Mel was born in Superior, Nebraska, grew up in Central California, and has made his home in six different states and two other countries. His father played professional baseball for a number of years before going into law enforcement, eventually retiring as a special investigator for the California Department of Justice. (Mel and his father share the same name, so if you Google ‘Mel Nicolai’, you’ll get a lot of returns in reference to California’s infamous Zodiac Killer, a case his father worked on.) His mother began her working years as a pilot flying mail during WWII. Peace landed her in a more staid career as a bookkeeper.
Mel attended American River College, Sacramento State University, UCLA, San Diego State University, and Portland State University, an intermittent educational marathon belatedly earning him a bachelor’s degree at the finish line.
Before turning to writing, Mel worked as a computer programmer, an ESL teacher, a gas pipeline leak inspector, and a few other equally glamorous callings. At present count, he is the author of six works of fiction.