Born and raised in upstate New York, Jon Clinch has been an English teacher, a metalworker, a folksinger, an illustrator, a typeface designer, a house painter, a copywriter, and an advertising executive. After graduating from Syracuse University, he taught American Literature and Advanced Composition to high school students. Three years and a Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Award later, he set aside teaching and took up advertising. His career took him from one agency to the next until he found himself creative director of a high-profile Philadelphia shop, at which point he abandoned big agencies and founded a small one instead with his wife, Wendy. They have one daughter, Emily, a science teacher.
His short stories have appeared in the literary magazine MSS, where they were selected by the novelist John Gardner. (Gardner was the author of Grendel, the story of Beowulf)