Using James Vance Marshall as a pseudonym, Payne has written such books as A River Ran Out of Eden (1962) and White-Out (1999). His most famous book is probably Walkabout (1959), first published as The Children and later made into a movie starring Jenny Agutter.
Payne has also used Ian Cameron and Donald Gordon as pseudonyms. As Donald Gordon, he has published, among others, Riders of the Storm (2002), an official history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. As Ian Cameron, he has written The Lost Ones (1961), later dramatized by Disney as The Island at the Top of the World, as well as The Mountain at the Bottom of the World (1975) and The White Ship (1975).
He has also edited several Reader's Digest volumes such as the Travels & Adventure series.
He lives in Surrey, England, and has four sons and one daughter.
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