Carolyn Paul Branch learned storytelling from her mother and started writing down both family stories and "made-up" tales when she was twelve. She worked with the Public Library's local history and genealogy collection for more than thirty years and developed a deep love and respect for the human stories buried in old records. She is the author of six books of local and family history. Her biographical stories, many included as chapters in Snakes in the Kitchen, have won top awards in writing contests across the country. Her debut novel, Tangled Roots, is a mystery set amid the small towns, bluffs, and trails of Central Missouri. She is currently working on the second novel in the Missouri River Mysteries series.