When Jennifer was in eighth grade, her teacher featured her short story on Christmas trees in the school’s holiday newsletter. Mrs. Quinn told her mother that she had a special talent for writing. She, however, gave Jennifer a gift in that very instance: she called her a writer. Her tender years spent scribbling poetry and wordsmithing were now validated by a slender, big-haired blonde bombshell of a woman whom Jennifer idolized. Her teacher’s affirmation encouraged the writer in her. And Jennifer has been writing ever since.
Since Jennifer loved writing and reading so much, she went on to earn a BA in English from Cortland College and an MA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Sociological Perspectives in Literature from Stony Brook University.
After receiving her master’s degree, Jennifer’s first child was born and her passion for creative writing was rekindled. Motivated by maternal love and countless cups of tea, she started to again write poems and short stories. After her second and third children were born, she began to draft a memoir that had long been unfolding on the note pad in her mind. But by the time Jennifer’s fourth child came along, she was surrounded by picture books in knee-high stacks throughout the house, and her adoration and appreciation for children’s literature had become a matter of course.
In 2016, Jennifer was selected to fill one of the twelve coveted spots in the Children’s Literature Fellowship Program at Stony Brook Southampton under the direction of Emma Walton Hamilton. Having the good fortune of being mentored by notable authors and editors in the year-long curriculum, she graduated in 2017 with an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature. Jennifer continually collaborates with fellow writers and mentors in writing and critique groups and attends many webinars, workshops, and conferences; continually enhancing and developing the craft of writing is a lifelong goal.
Jennifer writes across genres — picture books (fiction, non-fiction, and blended), short stories, and literary nonfiction. Being a mother of four children (and a menagerie of pets!) has undoubtedly shaped her writing. Especially in picture books, she aims to meet readers where they are, finding that a little humor and grace can go a long way. Teaching writing-intensive courses as an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University has exposed Jennifer to a variety of international topics and writing styles, all positively influencing her own writing as well. Most of Jennifer’s hobbies circle around her love of nature and animals and include photography, hiking, and cloud gazing. One of her favorite pastimes is taking road trips throughout the United States with her family. Everyone piles in, they turn up the music and the story-inspiring scenery whizzes by as they make their way to the next family adventure.