Tony Schwalm, born in Atlanta, November 1, 1962, grew up in middle Georgia, mostly around Macon, attending numerous public and private schools, and graduated from Georgia Southern College with a degree in English in 1984. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant and began a twenty-year career with postings to Europe, the Middle East, Central America and the Caribbean. After commanding a tank company in Operation Desert Storm, he volunteered for and completed Army Special Forces training in 1993. In September, 1994, he commanded an ad hoc group of Green Berets as part of the invasion into Haiti, and there met author Bob Shacochis, who was collecting information that became the book The Immaculate Invasion.
Throughout his adult life, Schwalm held writing as an unanswered professional desire, and in 2004, he retired from the Army and began changing jobs at an interview-killing rate while still hoping to make his way as a writer. It was during one of these transitions from one job to the next that Schwalm contacted Bob Shacochis (they had not spoken for ten years) and asked Shacochis if he would be willing to help him with his writing aspiration. After reading a piece of Schwalm’s fiction, Shacochis said **** no, but that Schwalm should consider nonfiction. Shacochis recommended contacting George Getschow who headed a conference of nonfiction writers every year at the University of North Texas. After speaking to Schwalm, Getschow recommended he enter an essay in the conference’s writing contest. Schwalm won the 2009 Mayborn Personal Essay competition. As a result of the win at Mayborn, Schwalm met and collaborated with literary agent Jim Hornfischer on a proposal for a book based on the essay. Free Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, purchased the book in 2010. In January, 2011, Schwalm quit his job, lived on credit cards and the good graces of his friends and the woman now his wife, Stephanie, and wrote The Guerrilla Factory. Free Press published The Guerrilla Factory in November, 2012. Tony, Stephanie, and their daughter Sydney make their home in Tampa, Fla.