Born in New York City, Spatz attended Haverford College, University of New Hampshire, and The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He now lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a director of the MFA program at the Inland Northwest Center for Writers, Eastern Washington University.
Spatz spent his youth in New England, mostly in the Berkshires. "My grandparents owned a farm close to the Connecticut border and had a subscription at Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer headquarters," he says. "They would take me there often."
He begged for violin lessons, began playing at five years old, and still plays professionally with John Reischman and the Jaybirds, a bluegrass band. "When I was five, my parents were reading aloud to me from J.R.R. Tolkien," Spatz says. "Pretty much simultaneously, I heard the Mendelssohn violin concerto. I could not believe or understand how these two artistic expressions weren't one and same thing-the lyrical, soaring violin and the narrative. Ever since, music and stories have been intertwined and at the center of my life."
Spatz has published a novel, No One But Us, with Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. His short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, over the last decade. And he has published numerous book and music reviews for The Oxford American.
The stories collected in Wonderful Tricks are geographically diverse. "The stories reflect my having lived all over America. Without being exactly 'regional,' they show a strong connection with place-specifically connections with New England, the Northeast, California, and the Midwest."
When asked who would be the ideal reader for Wonderful Tricks, Spatz responds, "I think when writing these stories I had in mind someone who reads attentively with an ear for language and an eye for metaphor. My stories don't need to be read twice to be understood, but I hope second and third readings will yield new insights, connections, and pleasures."