A summer baby born in a Catskills bungalow colony, I lived in New York City as a kid, New Jersey as a teenager, Connecticut for college, Brooklyn for those first few post-college years, then the Upper East Side of Manhattan for 14 very interesting years until six years ago, when I moved to a small coastal town in Maine for a quality of life experiment (for my young son, not for me). I have to admit that the quality of life in Maine is pretty great. (That picture was taken this past spring on my town's sweet little beach, located just over a beautiful bridge to an island that will be the setting (very loosely based) of my next novel, THE LOVE GODDESS' COOKING SCHOOL.
So what was I doing in NYC all those years? I worked as an editor for Harlequin Books for ten years, then moved to two young adult book packagers, working on everything from the New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley ("We'll solve any crime by dinner time!") to Sweet Valley University (Elizabeth and Jessica were in junior high, high school and college simultaneously!).
When I sold my first novel, SEE JANE DATE, in 2001, I took a huge leap of faith to write full time. SEE JANE DATE was made into an adorable TV movie (starring Charisma Carpenter and Holly Marie Combs) for ABC Family and is now on DVD, and it's also the subject of and answer to a question in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Trivial Pursuit. Next came: THE SOLOMON SISTERS WISE UP (about three sisters under one roof); WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANYWAY?, which reunited me with the characters from SEE JANE DATE (it's Eloise's story); THE BREAKUP CLUB, my first novel to include a male main character (there are 4 main characters), and THEODORA TWIST, my debut novel for teens, which Teen magazine hailed "a hot (and fun) summer read. My sixth novel, LOVE YOU TO DEATH, is my first whodunnit, complete with a break up scene in L.L. Bean. And my last novel from Harlequin's Red Dress Ink imprint, Questions To Ask Before Marrying, about two very different twin sisters on a long and bumpy road trip from Maine to Las Vegas, was a finalist for RT Bookclub magazine's Reviewer's Choice award for best chick lit of 2008. It didn't win, but it turns out it IS nice just to be nominated.
You can also read essays I've written in the anthologies IT'S A WONDERFUL LIE: 26 TRUTHS ABOUT LIFE IN YOUR TWENTIES and EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, a tribute anthology to one of my favorite authors. I also contributed a short story to the anthology AMERICAN GIRLS ABOUT TOWN, and a story to FLIRTING WITH PRIDE & PREJUDICE: Fresh Perspectives On the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece.
Out now, from my new publisher, Simon & Schuster, is THE SECRET OF JOY, about a New Yorker who discovers she has a half-sister she never knew existed in a small Maine town. Off she goes to find her. And brand-new is THE MOSTS, my second young adult novel for Random House/Delacorte.
Coming in late October 2010 is my next novel (women's fiction) for Simon & Schuster, THE LOVE GODDESS' COOKING SCHOOL, which involves Italian food, the tiniest bit of magic and lots of romance. Feel free to email me with questions or comments or just to say hello: melissasenate at yahoo.com (use the little @ symbol). I love hearing from readers and writers.