Jayne Williams grew up in the halcyon suburbs of Northern California, began her impractical education in Russian literature at Harvard, and got an M.A. in Slavic Literature from U.C. Berkeley. She has organized whitewater rafting expeditions around the world and enjoyed years of frantic poverty as a freelance writer, interpreter, and editor. She has dabbled in public service and the Internet boom/bust and lives in Mountain View, Calif., with her husband, Tim, and their psycho-cat surrogate child.