Jennifer Richard Jacobson grew up in a family of storytellers. “My brothers,” she says, “had the ability to make us laugh until our bellies hurt. I wasn’t as hilarious, but I learned how to take the mishaps in life (especially the embarrassments) and turn them into a dramatic story.”
Author of the Andy Shane series, Jennifer says that she can sympathize with both Andy and his counterpart, Dolores. Like Andy she can be a dreamer, a planner—someone who likes to take time to think things over. But like the boisterous Dolores, she’s also persistent. Once she’s decided on a goal, she doesn’t give up.
When writing stories, Jennifer often begins with a specific memory, a kernel of a story that she wants to expand and explore. But the idea for her middle-grade novel Small as an Elephant came to her in an unexpected way: “Ten years ago I was at a writer’s conference and the instructor (Virginia Euwer Wolff of Make Lemonade fame) suggested, as an exercise, that we try writing an irresistible beginning. I had a rush of an idea: What if a boy on a camping trip crawled out of his pup tent and discovered that his family (I didn’t yet know who he was camping with) and the camping equipment were gone? I shared this beginning with the other writers, received an enthusiastic response, and then let the idea go. Or tried to let it go. But it wouldn’t let go of me. Who was the boy? Why was he abandoned? I had to write the book.”
Jennifer is also the author of another middle-grade novel for Candlewick Press titled Paper Things. She lives in Maine with her husband and Jack Russell terrier.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Jennifer:
1. She sings her favorite childhood songs when she runs.
2. She was called “Jeffie” until she was eight years old.
3. She cries at the end of every good story.