Eric Van Lustbader was born and raised in Greenwich Village, where he developed interests in art and writing. He lived downstairs from Lauren Bacall and built orange-crate racers in Washington Square Park with Keith and David Carradine. He is a graduate of Columbia College, with a degree in sociology, but his real education came much earlier at The City and Country School where, as he is fond of saying, “I learned all the important lessons that would stay with me for life.”
Before turning to writing full-time, he enjoyed successful careers in the New York City public school system, where he holds licenses in both elementary and early childhood education, and in the music business, where he worked for Elektra Records and CBS Records. He was the first writer in the US to write about Elton John and to predict his success. As a consequence, he, John and John's lyricist Bernie Taupin became friends. Writing for Cash Box Magazine, he also predicted the successes of such bands as Santana, Roxy Music, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, David Bowie, and The Who.