Monique Raphel High is a Franco-American author. She was born in New York City to French parents who met in the expatriate community where each had taken refuge during the Nazi Occupation of France. When she was only a few months old, her parents returned to Europe, where she was reared in Paris, Rome and Amsterdam.
Monique’s father, film executive David Raphel, is the son of Baroness Sonia (Sofia Sara) de Gunzburg, and grandson of Baron David de Günzburg, whose family was ennobled by Tsar Alexander II and is considered among the most notable Jewish dynasties in the world. Baron David, for whom Monique’s father was named, was a renowned scholar, whose library ranked second among the private libraries in existence, with the King of England’s the only larger library of the day. This library, full of rare books and manuscripts dating back to the Middle Ages, was seized in 1917 by the Bolsheviks, and is now exhibited in Russia by the government of Vladimir Putin.
While High was a teenager, her mother worked in the PR department of Columbia Films and as an agent for the Alain Bernheim Literary Agency. She represented James Jones and Irwin Shaw. As a child, High did research for Jules Dassin.
Monique graduated from high school in Paris at 16, and was admitted to Barnard College of Columbia University as a foreign student. She graduated with a double major in Renaissance Studies and English literature.
She married Soviet psychiatrist/psychologist Grigorii Raiport in 1985. He had been the sports psychologist for the U.S. Olympic Team, and defected in 1976 during the Olympic Games, causing quite a media sensation; he rose to prominence in New York, and married Monique in Beverly Hills, California, with vitamin king Earl Mindell as his best man. Monique and “Grisha” co-wrote Red Gold, for the Tarcher imprint; it concerns his methods for focusing athletes, executives, and everyday people, and still has a cult following from all over the world. The Raiport technique has been refined by other psychologists in schools, prisons, and with sports teams. Monique and Grisha later divorced.
High married Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Ben Walter Pesta, II, in 1987. Pesta represented a number of high-profile cases, including the mayor of Compton, the head of the Mexican Mafia, and the murderer of high-school “honey” Lily Burke, for whom he obtained a sentence of life without parole rather than death by lethal injection, after proving that he was not mentally and emotionally competent. Ben was a frequent guest on Court TV, now True TV, and wrote for California Lawyer, on whose editorial board he served until his death in July 2014.
Monique taught writing at UCLA in the 1990s, and was such a popular teacher that her students asked her to take them beyond what was available at the university. She formed her own workshops and seminars, entitled WriteHigh, which eventually turned into a literary agency in the early 2000s with offices in Beverly Hills, New York, Paris and London. She discovered a number of writers who have since become well-known, such as Jill Smolinski and Janis Thomas, and nonfiction authors Candy Deemer and Nancy Fredericks. Monique’s writing methods involved pairing authors to write scenes involving characters from both their books, having group therapy with a licensed therapist for the book characters, and outlining detailed plot lines and the emotional development of each book character on elaborate, colored charts.
She is now hard at work on a totally different kind of novel, a tribute to her late husband, the litigator and courtroom orator. Irrevocable Trust is a legal thriller as well as an emotional journey of self-discovery, flashing back to Nazi-Occupied France and set in Los Angeles in 1985, before the use of DNA and the enactment of sexual harassment laws.
Monique lives in Westwood, California, with her Persian chinchilla cat, Sebastian. She has served on the Board of the L.A. Commission on Assaults Against Women, and was President of her class at Barnard from 2009-2014. She has been a member of the Alliance Française and returns frequently to France and Europe.
Monique’s fans range from India to Russia, with a heavy concentration in Central and Latin America.