Martha MoodyMartha Moody

Martha Moody
Jerusalem, 2006
photo by Cheryl Mauer

About Martha

I've written since I was child. I was one of those awkward, lonely kids, and reading and writing has always been my way to make sense of the world. In college, I concentrated on writing poetry. I was supposed to be a pretty good student poet, but, despite the excellent poets who were my professors, I didn't really understand poetry and I didn't want to to go on to graduate school in something I didn't understand.

My junior year in college, I went with my Spanish professor on a trip through South America. Poor people in poor health were very obvious there, and I hatched the idea of going into healthcare.

Martha as a child with her father
John G. (Jack) Moody, to whose memory The Office of Desire is dedicated with "little Martha" (his sister was "big Martha") at age four

Shortly after that trip I read Mario Vargas Llosa's Conversation in the Cathedral, a big, intricately plotted novel with a wide range of characters and subplots. Reading that book felt like walking through a large building and noticing everything visible—the floors, the rooms, the paint job—and, at the same time, sensing all the unseen things—the wiring and the plumbing and the supports—that had gone into the edifice. I thought: I understand this. I don't think I've ever been so excited about something I read. That novel inspired me to try and write fiction.

Martha and Jill as college freshman
Jill and Martha as college freshman

Martha and Jill
Jill and Martha at Martha's
third son's Bar Mitzvah, 2006

Initially I planned on nursing school, but at the time of my college graduation my best friend, Jill Herman, and I stayed out all night and decided I would be a doctor.

I am trained as an internist and was in private practice for 15 years, but quit that after Best Friends was published. At the time I had four sons under twelve, a very patient husband, and a wonderful but too-busy practice. I was exhausted, and I decided to focus on my family and my writing.

Currently I teach writing in the local high school as a volunteer, and work on the Dayton-Deir al Assad project.

My best tip for aspiring writers: two paragraphs a day.

Martha's Official Bio

Martha Moody was born and raised in Ohio. She graduated from Oberlin College and received her MD from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where she also completed her residency training in internal medicine. She has been married since 1985 to Dr. Martin Jacobs; they have four sons and live in Dayton, Ohio. Moody was a private practice internist for 15 years, then volunteered for ten years in a clinic for the working poor. Now she is fully retired from medicine.