Mercedes was born in Cuba, spent her childhood in Puerto Rico, and her adolescence in DeKalb County, Georgia. She arrived in San Diego in 1978 and has made South Orange County home since 1984. She holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and Spanish. Her graduate work in Spanish language and literature was completed in San Diego and Irvine, where she received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees respectively. Mercedes taught Spanish at SDSU, UC Irvine, and Irvine Valley College where she is currently adjunct faculty. She also worked as an administrator and program manager of various human services for three different Orange County agencies. Besides reading and listening to books, Mercedes enjoys being with her family and friends, riding her bicycle and Vespa, watching foreign and independent films, and most of all, traveling as much as she can.