Judith Astria Merkle was born on January 14, 1942 and grew up in Livermore, California. She died on September 12, 2010. Read her obituary.
Her great-uncle was the famous baseball player Fred Merkle, her father, Theodore Charles Merkle ran Project Pluto, and her brother Ralph C. Merkle is a pioneer in public key cryptography, and more recently a researcher and speaker on molecular nanotechnology and cryonics.
Riley holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught in the Department of Government at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. From 1988 to 2007, Judith wrote six historical romance novels.
She was married and has two children.
"I grew up in the then-isolated town of Livermore, California. It was the sort of spot that made one cultivate a host of eccentric hobbies and a taste for historical reading — in fact, any kind of reading that happened to be on the shelves of the local Carnegie library. The truth is, ever since then, I have assumed that heaven is really a Vast Library, with comfortable chairs, cozy fireplaces, big bay windows and courtyard gardens. A colleague of mine adds 'and good Scotch' — but I could even do without the Scotch..."
"Given this attitude, the step from reading to writing did not seem like a large one, especially since the excellence of creating historical fiction is this: it is absolutely REQUIRED that one must spend a LOT of time in the library."
"I hope you enjoy the adventures of my characters, both real and imagined."