Melissa began writing as a child, and over the years, her love of literature grew from a hobby to an all-encompassing passion. She now follows in the footsteps of her late grandmother, Patricia Kaspar, writing novels that defy the confines of a single genre. Though her books are rooted in fantasy, she incorporates themes that fall under horror, mystery, and science fiction. Due to her proclivity to blend genres and her inclination toward the eerie and fantastical, Melissa has found her niche in the indie industry, writing books that fall into a class of their own.
Photo © Melissa V. Hoffman
THE LONGER VERSION
Melissa was born and raised in California, USA. She spent most of her childhood playing imaginary games, which she began to record as soon as she could write. Eventually, the games transformed into stories, and writing became Melissa's tried-and-true outlet––one that carried her through elementary school (when most of her stories were illustrated in crayon) and middle school (when she used the "synonyms" bar in Microsoft Word way too much). One of Melissa's favorite places to write was her grandma's (Patricia Kaspar's) office, mostly because Pat would edit her work. Pat kept her own stories stowed away in a file cabinet at the corner of the room. One of these stories was Jinx.
A Note on Patricia M. Kaspar
Pat grew up in Santa Monica, California, where she set the original version of Jinx (written sometime during the 1970s or 80s). It is heavily implied throughout the story that the character Shelley is an extension of herself, while Shelley's father (Mr. Waldbauer) was a nod to her own dad, Earl. Jan was likely inspired by her childhood best friend. The family has also heard stories of an old car called "The Blue Bomb."
Pat was a loving mother, grandmother, and friend. Her talent for writing lives on in her work, both professionally (as a technical writer at NASA) and creatively (through her poetry, short stories, and Jinx itself).
In the winter of 2012, Melissa came into possession of Pat's work. It wasn't until 2016, however, that she read Jinx and decided to build upon it. What started as a small project culminated in a completed book, and to get both Pat's voice and her own into the world, Melissa pursued publishing. After months of research (and an unwillingness to forgo control, creative or otherwise), she chose the indie route. Jinx was published in 2018 and became the foundation for her passion today. Since then, Melissa has branched off on her own, writing novels that fall under the fantasy umbrella. Her work has received praise from BookLife (by Publishers Weekly), Readers' Favorite, and the National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA).
Outside of writing fiction, Melissa is a graduate of Santa Clara University (2020) and Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology (2023). After working with children for a few years––as a party princess and later a behavioral therapist––she realized the only way to prevent burnout was to incorporate writing into her job. She now combines her counseling experience with academic and essay writing, helping high school students craft their college applications.
Though she plans to keep her own writing a hobby––and enjoys the freedom to chart her own path––she appreciates the ever-evolving journey. At the very least, it lets her put her daydreaming to good use.