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Leslyn Amthor Spinelli—writer, editor, and publisher of two childhood newspapers—put creative writing on the back burner when it came time to choose a “real” career. Her interest in the field of criminal justice took her on quite a journey. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, but her most fascinating educational experiences occurred in the workplace. Leslyn was employed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a case manager at a halfway house in Kansas City, at the prison camp in Leavenworth, and at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. Later she was hired as a probation officer for the U.S. District Court in Madison, where she conducted in-depth investigations into the backgrounds of criminal defendants. Throughout the years, Leslyn's clientele included mobsters, gangsters, drug dealers, meth cookers, tax evaders, bank robbers and embezzlers. Many were addicted—to drugs, alcohol, gambling or spending. The fictional characters and plot lines in her Caroline Spencer novels, (Taken for Granted, Taken by Surprise, Taken for a Fool, and Taking My Chances), are influenced, in part, by the people and situations Leslyn has encountered over the years. She also draws on her more personal experiences with infertility, adoption, and panic attacks. Leslyn and her husband live in the Minneapolis area and enjoy spending winters in San Diego. They have two grown children.