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Michaela attended Vassar College and Yale University. She earned degrees in multi-disciplinary history. Unfortunately, it took her 20 years before she realized she was learning how to write historical fiction. Her favorite stories are the ones she finds about the childhood experiences of famous people. What happened that helped them to be great? Michaela has two daughters so she's hoping to identify those moments firsthand. She and her family live in Connecticut, but she will travel at the drop of hat to do local research. So far her travels have taken her to London and Florence and Amherst, Massachussetts. A trip to Shanghai, China is in the works. Prisoners in the Palace (Chronicle, October 2010) was her first book and Promise the Night (Chronicle, December 2011) is her second.
Michaela grew up in upstate New York. After she graduated Vassar College, she came home for about an hour, then moved to Connecticut for graduate school at Yale University. She studied Russian and Soviet history. She visited the USSR (while it still was the USSR) in 1987 - when very few students could go there. It was deeply distressing when the wall came down and the whole Soviet bloc lost much of its mysterious quality.
So, she began applying to law schools and planning her wedding. Her life changed when her fiancé called one day to ask if she would mind moving to France. Two months after the wedding, they moved to Toulouse France. They lived there for three years, a city filled with contradictions: aerospace technology side by side with medieval castles. Afterwards came a two year stint outside of Paris.
At that time, drawn by the vision of restaurants that would let you eat whenever you wanted to and genuine customer service, Michaela returned home with her husband and settled in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She worked as a technical writer and project manager for internet design firms while she raised her two daughters. She ran the elementary school book fairs for eight years running. She also ran the International Visitors Committee of Connecticut which welcomes the United Nations to her hometown every year. And she began to write.
Michaela was always fascinated by stories of how famous people grew up to be that way. Her first novel Prisoners in the Palace (Chronicle October 2010) explores the year before Princess Victoria becomes Queen. Victoria led a restricted and sheltered life. The adults around her were plotting to take advantage of the young queen's inexperience and youth. This story asks the question, what if Victoria were not completely alone? What if she had a friend? What if Victoria was not as powerless as she seemed?
Michaela's second book Promise the Night (Chronicle, 2010) is a rollicking ride through the childhood of Beryl Markham the aviator. Beryl and her father were among the first settlers in the highlands above colonial British East Africa. She was raised by the tribe who worked for her father and she learned how to hunt lion before she could write. Beryl was caught between two worlds: a life of a warrior or that of a proper young English lady. Promise the Night is the story of how she resolves this dilemma and grows up to become a world-class pilot who is the first to cross the Atlantic solo going from Great Britain to North America.
Michaela's next book is Nobody's Secret (Chronicle, 2013), a mystery featuring Emily Dickinson.
- Michaela MacColl HiRes Photos
- Michaela MacColl LoRes Photos
- Book Cover Promise the Night
- Book Cover: Prisoners in the Palace
- Book Cover Nobody's Secret