Jennifer Handford

Jennife...
722 books | 2,252 friends

Laura Rash
1,153 books | 655 friends

Ann Cam...
162 books | 253 friends

Gjscollins
1,137 books | 56 friends

Joy
Joy
99 books | 978 friends

Jennifer
256 books | 309 friends

Keri Mo...
5 books | 97 friends

Karen
1,529 books | 75 friends

More friends…

Jennifer Handford

Goodreads Author


Born
in Phoenix, The United States
Website

Twitter

Genre

Influences

Member Since
March 2012


A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Jennifer Handford now lives in the Washington, DC, area with her husband and three children. One of three first-place finalists in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest in 2010, she published her first novel, DAUGHTERS FOR A TIME, in 2012. People magazine hailed it as “a wrenching, resonant debut about infertility, cancer and adoption. Grab your hankies.” In 2014, ACTS OF CONTRITION was published. THE LIGHT OF HIDDEN FLOWERS was released in November 2015 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Midwest Book Review called it "A deftly crafted and deeply engaging story from beginning to end." Jennifer is busy at work on her fourth book, a historical piece of fiction about a grown woman searching for her biologic ...more

To ask Jennifer Handford questions, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jennifer Handford I don’t usually get “writer’s block.” It’s more typical for me to succumb to a “writer’s allergy,” which means I feel almost averse to my desk and…moreI don’t usually get “writer’s block.” It’s more typical for me to succumb to a “writer’s allergy,” which means I feel almost averse to my desk and computer—and I’ll do just about anything to avoid them. I have a similar reaction to exercise. I find writing no less strenuous than deep lunges. Getting “to the office,” or in my case, “to my desk,” is the hardest part. I believe that for a writer, “getting there” is an act of will. If I’m not all in, nothing will come to me. My mind will stall on shallow details: grocery lists, dinner plans, schedules for the kids’ activities. If I’m serious about working, I must force my mind to go deeper than my everyday surface-level thinking. Only when I “dig deep,” and inhabit this subterranean space, do I unearth a worthwhile nugget.

I do my best thinking when I’m driving. Lulled by the monotonous hum of the engine, I can assign my mind a simple task: I’ll think about a scene I’m writing, a character who is examining her feelings, or dialogue that may ricochet between characters. Although I usually can't find the exact words to convey the whole setting, the energy of a character, or the rhythm of a conversation, I can typically extract enough of the vital essence (a few details for the scene, an insight from the protagonist, a snippet of pithy dialogue) to lure me back to my computer.

In short, my advice for overcoming writer’s block is to seek solitude and assign your mind a specific task—or three. Think about X, ponder Y’s feelings, describe the setting of Z. Then take a deep breath and leave the surface world for a while to “go deep.” You might feel fatigued at all levels afterward—body, mind and soul—just as with exercise. But I’m certain you’ll also come away with something worthy.

(less)
Jennifer Handford A high school student once asked me the same thing. I said something along the lines of my having (and appreciating) the satisfaction of seeing and…moreA high school student once asked me the same thing. I said something along the lines of my having (and appreciating) the satisfaction of seeing and holding the final product. And truly, there is great reward in planting a seed, caring for it and watching it grow. But the question nagged at me, because I thought there was more to it than the literal sense.

I believe the real answer is that writing is like being an archaeologist of the human heart. It’s as if I’m dusting off the bones of our human condition: my task is to find the words to express pain and grief, shame and guilt, and joy, love, and euphoria—and then to veer all the way back again to heartache and sorrow. It's an opportunity to wrestle with all the hard questions in life.

As human beings, we all have the same basic need: to be loved and accepted. I’m forever in awe of the book EAST OF EDEN because John Steinbeck so painfully describes how "The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears." He goes on to say how rejection leads to anger, and with anger there comes some sort of crime . . . and then, the guilt. According to Steinbeck, the “chart of the soul" has many paths, depending on the human spirit.

I think that's the essence of just about everything: the mystery of the heart and the soul, and the ordinary life one must live each day while making the extraordinary decisions that make his or her own path wholly unique on this earth.

Life is hard, love is hard. Writing about life and love is hard. But living life and knowing love is our reward—and writing about it is my joy.

(less)
Average rating: 3.85 · 6,806 ratings · 542 reviews · 6 distinct worksSimilar authors
Daughters for a Time

3.89 avg rating — 3,664 ratings — published 2012 — 14 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Acts of Contrition

3.69 avg rating — 1,854 ratings — published 2014 — 7 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Light of Hidden Flowers

3.99 avg rating — 1,286 ratings — published 2015 — 5 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Fortune Cookies - Excerpt f...

