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Author Jennifer Holm Finds 'Penny From Heaven' - page 2

By Jessamyn Cuneo on June 30, 2006

Jennifer HolmThe confines of the corporate world had shifted her interest. There was so much that she still wanted to explore. Interesting stuff, like what children were up to — in the past, present, and, maybe someday, the future.

"Kids operate totally in their own little world, and adults operate in a parallel world, and neither of them knows what's going on with the other," she says, laughing.

"[Kids] operate like little adults, and have all this stuff going on, and everything is as serious and important, except they're just young. I think sometimes adults don't give kids enough credit."

Holm's work targets a younger audience, but people of all ages can — and do — enjoy her writing. This includes other YA authors, such as Gary Paulsen, who asked Holm to write a short story for his collection he published, entitled, Shelf Life: Stories by the Book (Simon & Schuster, 2003).

"I didn't really choose [my] audience," she says, "I'm sort of like a 12-year-old at heart. It's a very free, exciting time. I loved being that age, so it's easy for me to write [for] it now."

With a full-time career built completely by her own creativity, Holm finds herself sitting on a goldmine of past experiences growing up with four brothers in Audubon, Pa. — as well as her unique family history.

"With Penny, I don't think I would have written it if someone hadn't said [I had] a strange, interesting family," Holm explains. "I grew up with this Italian family [who lived] in New Jersey, and never thought anything of it. My mom and I were talking about stuff at dinner one night and [my husband] was like, 'Wow, I've never heard of this stuff before.' I was like, 'Oh yeah, that is interesting!' No one ever pointed it out to me before!"

Holm now lives in Maryland with her husband and her 2-year-old son, Will. She misses living in a "cool city" and found the transition from her old life to her current one to be harder than she expected.

"I think the biggest challenge of being a full-time writer is that it's really isolating," Holm says. "Within the first year of writing, I was constantly calling up my friends, saying, 'I'll come and visit! What are you doing?' I felt like I was missing out on the world."

The solitude all pays off, though, when the books are finalized and become solid, concrete proof of her efforts.

"When the book is done and out of my hands, and I know I can't change it at all, that's when I'm most at peace," Holm says.

For Holm, the road ahead is looking just as plentiful as the road that led up to right now. She urges people everywhere to "start a good habit."

(Hang on, this one doesn't involve dieting or leaving your seat, people, so listen up!)

"Read something every day," she urges. "One comic strip, one Internet blog…it's just so much fun!"

For more on Jennifer Holm, be sure to visit her official Web site -