The Short Version
Jenny Holiday is a USA Today-bestselling author whose books have been featured in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and The Washington Post. She grew up in Minnesota and started writing when her fourth-grade teacher gave her a notebook to fill with stories. When she’s not working on her next book, she likes to hike, throw theme parties, and watch other people sing karaoke. Jenny lives in London, Ontario, Canada.
The Long Version
Jenny Holiday was always a reader, probably because she was lucky enough to have a children’s librarian for a mom. Growing up in Minnesota, she used to read in a willow tree in the backyard, rigging up a canvas bag that could be raised and lowered with tied-together jump ropes, thus allowing hands-free climbing and the transportation of books and snacks.
She started writing in fourth grade, when her awesome hippie teacher, between sessions of Peter Paul and Mary singing and anti-nuclear power plant letter writing, gave the kids notebooks and told them to write short stories. Most of Jenny’s featured a serial killer who managed to murder everyone except her and her mom. There were also poltergeist and alien invasions. She showed early promise as a romance writer, though, because nearly every story ended with a happy ending: fictional Jenny woke up to find that the story had all been a dream, and that her best friend, father, and sister had not, in fact, been axe-murdered.
From that time on, she was always writing, often in her diary, where she liked to decorate her declarations of existential angst with nail polish teardrops. Eventually she channeled her penchant for scribbling into a more useful format and became the editor of her high school newspaper, where she wrote impassioned editorials against the school’s controversial new “no hats” policy. She even helped start an underground newspaper that lasted all of one issue. (It turned out that fighting censorship and The Man was less fun when it involved actual work and not just driving around in a van swooning over Christian Slater a la Pump Up the Volume.)
After college, Jenny moved to Toronto, Canada, for grad school. After picking up a PhD in urban geography, she became a professional writer. Her favorite and longest gig was promoting research at a major university, which allowed her to become an armchair astronomer/historian/particle physicist, depending on the day. After a decade of that, she decided to try her hand again at happy endings—minus the bloodbaths. “How hard can it be?” she thought? Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. Yeah, turns out it was super hard. But after lots of rejection and an embarrassingly bad manuscript in which the hero and heroine, if one could judge by their wild and unmotivated emotional swings, clearly had personality disorders, she finally started to get the hang of it. She has published contemporary, historical, and new adult romance novels featuring both straight and gay characters and is a USA Today bestselling and RITA-nominated author.
When she’s not writing, Jenny likes to ride her bike, throw theme parties, and watch other people sing karaoke. She lives in London, Ontario.
Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary