Went to Louisiana State University on a visual arts scholarship. The first story he ever wrote was titled Ghost Birds and it was published in the Atlantic Monthly in 2002. His collection of stories, Between Here and the Yellow Sea was named as a top five fiction debut by Poets & Writers magazine in 2006. Published his first novel, Galveston, in 2010. Taught at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and DePauw University. Was the sole writer for the first season of True Detective.