• Birth—August 12, 1966
• Where—Baltimore, Maryland, USA
• Education—B.A., University of Virginia; M.F.A., Sarah Lawrence College; Ph.D., University
• Currently—lives in Wilmington, Delaware
Marisa de los Santos achieved her earliest success as an award-winning poet, and her work has been published in several literary journals. In 2000, her debut collection, From the Bones Out, appeared as part of the James Dickey Contemporary Poetry Series.
De los Santos made her first foray into fiction in 2005 with the surprise bestseller Love Walked In. Optioned almost immediately for the movies, this elegant "literary romance" introduced Cornelia Brown, a diminutive, 30-something Philadelphian with a passion for classic film and an unshakable belief in the triumph of true love.
In her 2008 sequel, Belong to Me, de los Santos revisited Cornelia, now a married woman, newly relocated to the suburbs, and struggling to forge friendships with the women in her new hometown.
Her third novel, Falling Together, released in 2011, recounts the reunion of three college friends, whose friendships dissolve as everything they believed about themselves and each other is brought into question.
The Precious One, published in 2015, follows the two half-sisters who meet for the first time as they struggle to please their narcissistic, domineering father.
From a 2008 Barnes & Noble interview:
• De los Santos' love affair with books began at a young age. She claims to have risked life and limb as a child by insisting on combining reading with such incompatible activities as skating, turning cartwheels, and descending stairs.
• I'm addicted to ballet, completely head-over-heels for it. I did it as a little kid, but took about a thirty year hiatus before starting adult classes. I do it as many times a week as I can, but if I could, I'd do it every day! In my next life, I'm definitely going to be a ballerina.
• I'm terrible with plants, outdoor plants, indoor plants, annuals, perennials. I kill them off in record time. I adore fresh flowers and keep them all over my house all year round because they're beautiful and already dead, but you won't find a single potted plant in my house. So many nice people in the world and in books are growers and gardeners, but the sad truth is that I'll never be one of them.
• I'm an awful sleeper, and the thing that helps me fall asleep or fall back to sleep is reading books from my childhood. Elizabeth Enright's Melendy series and her two Gone Away Lake books, all of the Anne of Green Gables books, Little Women, The Secret Garden, the Narnia books, and a bunch of others. I have probably read some of these books twenty, maybe thirty times. I read them to pieces, literally, and then have to buy new ones.
• I am crazy-scared of sharks and almost never swim in the ocean. Yes, I know it's silly, I know my chances of getting bitten by a shark are about the same as my chances of becoming president of the United States, but I can't help it.
• My favorite way to spend an evening is eating a meal with good friends. The cheese plate, the red wine, the clink of forks, a passel of kids dancing to The Jonas Brothers and laughing their heads off in the next room, food that either I or someone else has cooked with care and love, and warm, lively conversation-give me all this and I'm happy as a clam.
• I adore black and white movies, particularly romantic comedies from the thirties and forties. I love them for the dialogue and for the whip smart, fascinating, fast-talking, funny women.
• When asked what book that most influenced her career as a writer, here is her response:
I read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was ten, I can't count how many times I've read it since, and every single time, I am utterly pulled in. I don't read it; I live it. I'm with Scout on Boo Radley's porch and in the colored courtroom balcony, and my heart breaks with hers at Tom Robinson's fate. Over and over, the book lifts me up and sets me down into her shoes. I remember the wonder I felt the first time it happened, the sudden, jarring illumination: every person is the center of his or her life the way I am the center of mine. It changed everything. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. That empathy is the greatest gift fiction gives us, and it's the biggest reason I write. (Author bio and interview adapted from Barnes & Noble.)
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