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author of


"Mitchell pitches life's hardball themes of death, grief, and redemption with piercing clarity and magically interlaces romance and humor into her family saga."


Library Journal - starred review of Love in Complete Sentences



"PEN Discovery Award-winner Mitchell writes prose that hums with vibrant characters, zippy dialogue and a poignant humor." Publisher's Weekly

"There is a humanity exhumed in this book that makes you feel proud and hopeful about being a human on planet Earth."

Elizabeth Berg, New York Times bestselling author

"Starting Out Sideways simply sparkles!  Mary E. Mitchell's debut novel is a fabulous story of joy and heartache, laughter and love." Claire Cook, New York Times bestselling author

"Best Books of Summer" Charlotte Observer


"Mitchell pitches life's hardball themes of death, grief and redemption with piercing clarity..."  

Library Journal (starred review)


"Get out the tissues, but plan on reading this impressive, stirring novel straight though." Kirkus Review


"Mitchell captures the mother-daughter angst to perfection..." Booklist

"Mitchell's prose is sterling." Publisher's Weekly



As one of seven children, the only way to score merchandise at our house was to do something special to catch a parent's attention. I tried bed-wetting but that didn't work. My father loved poetry and always had a book open. When I began writing little mystery books for him, complete with crayoned illustrations and shoe-lace bindings, the prizes began rolling in. It was my first taste of success. I was an eight-year-old writer with new toys and a dry bed.

My first time in ink was in 1980, in the Long Island Newsday. One of my mother’s neighbors shot my dog in the leg with a BB gun as the little scamp perused his trash can. I was outraged. The letter I sent to the editor was published the next week with a pretty good cartoon of my dog, looking sad. From this auspicious launch, my essays have since appeared in The

New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Family Circle, First for Women, and a host of other publications. 

I've been a teacher and counselor most of my life but have also been a Gaslight Girl, which is a singing Bunny, (don't ask!) a long long time ago in Chicago. I'm still know to croon a little Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday, and had the great pleasure recently of performing a one-woman cabaret in Boston.

For fifteen years I had the best job imaginable working as a counselor for formerly-homeless adults, children 

and families. Those unforgettable experiences inspire my fiction and deepen my desire to tell human stories with clarity, honesty and love.

My next novel, THE BLUFF, is getting ready for showtime!  Set on the north shore of Long Island in the winsome seaside village of Port Jefferson (That's Port Jeff you see on my home page), this psychological suspense novel tells the story of two women.  One of them walks away from a terrorist bombing, traumatized beyond the help of her psychiatrist.  Her life in pieces and mind shattered, she becomes someone she really isn't, alienating her husband and threatening the bonds of her dearest friendship. A second woman, damaged, abused and formerly homeless, finds herself in the most beautiful house she has ever imagined, living with the most beautiful man she'll ever love.  That man and a web of lies bring these two women together with devastating consequences. In the small, claustrophobic world of THE BLUFF, the deceitful paths of many lead to redemption for some, betrayal, murder and a brutal reckoning for others.

One last fun fact about me is this: the “E” in Mary E. Mitchell stands for Eleanor. It was my Aunt Eleanor who delivered me that fateful day in Flatbush when my father fainted and my mother was so surprised by the turn of events. It was an evening during her ninth month of her pregnancy when my mother 

excused herself from a game of canasta to lie down a moment.

Hearing a cry, Aunt Eleanor and my dad ran from the card table and the

rest is family history. Without Aunt Eleanor, I might not be here today, and if I wasn't here, neither would a lot of these people you see on the left.  I carry Aunt Eleanor's initial as a reminder of how we are all dependent on one another in this life, and how love sees us through even the darkest channels.


In The Press


Don't let anyone tell you that miracles don't happen.  My first novel, STARTING OUT SIDEWAYS, was published by St. Martin's Press when I was 55 years old.

My second novel, AMERICANS IN SPACE, was also published by St. Martin's Press. The following year, when the paperback came out, a rare decision was made to change its title to LOVE IN COMPLETE SENTENCES.

This was because the original title too often landed it on the science shelves of bookstores and libraries. (Don't let anyone tell you that titles don't matter.)


I won the prestigious PEN Discovery Award in 1993 for my as-yet unpublished novel, THE NEARNESS OF YOU, a frank and personal AIDS love story set in the lethal days of the 1980's in Chicago and New York

My non-fiction, essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Minnesota Star Tribune, First For Women, Family Circle and various literary journals and other newspapers.


I have worked passionately in the field of education and counseling for forty years and have learned much about tenacity and the human heartI still enjoy singing jazz and

tunes from the American Songbook and still perform one-woman cabarets. I also perform with an awesome volunteer group called The Boston Minstrels that brings music to homeless shelters, prisons and retirement homes, alleviating loneliness, spreading joy and bringing hope.  


I live with my husband outside of Boston and cherish time spent with friends and my beautiful growing family. 


I'd love to hear from you!  You can find my email address on the Contact page and send me your thoughts. I promise I'll get back to you.

                                               - Mary E .Mitchell


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