4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2010
Rate this book
Clear rating
Töchter auf Zeit (German Ed...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
Akt der Reue (German Editio...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2014
Rate this book
Clear rating
More books by Jennifer Handford…
Before I had my “pitch” ready, people would ask: “What’s your new book about?” In reply, I would juggle a bunch of words in the air: father, daughter, Afghanistan, India, introversion, bravery. Whoever had innocently asked the question would then look at me like maybe I didn’t know the answer myself. In fact, I hadn’t randomly drawn a bunch of words from a hat. The seeds for THE LIGHT OF HIDDEN... Read more of this blog post »
3 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on August 17, 2015 16:33 • 273 views • Tags: afghanistan, bravery, daughter, eat-pray-love, father, introversion, journey, literary, vietnam, women-s-fiction

Upcoming Events

No scheduled events. Add an event.

A Prayer for Owen...
Jennifer Handford is currently reading
by John Irving (Goodreads Author)
bookshelves: currently-reading
Rate this book
Clear rating

 

Jennifer’s Recent Updates

Jennifer Handford rated a book it was amazing
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Rate this book
Clear rating
In this beautifully-rendered fairytale, we find a people oppressed at the hands of a few greedy government officials, who care only about their own comfort and luxury, that they’ve spun legend into truth, scaring the townspeople into believing in an ...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book really liked it
A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole
Rate this book
Clear rating
Welcome to Oakley plantation in Louisiana during the Monroe administration, where Mr. and Mrs. Pirrie live with their daughter Eliza. Visitor Mr. Audubon and his apprentice Joseph come to live with the Pirries. Audubon is charged with teaching young ...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book really liked it
Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny Lee
Rate this book
Clear rating
Fourth-grade Benji suffers from idiopathic epilepsy, and has spent more than 300 days in the hospital during his young life, so much that he has earned a punch-card created by one of the nurses. Benji carries around a titanium lug nut from his rocket ...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book it was amazing
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Rate this book
Clear rating
Is there a more beautiful book than Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai? This gorgeous retelling of Ha’s experience as she and her family flee from Vietnam to the United States begins by acquainting the reader with her mother and three older bro ...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book it was amazing
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Rate this book
Clear rating
The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley tells the story of ten-year-old Ada who lives in London with Mam (her mother) and her little brother, Jamie. The story begins in the summer of 1939 and England is on the verge of war. Children a ...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book it was amazing
Small Steps by Peg Kehret
Rate this book
Clear rating
Peg Kehret is twelve years old when her leg begins to twitch. By nighttime, she is sick with a high fever and aching head to toe. Her parents act quickly, getting her to the hospital where she is diagnosed with polio. Soon she is diagnosed with three ...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book it was amazing
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Rate this book
Clear rating
I AM MALALA BY MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Many of the books I’ve reviewed inspire a quiet, internal courage to find inner strength. Not this one. This young woman is a warrior. With her father as her strongest advocate, she wanted nothing more than to get an e
...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book it was amazing
Dash by Kirby Larson
Rate this book
Clear rating
There is so much to love about this piece of historical fiction, appropriate for third graders and up. Mitsi is a Japanese American growing up in the 1940s. She has a loving family, best friends, and a school she adores. When Pearl Harbor is bombed, ...more
Jennifer Handford rated a book it was amazing
Once by Morris Gleitzman
Rate this book
Clear rating
ONCE BY MORRIS GLEITZMAN
Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, thinks he lives in the Catholic orphanage because his parents were in trouble for being booksellers. Knowing very little about the war, he sneaks away to search for them, only to learn th
...more
More of Jennifer's books…
“Maybe heartache was more normal than the absence of it.”
Jennifer Handford, Daughters for a Time

“How do you measure what’s real, what’s true? How do you stack up all that’s pure against all that’s evil?”
Jennifer Handford, Acts of Contrition

“In so many ways,” I tried to explain. “I feel repaired. The old wounds feel repaired, anyway. As if what was taken has been returned. I don’t get to be my mother’s daughter ever again. But I get to be a mother”
Jennifer Handford, Daughters for a Time

Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
Around the World ...: Diane's 2013 Reading Road Trip 65 145 Jul 23, 2013 07:20PM  
Around the World ...: Washington D.C. 11 202 Feb 14, 2016 09:22PM  
2018 Reading Chal...: Let's Turn Pages Challenge - 2016 3117 1568 Jan 04, 2017 01:09PM  
Aussie Readers: * Literary Fiction 439 391 Jun 30, 2018 12:24AM  
NetGalley Addicts...: What Books Are You Currently Reading From NetGalley 1246 639 7 hours, 47 min ago  



No comments have been added yet.