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BIO | Ellen Oh

Ellen Oh, YA and MG author, represented by Barry Goldblatt, BG Literary

So here’s my bio. I bet you think it’s going to be boring, right? Well, guess what? You’re probably right. Bios are always boring. I mean do you really care that I used to be a lawyer and that I teach college courses on academic research and writing? OMG, NO! I think I put myself to sleep typing that!

So what do you want to know? Well, how about a list of things? Lists tend to be easier to read and you can skip the boring stuff. Just don’t skip number 7. You’ll see what I mean:

1. I am Korean American and grew up in NYC. Well, mostly in Brooklyn. I resent the fact that my parents bought a place on the Upper West Side AFTER I moved away.
2. I love food. If you try to come between me and my food, you might get bitten. I’m not a cannibal, just very territorial about my food.
3. I went to NYU and Georgetown U law center.
4. I met my husband while going to law school and ended up staying in the Washington, DC area because my husband refused to move to NY. He said he would miss trees too much. To which I replied, “Hey! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!”
5. I have 3 amazing, super smart, extremely talented daughters who I’m so very proud of.
6. My nickname is Brooklyn Girl, not because of my accent, which only tends to come out when I’m driving, but because of this story.
7. My maiden name is Ha. I am now an Oh. I dare you not to laugh.
8. I practiced corporate law and then entertainment law for a long time. Entertainment law isn’t as entertaining as it sounds. It’s just contract law for television shows and movies. You don’t even get to meet anyone famous. Although I did get to see my name on an IMAX screen during the end credits. It was huge! Not so impressive when your last name is HA.
9. My favorite teacher ever was my HS English teacher who told me I had an amazing talent for writing and encouraged me to write creatively. He’s the reason I learned to love writing.
10. My least favorite teacher in the whole entire world was my junior high school Science teacher who was the meanest, nastiest woman who liked to play favorites and called me a loser who would never amount to anything. She’s the reason why negative remarks spur me on to prove that person wrong. And I think I did.
11. I started writing in the year 2000, after I read an article about Ghengis Khan in Time Magazine. They’d just named him Man of the Millenium and I was intrigued enough to buy a biography on him. Little did I know that I would learn about ancient Korean history from a biography about a Mongol!
12. I wanted to learn more about Korean history but found almost nothing in the bookstores. Luckily for me the internet is my friend, and I spent a lot of time and even more money to find the books I needed. My husband looked at all my bills, turned pale and said “You’d better be writing the Great American Novel with all the money you’ve been spending!”
13. I wrote the whole story of what would later become PROPHECY on random pieces of paper and post it notes in my car while stuck in typical beltway traffic.
14. My father got me even more Korean history books, but they were written in Korean. Since I am illiterate in Korean, he then spent all his time translating important sections of these books for me. Isn’t he nice?
15. I don’t miss practicing law at all. AT ALL!
16. I have this terrible habit of randomly quoting lines from The Princess Bride, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and The Holy Grail movies, and The Godfather I and II. Not III cause III is total crap.
17. Krispy Kreme donuts are my kryptonite.
18. Avatar: The Last Airbender is my favorite animated series of all time. And it is brilliant.
19. I broke my left hand while playing tennis. I hit my own hand with my own racquet while trying to smash a winning forehand shot. Even though it hurt like ummmm, I broke it, I kept playing and won the game.
20. I hate liver. My Mom used to cook it with onions and garlic and fool me into thinking it was steak (I love steak), but then I’d take a bite and it was liver. I hate liver.
21. Ever since The Ring, I’ve been unable to watch horror movies anymore because it has turned me into a scaredy-cat.
22. I love people who tell me that they like my book. I adore people who tell me that they love my book. I would like to buy them all donuts. Krispy Kremes, of course.


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