Jamie A. Swenson
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About Jamie
I was born in the great state of North Dakota many odd years ago (yes, they were mainly very odd years—even the even ones were odd). You can tell from the photos below that I come from a very fine family …
My Mom and Dad        
My Mom My Dad My mom read to me and my brothers every single day. Thank you, Mom!

My dad was in the Air Force and I was born on an Air Force Base.

  Me Circa 1972
Me circa 1972 or so ...
Being a Kid
What did I want to be when I grew up? Well, in all honesty, it depended on the day. I wanted to be a journalist—or maybe an actress—or possibly a teacher—or a pirate—or … fill in the blank!

I spent a lot of time playing outside and going to the library.
The Old Days
Now, this might be hard for you to believe—but back in the 1970s we didn't have:
bullet Any computers/video games until I was in high school. My brother David and I spent a lot of time making up our own games and trying to make the other one laugh milk out his/her nose (Mom didn't love this game).
bullet Cable television (Yes, I know. How did we survive? Beats me. I will tell you that I loved Scooby-Doo, The Electric Company, and reruns of The Brady Bunch.)
bullet DVD players (we didn't even have a VHS player or a BETA player—Mom let me rent one once for a party when I was in high school. That was awesome!)
bullet Cell phones. Nope. Didn’t have one. Didn't even dream of one. However, the year I started college my good friend Gayle had the latest technology: a mobile car phone—it was stored (and I think attached) to a case the size of a large briefcase. She kept it in the trunk of her car, but was only allowed to use it for life-and-death emergencies (because it was so expensive to use). We were all very impressed.
People often ask me about how I knew I wanted to be a writer. I don't know. I spent my entire childhood making up stories—for distraction, to get me out of (and into) trouble, and to entertain my younger brothers. Eventually, I started writing those stories down. It wasn't until much, much later that I decided to become an author of children's books.
Inspiration
My Aunt Kay was a writer, just like me! (far left)

Off to the library to read … (left)

The first book I sold is called If You Were a Dog. I've loved many fine (and less-than-fine) dogs in my life.
Pets I Have Loved
Tucker Tucker, a splashy-flashy sort of dog (far left)

Ruby Lulu Tulip—a couch-potato sort of dog (left)

Koda Jack Koda, a lickety-splitety sort of dog (lick, lick, lick!) (far left)

Jack, the Studious Cat (left)

I also love cats (and fish, and lizards, and rabbits, and birds, and ...)

Jack is such a good cat.  If you look at my picture book Boom! Boom! Boom! you might find him—white feet and all. The illustrator, David Walker, didn't even know I had such a fine cat! I love that.

If you want to be a writer, I have one bit of advice. Find people who love you and support you and understand that being a writer is not like most other jobs. Writers spend a lot of time writing books that may never, ever be published. Writers also spend a lot of time thinking about writing books that may never, ever be published. Writers also don't like to do dishes (it's true). So, when you are out and about looking for a family—find one that loves you for you (even if you're a writer who doesn't like to do dishes).
A Loving Family            
Jon graduation Jon, circa 1986 (far left)

Jamie, graduating with an MFA (middle left)

My girls, many, many years ago (left)

       
I met my husband long before I knew I would be a writer (I already had a distinct distaste for doing dishes, however). When I told Jon I wanted to write books for children he thought it was a great idea. When I told him I wanted to go back to school to earn an MFA in writing for children and young adults, he said, “Go for it!” And when I told him I sold my first book, he said, “Of course you did. Now go write another one.”

Jon and I have two beautiful little girls—although this photo is from many, many years ago. Jon and my girls are my first listeners when I write a new book.

 
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