Melissa Mia Hall passed away on Friday, suddenly and unexpectedly. She leaves a huge void in the horror community, in the writing community, and her words, her enthusiasm, and her kindness will be greatly missed.
Details of her passing are still unknown at this time.
For those who didn’t have the joy of knowing Melissa, here’s a little of her background. This is from her personal website: Black Leather Required
Texas born, Melissa Mia Hall spent some early years in Massachusetts but the rest of her life was deep in the heart of Texas. She had a degree in Communications Journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington. While attending UTA, she worked for the award-winning Shorthorn as Entertainment Editor. While the Entertainment Editor she also reviewed movies, interviewed celebrities such as Richard Harris, Blythe Danner, Mercedes McCambridge and the late but great Director of the Amon Carter Museum of Art, Mitchell A. Wilder. While attending UTA, she met Howard Waldrop, who asked if he could cheat off Melissa’s paper in a Journalism class. She told him, “Absolutely not!” but she thought he did so, anyway.
A pivotal moment as a writer arrived in 1978 in downtown Fort Worth, TX. At the time Melissa was working for Barber’s Bookstore and they were doing a promotion for Ace Books in conjunction with the Fourth World Fantasy Convention. Her boss, Brian A. Perkins gave her time off to go crash the convention on behalf of good P.R. as a bunch of writers could then be lured into the bookstore which was just a couple of blocks away from the store. Melissa went down there to sign in and got in a line with Judi Lynn Del Rey and her bearded husband, Lester Del Rey, a man who introduced himself as Stephen R. Donaldson and then another man walked up whose face Melissa recognized from a photo. She couldn’t believe it was Harlan Ellison, who promptly introduced himself. Then Melissa kept meeting more and more professionals, including Lisa Tuttle, Stephen King, Charles L. Grant and others … which led her to getting more involved in writing, attending conferences, etc., networking and learning more about the world of fantastic fiction.
Over the years she worked as a book critic, writing hundreds of book reviews and interviews for newspapers and magazines. When she began, she focused on Science Fiction/Fantasy and interviewed authors such as Stephen R. Donaldson, Gene Wolfe (Amazing, 9/81) Edward Bryant, Robert Silverberg and George R.R. Martin but also interviewed poets like W.S. Merwin.
Melissa also sold poems illustrated by her own photographic illustrations to small but very professionally done magazines like “The Alien Child” in Shayol #5 and “The Last Communication,” in Shayol #6, both edited by Pat Cadigan in 1982.
She also wrote critical essays such as “Love Kills: Another Look at Fatal Attraction,” in 1992’s Cut, Horror Writers on Horror Film, edited by Christopher Golden (Berkley) and contributed non-fiction, “Just Another Friday Night in Cowtown” to the intriguing but short-run magazine, Crime Beat, 1993’s 2-3/93 issue, edited by T.E.D. Klein.
After a hiatus, she began reviewing books and interviewing writers again, primarily for Publisher’s Weekly’s Forecasts section. Writers she talked with included: Peter David, John Martel, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Lewis Shiner, Steven Barnes, Merrill Markoe, Carole Nelson Douglas.
Like Clive Barker, David Schow, Ray Bradbury, and many other writers, Melissa was not content with just writing. She was also an artist utilizing mixed media, including acrylics, watercolors and collage. Her style varied from modern, post-impressionism and expressionism, with a touch of surrealism but like Picasso, she began sketching very realistic art (learn the rules first and then break them). She was fascinated by artists and the melding of various media.
Sleep peacefully Melissa.
[Update]: We’ve since learned that Melissa died from a heart attack. She was 55 years old.