Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is a woman who wears many hats. Most recently, bestselling, groundbreaking novelist has been the dominant hat. Entertainment Weekly named her a breakout literary star. Latina magazine named her a Woman of the Year. Hispanic Business magazine has twice named her among the 100 most influential Hispanics in the nation. And now, Time magazine has named her one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America, alongside George Lopez, Bill Richardson, Jennifer Lopez and others.
An Emmy-winning TV journalist, Alisa holds a master's in journalism from Columbia University, where her Reporting and Writing professor David Krajicek described her as having a "mind that gives off sparks like flint on steel." Alisa is currently developing her own daytime talk show, THE ALISA SHOW, with producer Andrea Regalado.
Alisa is also a professional saxophonist and holds a degree in music from Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she was named at Artist in Residence in 2010.
Alisa began her professional writing career at 24, as one of the youngest staff writers ever hired at the Boston Globe. Her lyrical, witty prose soon landed her several Pulitzer nominations, and recognition as the best newspaper essayist in the nation by the SUNMAG organization.
After five years at the Globe, Alisa took a job as a staff writer at the LA Times, covering the pop music industry, melding her two lifelong passions -- writing and music. While at the Los Angeles Times, Alisa won an award for feature-writing from the American Society of Sunday Newspaper Editors. A documentary Alisa hosted for WHDH-TV in Boston won an Emmy award.
In 2001, Alisa's first novel, the landmark The Dirty Girls Social Club, (soon to be a prime-time series on NBC produced by Ann Serrano Lopez) was sold to St. Martin's Press after a fierce bidding war. The book became a national bestseller.
Alisa has written and published seven novels since 2003. She has been described by her editors as one of the most prolific and inspired writers working in publishing today. Alisa has more than 1 million books in print in 11 different languages.
Alisa was named the favorite writer by readers of Albuquerque the Magazine in the "Best of the City" poll November 2010, beating out longtime New Mexico favorite, Rudolfo Anaya, among others.
In 2011 HarperCollins will launch a groundbreaking new young adult crossover triology by Alisa, called The Kindred, under the pseudonym Alisa Conant - in honor of Alisa's mother, Maxine Conant, whom the author credits with instilling in her a love of words and writing. It is Alisa's most profound and serious work to date, with potential to reach many new readers.
Alisa’'s father, retired sociopolgy professor Nelson P. Valdes, immigrated to the United States from Havana, Cuba, when he was 15 years old; her Irish-English-Mexican mother’'s family have been in what is now New Mexico for 8 generations, and were among those with original land grants from the King of Spain in the 15th century. She is related on her mother’'s side to Ethan Allen and Roger Conant. Alisa is a single mother to a bright and quirky son, and lives in her beloved New Mexico.