He grew up in rural Cochranton, Western Pennsylvania, where he attended school in a one room schoolhouse. He graduated with a B.A. in English from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. While a college student, Blackwood published his first short story, Cliffs of Gold, in Twelve/ Fifteen magazine.
He has sold dozens of stories to children's magazines, and has published thirty-five novels and nonfiction books for adults, young adults and middle readers.