On the 2nd of January, 1965, Ryan Seek was born in the mountains of Montana. Well, he wasn't actually born in the mountains, but in a valley between some of the most majestic mountain ranges in North America; namely, the Flathead Valley in Northwestern Montana.
In 1975 his parents divorced, his mother moving south to Idaho while his father stayed in Kalispell, MT. The young boy bounced between the parents for much of the rest of his school years, finally settling in one place long enough to complete his last two years of high school consecutively in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Ryan's professional careers have often centered around the written word. One of his first jobs out of high school in 1983 was at The Morning News, the local paper in Blackfoot. There, he worked in the mailroom, then the pressroom, and eventually helping with the layout of the newspaper.
In 1988, Ryan decided he had enough of the small town life and wanted to experience the big city. He moved to the Phoenix, Arizona area in January of '88 and spent the first few years working at a number of 7-11's before attending a nine-month course in graphic design in 1991. Once graduated, he worked odd graphic design jobs before finding a home at a small screen-printing shop in Chandler, AZ. He worked there from 1993 until 1997 where he became Art Director for the company and was responsible for laying out their annual catalog, including writing ad copy. It was at this time that Ryan spent much of his free time writing poetry.
That company suddenly went out of business in 1997 and Ryan was left to make some serious decisions. He was tiring of the daily grind of producing artwork for print and wanted a new challenge. He decided website design would be his next career. For the first nine months after the screen-printing company went under, he trained himself in the art of HTML programming and digital artwork for the Internet. He practiced his new art by focusing on a particular interest of his, NASCAR racing. His passion for stock car racing and creating exciting artwork would soon steer him down a very unexpected path.
"The first official NASCAR driver website I designed, I never did get paid for," Ryan explained. "But it did open up a lot of doors for me. The next thing I knew an Internet company out of Daytona Beach came calling and I found myself designing websites for Ricky Rudd, Sterling Marlin, and Mike Skinner."
By the time 1999 rolled around, Ryan was working a day job creating websites for a Phoenix-area Internet company while launching a sideline career designing official websites for many of NASCAR's top drivers. In that same year Ryan got his big break when a large Internet company out of Seattle, Washington stumbled upon a NASCAR news website he had created called Catchfence.com. They were impressed to the point that they believed Catchfence was actually being run by a company (when in fact it was just Ryan and a friend doing all the work after returning home from their day jobs). He was offered a 30K a year contract to join their team and create a new NASCAR-themed website for their growing sports network.
In January, 2000, Ryan packed his bags and moved east to North Carolina so he would be closer to the teams and drivers in NASCAR. Upon arrival, he began creating the new site, but soon realized that there wasn't much graphic design work included in his new career; the website was a template that all the other sites on the network shared, which meant Ryan would no longer be able to "wow" his visitors with his flashy style of website design. Instead, he would have to rely on his own written words to impress and entertain them.
Without even realizing it was happening, Ryan was writing professionally for the first time in his life. He spent the next sixteen months attending NASCAR races as a member of the media and writing the most interesting and compelling stories he could pen.
In his own words, "I was basically a rookie reporter and independant website director trying to compete with the experienced corporate monsters of NASCAR.com and That's Racin'. The cards were stacked against me going in, but it didn't take me long to start drawing in several thousand visitors a day. I must have been doing something right and I truly believe I earned a fair amount of respect from the NASCAR community, both from fans and those in the media."
Due to a poor business model that was built around banner advertising (something that was quickly going out of style by the turn of the century) the Seattle-based sports network filed bankruptcy in 2001. This left the future author stranded in North Carolina with no income except for the sideline business of designing wesites for various NASCAR drivers and teams.
"Being the guy who designs some of the driver and team websites has its glory in social settings, but it doesn't pay very well," Seek stated of his moonlighting. "I would have had to design at least four sites per month to actually make a living at it, and I was lucky to get two. My supply capabilities far out-weighed the demand."
After considering the option of staying in Charlotte and trying to land another writing position, he decided it was time for another change in his life; a change to career fiction author, something he had dreamed of since high school.
In 2001, Ryan Seek returned to his roots in Northwestern Montana and focused on his first full-length manuscript while continuing to do racing website designs to help pay the bills. He began writing Divine Witness in November of 2001 and the first draft was completed in February of 2002. During that summer, he worked on a re-write of his story and shopped his manuscript to potential agents and publishers. After nearly six months of submitted query letters and a growing stack of rejection letters, he came to the conclusion that an unknown author like himself has virtually no chance of being noticed in the slew of submissions these people receive each month.
Refusing to be denied of his dream, Ryan took it upon himself to bring his manuscript to print. In late 2002, he completed another re-write on the book and arranged for his novel to be printed by a "Print-On-Demand" company called iUniverse. Funding his writing career out of his own lint-filled pocket wasn't something the budding author wanted to do, but the nature of the publishing industry left him with no other choice.
"I had the option of sitting around waiting for someone to notice me or say 'fuck it' and forge my own road," he said. "I am fortunate to be starting my fiction career at a time when publishing your own novel is actually within the realms of possibility when you have very little money to invest."
In 2003 his dreams came to fruition when his debut novel, Divine Witness, was published.
"When the first shipment of books came, I couldn't believe it. To actually hold my story in my hands was life-changing, a far cry from a digital Word document that I'd been working on for nearly two years. I remember showing the top copy to my close friend, Jennifer (the book is dedicated to her), and she replied 'I knew you could do it!' That was one of the proudest days of my life."
Ryan began working on a second novel (from a rough draft that existed before the completion of the Divine Witness manuscrupt) in 2003. Two years later that story became a hand-held reality once again with Rory's Story.
In 2010, Ryan inked the final touches on the first novella he ever wrote (as a warm-up exercise to Divine Witness) but opted not to spend the money on a traditional paperback version of Bear Park -- a story about a family from Ohio who find themselves thrown headlong into an episode of "When Vacations Attack" when a massive thunderstorm strikes the drive-through Bear Park they're in, causing the local grizzlies to panic and steer their fear and fury toward the unsuspecting family. Instead of publishing a paper version of his new terror story, he signed with a fledling E-book publisher called New Dawning Bookfair and Bear Park became available for download in 2011 through online stores like Amazon.com and Google Books. Seeing the growing popularity of E-books and a respectable amount of sales from the novella, he gave New Dawning the rights to publish E-book versions of this first two novels, which are both readily available to download from the same online outlets.
During the summer 2012, Ryan started dabbling in a new hobby to fill his time -- landscape and nature photography. And now, just a few years later, he has an extensive portfolio of quality prints for sale and thousands more in various photo galleries on this website and on various social media websites. He has been featured many times on the local news stations in the Phoenix area with photos he has submitted and were chosen. If you are interested in decorating your walls with photos of vision, stop by the Online Store and have a look around.