Payne holds a BA in journalism and a MA in political science from Texas A&M University; and an MBA in finance from Southern Methodist University. He has deep experience as an economic damages expert, having worked in a “Big 4” professional services firm and as an internal litigation financial advisor with a major Texas law firm. He has testified multiple times and is one of a select group in the United States to hold the credential of Certified Forensic Financial Analyst (CFFA) which is a certification specifically for experts in economic damages. He has represented major Texas universities in the marketing of their intellectual property in a wide range of technologies, and was also the lead professional in the Southwest Region for the intellectual property consulting service of a Big 4 professional services firm.

A former newspaper reporter, Payne is a New York Times bestselling author whose techno-thriller novels include Storming Intrepid, Thunder of Erebus, Black Cipher and Forbidden Summit. His works have been translated in seven languages