Monalisa won life’s lottery when she escaped communism and became an unhyphenated American citizen. Her works tend to explore themes of freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility. Despite her degree in physics, she’s worked in several fields including engineering and medicine. She and her husband (who is a writer-once-removed via their marriage) are living their happily ever after in Texas.
She learned English by reading and translating books from the juvenile section at the public library. She’d walk to the library with her dictionary and a notebook and start copying sentences and then translating them by hand. At home in the evenings, she’d take unfamiliar words and write them out ten times, or more, to get the spelling down. After a few days of this, a kindly librarian took pity on her and offered her a library card and then broke some rules in issuing one to a ten-year-old. This was back in the bad old days when kids were still free range and parents didn’t get jailed for letting them go places unsupervised. But, the library was air conditioned, an important thing when the temperature reaches triple digits, so she spent the summer there anyway, and along the way discovered Robert Heinlein and science fiction. It didn’t take long to devour the juvenile section and move on to the grown-up books. This is how a stack of notebooks and a writing callous gave birth to command of the English language.