About Melissa


Short Version:
Writer, teacher, unabashed music junkie.

Long Version:
I grew up in San Francisco, which gave me a love of fog and funny-colored houses. My mother is an amazing watercolorist, my father an architect. I can’t draw. Never could. But I always loved telling stories (occasionally of the sort involving passing Vegetable Fairies and disappearing sweet potatoes at dinnertime). I read lots of pretty wonderful books as a kid, but haven’t been quite the same since I was fourteen and my English teacher handed me a copy of Pride and Prejudice. I still want to be Elizabeth Bennet when I grow up. Elizabeth Bennet with a career and jeans, anyway. My husband got a second date by telling me he had once played Mr. Darcy on stage. There would have been a second date, in any case, but still…

I’ve written lots of stuff over the years, including a few novels, magazine articles, and even a syndicated newspaper etiquette column. I like dinner parties. I don’t give nearly enough of them. I love to make lists of whom I would invite if I possibly could. My fab friends aside, there’s always a spot for Jane Austen (who probably would always politely refuse), Robert Burns, and Charles Darwin. Then there’s Oscar Wilde, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Dalai Lama, and William Steig. Abigail Adams and Oprah. Sherman Alexie (anyone have his phone number?) and Julia Child. Bonnie Robinson: that long-ago English literature teacher, later my creative writing teacher, who told me that I’d better spend a lot more time in England if I was going to insist on writing about it.

My fave places in the world are London and Dublin, neither of which are as foggy as literature would have us believe. I spend as much time as possible in Ireland, often on the edge of one cliff or another. It makes my family crazy. It makes me feel like a Bronte.

Now I live most of the time in Pennsylvania, in a house old enough to have hosted Elizabeth Bennet, if she had cared to visit the Colonies. Of course, as Mrs. Darcy, she would have been very grand and my house isn’t, but then, she was all about having a curious and open mind. Not a bad philosophy. I do my best, but it doesn’t always work. Nothing will ever make me like sweet potatoes.