Most people think she’s from the Redneck Riviera (that twang and all), but Jennifer Grant was born in Framingham, Mass. to a storyteller father and a voracious reader of a mother. Her first memory of adoring words involves reading the beginning pages of War and Peace aloud to her father’s sister when she was in first grade. She still gets giddy when she opens a book.
When she was 8, her native Floridian mama had enough of the frigid New England winters and her parents migrated south to Largo, FL. It is here that Jennifer and her little sister Suzie grew up. Suzie was the carefree troublemaker and Jennifer was the cautious bookworm who kept a diary of secret musings (only as long as Suzie couldn’t find it).
Despite her love of reading and creating stories in her journals from an early age, Jennifer thought she might become a classical pianist (13 years of piano lessons and love of Chopin affects a person). But her ninth grade English teacher coerced her to apply for a job on the school’s newspaper (business manager of all things). It was here she realized she could get paid to write if journalism became her career. (Hemingway did it, why couldn’t she?!) She decided she would start as a cop beat reporter and then work up to editor for the Washington Post (a Woodward and Bernstein obsession).
After securing a Journalism degree from the University of Florida, she and her beloved flit about. From the Big Easy’s Times-Picayune to the dailies near the Florida Everglades, 15 years she bounced from newspaper to newspaper. Cop beat reporting lasted less than a year (as her extreme empathy got in the way). Then there was education reporter, community news editor, asst. metro editor, business editor and back to features writing.
During these years, she kept creating tiny curiosities in her spare time – short stories, novels and itty bitty prose pieces (that she didn’t realize were prose poems). A few were even published….very few.
When her storytelling daddy died suddenly, so did her will to write other people’s stories. Within six weeks she quit a perfectly good newspaper job and focused on her own writing. She fell into teaching Yoga (still can’t do a handstand without falling on her face), homeschooled her kid (seven gloriously crazy years) and ended up back in Gainesville, where her writing dream continues. Mostly she writes poetry these days, but she's also helping her favorite Buddhist monk write a non-fiction book, so who knows where her Muse will take her next!