About the Author

Elise Frances Miller

Elise Frances Miller

Elise Frances Miller was born in Los Angeles CA. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and holds a Master’s degree in Art History from UCLA. Elise’s wide-ranging career includes high school and college teacher, arts critic and reviewer, and communications director at San Diego State University and Stanford University. She wrote in the arts for several well‐known publications, including the The Los Angeles Times, Art News, The Reader, and San Diego Magazine, for which she wrote a monthly column.  In 1998, she and her husband moved from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys the region’s literary opportunities and her memberships in the San Francisco Writers’ Workshop and the California Writers Club, San Francisco/Peninsula Branch.

Two of Elise’s short stories have been published in The Sand Hill Review (2007, 2010, http://www.sandhillreview.org/). You can read these two stories, “Honey in the City” and “Damascus Gate” in the SHR’s tenth anniversary publication, The Best of Sand Hill Review (2012). This selection also includes two others (by Patti Somlo and Tory Hartmann) that Elise selected and edited for the SHR when she served as its Fiction Editor in 2008.

A chapter of her novel, at that time called A Time to Cast Away Stones, was selected for inclusion in the 2010 literary journal, Fault Zone, Words from the Edge In 2011, her short story, “Playing with the Rules,” was published in Fault Zone: Stepping Up to the Edge, 2012. Fault Zone: Diverge carried two stories, “The Feint of the Other Shoe” and “Pierced Ears” in 2015.

In Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s and 70s – Elise’s first-ever memoir, “My People’s Park,” won 2nd prize in prose for the contest. The anthology contains 48 powerful memoirs in poetry and prose, selected from all over the nation.

berkeley-yearbook-1968From the Prologue
“…I began pulling out old pictures and yearbooks from our Los Angeles high schools and UC Berkeley. Suddenly there we were, thousands of trim-haired, neatly-dressed, conservative-looking youngsters, with perky, forced smiles, encased in identical inch by inch-and-a-quarter boxes for our children to snicker at. Only they did not snicker.
“Mom, this isn’t the 60s, is it?”
We were not all radicals, commies, druggies, hippies – or even “hip”—but she could not believe it!

Photos from Blue and Gold 1968, Volume 95, University of California, Berkeley.

Photos from Blue and Gold 1968, Volume 95, University of California, Berkeley.

Why I wrote this novel

Also from the Prologue, fictional protagonist Janet Magill, when she looks back decades later at her youth in the late 1960s, explains, “In the decade that Americans of several generations are obsessed with, whether it’s to love it or hate it…most of us were focused on finding a lover or a spouse and learning enough to make a living. So why did the myth persist that our entire generation was deliberately and confidently revolutionary?”

She speaks for me when she describes her motivation for “deciding to write The Berkeley Girl, in Paris, 1968.” Like Janet, I lived in both Berkeley and Paris in 1968. This book began with my desire to research and understand the events through which I had lived and to express views I knew first-hand to be true, but which I did not find in fictional depictions of that era. We were not all hippies, commies and druggies. I wanted to get past these stereotypes. To the kids – trying to make good grades and find a boyfriend or a girlfriend. That’s who we were, and yet—we were caught up in the social and political turmoil of our day. The war, fresh ideas and new freedoms touched all our lives.


California Writers Club, a statewide organization of over 2000 members, and here is my club’s own website, the San Francisco/Peninsula Branch

Historical Novel Society, an international genre-based organization, and the Northern California branch, only on Facebook (closed group)

Women’ National Book Association, a national organization dedicated to literacy and literature by women, and our active San Francisco Chapter

San Francisco Writers Workshop (1999-2015), a forum for writers in any genre to share their work-in-progress and receive constructive critiques from other writers. In essence, a critique group. Although I do not attend these days, I include it in case anyone is looking for the absolute best place (in my opinion) for feedback and fun!