For some, writing can be a chore and somewhat intimidating. For Melanie Holmes, it’s a passion that has earned her accolades and the self-satisfaction of knowing she is fulfilling a path she’s wanted to follow since she was a teen.
“I’ve always been a writer in some shape or form,” said Holmes, who earned an Associate in Science degree in business in 2008 from Moraine Valley and a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from St. Xavier University. Her love for writing started at a young age and has blossomed into a full-time career as an award-winning author.
Her first book, “The Female Assumption,” was penned for her 13-year-old daughter.
“I wanted her to know a bunch of stuff, but I didn’t want it to sound like ‘mom lectures,’ so I wrote the book, found a great editor and was picked up by an agent,” she said.
She was presented with the 2014 Global Media Award in the best book category for the story, which is described as a “21st century bright light on womanhood to encourage all to dispense with outdated scripts that refer to motherhood as a foregone conclusion rather than one path of many that leads to a meaningful life.”
Her second book, “A Hero on Mount St. Helens: The Life and Legacy of David A. Johnston,” tells the story of Johnston, a geologist who died in the 1980 eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano. Johnston was the son of Alice Johnston, the first female to sit on the board of trustees for Moraine Valley. Holmes is working on a third book. “My first book’s success convinced me that I could do this. I could follow this dream,” she said. “My husband is my number one believer. He helped me believe in myself from the beginning.”
She recalls with pride many classes at Moraine Valley provided a solid educational foundation and were formative to who Holmes has become. They included an Earth Science class, a Racial and Ethnic Groups class with Rose Cunningham, and a writing class with Randy DeVillez, who wrote the book used in his class. “I still own the textbook for the Racial and Ethnic Groups class. There was no sell-back on that one, and I have Randy DeVillez’ book in my collection still,” she said.
She’s happy she chose Moraine Valley. “I loved the flexibility of the classes. Big universities offer many classes exclusively in the daytime. Moraine Valley definitely made it possible to work my school schedule around my job. One of the satellite locations in 1989 was a block from my home in Blue Island. Now that was nice!” she said.