Melissa Pouliot, described by one of her children as a book writing machine, likes to think of herself as a word artist.
Her local newspaper published her first story Santa’s Elf when she was eight years old. Her early childhood stories about princesses, fairies and goblins, inspired by authors such as Enid Blyton and May Gibbs, evolved to teenage soap operas influenced by Sweet Valley High and the crime mysteries of Trixie Beldon.
While studying a Commerce university degree, she wrote her first unpublished piece for friends and family based on when she worked as a governess in outback Queensland. After an epiphany on a train to Sydney, she changed her university studies from numbers to words and enrolled in a Journalism degree. She returned to the harsh outback Queensland heat for her first newspaper job before moving south to the flat, arid landscape of Western Victoria to work in the busy newsroom of a tri-weekly paper.
In 2000, when her first child was six months old she started her own media company mp|media solutions, the first of its type in Western Victoria. Through her journalism career and her own business, she has written stories on just about every topic. Her stories about people are widely recognised as her true heart and she has published several non-fiction books.
Write About Me is Melissa’s debut fiction novel and a #1 Amazon bestseller. In 2014 she released the first in the Detective Rhiannon McVee Crime Mystery Series FIND ME. A year later she released WHEN YOU FIND ME, then YOU’LL NEVER FIND ME. The Australian Federal Police launched her 2017 release, FOUND, in Canberra.
Melissa’s writing is inspired by the disappearance of her cousin Ursula Barwick in 1987. She is the only Australian author who is a family member of a missing person tackling the complexities of missing through fiction. As a result of her books, detectives formed Strike Force Hemingway to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ursula’s disappearance and after 30 years missing, Ursula was found.
The Australian Federal Police National Missing Persons Coordination Centre endorses all Melissa’s novels.
A life-changing choice
An advocate for missing people
Through her fiction writing she has become a strong advocate for missing people around the world, and is the founder of Picnic for Missing. In 2015 the Daniel Morcombe Foundation appointed Melissa as a Day for Daniel 2015 Ambassador, a role which continues today.
She was also the guest speaker at the official launch of the 2015 National Missing Persons Week at Customs House in Sydney, organised by the AFP National Missing Persons Coordination Centre. Melissa works with the Bega Valley Shire Council to host a regional launch of National Missing Persons Week each year. She also supports the valuable work of the Families and Friends of Missing Persons unit in the NSW Department of Justice and the Missing Persons Advocacy Network.