First Person Imperfect: The Authors

Contributing authors (from left): Lisa Beth Janis, Carla Ng, Laura Allen-Simpson, Elizabeth C. Rossman, Drew Downing, Sarah Morrill Condry, Elizabeth Samet, Paul McComas (also editor), Emile Ferris and Betsy Doherty. Photo by Jason Leo Grocholski.

Laura Allen-Simpson has written (as Laura Allen) two nonfiction books for children: Clever Letters: Fun Ways to Wiggle Your Words (Pleasant Company, 1997) and The Quiz Book: Clues to You & Your Friends, Too! (Pleasant Company, 1999). She grew up in a house like that of her protagonist, Paula, in Wilmette, Illinois, but now lives in “a treehouse-like condo” in Evanston. From there she walks to her job as an editor at McDougal Littell Publishing Company and delights in life with her husband, Sid.

Sarah Morrill Condry was raised in North Carolina and now resides in Wilmette, Illinois. A former elementary school teacher, she is currently at home as a wife and as mother to her two greatest accomplishments, Grant and Lindsay. Sarah thanks her Dad for the storytelling and her Mom “for the push.”

Betsy Doherty grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and is frequently asked why she left. She studied biology at Northwestern University and now lives in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. With remarkable models in her parents, she has been writing for a couple of decades and hopes to keep learning how it’s done.

Drew Downing was raised in Michigan and attended Michigan State University. He now resides in Chicago, where he is studying to be a teacher. “Self-discipline permitting,” Drew says, he hopes to “one day be a serious writer.”

Emile Ferris is a writer and visual artist who grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in Chicago; she now resides in Evanston. Her second story in this book is excerpted from a novella-in-progress, Charon’s Planet. Emile is pleased and honored to be a part of this anthology.

Lisa Beth Janis grew up in Marin County, California. She has a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford and is earning her PhD in psychology at Northwestern University. A self-described “starter, not a finisher” of many projects, Lisa notes, “My contribution to this anthology, being finished, marks a hopeful turning point in this trend.” She lives in Chicago.

Paul McComas grew up in Milwaukee and lives in Evanston. He is the author of the short story collection Twenty Questions (Fithian Press, 1998), now in its third printing, and two novels: Unplugged (John Daniel & Co., 2002) and the “nearly-completed” Planet of the Dates, from which his second piece in this book has been adapted. Paul teaches fiction writing both in Northwestern University’s Minicourse Program and in his own Advanced Fiction Workshop, whose students are the other contributors to this collection.

Carla Ng was born in São Paulo and raised in Brooklyn. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemical/Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University. In her spare time, Carla enjoys long walks on the beach and sunsets. She lives in Chicago with her two cats, Maggie and Watson, who are similarly inclined.

Elizabeth C. Rossman was raised on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She lives in Chicago, where she is pursuing a Master of Arts in Literary Writing at DePaul University. Her second story in this collection is excerpted from an as-yet-untitled novel-in-progress.

Elizabeth Samet was born in Pittsburgh but has made limited-engagement appearances in Providence, London, Rome and Venice. She spent the last 10 years working as a creative director for a multinational ad agency in Manhattan, where many of her single-girl-in-the-city stories take place. These are quickly but not quietly being replaced by tales of the married Mom in the suburbs, as she is expecting her second son this winter. (NOTE: Alexander was born on Dec. 11, 2003 — the same day we all got our books from the publisher! – Ed.)