George Putnam, a native of San Bernardino, California, studied piano and music composition at Cal State University at San Bernardino and U.C. Riverside. In addition to teaching a master class for piano students at the University of Redlands, he composed Symphony for Twenty Minutes as his master's thesis at U.C.R. Hoping to write music for film and TV, he moved to Los Angeles. While browsing in book stores there, he discovered the works of mystery writer Raymond Chandler. Devouring the author's books and short stories changed George's interest from music to screenplays and novels.
He wrote the films Unlawful Entry (with John Katchmer) and To Kill For, episodes for NYPD Blue and Deadwood, and the crime novel Slapper. He is also a ghost writer. After being introduced to Attorney-Author Jewel Grutman, he agreed to explore an idea she had for a sweeping historical novel based on the arrival of hostile Indian prisoners to St. Augustine in 1875 and the racially sensitive city's reaction to them. It would have adventure, romance, violence, tragedy, heroism, and be told through the eyes of three unlikely allies, led by a spirited young female protagonist. The result is Redfish Oak. George lives in Los Angeles.
Jewel Humphrey and her identical twin, Gay, born in Manhattan, graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with honors and as members of Phi Beta Kappa. Jewel went to Columbia Law School, where she was an editor of the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Gay received a master's from the Russian Institute at Columbia and later went to the Soviet Union as one of the first Americans to visit after World War II. Both married and had families. Jewel formed a litigation firm with her husband, Norman Roy Grutman. They tried cases throughout the nation and twice before the Supreme Court. As a Russian expert, Gay became a consultant. Later, after studying at the Parsons School of Design, she became a prominent decorator.
The sisters produced an educational film on art that won first prize at the first Women's Film Festival. It is in the Museum of Modern Art Archive of Films. In 1994, they wrote The Ledgerbook of Thomas Blue Eagle, about the transition Plains Indian children made from their buffalo hunting culture to life in the white man's world. Published by Charlesbridge, it is told through a Sioux boy's pictographic art that documents his journey to and his life at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1879. Illustrated by Adam Cjanovic, the book won a Christopher Award, an International Reading Association Award, and an award for best design. It acquainted readers with this unrecognized type of story telling and popularized Native American pictographs. It is a top seller in its genre and was translated into several languages. The sisters produced a CD that told Thomas Blue Eagle's story with related Indian material that won international prizes and awards. They also wrote books about the Lakota, Julia Singing Bear and The Sketchbook of Thomas Blue Eagle, published by Chronicle Press and illustrated by Adam Cjanovic.
They started a historical novel about a group of Plains Indians sent as prisoners to St. Augustine, Florida, in 1875, but Gay died before they could finish. Jewel continued the novel with George Putnam, who had worked with Gay in the past. The book became Redfish Oak. As a result of her research into the prisoners, Jewel moved to St. Augustine from New York and now resides there.