Ken Oder was born in Virginia in the coastal tidewater area near the York and James Rivers, where military installations during World Wars I and II fueled the growth of urban centers like Norfolk, Hampton, and Newport News. His father worked for the Navy Mine Depot in Yorktown and later as a Hudson dealer until he heard his calling to preach. When he became the minister at Mount Moriah Methodist Church in 1960, the family moved to White Hall, Virginia, a farm town of about fifty people at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountains and the rural culture were a jarring contrast to the busy coastal plains, but once the shock wore off, Ken came to love it there. The mountains and hollows are spectacularly beautiful. The people are thoughtful, friendly, and quietly courageous. White Hall became his home, and his affection and respect for the area and its people have never left him.
Ken and his wife moved to Los Angeles in 1975, where he practiced law and served as an executive until he retired. They still live near their children and grandchildren in California, but a piece of his heart never left White Hall, and that place and time come out in his stories.