Writer. Actor. Swede.
There was rarely a time in Michelle’s childhood where she wasn’t trying to either drum up a ghost (by way of seance or the Ouija board); locate proof of extraterrestrial life; or sneak off to buy Big Wheel cupcakes and Twizzlers. She was obsessed with all things supernatural and watched and read as much creepy stuff as she could get her hands on. The TV show, In Search of…, the movies Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Alien and Jaws proved to be DNA-altering for her.
In both literature and film, she’s drawn to the truth that lurks beneath what is visible—the dark matter, the missing mass of the universe. It’s that darkness that anchors the seemingly normal world above. Both of her novels, The Overgrown and Cigarette Girl, try to make sense of that endless murk.
She was born and raised in Princeton, NJ which also happens to be the setting (though never expressly stated) for The Overgrown. Her mother is Swedish and her father is first generation American with Albanian parents. Her heart and soul are deeply rooted in the family’s little house on an island in the Baltic Sea. At the age of 15, she became a dual-citizen of Sweden and the US.
She graduated from Cornell University as an English major and then headed to NYC and became the first Editorial Assistant at the newly minted, Hyperion Books for Children. She read through the slush piles and wrote flap copy before altering her course to pursue a comedy and acting career.
She was a full-time actor for twenty-five years, working as a sketch regular on Late Night with Conan O’Brien; many TV shows; and her bread-and-butter, commercials and voice-overs (which she still does today). Along the way, her writing took the form of one-woman shows performed at UCB and The PIT, as well as two screenplays: the first, in Swedish, Den Otäcka Amerikanen (The Horrible American), and the second, Going Dutch, (in English). And here, many years later, she’s circled back to her first love of writing narrative fiction.
She lives with her husband Tom in the Hudson Valley of New York, along with their two cats, Taxi and Pepe.
Victoria Marini, Highline Literary
victoria (at) highlineliterary.com