Melinda Thielbar

Photo by Steve Burnett

Melinda Thielbar is a writer, teacher, statistician, and student of the martial arts. Manga Math Mysteries, including The Kung Fu Puzzle and The Secret Ghost is her first children’s series.

In 2005, Melinda left SAS to finish a PhD in statistics. She was awarded a VIGRE fellowship at North Carolina State University. This fellowship is awarded to students likely to make a strong contribution to education in the mathematics and statistics field. Again, Melinda earned a fantastic reputation in the classroom. Her statistics lectures and examples were known for their ability to hold her students’ interest—no easy task in a statistics for non-majors class that’s held at 8:00am.

Melinda lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, writer Richard Dansky, and their three cats. She is currently working on the research portion of her PhD.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“Writers aren’t really people, or if they’re really good, they’re a lot of people trying to be just one person.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Christopher Golden, Diane Duane, and Meredith Ann Pierce

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I’ve always loved books. Unfortunately, I was an adult when I realized that people actually got paid for writing them! My life since then has been a quest to become one of those special individuals.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

To be successful in writing, you have to be lucky. You never know when you’re going to get lucky, so while you’re waiting, focus on becoming a really good writer.