Jack Whyte was born and raised in Scotland, and educated in England and France. He migrated to Canada from the UK, in 1967, as a teacher of High School English, but he only taught for a year before starting to work as a professional singer, musician, actor and entertainer–a career he followed, one way and another and with many variations, for the next twenty-odd years. He has taken great pride in being the Regimental Bard of the Calgary Highlanders for more than thirty years.
In the early 1970s, Whyte researched, wrote, directed and appeared in a one man show based on the life and times of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. He toured Canada with the presentation, which he had written to appeal to non-Scots, Canadian audiences, de-mystifying the poet and his works–the man wrote and spoke in a dialect called the Doric, which has fallen into disuse over the past two hundred years and is now largely unintelligible even to modern Scots–and his primary aim was to make the works understandable and enjoyable to North Americans. The success of the show led him into writing for CBC National television, and eventually to a career in advertising, where he refined his craft and his writing skills as Head Writer and Creative Director of several advertising agencies before moving to the other side of the client-agency relationship, to act as Corporate Communications Director for a number of public and private companies.
Whyte’s interest in 5th Century history and the 460-year Roman military occupation of Britain springs from his early Classical education in Scotland during the 1950s, and that interest, allied with an equally fervent preoccupation with the Arthurian legend, led him, in 1978, to a sudden realization of the probable truth underlying the legend’s central mystery of the Sword in the Stone. Then, knowing how it had been done, Whyte set out to tell the story, and to establish King Arthur securely in a realistic and feasible historical context. His saga, fleshed out by years of research, continues to delight his large and growing audience, now that he has branched out into other times and other topics, so much so that, in September of 2009, Penguin Group Canada announced publicly that aggregate sales of his books, in Canada alone and independently of International sales, had passed the 1,000,000 mark in a country where 5,000 sales qualifies a book for Bestseller status. Whyte is married, with five adult children, and lives in British Columbia, Canada.