TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Jenn Reese

Jenn Reese

Jenn Reese started out as a terrible reader. So bad, in fact, that she had to attend special reading classes in library… classes that not only caught her up to the rest of her class, but turned her into a voracious reading machine. She began by devouring Newbery books, then moved on to science fiction and fantasy. She spent as much of her childhood as possible living in other worlds.

But Jenn didn’t start writing yet. Instead, she played video games, taught herself Dungeons & Dragons, wrote comic books, and became the high school’s stage manager. She went to college at Cornell where her computer science major slowly became English and archaeology. She took every class she could that gave her a window into other cultures. Icelandic Sagas and Beowulf were her favorites. She did her field study neck-deep in a bog in Ireland.

After college, Jenn finally started to write short stories. They were terrible, of course, and she collected enough rejection letters to wallpaper an elephant. She went to a writing boot camp called Clarion in 1999, and slowly started making professional sales. It wasn’t until 2003 that she found her way back to novels, and hasn’t looked back since.

Jenn started studying martial arts in 2001 and fell in love. Her first novel, Jade Tiger, is basically a love letter to the art. It was published as the lead title in Prime Books’ new Juno imprint. The print run was small, but she clutched my Publishers Weekly review to her chest and forged on. Above World was her next book, and she did things differently: revised extensively, queried agents, and eventually signed with one. A few months later, she had a book deal with Candlewick, and everything changed.

Nowadays Jenn lives in Los Angeles and works part-time for the Lambda Literary Foundation, designs book covers at Tiger Bright Studios, does occasional voice over work for animation projects and, for the first time in her life, considers writing her true career. She plays video games, studies kung fu and tai chi when she’s not on a deadline, and is the devoted servant of three cats. Jenn still spends most of her time immersed in other worlds, only now they’re worlds of her own creation.