Jodi Picoult is the author of numerous novels, many of which have been number one on the Australian and New Zealand fiction bestseller lists including My Sister’s Keeper, Lone Wolf, Sing You Home and House Rules. Jodi lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.
She was born and raised – happily – on Long Island… something that she believed at first was a detriment to a girl who wanted to be a writer. “I had such an uneventful childhood that when I was taking writing classes at college, I called home and asked my mother if maybe there might have been a little incest or domestic abuse on the side that she’d forgotten about,” Picoult recalls. “It took me a while to realize that I already did have something to write about – that solid core of family, and the knotty tangle of relationships, which I keep coming back to in my books.”
Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. “The first time the editor called me to say she wanted to pay me for something I’d written,” Picoult says, “I immediately called my mom and said, ‘I’m going to be a writer!’ ‘That’s great,’ she said. ‘Who’s going to support you?'” Realism – and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent – led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher – before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale.
Picoult says, “I found out it was going to be published just before my son was born, and I had this completely idealistic vision of him sitting at my feet, cooing, while I continued to write books. Needless to say, it didn’t quite work out that way.” Her struggle to balance motherhood and her own career formed, in part, the basis for her second novel, Harvesting the Heart. For a few years, she was either delivering a book or a baby. Now, she’s happy to be prolific solely in her writing… and admits wholeheartedly that she moonlights as a writer, but she’s really a mom. “It took me a while to find the balance,” Picoult says, “but I’m a better mother because I have my writing… and I’m a better writer because of the experiences I’ve had as a parent that continually remind me how far we are willing to go for the people we love the most.”
She and Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with a dog, a rabbit, two Jersey calves, and the occasional Holstein.
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