Virginia Hamilton grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a southern Ohio community similar to the one Thomas moves to in The House of Dies Drear. This rural area of villages and farms was an important network on the Underground Railroad system to Canada during the Civil War era. As a child, Miss Hamilton was aware that many of the large old houses in her own community had once concealed running slaves. Her ancestors were among the one hundred thousand slaves who fled from the South in the first half of the nineteenth century, forty thousand of whom are said to have passed through Ohio. Miss Hamilton believes her books grow out of her childhood wonder about these fleeing people. "I had a longing as a child," she has said. "I needed to know how men, women and children could travel hundreds of miles on foot through enemy land. I found out that they were brave and clever almost beyond belief. Perhaps with this book I have at last touched them the way they first touched me so long ago." As far back as she can remember, Miss Hamilton says, she has wanted to be a writer. "I never thought seriously of any other career." She attended Antioch College and the Ohio State University. After living in New York for many years, she recently moved back to Yellow Springs with her husband and children.Hamilton, Virginia is the author of 'House of Dies Drear', published 1984 under ISBN 9780020435204 and ISBN 0020435207.