I’m an American, but I was born in Germany and lived there twice when I was growing up. My father was a master sergeant in the U.S. Army, so my family was stationed in a pretty spa town, Bad Nauheim, just outside of Frankfurt am Main. My formative years were spent in Germany, and travelling to the Netherlands and France every summer on vacation. I secretly dream of moving back to Europe.

Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett

I’ve lived and traveled all over the world. Apart from Europe, I’ve lived in nine U.S. states (and traveled to 32 out of 50 of them). I’ve also traveled to Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.

All my published books (so far) take place in Northern California. Most of them take place with a couple of hours from San Francisco, which is one of my favorite cities. I lived in California for several years when I was in my twenties.

Currently, I’m known for my contemporary teen books, but I started off writing fantasy romance for adults. Demons, magic, cursed objects, ghosts…and passionate love affairs. The book I’m still proudest of writing is Bitter Spirits, which takes place in 1920s San Francisco.

I believe writing romance is one of the most feminist things I can do. It’s a field dominated by women. It allows me to write nuanced, strong female characters who have goals and dreams outside of their love interests. Who have agency to choose positive sex partners, talk openly about their desires, and remain independent while falling in love. In a world dominated by Hollywood’s male gaze, I get to write from the female gaze, which is especially important for teens to read.

Family is an ongoing theme throughout my fiction. Broken families. Found families. Diverse families. Families with one parent, or familial units being led by older siblings. Divorce. Second marriages. LGBTQ parents. I never set out with the intention of writing about this subject, but thematically, it always finds a way to emerge in my work.

I need silence to write. No music. No busy cafes. No distractions. Just me and my laptop.

I didn’t write my first book until I was in my thirties. A few weeks before I was laid off from a corporate, high-paying job that I absolutely hated, my boss asked our group what we’d be doing if we weren’t working there. I blurted out, “I’d be a writer.” I’d never even thought of this before, so I’m not sure why it popped into my head. But it stuck there, and a year and a half later, I had written three books, signed with a literary agent, and was contracted for my first deal with a major publishing house.

In college, my degrees were in Fine Arts and painting. I originally wanted to teach studio art at a university level. I never ended up doing that, but instead managed several bookstores (never realizing I’d be writing my own books one day).

I read as much as write. And I try to read outside of the genres that I write—even outside of what I normally enjoy. Books are my life, and I think the world would be a better place if everyone read more.