Ellyn began writing nearly thirty years ago when her first two children were toddlers and she wanted to stay home with them but still have something "adult" to do. While they napped, she wrote freelance newspaper stories for The Washington Post and other papers, and began teaching herself to write short fiction. It took six years, two more children, and countless rejection slips before her first story was published in McCall's!Once her youngest child went to school, Ellyn finally began her first novel, Safe Passage (about a woman with seven sons), which was later made into a film starring Susan Sarandon. Many more novels and short stories followed, including a collection of stories that won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize, and several books that became Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club selections.Ellyn has always written mostly for women but also (with her late husband, under the pen name E.M.J. Benjamin) she wrote a teen novel about a wrestler with epilepsy and (with a musician friend, since Ellyn has no musical talent at all), she co-authored the book of a muscial comedy about a group of aspiring writers.When she isn't writing, Ellyn spends most of her time working in the garden or walking her dog, Chief, a border-collie-lab mix who loves being outside. A native of Washington, DC, Ellyn has spent all her life on the east coast, mainly in Maryland and North Carolina, where much of her work is set. She lives in an old house in Wilmington, NC, only a few miles from the ocean.