Early life, education, and military career
Stephen Coonts grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia, a small coal-mining town. Following high school graduation, he earned a B.A. degree in political science at West Virginia University in 1968. After joining the Navy upon graduation and then going to Officer Candidate School, Coonts went to flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola and earned his wings as a Naval Aviator in 1969.
Coonts was later assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and VA-128 to train in the A-6 Intruder, a medium attack, all-weather and carrier-based jet. After training, Coonts was attached to and deployed with VA-196 to Vietnam. With 196, he served aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) on two cruises and accumulated 1600 flying hours in the A-6. Coonts was awarded several commendations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After Vietnam, Coonts served as an A-6 flight instructor for two years, then was assigned as an assistant catapult and arresting gear officer aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68). Coonts separated from the active duty Navy as a lieutenant in 1977 but remained as reserve officer, retiring as a commander with a total of 21 years of service.
Post military career
After leaving active duty, Coonts pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at the University of Colorado, graduating in 1979. He then worked as a lawyer for several oil and gas companies, pursuing his writing interests in his free time.
Coonts began writing Flight of the Intruder in 1984, with the book being published by the US Naval Institute Press in 1986. The novel, based in part on his experiences as an A-6 pilot during the Vietnam War, remained for 28 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and later (1991) was made into a movie. This launched his career as a novelist, and he continued writing adventure-thrillers, most of them based on the main character from his first book, Jake Grafton. Coonts has also written several other series and stand-alone novels, but is best known for the Grafton books. In 1992, he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni at his alma mater, West Virginia University. In 2014 West Virginia University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
Today, Coonts continues to write, having had sixteen New York Times bestsellers (out of 36 books). He lives in Colorado with his third wife, Deborah Jean. He is divorced from romantic mystery novelist Deborah Coonts.
Jake Grafton Series
|1||Flight of the Intruder||1986||0-87021-200-1||filmed in 1991|
|6||The Red Horseman||1993||0-671-74887-4|
|7||Cuba||1999||0-312-20521-X||Also featuring Tommy Carmellini|
|8||Hong Kong||2000||0-312-25339-7||Also featuring Tommy Carmellini|
|9||America||2001||0-312-25341-9||Also featuring Tommy Carmellini|
|10||Liberty||2003||0-312-28361-X||Also featuring Tommy Carmellini|
Jake Grafton & Tommy Carmellini Series
|1||Liars and Thieves||2004||0-312-28362-8||Also known as: Wages of Sin|
|3||The Assassin||2008||0-312-99446-X||Also featuring Jake Grafton|
|4||The Disciple||2009||0-312-37283-3||Also featuring Jake Grafton|
|5||Pirate Alley||2013||0-312-37284-1||Also featuring Jake Grafton|
|6||The Art of War||2016||1-786-48363-8||Also featuring Tommy Carmellini|
|7||Liberty's Last Stand||2016||1-621-57507-8||Also featuring Tommy Carmellini|
|8||The Armageddon File||2017||1-621-57659-0||Also featuring Tommy Carmellini|
|9||The Russia Account||2019||1-621-57660-0||Also featuring Jake Grafton|
|2||Saucer: The Conquest||2004||0-312-99448-6|
|3||Saucer: Savage Planet||2014||1-250-06198-9|
|2||Combat Vol. 2||2002||0-8125-7616-0|
|3||Combat Vol. 3||2002||0-8125-7617-9|
|4||On Glorious Wings||2005||0-8125-7863-5|
|6||Victory: Call To Arms||2004||0-8125-6167-8|
|7||Victory: Into The Fire||2004||0-8125-6168-6|
|8||Victory: On The Attack||2004||0-8125-6169-4|
|9||War in the Air||1999||0-6718-8191-4|
Deep Black Series
|#||Title||Publication Date||ISBN||Co-authored with:|
|1||Deep Black||2003||0-312-98520-7||Jim DeFelice|
|3||Dark Zone||2004||0-752-87785-2||Jim DeFelice|
|7||Arctic Gold||2009||0-312-94695-3||William H. Keith|
|8||Sea of Terror||2010||0-312-94696-1||William H. Keith|
|9||Death Wave||2011||0-312-67113-X||William H. Keith|
- Author Journal About Page from Author Webpage. Accessed 31July2013.
- Coonts Entry Archived 2011-09-18 at the Wayback Machine at the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Accessed 31July2013.
- Class Years Entry Archived 2005-10-28 at the Wayback Machine at the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Accessed 31July2013.
- Biography from Author Webpage. Accessed 31July2013.
- "Reading Order of the Jake Grafton Series as Suggested by The Author".
- "Reading Order of the Tommy Carmellini Series as Suggested by The Author".
- "Saucer: The Conquest: Stephen Coonts: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 2004-09-02. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
- "Saucer: Savage Planet: Stephen Coonts: 9781250061980: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
- Official site
- Coonts' Journal
- Stephen Coonts audio interview with National Review Online
- Stephen Coonts at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Author Interview at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on February 13, 2008
- Modern Signed Books BlogTalkRadio Interview with Rodger Nichols about The Art of War March 2016
- Appearances on C-SPAN