Biography

I grew up on classical music and stacks of thick books.

I was born in Michigan, and my family moved to Prescott, Arizona, when I was four years old. Prescott is in northern Arizona, and boasts mountains, pine forest, and mild seasons (it snows there, sometimes heavily, but not every winter). I started learning how to play the violin when I was six, and the piano when I was nine. I loved rambling in our epic backyard with my siblings, and reading the books I got at the library every week. I started writing stories and (terrible!) poems when I was around seven. I decided to be a poet when I grew up.

This rare 80s photo shows the Joanna in her natural habitat.

The year I turned eleven, my family moved south to the greater Phoenix area (specifically Cave Creek, which is about 30 minutes north of downtown Phoenix)—the desert proper. Here were cactus, rattle snakes (they literally crawled up on our back patio every now and again!) and lots and lots of dusty sunlight. I was super allergic to the intense heat, but found solace in the gorgeous sunsets and epic summer monsoon storms.

My first publication credit!
I kept writing. I started submitting short stories and poems to magazines that accepted material from kids, especially the children’s magazine Stone Soup, which was the best (and possibly only) of its kind at the time. I took piano and violin lessons. I fell in love with Chopin and Bach. I entered the National Written and Illustrated By… book contest three years in a row, even though I couldn’t draw to save my life. In 1998, Stone Soup accepted The Hummingbird for publication, a story I’d written about the hummingbirds that used to visit our Prescott house in droves. I also won fourth place in the National Written and Illustrated By… competition that year with my book Perspectives.

Two of my Written and Illustrated By… books!
When I was sixteen, I put out my own kids’ writing magazine Kids, Ink. and forced all my friends (and all my parents’ friends!) to contribute. I started writing a novel.

At seventeen, I went away to college in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I studied piano performance and composition and just generally had a blast enjoying nonstop music, academics, and SEASONS.

Oh happy day!
I kept writing during the summer, but it wasn’t until I graduated that I started seriously pursuing writing again. The discovery of NaNoWriMo inspired me to finish my very first novel in the summer of 2005, and write a new one in November. From then on, I was either writing a new book or revising an old one, and to date I’ve written eight complete novels (and a handful of unfinished ones).
Bert Bert the Adorable

I queried agents on and off beginning late 2008, and a few years later discovered the wild and wooly world that is the Twitter writing community! That’s where I met my fantabulous critique partner, Jen Fulmer, in January 2014. I signed with the amazing Sarah Davies in April 2015. (You can read all about my querying adventure in the "how I got my agent" featured post.)

Meyer Family Portrait!
Currently, I daylight as a piano teacher, and have been happily married to the love of my life since 2012 (my hubs is the best!!!). We live in Mesa, AZ, where we share an apartment with our stripey feline Bertie and an enormous grand piano named Prince Imrahil. I'm obsessed with looseleaf tea, ice cream, the color green, and Doctor Who.

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