Zoe Chase was born on February 2, 1985, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her birth mother, Debbie Fitzgerald, was a teenage unwed mother who put her baby up for adoption without ever seeing her. The infant was adopted by Howard and Marion Neidelmen of New York City, who named their new daughter Nancy after Marion's favorite aunt.
The Neidelmens adored and spoiled Nancy, who grew into a headstrong girl. Enrollment in a parochial school didn't improve Nancy's attitude, but her people skills were top-notch, largely due to her quick wit and a grand sense of humor which helped her persuade people to her way of thinking more often than not.
Though she tested high for IQ, Nancy was never motivated to excel scholastically. It wasn't laziness, as some thought, but a matter of interest. History, mathematics, and science held no appeal for her, but give her a book, a play, or a movie, and she was riveted.
When she was ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. Her teachers gently tried to discourage her, explaining how difficult writing is and how much work she would have to put into improving her skills to pursue it as a career, but no one could change her mind. She talked her way onto the school paper, lobbying and cajoling everyone until she became editor.
Throughout her school years, she made friends easily. She went out of her way to befriend people she deemed brilliant or talented, hoping to learn everything she could from them and convinced that their greatness would rub off on her.
In 2004, she enrolled at the University of Mississippi, majoring in English. In her first few days at college, Nancy met Danielle Brady, who lived on the same hall of the freshman dormitory. They became fast friends and were known for the practical jokes they played on dorm mates, friends, and especially people they didn't like. When Dani married Ed Bonner several years later, Nancy was her maid of honor.
After graduation in 2008, Nancy returned to New York and got a job as an assistant editor on a magazine. However, her propensity to edit and rewrite the magazine's authors eventually resulted in her dismissal. As testimony to her charm, the magazine gave Nancy a glowing letter of recommendation, despite the personality conflicts that led to her termination. For the next several years, she worked primarily as a copy editor for small publishing houses but was dissatisfied with the lack of recognition.
In 2015, Nancy Neidelmen legally changed her name to Zoe Chase, believing it to be a more suitable name for a writer. Coincidentally, she managed to get published here and there not long after the name change, which confirmed her decision to change it.
In 2017, she moved from New York to Oxford, the hometown of Faulkner and her best friend, Dani Brady Bonner. There, Zoe believed she could have a new incarnation as a writer and attain her rightful due.
She quickly found work as a columnist with The Oxford Weekly Planet and experienced the glow of small-town celebrity. Outside of her job, Zoe was a member of the Oxford Writers Circle. She also did volunteer work in the local literacy program and often helped with fundraising for local charities.