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 penned 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, first in the San Francisco Writers’ Workshop from 1999-2014, and currently in the California Writers Club, SF Peninsula Branch; the Historical Novel Society, Northern California chapter; and the Women’s National Book Association, SF chapter. Please scroll down for more information about these organizations!
Click here for a podcast of Elise’s Interview with Martin Sorensen, Sand Hill Review publisher.
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 of Elise’s favorites (by Patti Somlo and Tory Hartmann), which she 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.
Awards and Honors
A Time to Cast Away Stones/The Berkeley Girl, in Paris 1968
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 Los Angeles Book Festival
2017 Independent Press Distinguished Favorite in Historical Fiction
Memoir, “My People’s Park”
2nd prize in prose, Times They Were A-Changing, Women Remember the 60s and 70s
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!
Highlights from The Berkeley Girl, in Paris 1968
“…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?”
Why I wrote The Berkeley Girl, in Paris, 1968
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.