In Other Worlds
You would think that writers are good readers. Not Jenn Reese. “I started out as a terrible reader,” she admits. “So bad, I had to attend special reading classes in the school library by myself.” Each day, Jenn would sit and read sentences projected onto a wall. “I turned into a voracious reading machine,” she says.
Jenn says that her home life was less than perfect so reading became her escape. “I tried to spend as much of my childhood living in other worlds,” she says. “Authors, like Ursula Le Guin and Madeleine L’Engle, created worlds I wanted to live in and characters I wanted to know. These storytellers rescued me from the dark times in my life, like the best of friends, and carried me to places where a hero with a strong heart could save not only her world, but herself as well.”
She also played video games and wrote comic books with her friend. “I wrote constantly for the Dungeons & Dragons games I played,” Jenn says, “inventing elaborate backstories for my characters and creating new cultures and magic systems when I ran the games myself.”
In college, Jenn studied computer science, archaeology, and medieval times. “I was lost in other worlds,” she says, “almost obsessed with them.”
Her first attempts to write short stories led to “enough rejection letters to wallpaper an elephant,” she says. So Jenn went to a writing boot camp for science fiction and fantasy writers and began writing novels. “Once I started writing short stories, and then novels, I couldn’t imagine why I hadn’t started sooner,” she says. “Creating worlds and stories and characters is something I will always love doing. That I now get to share my inventions with other people—and perhaps inspire them in turn—fills me with joy.”
Today, Jenn says that she still spends most of her time immersed in other worlds. “Only now, they’re worlds of my creation.”
Find out more about Jenn, her writing, fantasies, and writing life on The Studio.