John was born in 1979 in Philomath, Oregon. The son of National Geographic filmmakers, much of his childhood was spent traveling, often staying in remote tropical or mountainous regions. He attended the University of Oregon and studied philosophy and literature and stayed to earn a Master of Education. For several years, he worked as a fly-fishing guide and high school English teacher, writing fiction in the evenings. In 2005, he left both jobs to earn a Master of Fine Arts at Oregon State University.
His most recent novel, Whiskey When We’re Dry, was a Los Angeles Times and Seattle Times bestseller, an Indie Next Pick, and a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award and the Will Rodgers Medallion. It was named a Best Book by O Magazine, Goodreads, Entertainment Weekly, Outside Magazine, Powell's, NPR's All Things Considered, and others, and is currently being developed for a feature film. Larison lives with his family near Bellfountain, Oregon, where he is at work on his next novel, entitled The Ancients.