William R. Forstchen (born 1950) is an American author who began publishing in 1983 with the novel Ice Prophet. He is a Professor of History and Faculty Fellow at Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University with specializations in Military History, the American Civil War and the History of Technology.
Forstchen is the author of more than forty books, including the award winning We Look Like Men of War, a young adult novel about an African-American regiment that fought at the Battle of the Crater, which is based upon his doctoral dissertation, The 28th USCTs: Indiana’s African-Americans go to War, 1863-1865 and the "Lost Regiment" series which has been optioned by both Tom Cruise and M. Night Shyamalan.
Forstchen’s writing efforts have, in recent years, shifted towards historical fiction and non fiction. In 2002 he started the “Gettysburg” trilogy with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; the trilogy consists of Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat. More recently, they have published two works on the events leading up to Pearl Harbor and immediately after that attack Pearl Harbor, and Days of Infamy. Their current focus is on the American Revolution with the publication in 2009 of "To Try Men's Souls," a novel about Washington's crossing of the Delaware and Tom Paine's writing "The American Crisis," and in 2010 will release a novel about Valley Forge and the Battle of Monmouth Court House.
In March 2009, Forstchen’s latest work, One Second After, (Forge/St. Martin’s books) was released and immediately reached the New York Times best seller list where it remained for six weeks. Based upon several years of intensive research and interviews, it examines what might happen in a “typical” American town in the wake of an attack on the United States with “electro-magnetic pulse” (EMP) weapons. Similar in plotting to books such as On the Beach and Alas Babylon, One Second After, is set in a small college town in western North Carolina and is a cautionary tale of the collapse of social order in the wake of an EMP strike. The book was cited on the floor of Congress and before the House Armed Services Committee by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), chair of the House Committee tasked to evaluate EMP weapons, as a realistic portrayal of the potential damage rendered by an EMP attack on the continental United States.
Forstchen resides near Asheville, North Carolina with his daughter Meghan. His other interests include archaeology, and he has participated in several expeditions to Mongolia and Russia. He is a pilot and co owns an original 1943 Aeronca L-3B recon plane used in World War II.