The Short Version
Jocelyn Davies edits young adult fiction at a publishing house in New York, a job that has allowed her to cultivate a keen interest in all things angsty, hilarious, and/or unrequited. She is a graduate of Bates College, and lives in an apartment overflowing with books. A Beautiful Dark is her first novel.
The Long Version
In Utero: My mom walks across Central Park during a blizzard because she thinks she’s in labor. Turns out I’m running late and they send my mom home. This is unfortunately a theme that has pervaded much of my life.
Age 8: My two best friends (who are twins!) and I like to pretend this one tree in the park near our school is a pirate ship. We pack provisions. We like the word “provisions”.
Age 10: I discover the Babysitter’s Club. I wish I could have Claudia’s artistic skill mixed with Dawn’s laid-back California cool and Stacy’s perplexing lack of fear talking to boys.
Age 11: I read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery #10: High Survival, and decide my life dream is to run an animal rehabilitation center in the Rocky Mountains.
Age 14: No, it’s to be an actress.
Age 15: No, it’s to be a writer. “But that’s totally unrealistic,” I tell my parents, thinking I’m being pragmatic and responsible. I practice my Oscar speech in the bathroom mirror.
Age 17: I become editor of my high school literary magazine. Also that year I play the Witch in Into the Woods. Even though the Witch is kinda the lead, I’m disappointed because I want to be the Baker’s Wife. The Baker’s Wife gets to make out with a prince on stage. The witch gets to rap about vegetables.
Age 18: I go to college in Maine. Highlights include snow, lobsters, mysterious boy in a band (isn’t there always?), a rag tag group of best friends (who I am still lucky enough to call my best friends), writing a children’s play, living in Prague, going to Budapest to act in the International Contemporary Drama Festival, dying on stage and freaking my mother out (twice), walking in waist-deep snow to the local pub. Not necessarily in that order.
Age 22: I graduate college planning to be a teacher because I have a degree in English and Theater and have lots of experience as a camp counselor and children’s theater director and have no idea what else to do. Move back to New York, teach nursery school during the day and act in off-off-off…off Broadway plays at night. Write down everything the kids say. Get a kick out of reading to them. Rework the children’s play into a middle grade novel. The voice isn’t quite right. Roommate, who teaches high school English, gives me Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini. Laugh until I cry on the subway. Realize I have been writing YA my whole life and didn’t even know it.
Age 23: Get my first internship in publishing.
Now: I’ve worked as a children’s book editor and have been writing for young adults ever since!