Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life - as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library - she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.
While attending Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction. As Melanie Hauser, she published two contemporary novels.
By incorporating her passion for history and biography, Melanie, now writing as Melanie Benjamin, has finally found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her first historical novel, Alice I Have Been, was published in 2010. This was followed by The Autobiography of Mrs Tom Thumb in July 2011.
She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs -
And reading, of course.
About This Biography
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This page includes two interviews with author Melanie Benjamin; in the video below, she discusses The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, and, in the written piece beneath, she explains the back story to her first novel, Alice I Have Been. In a separate essay, she explains why she chose to write about Anne Morrow Lindbergh in The Aviator's Wife.
Why Anne Morrow Lindbergh?
by author Melanie Benjamin
What was I thinking, writing a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh?
That is a question I asked myself every time I sat down to work on The Aviator's Wife.
For Anne Morrow Lindbergh guarded her privacy fiercely and, at times, I felt she was eluding me just to make that point! My other heroines - Alice Liddell in Alice I Have Been and Lavinia Warren Stratton in The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb - gave up their secrets easily, almost eagerly. Anne, however, did not.
But that was what attracted me to her story in the first place - because of how elusive Anne remains to this day. She is known in fragments but never completely. Some are aware of her child's horrific kidnapping and murder. Others remember her chiefly as the shy, pretty bride of the most heroic man of his time. Many women revere her as an early feminist ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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