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About Me

I’ve lived in three East Coast cities, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. I now live in an historic town near Boston, across from conservation land, where people walk their dogs and children play.  In spring, a cherry tree shows off its pink blossoms. In winter, kids go sledding and cross-country skiing in the snow.

I’ve always liked to read and write stories. In second grade, something special happened. Our teacher had us read a book called Roger, A Most Unusual Rabbit. What a thrill it was when the author showed up at our bookfair and autographed my copy! Since then, I’ve always felt the same excitement when an author or illustrator signs a book for me.

My sixth-grade teacher was a great influence on my interest in writing. He often left an unfinished sentence on the blackboard and asked us to turn it into a story. Something like: “On a cold and dark night, as the road curved up the hill like a gray ribbon, I could barely make out the form of a…”  I always loved the way these prompts sparked creative ideas. This teacher also had us listen to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas read his prose-poem, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. It has such rich language and imagery. Anyone who wants to be a writer should listen to a recording of this poet’s magical voice!

I graduated from Barnard College as a creative writing major and later went to medical school. (Someone must have predicted my future career in the health field as here I am as a little girl wearing a nurse’s uniform.)

Now I’m a psychiatrist and also practice hypnosis for medical purposes—such as helping people manage pain or get over a fear of going to the dentist. I’m on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and am a board member of the New England Society for Clinical Hypnosis.

I belong to the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and The Writers’ Loft. I’m represented by Connor Eck of The Eck Agency LLC.   


  • Growing up, I read every single Nancy Drew mystery book—late at night, in a cozy brown chair after the rest of the family had gone to sleep. My writing critique group tells me that’s why I like to put cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. I was pleased when my short story, “The Mystery of the Northern Lights,” was published in the Nancy Drew Anthology, Silver Birch Press. Here are Nancy Drew cupcakes that someone baked for one of my bookstore readings. (The cover with my story is in the top righthand corner.)


  • Besides using hypnosis with my patients, I like being hypnotized myself and have had many interesting experiences. I’ve smelled lavender, tasted lemon, heard flies buzzing, and once, even saw alligators in my kitchen! Being in a relaxed state can also open the imagination to new story ideas.

  • I love chocolate! Right after our wedding, my husband and I went to Paris and visited a zillion different chocolate shops. Here I am at La Maison du Chocolat with a world-famous chocolate-maker just inside the door:

chocolate paris dreamstime_m_91881721.jpg
  • My father liked word games—crossword puzzles, jumbles—and often played Scrabble with me. Years later, I taught the game to my son. He went on to compete in the National School Scrabble Championship and ranked in the top ten of the country! Though sadly my son never got to know my dad, I feel Scrabble was a link that tied them together. It made me happy to see my son follow the tradition of the family affinity for words.

My son on the awards podium at the National

School Scrabble Championship, Orlando, Florida

  • Many of my stories include animals. Maybe because I had lots of childhood pets: a cat, dogs (cocker spaniel, dachshund, Scottish terrier), a parakeet, turtles, frogs, hamsters, a mouse, many goldfish, tropical fish, a chicken (hatched from one of the eggs my teacher brought in to incubate), and even twin goats who stayed overnight. I now have two Maine Coon cats, Zöe and Polly. Here they are dressed up to watch the Academy Awards show on TV with me.

©2021 by Ellen Melissa Cohen

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