Jenny Crusie is the pseudonym for Jennifer Smith, a Wapakoneta, Ohio-born writer of romances. But just as Jennifer Smith didn’t start out as Jenny Crusie, Jennifer Smith also didn’t start out intending to become a romance novelist. She got a bachelor’s degree in Art Education, then taught elementary and middle school art while completing a Master’s in Professional Writing and Women’s Literature.
Then Jennifer began research for her doctoral dissertation, examining the different ways that men and women tell stories. She decided to read 100 romance novels and 100 men’s adventure novels as part of the research; however, she never finished. She said she began reading the romance novels “in the middle of a very deep depression. After I’d read almost 100 of them, I felt wonderful about being a woman and very positive about the future. So I thought, ‘If romance fiction makes me feel this good when I read it, what will it do to write it?’ I tried and got hooked.”
Jennifer quit her teaching job to write full time. It took only a little while for publishers like Silhouette and Harlequin to pick her up, and Jenny Crusie was born. Later Jenny completed an MFA in Creative Writing at The Ohio State University. Some people ask if she will ever “graduate” from romance novels and start to write “real” books. She responds:
No… Romance accounts for half of all mass market paperbacks sold, and romance readers are the most voracious (they read an average of 240 books a year while literacy rates plummet) and the most loyal in the world. Trying to find something bigger and better than romance would be impossible.