Nicole Mazzarella grew up in Ohio and writes with sensitivity and precision about rural, Midwestern life. She lives with her husband and daughter in Illinois. This is her first novel; it was selected by Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River, as a finalist for the Paraclete Press Fiction Award of 2004.
The setting for This Heavy Silence was inspired by Maplewood Farm in Lucas, Ohio. The farm takes its name from the penname her great-grandmother used when publishing newspaper articles and a short story. The photos used for this website were taken by the author at Maplewood Farm, the home of her great-aunt and great-uncle.
Nicole has taught creative writing at Old Dominion University and currently teaches creative writing at Wheaton College. Prior to teaching, Nicole worked in a variety of settings, including the 1996 Olympics, an Episcopal Cathedral, a bank, an insurance company, and a software company. She received her B.A. in journalism from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky and her M.F.A. in creative writing with an emphasis in fiction from Old Dominion University.
One of Nicole's recent short stories was published in Cimarron Review.