignments. In seventh grade, an excellent and thoroughly geeky teacher, Miss Schaus, assigned a selection of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books to the class. That, along with a group of classmates who invited Conrad into their Dungeons and Dragons group started a love of reading sci-fi and fantasy books. His favourite authors during the teenage years included David Eddings, Mercedes Lackey, Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, R.A. Salvatore, Tracey Hickman, and Margaret Weis.
Mark studied microbiology and immunology at Western University, ending up with a PhD focusing on computational biology. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Toronto and the State University of New York. During this time, he married his high school sweetheart, Kristin, and had two children.
After deciding against pursuing a career as an academic scientist, Mark returned to London to work as a software engineer. Able to work from home, this allowed him to have the kind of family life and flexible work schedule he desired. With the kids growing older, he now has the time to pursue writing in earnest and hopes to become a professional novelist in the coming years.