Sutton was born on July 25, 1913, in Los Angeles, California. He began work at fourteen as an office boy in the editorial department of the Los Angeles Examiner, where both he and his Father worked for many years. He was a staff Photographer and Writer with International News Photos from 1937 to 1940.
Sutton was in the United States Marine Corps from 1932 through 1936 and reenlisted at the outset of World War II, serving with the 2nd Marine Division in the South and Central Pacific areas. His novel The River owes much to his experience on Guadalcanal. He married Eugenia Geneva Hensen on February 1, 1941, and they had two children: Christopher and Gale.
Jean Sutton helped edit fifteen of her husband's novels, starting with his first fiction book First on the Moon (1958). They first collaborated as coauthors on the Juvenile book The Beyond (1968). They published some Juvenile books as coauthors, The Programmed Man, Lord of the Stars and others. Three of them, Apollo at Go, Beyond Apollo and The Programmed Man, were Junior Literary Guild selections.