Meet Jessie


I have been writing since I was five years old. The hero of most of my childhood stories was my dog, Woody. He made a cameo appearance in my first novel, The Carnival at Bray.

The first book I ever fell in love with was Little House in the Big Woods. For years, I daydreamed that Laura could time-travel to the present day, and that she could live with me and I could show her all of my modern skills–how to make macaroni and cheese, for example, or how to use a remote control, or how to get hot water just by turning on a faucet–and she could show me all of her pioneering skills–how to make bullets or butter, syrup or soap; how to churn, chop, sew, slaughter, or kick around a fun little balloon made from a pig’s bladder. WE WERE GOING TO BE BEST FRIENDS!



William Butler Yeats is my favorite poet, and this is my favorite poem:

Some other things I love: Diet Coke, Bruce Springsteen, sleeping late, high heels (I’m 5’2), mozzarella sticks, makeup palettes, teaching, making lists, Chicago, compulsively song-skipping on Spotify, County Kerry, Ireland,  September, Louise Erdrich, Shane McGowan,  leather jackets, rose gold jewelry, knowing the lyrics to songs, my Instant Pot, Jeopardy, reading until super-late at night, museums, fox terriers, silence, celery salt, road trips, hanging out on a deck, leopard print anything, old ladies who wear a lot of lipstick, Shakespeare, the Chicago Cubs, working with teenagers, wineries, Kesha’s triumphant comeback, wearing perfume every day, Wisconsin, live theater, Stranger Things, urban coyotes, going anywhere with my husband (except Home Depot),  Michigan, girls’ nights, gossip, Irish music, church incense, a really good bagel, being a mother, my parents, my siblings, my in-laws, my cousins, my friends, and my neighborhood.