The political science professor-turned-fiction writer is a native South Carolinian and daughter of an itinerant Methodist minister and a seamstress. She spent her early childhood moving about a lot throughout the Southeast, from one semirural parish to another. Eventually, her family settled in the Snow Belt of western New York, where MJ completed her secondary education.
She earned her Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University.
The author enjoys traveling, watching culinary and travel shows, and writing.