About Janice

The Official Story

Janice Steinberg is an award-winning arts journalist who has published more than four hundred articles in The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dance Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She is also the author of five mystery novels, including the Shamus Award–nominated Death in a City of Mystics. She has taught novel writing at the University of California, San Diego extension, and dance criticism at San Diego State University. A native of Wisconsin, she received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Irvine. She holds a blue belt in the Nia dance-fitness practice and teaches weekly classes. She lives in San Diego with her husband.


The Version over a Cup of Tea

I grew up in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, which is less bucolic than it sounds; it’s a suburb of Milwaukee. Whitefish Bay is nonetheless charming. It’s right on Lake Michigan. Quiet streets, glorious autumns. One of my earliest memories is of standing with my mother in a cozy brick building that was at one time the public library. I think the cozy building later became the police department, which does give Whitefish Bay a sort of Mayberry vibe.

During college, I became a Californian. I got a B.A. and M.A. at the University of California-Irvine, and that’s where met my husband, Jack Cassidy.* We spent a couple of years in Los Angeles and now live in San Diego. There was also a brief detour to Colorado, but we missed California so much that we took to watching “Starsky and Hutch” reruns for glimpses of L.A. “Look, there’s Lincoln Boulevard!” If you know Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, you know it is not renowned for its beauty. We were really homesick.

*About Jack: A math wiz, he retired from Hewlett-Packard and now takes classes in bioinformatics (using computer science to make sense of genome data) and game theory. And he’s learning to play the ukelele.

Like many people who need to write the same way they need to breathe, I’ve had a pastiche of jobs: urban planning, public relations, grant writing, journalism, editing, and teaching. For several years, I freelanced for Advertising Age, where I was known as Queen of the Sidebar. After paying lots of dues, I was able to focus on the work that I love: fiction writing and arts journalism. I’ve had five mystery novels published, and I cover dance (and sometimes theater) for the San Diego newspaper, the UT. And now, having my first character-driven novel, The Tin Horse, published by Random House, I feel like I’ve caught the brass ring.

My passions, besides writing and reading, are dance and Judaism. You can read about those on their own pages (to come).