melissa-cistaro-photoMelissa Cistaro’s stories and interviews have been published in numerous literary journals, including the New Ohio Review,, and Brevity, The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, Bookish, PBS To The Contrary,  as well as the anthologies CHERISHED (New World Library) and LOVE and PROFANITY (Switch Press). She’s worked as a bookseller and event coordinator at Book Passage, the esteemed independent bookstore in Northern California where she introduced hundreds of authors. Melissa graduated with honors from UCLA and followed her literary pursuits through the UCLA Extension Writers Program and the Tin House Writers Workshop in Portland. Between the years of raising her children, writing, bookselling, teaching horseback riding, and curating a business in equestrian antiques – Melissa completed her first memoir PIECES OF MY MOTHER. In 2019, HarperCollins Canada acquired her memoir and relaunched it with the title WITHOUT MY MOTHER. It became a Globe & Mail Bestseller and stayed on the Toronto Star Bestseller list for eight consecutive weeks. For the past several years Melissa has been on faculty at the San Miguel Writers Conference and Literary Festival in Mexico. She also mentors writers in the Bay Area and beyond. For inquiries about speaking, teaching or mentoring please reach out to

horse(author photo © Adam Karsten)