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Stafford double-majored in mathematics and English at Jesuit Spring Hill College, won a teaching fellowship at the University of Detroit on the way to an M.A. in English, then, following a year in Vietnam as a lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, discovered his overriding academic interest: philosophy, theology, and religion. At Fordham University in New York City, he translated from the Sanskrit and wrote an extensive commentary on a 16th century Hindu philosopher on his way to a Ph.D. and his first book. On the weekends he drove a taxi in Manhattan to help pay tuition and upkeep for his young family. He then got a job in the Department of Philosophy at California State College (later University) in Bakersfield as their “Eastern Religions guy.” 

He taught a dozen or more different undergraduate courses over several decades, including an academically controversial course titled Psychic Phenomena, which ignited his growing interest in afterlife research, his eventual passion. Over the next 25 years he taught a course titled “The Meaning of Death” to thousands of students.

A second love, as far back as his college years, had been reading great fiction—the classics.  In his early twenties he began to suspect he would someday write serious fiction on religious and philosophical subjects. Publication of The Rich Man by St. Martin’s Press was a breakthrough event for him. It led to more fiction, including Thomas, published by Penguin India. 

Stil later in his career, his longtime interest in the afterlife led him into serious study of the evidence: How can we be sure there is such a thing, and what might it be like? In 2011 a small British press took a chance and published The Afterlife Unveiled, a hit from the start and eventually its bestseller. This led him back into fiction, with three novels (the “Afterlife Trilogy”) based on his research providing the settings. The third has just been released. 

Stafford retired from teaching in 2020, lives with his wife, Monica, in Bakersfield, writes as the spirit moves him, finds more time to read good fiction in addition to writing, gives interviews, volunteers as a reading tutor at the neighborhood elementary school, gardens and golfs for entertainment, works out religiously, and enjoys his children and grandchildren.       

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