Our good friend, Laure Hittle, had the chance to interview the "ever delightful magical unicorn" that is Jennifer Trafton. Jennifer is the author of The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic and Henry and the Chalk Dragon as well as an artist and teacher. Her popular writing classes for children fill quickly and always receive rave reviews. Now, let's lean in and learn more about this Reshelving Alexandria recommended Top Living Author!

Tell me your life story.

Let me give you a few quick facts, and you can ask some specific questions to clarify or elaborate, okay?

Grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky. My dad taught New Testament at Western Kentucky University. My mom went back to school after she had kids, earned two masters degrees, and taught at WKU till she retired.

Joe (3 years younger than me) - now an opera conductor in Germany
Stephen (9 years younger than me) - now a musical theatre actor and a church youth ministry director in New York City

Jennifer Trafton
With permission from jennifertrafton.com

Childhood: happy! We were a very close family, always surrounded by books (SO many books) and music. I did gymnastics and softball, was in the Girl Scouts, played the violin, loved to read and write poems and stories. I spent lots and lots of time drawing. We had a rapidly expanding colony of pet gerbils who once escaped and hid all over the house, a very boring pet bird named Popcorn, and briefly a hermit crab that met an untimely end in the hands of an unpleasant visitor. The only not-so-nice thing about my childhood was that I was extremely shy in school and didnít always fit in very well with other kids my age.

I studied religion and literature at Wake Forest University, earned an M.A. in church history from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and did two further years of graduate work in American Religious History at Duke University before deciding I was not called to an academic career. Big long story scrunched up there. I took a year off to write the first draft of The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, which had been knocking around in my brain through all those years of academic study, and then unexpectedly and providentially found myself editing Christian History magazine in Chicago for four years, which used my church history background but directed towards a general audience, and gave me lots of experience with editing and design. During this time I was working with an agent on revisions of Mount Majestic, and I received a publishing contract the same month I found out I was losing my job thanks to the Great Recession. So thatís when I moved to Franklin, Tennessee, and embarked on a freelance career—first editing quite a bit, then later teaching.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

At various times in my childhood I wanted to be a dolphin trainer, a teacher, Shel Silverstein (or at least, a poet exactly like Shel Silverstein), and an artist. I started sending picture book manuscripts and poetry to publishers and agents in my late teens, and received many, many, many rejections.

What is the current most joyful thing in your life?

Most joyful things in my life: spending time with my husband, snuggling with my dog, and having so much family living around me.

What are you working on now?

Iím currently working on a childrenís book that is different from anything Iíve written before and is inspired by some the places, people, and experiences of the past few years of my life, but thatís all I can say about it right now.

Laure Hittle Laure Hittle is an Old Testament student, the worldís leading Budge-Nuzzard scholar, and two librarians. She writes fiction in dead languages and hand-binds books at WeemAdrift.com.