Thursday, March 19, 2009


Where do you work best at home?

Like a cat, I prefer to be wherever the sun is. In the morning, I prefer to work at the kitchen table because that’s where the windows face East. In the afternoon, I usually go upstairs to the family den or to my office in the front of the house because the sun will have swung around there by then. I also work a lot inside my car. We have a state park with a mid-sized lake a few miles away. I like to drive over there and park by the lake, crack the windows and write for several hours. The scenery soothes me, I feel like I’m out in the world with other people—and yet I’m not distracted by them.

What time of day would we find you there?

I’m not a late-night or early-morning writer. I can do emails and other administrative tasks then, but I prefer to start any creative writing in the late morning and work through most of the afternoon.

What is your favorite comfort food while you work at home?

Hard pretzels with lost of salt. The Gettysburg Pretzel Company makes the best
ones. . . . followed by Toms Sturgis and UTZ. It’s a sad day when my pretzel barrel is empty.

How does home feed into your writing?

I’m a very a very tactile person, so the rhythm of daily household tasks (making coffee, caring for the dog, taking out the trash, making the bed, doing the dishes, etc.) is very grounding for me. I find I do a lot of good thinking when I’m engaged in these repetitive chores, especially (for some odd reason) when I’m doing the dishes. I also tend to keep a lot of memorabilia around the house: hand-written notes, photographs of friends and family members, postcards, artwork, etc. and all of these trigger memories that frequently result in scenes and ideas for stories.

Jen Bryant writes picture books, novels and poems for readers of all ages. Her biographical picture book: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, received a Caldecott Honor award and her historical novel in verse RINGSIDE 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial is an Oprah Recommended Book for ages 12 & up. Other titles include Pieces of Georgia (IRA Young Adult Choices Pick), The Trial, Kaleidoscope Eyes(a Jr. Library Guild selection), Georgia’s Bones, Music for the End of Time, and Abe’s Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln.

Jen has taught writing and Children’s Literature at West Chester University and Bryn Mawr College and gives lectures, workshops and school presentations throughout the year. She lives with husband, daughter and their Springer Spaniel in Chester County, PA.

Visit Jen's website.

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