J. A. (Jennifer) Nelson grew-up in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, California during the pre-digital era. Her childhood home stood within a few city blocks’ distance of MGM Studios, Culver Studios, DesiLu Studios, and the dusty, straw-smelling fields where Tarzan movies had been filmed. As a kid walking and bicycling through the neighborhood, and sometimes detoured by camera crews while en route to school, it seemed to her that story-making was everywhere—an element of her natural habitat and normal among all resident species.

In her family’s small bungalow, Jen wrote because she couldn’t not write: a characteristic true of many authors. She read literary classics. She learned about their authors and the times that shaped their writings—all were kindling and matches to the imagination. From a time as early as her teenage years, she wanted to write a big story that was complex in its meaning and fun.

That book is A Man of Honor, or Horatio’s Confessions, Jen’s debut novel written under the pen name J. A. Nelson.

Jen’s passion for exploring connections between history, literature, and evidence in written texts has shaped Jen’s life —from a BA (Occidental College) and MA (The George Washington University) in cultural studies to a two-decade career at the National Archives of the United States, during which she helped people access unique stories in historical documentary treasures. She is the founder of Quill Point Press.

Her ideas for locations, characters, and plots in historical adventure fiction are sourced from past and present research and travel, domestic and abroad. Towns, churches and temples, fields and monuments, museums, libraries and archives, taverns and palaces, and, most importantly, the people therein inspire her.

Jen hopes that if your experiences and interests are brewing a story that you want to tell, that you’ll find a nook in your own “bungalow,” take up your pen, quill, or other writing device of choice, and let the tale take command.

Ms. Nelson lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.


To help kids and their parents learn to enjoy reading, and to benefit from the life-altering skills and confidence that can come with literacy, please consider joining Jen in giving to Reading is Fundamental or to your literacy charity of choice.

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