Sarojni Mehta-Lissak was born and raised in Long Beach, California where she experienced a unique childhood and adolescence that continue to influence her writings today.
With a father from New Delhi, India and a mother from Concord, New Hampshire, Sarojni, and her younger sister, Susan, enjoyed a lively blend of East and West in their bicultural home. This background set the stage for Mehta-Lissak's love of foreign cultures and ultimately inspired her to pursue endeavors with an international flavor.
Growing up in a family who placed a high priority on cooking and entertaining, Mehta-Lissak also developed a passion for the culinary arts. At a young age, she became an apprentice to her parents in the kitchen--especially her father--who made an array of Indian dishes on a regular basis for relatives and friends. Mehta-Lissak's proclivity for experimenting with recipes and trying many types of cuisines, blossomed into a serious hobby that has remained with her through the years.
In 1976, Mehta-Lissak earned an A. A. degree in General Education from College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. She reflects with humor that her GPA rose significantly due to all the cooking and dance classes she took (receiving A's in each of them). These courses "rounded out" her education, she told her parents, when they questioned her about the non-academic tangents that kept appearing on the grade reports she mailed home.
Living next to the Pacific Ocean and being near the redwoods, Mehta-Lissak came to appreciate the natural beauty of Northern California with its ragged coastline and pristine rivers. But after two years, with degree in hand, she arrived back home to work and save money for a trip around the world. In 1977, she traveled for six months, spending time in Europe and India. This peregrination satisfied her pangs of wanderlust and allowed her to get to know her relatives in New Delhi--an experience that still brings back fond memories.
Mehta-Lissak eventually settled into finishing her education, and received a B.A. degree in Liberal Studies from California State University, Long Beach in 1981. Within months of graduating, she accepted an instructor position at Sankei International College in Tokyo, Japan. Here, she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to America-bound college students. This year abroad not only enriched her life, but also proved to be a springboard for her continued future in teaching.
Upon returning from Japan, she enrolled in linguistics classes at CSULB and later became a part-time ESL instructor at Long Beach City College, where she taught for 17 years. Though she thrived in this environment and adored her students, she also yearned to know more about one of her favorite subjects: skin care. So back to school she went to become a licensed esthetician. The blend of working part-time, at both a community college and full-service salon, was stimulating and rewarding.
During this five-year period of over-lapping professions, she took 100 hours of post-graduate skin care classes. But parenthood came along, and with that, a shift in priorities; so she exchanged the white coat of an esthetician for the hat of a new mother. Today, she still maintains her license and stays abreast of current trends in this field.
Mehta-Lissak's extensive background in English provided the perfect foundation for a latent, yet budding endeavor: in 2003, she decided to turn from teaching to pursue writing. She now writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and combines her unique past with a passion for seeking information, exploring interesting topics and satisfying an insatiable curiosity about the world, human relationships and of course, food.
She derives great pleasure from covering a variety of subjects such as: parenting, adoption, mothering, women's issues, cooking, natural health and beauty, travel and "green" topics (earth-friendly practices). In her fiction, she often weaves in threads from her bicultural background or imbues the stories with references to food and its preparation, including recipes. Writing in different genres provides Mehta-Lissak with an outlet for the plethora of ideas that can, at times, plague her--from how-to articles to children's books. It's not uncommon for her to write a poem, start an essay and tighten up a final draft all in the same day.
Sarojni Mehta-Lissak resides in Long Beach, California with her husband, Bruce, a landscape architect, and their daughter, Sumi, whom they adopted from India in 1995 when she was 9 months old. When not writing, Mehta-Lissak enjoys reading, experimenting with recipes and visiting with family and friends. She also loves hiking and spending time in Wonder Valley--a quiet community in the high desert of Southern California near Joshua Tree National Park.