Born in Brooklyn, New York to Canadian parents, Wavell Cowan then spent an idyllic childhood in a paper mill town in northern Quebec. With a kindergarten teacher as mother and a Jewish father, he became a voracious reader. High school and college years in Montreal (spent largely on hockey rinks and tennis courts – an early passion) led to a degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University. A summer on a showboat on the Ohio River performing before audiences from Cincinnati to Louisville exemplified the arrival of a second passion – the theater. During his doctoral studies in Appleton, Wisconsin, a third passion emerged – scholarship. This led to a career as an independent pulp and paper scientist, developing process equipment and test instruments now in pulp and paper mills worldwide. His passion for problem solving led to leadership roles in multiple elected town positions and in other organizations from community newspapers to a community orchestra. These passions and life experiences made possible the books that he has authored.