John Twelve Hawks (also known as J12H or JXIIH to his fans) is the author of the 2005 dystopian novel The Traveler and its sequels, The Dark River and The Golden City, collectively comprising the Fourth Realm Trilogy. "John Twelve Hawks" is a pseudonym and his real identity is unknown.
Both John Twelve Hawks and his American publisher state that he has never met his editor and that he communicates using the Internet and an untraceable satellite phone, usually employing a voice scrambler. Biographical information about his background is based on five sources:
a 2005 article in USA Today
a 2005 interview by Rob Bedford in SFF World
a 2006 interview published in Germany in Der Spiegel
a portion of a 2007 Daily Telegraph article about popular writers
a 2008 Q&A interview on the Weblog of Joseph Mallozzi, a writer and producer of Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis.
Origin of his name
During an online conversation John Twelve Hawks had with his fans on his new website he explained the origin of his name:
The real story is thisI was walking through a forestEncountered a hawk nesting areaAnd 12 hawks circled around my head for about ten minutes .So close that the tip of their wings brushed the side of my head.That was why I picked the name. REAL hawks. Not symbolic ones.
Twelve Hawks' initial biography on the Random House website was only one line: "John Twelve Hawks lives off the grid." At some point in 2007, that line disappeared and was replaced with "John Twelve Hawks is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Traveler."
John Twelve Hawks is his "adopted" name, but in the Spiegel interview he states he is not an American Indian. In the Spiegel interview he talks about visiting East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the USA Today article, his response to a question about religion began with, "When I was in my twenties..." and when an editor asked him whether the "realm of hell" could be compared to current conditions in Iraq, Hawks replied "it's more like Beirut in the '70s". In the Spiegel interview and in the London Telegraph article, Hawks states that he drives a 15-year-old car and that he does not own a television. These personal facts and a description of JTH's unique lifestyle were confirmed in the 2008 Joseph Mallozzi Weblog interview.
The SFF World interview indicates that Twelve Hawks lived in a commune and learned about literature by stealing books from a restricted university library and then returning the books the next day. In the same interview, he states he wrote The Traveler after passing through some sort of personal crisis. In the interview in SFF World Twelve Hawks claims that he has "no plans to go public" regarding his identity.
In the audiobook version of The Traveler, there is an interview with John Twelve Hawks where he mentions that he has been practicing martial arts for years.
According to Twelve Hawks' agent, Joe Regal, "He lives in New York, Los Angeles and London", and The Traveler sets its story in all three of these locations.