Melanie Ansley was born in Windsor, Ontario, then bundled off to China at the age of 5. Her fascination with mythical talking animals started in Shanghai, where she'd buy Chinese comics like "Journey to the West". In the 1980s she spent most of her lunch breaks in her Hong Kong primary school's library, where she developed an insatiable appetite for fantasy and historical fiction. She now splits her time between Beijing and Los Angeles, and has written several produced screenplays. "Theo and the Forbidden Language" is her first novel.