The Official Stuff…
Jennifer Brown is the author of acclaimed young adult novels, Hate List, Bitter End, Perfect Escape, Thousand Words, Torn Away, and the Shade Me series. Her debut novel, Hate List, received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Bitter End received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list.
Jennifer also writes middle grade novels — her debut novel, Life on Mars, was the winner of the 2017 William Allen White Children’s Book Award. She also writes women’s fiction under the name Jennifer Scott. Visit her at www.JenniferScottAuthor.com
Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.
Jennifer is available for school visits, workshops, classroom and book club Skypes, and speaking engagements. Contact JenniferBrownYA@gmail.com to book her for your next event!
The Unofficial Stuff…
Where I’m From and Where I’ve Been
I grew up in a Kansas City-area suburb called Lee’s Summit, and am proud of my rural Midwest heritage. There is a lot of adventure here. Growing up, we spent lots of time battling sweat bees and playing King of the Mountain on a family farm, building pretend worlds with neighborhood friends, and setting out on long, sibling-battling road trips. I believe that those were the moments that helped me develop an imagination that could sweep me away. To this day, I love adventure, and am easily talked into hurtling myself down rivers in rafts and down mountains on bicycles.
The Dreamer and The Dream
I’ve pretty much always been a dreamer. As a little girl, I would line up my dolls and stuffed animals on the stairs and “teach” them. I had imaginary friends (which was good because we moved pretty often and I regularly found myself with few real ones). I would hold long, out-loud “conversations” with those imaginary friends. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was telling them stories, and it was my favorite pastime.
I never wanted to be a writer (I was going to be a teacher), but I was always writing. My first story was a short story, written in 4th grade. It was two pages long, hand-written, and my characters had names like Donna Shlieigermeigssterkks. I showed it to my grandma, who loved it so much she called my aunt on the phone and read it to her. I think it was at that moment that I learned to be proud to write.
Writing didn’t turn into a dream until my husband, Scott, talked me into giving it a try. That’s why every book I write is dedicated to Scott. Without him, there would be no stories.
The Path and The Plan
As a dedicated Dreamer/Adventurer with no Grand Plan and a lion’s share of independence, I left home and went out to learn Life’s Great Lessons just a couple months after I graduated high school. I transplanted myself into the inner city and slung pizzas for a living, soaking up the color of life all around me and meeting people I’d otherwise never have known. I moved and molded my life often, eventually ending up working at a daycare, where I was deliciously childlike as a matter of job requirement. I took night classes at William Jewell College and came away with a degree in Psychology. I landed a few Human Resources jobs stuffed into cubicles, where I would pound out poems and short stories at my desk instead of actually working. It didn’t take long to realize that Psychology wasn’t my Grand Plan. Human Resources wasn’t my Grand Plan, either. Nor was slinging pizzas or working in a daycare.
Writing was my Grand Plan. It just took me a while to figure that out.