Bob Spall of Nanaimo started writing at age 70; by 79 he'd completed five volumes based on his own experiences, including his first published book, Backlines (Laughing Willow, 1996), the story of Spall's misadventures as a WW II airman who never made it out of Canada. Spall has lived in many different parts of Canada as an auto mechanic, logger, pilot and entrepreneur. He was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1916 and moved with his parents to North Vancouver at age two. He quit school at 14, became a sheet metal apprentice in 1938 and married Trudy Chapman that same year. They had five children and remained married. He started to write because he wanted to make himself better-known to his own children. "I knew very little about my own parents. My father had served England in the Boer War, and like many veterans of that war, he was given a tract of land to farm in Canada... Neither he or my mother ever spoke about their earlier lives, their roots in Britain, their personal histories."

[BCBW 2003] "Biography"