Cast Spotlight: Melissa Firman

by stephaniejankowski on April 21, 2016

It’s incredible the way faith and science collide sometimes, and today’s cast spotlight’s story is the epitome of that collision. Mom of two, life-changer of thousands, Melissa Firman’s story shows the lengths some women are willing to go to become mothers.


Photograph courtesy of Ashley Mikula Photography

Melissa Firman is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cleaver Magazine, Philadelphia Review of Books and on BlogHer. As a nonprofit development and communications executive for more than 25 years, her fundraising efforts have positively impacted the lives of countless women, children and families in need, people with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence. Born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, Melissa and her husband Bill currently live in Pittsburgh with their 14 year old twins. When she isn’t working on her first novel, she blogs about books, writing, food, and life in general at, on Twitter, and her Facebook page.



Q: What is one of your favorite things you’ve ever written? 
A: Well, I’m pretty fond of my LTYM piece, but our audience will need to wait till May 6 for that! I’ve been working on a novel for several years now and occasionally I’ll post excerpts on my blog. You can read a sample HERE .


Q: When did you first start thinking about your mother (parents) as an individual person (people) and not just “mom” (“mom and dad”)?
A: My father died at age 44, rather unexpectedly, from a flu/stomach virus that attacked his heart. That loss has been one of the defining experiences of my life, especially since I was only 15 when he died.  Seeing my mother’s strength in the immediate aftermath (and in the years that followed) has been an inspiration to me and shaped my perspective on life.


Q: What do you wish most for your children?
A: For them to know how much they were wanted and how much they are loved. For them to be kind, compassionate, and accepting of themselves and others. And for them to know that we did our very best job we could as their parents.


Q: What do you love most about Pittsburgh?
A: Pittsburgh has such a vibrant literary community with so many exceptional writers working in every imaginable genre. There’s a true appreciation, nurturing, and love of the written word here, evidenced by the abundance of literary events and exciting projects happening all around us. At its heart, Pittsburgh is a creative and innovative city. The celebration of local literary talent, the access we have to nationally-known authors through different events, and the many opportunities for writers at every level is just one of the things I love about this region.


Q: If you could only ever eat at one restaurant in the ‘Burgh, what would it be and why?
A: With so many great restaurants in this town, that’s an impossible question. I’m gluten-free and vegetarian, so that can be a challenge. One of my biggest challenges is preparing meals that everyone in our family will eat and enjoy (we’re kind of particular with our culinary preferences), so my answer would be anyplace where everyone would be happy.  That’s usually Eat’n Park or one of its related eateries. (I work in Oakland, so I’m pretty fond of The Porch at Schenley.)  Legends, Vallozzi’s, Alexander’s, and Jimmy Wan’s would also be high on my list.


Q: If you were mayor of Pittsburgh for a day, what law would you enact/change/do away with and why?
A: Everyone would get free parking.

It’s not free, but parking for our May 6th Listen to Your Mother performance couldn’t be easier or cheaper! $5/car in a gated parking lot on a Friday night in the city? AMAZING! Get your tickets NOW!!

Previous post:

Next post: