Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, serving in Europe and Latin America, as well as with the division for Politico–Military affairs. At the latter, he was granted the Meritorious Honor Award for valuable services rendered in the Office of International Security Operations. He was co-author of Hidden Killers, a report to Congress concerning the threat of landmines and ordnance to civilians.
Following foreign service, Barillas designed and implemented pro-democracy programs funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the US State Department. He traveled widely in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean to advance governmental and electoral transparency. He has written and edited articles for several media outlets. Shaken Earth is his breakout first novel.