Melinda Farris‘ first career was as a Washington, DC, political operative and international democracy consultant. She worked on Capitol Hill, advised Cabinet nominees on a Presidential transition team, and coached democratic forces in Russia, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan. Excerpts from her unpublished first novel, The Fourth Degree, have been described as The Da Vinci Code meets National Treasure and received awards from the Southeastern Writers Association, Writer’s Digest, and The Seven Hills Literary Review. Melinda started the St Simons Island Writers Group two years ago, which includes critique groups and networking opportunities for local writers. In two years, the membership has doubled. She graduated in 2023 with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University.