By day, Melissa writes technical documentation about the software that doctors use when they cut out your appendix or amputate your leg. By early morning, evening, and the middle of the night, Melissa writes books, usually at a coffee shop where everyone knows her name and wonders why she drinks so much coffee.

She didn’t start drinking coffee until she became a grown-up, but she’s been writing books since age four. If you read one of her early manuscripts, you’ll stumble upon the profound line, “Daddy meets a living ice cream cone.” That particular fantasy has never come true for either Melissa or her father, but she does spend a lot of time eating regular-sized ice cream.

Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing at Hollins University, where she wrote her first novel, Postcards from Molten Llama. After that, she studied children’s literature at Kansas State and wrote a master’s project about giant food in picture books. She focused on that page in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs where the giant ice cream, donuts, hamburger, and pickle fall from the sky.

Now she lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her two under-watered plants, Kylie and Sam. If you ever come to visit, she’d love to grab a coffee or a regular-sized ice cream at one of her favorite spots.