Ryan has taught composition, literature and creative writing at several colleges and universities. He earned an MA in English at Portland State University and an MFA in creative writing at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. In January 2014 his novel, Down in the River, is forthcoming from Slant Books. Ryan is a fourth-generation Idahoan who has left the state and returned a few times to visit or reside. He lives in Boise with his wife, Becca.