Finola graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in English (creative writing track). She went on to earn a Ph.D. in English from the University at Notre Dame, where she taught first-year composition and wrote a dissertation on moral philosophy in science fiction. After graduate school, she did research for a small nonprofit as well as tutoring academic English and the ACT. When not working, she enjoys training for marathons on the American Tobacco Trail and hanging out with her husband and their obstreperous one-eared rescue dog.