Mary Ellen Taylor 

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Mary Ellen Taylor, author of THE UNION STREET BAKERY , grew up in a southern family that embraced stories of all kinds, from a well-told anecdote to a good yarn or a tall tale. It may have been inevitable that Mary Ellen would take her storytelling heritage to new heights, moving beyond the oral tradition to become a published author. "I realized early on the tremendous power stories have to inspire laughter, love, sorrow and even fear. It didn't matter if they were found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a campfire, or shared at an old-fashioned family reunion. Stories created connections, and I knew that's what I wanted to do," says Mary Ellen. In addition to her writing, Mary Ellen finds cooking and baking to be important creative outlets and she explores some of the challenges and comforts of those pursuits in THE UNION STREET BAKERY . Honing her skills and incorporating her own ideas about taste, texture and presentation has not only been gratifying, but increased Mary Ellen’s respect for those who do it well. "I liken it a bit to my efforts as a writer. You need to learn the basics and respect the tools that give you the freedom to develop your story while helping you avert disaster  much the way knowing the difference between baking powder and baking soda can be a real lifesaver." These two passions—writing and baking—come together in the story of Daisy McCrae. Daisy has not only broken up with her boyfriend and lost a great job, but she's been reduced to living in the attic above her parents' failing bakery. Though home, Daisy questions whether she belongs there. Abandoned in the bakery as a child, she was adopted and still wonders if she's a "real" McCrae and why she was deserted in the first place. Here again, Mary Ellen's life influences THE UNION STREET BAKERY . Her grandmother was adopted and so is Mary Ellen's daughter. She calls the novel "a labor of love," saying "I'm an adoptive parent and have been very active in the adop- tion community. I've seen many of the heartfelt emotions that adoptees struggle with and, as a writer, I spent a long time trying to find the right character to express these very complex feelings. Then, out of nowhere, Daisy McCrae appeared." Mary Ellen has been active in bringing attention to issues regarding adoption, including the concerns faced by adoptees in adulthood. She spoke at the adoption symposium "Opening Adoption: Realities, Possibilities and Challenges" sponsored by Coordinators2inc and held at the University of Richmond, and is a past president of the central Virginia chapter of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption (FRUA/CV). Most recently, she and her daughter, born in Russia, spoke out on WTTB-TV in Richmond regarding the efforts in that country to curb adoptions by foreigners. Studio FBJ Photography —continued— Mary Ellen was born and has spent most of her life in Richmond, but also lived in Alexandria for four years. She received her degree in English from Virginia’s Hollins University. After a decade of working in marketing and sales, she became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories swirling in her head. Mary Ellen left the marketing profession and devoted all her spare time to writing a novel. Today, nineteen of her romance and suspense novels and four novellas written as Mary Burton have been published and have earned praise from readers and reviewers as well as spots on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. THE UNION STREET BAKERY is her first novel as Mary Ellen Taylor. When not writing or appearing at conferences and book signings, Mary Ellen continues her culinary pursuits. She's been a kitchen assistant for more than fifty culinary classes over the past seven years at Sur la Table and at the University of Richmond's Culinary Arts program, where she is currently completing her Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate. In addition to spending time with her family and her two miniature dachshunds, Buddy and Bella, Mary Ellen enjoys yoga and hiking.
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