THE “LONG” VERSION:
Janae grew in the suburbs of New York City, where she always wrote. She started out writing illustrated autobiographical stories in kindergarten, and then journal entries, stories to submit to Seventeen Magazine‘s short story contests, and letters to her pen pals and summer camp friends. She read a lot too, of course. Her books were among her prized possessions.
In high school, Janae thought she wanted to pursue musical theater. She loved being on stage, but eventually realized that she cared more about the stories than the performances. While getting her undergraduate English degree at Tufts University, she switched her focus to creative writing and never looked back. She took a literature class on "Girls’ Books," where she read Little Women, Harriet the Spy, Weetzie Bat, The Golden Compass, and others. She remembered how much she loved stories for children - and still connected with them, even as an adult. That love only grew when she got an MFA in Creative Writing (Writing for Children) from The New School. She’d found her passion! After college, she got an inside look at the publishing world while spending seven years working for a Big 5 publisher. Now, she lives in New England, and when she’s not writing fiction or working in education, she’s spending time with her husband and daughter - at the beach, when it's warm enough!
In 2017, Janae's manuscript FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON won the Tassy Walden: New Voices in Children's Literature Award in the middle grade category.