Elizabeth Upton is a prolific author of books, as well as a motivational speaker, based in Santa Barbara, California. She has a fascinating life story that she’s used as inspiration for many of her works.
Liz’s ancestors hail from Ireland and Spain and immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800s. Her grandparents settled near Montecito, California, on the state’s central coast. Liz and her twin sister were born in Los Angeles and raised by her grandmother until they were 8 years old, when they were placed in an orphanage for two years. They later returned home to live with their mother and grandmother.
Life in the orphanage had a significant impact on Liz. She was deeply touched by physical and emotional abuse she both witnessed and experienced personally. The experiences instilled a deep desire in her to help others, and Liz’s friends and classmates would often look to her for advice and support when they were troubled.
At the tender age of 16 and with a strong desire to make a difference in the world, Liz embarked on a life of service by leaving home and entering a nunnery. Her focus was supporting those suffering from emotional and physical abuse as well as poverty.
Liz eventually attended college and studied abnormal psychology, receiving a B.A. degree from Syracuse University and a Masters from Chapman University, following which she worked for a time in a psychiatric hospital. Later, she pursued a career in criminal justice as a probation officer, an experience she found extremely challenging.
Liz also taught college for a time as an instructor in the Department of Psychology at San Antonia College and at UCLA’s Extension Program in Creative Expression before turning to private practice as a counselor specializing in family and marriage crisis.
Over the years, in addition to her formal training, Liz also studied mysticism, reincarnation and spirituality, all of which have influenced her novels.
- B.A. Syracuse University
- M.A. Chapman University
- U.S.C. Media Communication
Liz as a Writer
Liz’s career as a writer began in the 1980s when she started keeping a journal of her life experiences. Through the journaling process, characters and plot ideas for her first fiction novel, The Shaman and the Mafia, emerged. Writing, Liz says, is a, “Creative and exhilarating process.” She feels her characters, “Insist on taking on lives of their own, which is what makes the process so exciting.”
Known for her wisdom and compassion, Liz is also a frequent motivational speaker whose lectures focus on self-esteem, overcoming stress, and the development of the spiritual and creative self.
Outside of Writing
When she’s not writing, Liz enjoys unwinding by playing ping pong with her husband at the local gym, taking her dogs on hikes around the central California coast, and helping to care for her sister’s spirited horse.
Connect with Liz
Liz has had a multi-faceted career working in a variety of industries including positions as:
- Published Author
- Social Worker
- Internal Affairs Investigator
- Drug Rehabilitation Counselor
- Probation Officer
- Family and Marriage Counselor