With the exception of her first book, a nonfiction profile of six individuals sentenced to death ((Finding Life on Death Row, Northeastern University Press), Katya Lezin often mines her own life for her writing, both fiction and nonfiction. Her involvement in the competitive Scrabble circuit is reflected in her young adult novel (Knight Swam). She chronicled her battle with ovarian cancer in multiple columns for The Charlotte Observer and in her memoir But I Just Grew Out My Bangs! A Cancer Tale.

Lezin considers one of the silver linings of her cancer journey to be the public speaking career she has forged as a patient advocate and motivational speaker. A self-described “recovering attorney,” Lezin also juggles a small catering business, a consulting business as a college admissions advisor (www.perfectfitcollege.com), freelance writing, and is a patient speaker for Myriad Genetics. Past jobs include teaching law, representing indigent clients as a guardian ad litem, serving as a career counselor at a law school, and – this is stretching pretty far back, but it’s a distinction few can claim – serving as the Director of the U.S. Pavilion at the International Trade Fair in Kinshasa, Zaire.

Lezin has spoken extensively about her battle with ovarian cancer and is an ardent advocate for patients’ rights. She is a member of the Patient Experience team at Carolinas Medical Center and frequently speaks about her cancer journey to cancer support groups, medical professionals and the public.

Lezin lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, David Lieberman. Her three children (Noah, Hannah and Eliza) factor prominently in both her life and in her writing and public speaking, as does her optimism and joie de vivre.