Melanie Serpa is the late-blooming author of Through the Ganesh Gate, about a young woman who leaves her husband while traveling in India and goes on alone to see the world. To research her story settings, Melanie traveled abroad to amazing places and met interesting people that informed her cultural experience. In the 11 months that she traveled, she was able see 26 countries on 5 continents.
She returned home ready to start a new adventure. Melanie embarked on a Masters degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Marylhurst University. During her studies she fell in love with the process of writing: stacks of books, long hours pouring over lines to get just the right composition. Academic writing ended at graduation, but her love for words did not. She enrolled in a Clark College class, Wildfire Writing, with a treasure trove of travel stories and character dreams in her mind. The dynamic approach of Wildfire Writing was just the thing to spark her novel writing journey. Several years and thousands of cups of coffee later, her novel was completed.
When not writing, Melanie works an Occupational Therapist helping people recover from hand injuries. She lives near Portland, Oregon where she spends many happy hours at her son’s soccer practice and cheers herself hoarse at the Portland Timbers MLS soccer games.
From Through the Ganesh Gate
The passport slipped from Maddy’s fingers and her world blurred for a moment. The crisp, blank pages fluttered for an instant before they collided with the cold tile floor. She stood at her kitchen counter staring down at it. The passport was new, stiff and formal; the gold eagle embossed in profile. She lifted herself, pressed her palms to her forehead and leaned into her hands with a groan. What had she gotten herself into? She was not a world traveler, or any kind of traveler for that matter. Why had she agreed to this trip?
And then there was Richard. They barely got along at home even with all the built-in distractions. How were they going to travel together without killing one another? Maddy felt a sickening panic rise in her chest like a kettle nearing a boil. She wanted to scream, to run, but as always, she took a deep breath to slow her racing heart. She wiped her watering eyes and picked up the passport again. She would find a way to get through this. Maybe she would even enjoy seeing the world. If she could make it to Nepal, she could walk and walk for days. She would just have to hold it together until then; everything will be alright, she muttered.
Through the Ganesh Gate
Terrified of flying and in a crumbling marriage, Maddy Kendrick agrees to go on a trip with her husband to treat both problems. She soon realized that backpacker travel is no romantic picnic. Faced with unknown cultures and terse criticism from Richard, Maddy feels stuck between wishing she was free and needing her husband. Traveling in Nepal and India brings out the best and worst of their relationship. While visiting an ancient Indian fort in the city of Jaipur, Maddy finally snaps. She flees over the fort drawbridge out into the city streets.
Alone and adrift she follows the original trip plan to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. She meets a host of interesting, wise, and seasoned travelers who teach her not only how to travel on her own, but how to find what is most important in her life. Just as she is about to reconnect with Richard, she receives news that will change her life forever.
First Chapter Sample
Available now online at
And at the Cloud & Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita, Oregon