Mardi Jo Link was born in Detroit and grew up in Bay City, the only daughter of a kindergarten teacher mom, and a school administrator dad. (Which meant being sent to the principal's office had all kinds of complex connotations.)
Michigan isn't as industrial as you might think, but is actually filled with forests and water. She spent an inordinate amount of her childhood outside, swimming across lakes, catching frogs, and turning over moss-covered logs looking for salamanders and beetles.
She has one particularly happy memory of reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader in a tent, burrowed inside a sleeping bag, late at night with a flashlight, whose overworked batteries were slowly dying.
At T.L. Handy High School, she was on the swim team, the softball team, and as a junior played tight end on the intramural powderpuff football team. The junior girls beat the senior girls that year, and to her knowledge, Mardi has never again been described as a powerderpuff.
Mardi studied journalism and agriculture at Michigan State University (go Spartans!), worked as a reporter for Foster's Daily Democrat in Dover, New Hampshire, was a founder of the magazine, ForeWord Reviews, in Traverse City, Michigan, and earned her master's degree in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte, in North Carolina.
At Queens Mardi co-founded Alpha Krappy Grammar, an anti-Greek society aimed at recruiting graduate creative writing students to right the wrongs of academia. They mostly just drank wine and put on SLAMs so fellow students could have the opportunity to read their work in front of an audience.
Mardi's memoir, Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass On a Northern Michigan Farm, was an Indie Next pick, was given the 2013 Booksellers Choice Award from the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, an Elle magazine's Reader's Prize, the Housatonic Book Award for Nonfiction, and was named a Michigan Notable Book. Film rights have been sold to Academy Award-winning actress, Rachel Weisz.
She has also written the true crime books, When Evil Came to Good Hart, Isadore's Secret, and Wicked Takes the Witness Stand, which were each Heartland bestsellers. Wicked Takes the Witness Stand. Her essays have appeared in Bellingham Review, Bear River Review, Creative Nonfiction, the Detroit Free Press, Publishers Weekly, Terrain, and Traverse Magazine, among other places.
Mardi is the mother of three grown sons and lives in Traverse City, Michigan, with her husband, Pete, and their dog, Gretchen (only one of which would agree to appear in photographs).
Her forthcoming memoir, The Drummond Girls: A Story of Fierce Friendship Beyond Time and Chance, will be published in July 2015 by Grand Central.