About Denise Marie Siino

I have loved stories – and the words that make them up, both written and oral – all my life.  As an elementary school student in Orange County, CA, I scoured my parents’ Reader’s Digest subscription to learn the words in the Increase Your Word Power section of the magazine, and I listened to Radio Theater often.  Always having an insatiable curiosity about what makes things tick, I used to read Scientific American when my Dad was finished with it.  Sometimes we discussed the articles, especially the ones about astronomy and how the universe came to be.

I began writing short stories, essays and poems in Junior High.  They were terrible (as I look back on them), but they gave me practice in putting my own thoughts and ideas on paper.  I enjoyed reading, and found that the more I read, the better my own writing became.  This was not deliberate at first, but as my desire to become a writer grew, I began to examine what I read with a critical eye.

My passion for journalism came like a sunburst.  For a book report project in the fifth grade, I ordered Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin from the Scholastic Book Club.  In order to find out what it was like being Black in the 1950s, Griffin, his skin medically altered to a rich brown color, journeyed through the Deep South and recorded his experiences.  Suddenly I wanted to become a journalist.

This desire intensified during my high school years, when a “Chicano” teacher encouraged his students to become knowledgeable about Cesar Chavez’s budding United Farm Workers movement in Central California.  One Saturday, we worked in a field alongside migrant workers and I heard Chavez speak.  Soon thereafter I read John Steinbeck’s writings about California’s migrant workers (newspaper articles as well as Grapes of Wrath).  Not only had I discovered my favorite author, but the dream of becoming a journalist solidified.

Life has its twists and turns.  I did not take up journalism right away, but the desire never left me.  As a student in my late-20s pursuing a degree in English at Chapman University, I worked on the college newspaper.  From there I became an associated editor and writer for a couple of trade magazines, and later a contract writer for the Los Angeles Times, as well as numerous other national publications.  Between 1998 and 2005, due to family issues, I set journalism aside to work in the editing field.  During this time I also wrote my three books.

After moving to Northern California in 2007, I worked for almost two years as a staff reporter (crime beat) for a local newspaper.  During my tenure there, I covered some of the most infamous shootings and the largest fire in recorded El Dorado County history.  Both skill-stretching and emotionally challenging, these stories were lessons in journalism that helped to shape my views and my writing.

Today, I am a freelance writer and journalist accredited by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).  I have written hundreds of articles – news pieces, essays and features – for local and national publications.  A number of my magazine articles have been included in anthologies over the years, and I have been a guest on numerous radio shows and writing workshops.  I am currently writing a screenplay of my book Guerrilla Hostage, a workbook to accompany In Her Steps, a memoir and a novel.

I am married to Jack and am the mother of two wonderful children, Joel and Amy.  My hobbies include classical guitar, knitting, kayaking, hiking, and driving my MG roadster along the country roads of the Sierra foothills.  I still love learning about what makes things tick, and looking up at the night sky.