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Jennifer Lee Carrell

Writer of books and history. Curve: smallpox, Shakespeare, artwork. Now at work on fiction about my favourite painting, Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding.

I have wanted to become a writer for as long as I can recall. Early on, my own career choices were astronaut along with ballerina. A lot later, I believed I would become a Shakespeare professor. Through some strange turns and twists, I have circled back into composing.

I had been born in Washington, D.C., but I grew up in Arizona. I've got a Ph.D. in English from Harvard, Together with undergraduate degrees from Oxford and Stanford. I was first pulled into researching literature by the Arthurian legend, and by Norse sagas, Tolkien, and Shakespeare. It was something of a surprise to find myself composing thrillers; today I am turning into fiction. Before I began to write novels full time, I taught writing and literature at Harvard. I had been the music critic for the Arizona Daily Star. I have also written a variety of pieces to get the Smithsonian Magazine.

Here's what I consider writing: Storytelling ought to be an experience, not only the stringing-together of other people's experiences. On the road of tales, I have: rappelled from a six-story tower employing a crisis hand-tied halter (while composing about the training of firefighters); monitored mountain lions on mule-back through the mountain range Geronimo used as home base and hideout; held Yo-Yo Ma's cello; ridden the roller-coaster ride of some specialist cutting horse (herding cattle); and also posed for David Hockney to a BBC set while stuffed into a medieval dress originally made for Star Trek, with a red-velvet turban improvised out of a pair of men's trousers perched on my head. From the sublime to the ridiculous -- and it all wondrous

that I live in Tucson, AZ, with my husband, daughter, 2 dogs, and three literary cats (who try to help me type out my manuscripts).

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