Roland Smith was born in Portland, Oregon on November 30, 1951. He received a Bachelor's degree in English from Portland State University. His job working for a children's zoo began a 20-year career as a zookeeper. After working to save wildlife following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, his first non-fiction book, Sea Otter Rescue, was published in 1990. He continued to draw upon his zoo experiences for other non-fiction titles, including Journey of the Red Wolf, which won an Oregon Book Award in 1996. His first novel, Thundercave, was published in 1997. His other fiction books include The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe, Zach's Lie, Jack's Run, Cryptid Hunters, Peak, and Shatterproof. He also writes the I, Q. series and the Storm Runners series.