Author Brenda Ferber

Jemma Hartman

Jemma Hartman

Latest BookJemma Hartman (Farrar Straus Giroux)

Jemma Hartman knows that her first summer at beautiful Camp Star Lake is going to be amazing. There will be swimming, sailing, and overnight trips—not to mention her best friend, Tammy, who moved away a year ago. But when Tammy’s cousin, Brooke, decides to come to camp as well, Jemma’s perfect summer starts to crumble. Brooke never laughs at Jemma’s jokes, and she thinks she rules the cabin. She even convinces Tammy to be her sailing partner, sticking Jemma with the camp weirdo. Jemma just can’t understand why Tammy wants to spend all her time with Brooke. What ever happened to the best friends forever who planned on marrying twin brothers and raising their kids together? And is it really possible to make new friends but keep the old, like the song says, or does Jemma simply need to let go? Buy now from Indiebound.com, Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com, or Borders.com.

More about the Author:

Web site: www.brendaferber.com

Brenda Ferber grew up in Highland Park, Illinois, the third of four children. Her dad is a doctor, and her mom is an artist. Even though her family had its share of fights, she thought it was the greatest family in the world. She always felt loved and knew she could accomplish whatever she set her mind to. Brenda’s mom says she was a natural born leader, but her brother and sisters say she liked to boss people around. Guess it goes to show you how important point-of-view can be!

Brenda is close with all her siblings. Her sister Lisa has lived in Israel, New York, and California, but finally settled down with her family in Chicago. Her brother Larry and his family live just two blocks away from Brenda. And her younger sister Micky lives nearby, too. Brenda and Micky look so much alike that people often ask if they’re twins. Sometimes they say yes! When they were kids, Brenda and Micky shared a bedroom, and Brenda used to make up stories for Micky at bedtime. Brenda was never very good at figuring out the endings to her stories, so she’d tell Micky to go to sleep and dream the end. When she wasn’t making up stories, she was reading to Micky or to herself.

Brenda didn’t always have her nose in a book, though. She played with friends (four-square and anything make-believe were her favorite games), went to Hebrew school, took tennis lessons and theatre classes, wrote in her diary, and best of all went to summer camp at Camp Birch Knoll in Northern Wisconsin (the basis for her novel, Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire).

In elementary school Brenda discovered Judy Blume’s books. She was astonished by how they seemed to be written about her! Judy captured her heart and soul in the pages of her books. Brenda decided right then to become a children’s book author.

As a teen, Brenda’s dreams of becoming an author drifted away. She focused her energy instead on fitting in with the crowd. Who had time to write stories when there were parties, sleepovers, homework, report cards, permanent records, SATs, and such? And an even bigger question: Who was she to think she had the talent to become an author? Her confidence had gone into hiding.

Thankfully, Brenda rediscovered her confidence and happiness at the University of Michigan, even though she kept her author dream safely filed under, “outlandish childhood aspirations that will only come true if all the planets align properly, I find a four leaf clover, and a guardian angel puts in a good word for me.” Brenda loved everything about college, from the classes, to the people to the football team. She made life-long friends, and best of all, she met Alan, a cute, smart, funny guy who eventually became her husband!

After graduation, Brenda and Alan moved to Chicago. Brenda worked at an advertising agency but quit when she gave birth to twins. A year and a half later, they had a third child. Brenda was up to her eyeballs in diapers and babies who all needed her attention. Not quite the perfect time to try to write, but being around kids and books reignited her old writing fantasy. She was determined to give it a shot no matter how bad the odds of success were. She hired a babysitter for three hours each week, and that became her writing time. It wasn’t much, but it was wonderful, refreshing, and hers.

Brenda started out writing stories that were accepted by Ladybug magazine. She also wrote several picture book manuscripts that collected 130 rejection letters over the course of three years! She immersed herself in children’s fiction at her library. Wow! What amazing authors she found…Kate DiCamillo, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Linda Sue Park, Jack Gantos, Lois Lowry… Brenda wanted to do what they did. She wanted to write novels that could touch a child’s heart and soul. Eventually she found the courage to try.

Brenda worked on JULIA’S KITCHEN for a year and a half while her kids were in school. She had no idea if anyone outside of her family or her critique group would like it, but she submitted it to the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition, and it won! And then, joy of joys, Farrar Straus & Giroux decided to publish it! JULIA’S KITCHEN received rave reviews, and Brenda soon sold her next novel, JEMMA HARTMAN, CAMPER EXTRAORDINAIRE (due out in April, 2009) and a picture book, THE YUCKIEST, STINKIEST, BEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER (to be published by Harcourt in 2011).

Brenda worked on JULIA’S KITCHEN for a year and a half while her kids were in school. She had no idea if anyone outside of her family or her critique group would like it, but she submitted it to the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Competition, and it won! And then, joy of joys, Farrar Straus & Giroux decided to publish it! JULIA’S KITCHEN received rave reviews, and Brenda soon sold her next novel, JEMMA HARTMAN, CAMPER EXTRAORDINAIRE (due out in April, 2009) and a picture book, THE YUCKIEST, STINKIEST, BEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER (to be published by Harcourt in 2011).

Brenda doesn’t know much about planets, clovers, or guardian angels, but she feels like the luckiest person in the world. She has a healthy, loving family, and she’s made her childhood dream come true. What more could a person want?

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