Jason grew up in New York the oldest of four siblings. His father was either a salesman, selling rolls of vinyl plastic to various industries – or he was an agent for the CIA. A spy was definitely a more exciting occupation and was just as good an explanation for his dad’s many extended trips to Central and South America. That, and the world maps in the basement covered with blue and red pins made for interesting dinner conversation. Jason’s mom was a Special Education teacher. She possessed a sharp wit and some of her pointed observations and anecdotes have made their way into his stories.
Jason has always been an avid reader with a passionate, early focus on Science fiction; this genre greatly contributed to his love for science. In fact, much of his life-long difficulty with math can be attributed to the fourth and fifth grades where he missed many of the basics as he read books continuously under the table. Every day his teacher, Mrs. Tartikoff, would walk by and take his book as well as reprimand him. The next day Jason would start a new book from the school library. His reading and comprehension became excellent – math not so much.
Jason’s interest in writing accelerated at Stuyvesant high school where he spent several years in the creative writing class of Frank McCourt. Frank regaled his classes with anecdotes and stories that captured the imagination. It was inspirational and fun– certainly better than the traditional, dry grammar classes which Jason appreciates now much more than he did in high school. Many years later, Frank wrote Angela’s Ashes, won a Pulitzer Prize and became a celebrity.
Jason went to college at Alfred University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and History; the only bio student to double major in history as of that time. Instead of working for a living, he decided to go to graduate school and when forced to choose between Texas A&M with essentially free tuition versus paying an exorbitant amount of money to attend New York University (NYU) and live with his parents, Jason moved to College Station, Texas. There, he earned a Master of Science degree in Microbiology by looking at little worms – Schistosoma mansoni. Upon his return from Texas, Jason worked for a few years as a lab technician at NYU before returning to Binghamton University to achieve his doctoral degree in Molecular Biology (cloning genes from spinach and looking at protein translocation).
Dr. Alter has worked for a series of life science and biotech companies and now is considered ‘knowledgeable’ in prostate cancer biology and RNA expression diagnostics. During his winding career path, Jason continued to write. In 2007, his first book, John Fastramp and the Dakota 3000 Challenge was born. A few years later, the sequel, John Fastramp and the Mystery of the Ghost Speedway followed its older sibling into the world. More books are in the works so stay tuned.