About Me

Jessie headshot with featherHi. For all my life, I’ve written stories of all kinds. Naturally, I became an English teacher because I believed that I could not have a career as a writer (at least not one that paid the bills). I’ve taught over 1,800 teenagers, trained hundreds of teachers, gotten married, had three children, coached ten years of competitive cheerleading, advised four yearbooks, one literary magazine, traveled internationally eight times, and earned a graduate degree. Yet, I forever return to the keyboard … and the stories I want to share. I’ve come to understand that, despite a tremendously fulfilling career in education and personal life, I am not wholly content unless I’m creating.

So, I’ve followed Toni Morrison’s iconic advice: “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” So, I’ve been writing not only the books that I wish I could have read as a high school student and young adult (or right now, if we’re being honest) but also the books that I wish I could have taught when I was still in the classroom.

Why Young Adult Literature? Why not write contemporary adult fiction? I think I’ve always been drawn to that period of life (Ah-hem, check out my career choices …). The thing about youth —young adults, specifically— is that they are not so invested, entrenched, and entangled with their expectations for what their lives are “supposed to be,” so decisions to act decisively according to convictions of what is right and wrong come with a lot less baggage. That’s what makes that period of life so dynamic and interesting to me. It’s far easier for these characters to tackle the big problems, which are the only kinds I like to write about or consume, for that matter, than it is for someone my age. I guess, that’s why, in a nutshell.

Things that hold my attention: best practices in education, coffee, reading (young adult literature, the classics, and mysteries), applications of technology, maximizing productivity, contentedness, travel, and my wonderful family that supports all that I do.

I’m always interested in connecting with others who share my interests. The best way to keep in touch is by following me on my author account on Instagram, but good ol’ email works well, too! Fill out the form below to send me an email.

 

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