November 13, 1961 in Tehran, Iran.
After my parents separated when I was two, I was raised by my mother in San Francisco. When I was thirteen, I began going to Iran on my own and spending time with my father’s side of the family. In San Francisco, my family was an intimate group that consisted of me, my mother and my aunt; in Tehran, a family dinner party was like a town hall meeting, huge and festive. I had eleven cousins and before long, two little brothers.
My father took me on a trip to Isfahan when I was fourteen, even though he was busy building his business and didn’t have much time for leisure. Because I loved art and architecture, he agreed to take me for two days. I remember being mesmerized by the great square of Isfahan and by the painted plasterwork on the staircase of our hotel, a former caravansary.
I decided to take a year off between high school and college and spend it in Iran. That year, 1979, turned out to be the fateful year of the Islamic Revolution. That summer, we heard gunfire and watched the sky turn black with smoke from fires. On my seventeenth birthday, the city was under an evening curfew. We went out for lunch and had cake at home. Less than ten days later, my father and stepmother decided the situation was unsafe. We packed up my brothers, who were one-and-a-half and three, and left for what we hoped would be a short time. It wasn’t.
The following fall, I started at Vassar College. I attended for two and a half years and then transferred to the University of California at Berkeley, where I majored in English. I loved school.
I’ve been a writer and editor all my life. Before selling my novel, I worked for ten years as a dance critic and arts writer at two newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as an arts publicist. I felt very lucky to be able to write about dance, which unfortunately is getting less and less print coverage as newspapers downsize. I still write reviews now and then.