About Marilyn

Because there are many ways to get to know a person, I’ve included two here—the long and the short of my story.


Meet Author Marilyn HiltonIn second grade, I wrote a story about a coin named Dimey the Dime who traveled all around the world in people’s pockets. My teacher, Miss Seavey, wrote on my report card, “Marilyn has a gift for writing.” After waiting patiently for two weeks, finally I asked my mother when Miss Seavey was going to give me my present. Suppressing a grin (I’m sure), my mother explained what Miss Seavey meant, and then I realized that my teacher had indeed given me a wonderful present.

Those encouraging words stuck with me all through high school and college, where I gravitated toward classes and activities that involved writing, such as editing the newspapers, yearbooks, and literary magazines; organizing and reading at open mic events; and submitting stories and poems for publication. I never stopped writing, but for a long time after that, other things became more important.

When I began working to support myself and, later, our growing family, I felt a gnawing in my heart, telling me something was missing, and soon discovered it was my writing. So, while I worked full time during the day as a technical writer, I went to graduate school at night for creative writing. Five years later, the day before I went into labor with our second child, I handed in my final thesis.

Then I discovered writers’ conferences, where I met people just like me—crazy people with weird ideas whose hearts sing when they write. (I believe your heart sings when you’re doing what you were created to do.) At one of these conferences, I met an editor who was looking for a particular kind of book for girls—and that’s how my first book was published.

These days, I’m doing exactly what I love best: writing and editing, raising my multicultural family, and fitting all my stories into new books. Oh, and tap dancing! (Check out this video.)

Family photo


Marilyn Hilton is the author of two novels and two nonfiction books. She has also published numerous articles, devotions, short stories, and poems in literary and consumer magazines, and has contributed to various compilations. Her work has won several awards including the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the Jane Addams Peace Association Children's Honor Book Award, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Honor Book Award, the Sue Alexander Award, and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Award.

She holds a MA in English/Creative Writing and a BA in Japanese, studied Japanese at the Middlebury College intensive language program, and has taught Japanese in middle school enrichment programs. For a year she studied ochado (tea ceremony) at Urasenke Konnichian in Kyoto, Japan, and continued learning back in the United States. Marilyn has worked for several years in the computer software industry as a technical writer and editor. She now lives in Northern California, where she and her husband are raising their multicultural family. Marilyn enjoys telling “stories that stick” to readers of all ages. 

Marilyn's children's literature is represented by Adams Literary. Her adult work is represented by Books & Such Literary Management. To learn more about Marilyn's current projects, please contact these agencies.