Jennifer Gennari is the author of Muffled (Simon & Schuster, 2020) and My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), a Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year selection and an American Library Association Rainbow List title. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, she lives on the water in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Who helped you become a writer?
Teachers and librarians! My sixth grade teacher Ms. Fitzhugh assigned weekly writing that was not graded, which I loved, and my high school teacher Ms. Johnston championed my early stories. All the children's librarians I've known have shared their love of books with me.
When did you first start writing?
For forever! I kept a diary when I was young and still love to write in a journal today. When I was 15, I tied for first place in a newspaper short story contest! That encouraged me to keep writing. Working as a reporter also made me a better writer because I had to write every day and fast.
Where do you write?
I usually sit at my desk, an old-fashioned secretary with books on shelves above and plants all around. I also write on buses, at the library, and outside.
How do you find story ideas?
I notice people and things! Being curious is important. I also love volunteering at 826, a writing organization, to connect with young people.
What else do you like to do?
Swimming, biking, reading, kayaking, doing puzzles. Did I mention reading?
Plotting a story is often like putting together a jigsaw puzzle!