Tyler McMahon was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. He studied at the University of Virginia and Boise State University. Before writing his first novel, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, a surf instructor in California, and waiter in Montana. He edited the anthologies Surfing's Greatest Misadventures and Fishing's Greatest Misadventures for Casagrande Press.

Tyler is the editor of Hawaii Pacific Review. He lives in Honolulu with his wife, food writer Dabney Gough, and teaches in the English Department at Hawaii Pacific University.