Cole grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Indiana University and earned a degree in Journalism and English with additional concentrations in History (19th century) and film. His undergraduate thesis was on the writings of Sir Richard Francis Burton and Franz Fanon. After working as a manager of a group home for children with disabilities in Bloomington, Indiana, he attended the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his MA in 2012 and his PhD in 2017. His dissertation concerns how the experience of empire altered the way British writers imagined distances of time and space during the early and mid 19th century.
Cole now works as a game designer and developer for Leder Games in Saint Paul, Minnesota.