Hi, I’m Jean.
I’m a writer, a mom to two young kids. I live in Toronto, Canada, with my family. In addition to my writing, I work for my family’s non-profit organization, SEEK Safely. We aim to educate the public about the unregulated self-help industry, to keep those seeking self-improvement safe along their journey. (If you’ve read my memoir, “This Sweet Life,” which I co-wrote with my mom, you’ll understand our concern with the self-help world. If not, check out our website!)
I’ve been writing on scraps of paper and in notebooks my whole life. I have a lot to say, and the thoughts seem to flow and crystallize into something other people can access when I write them down. The first time I ever considered writing as a career was the feedback I got on a 7th grade book report about “The Phantom Tollbooth” that said, “You have a real future in literary criticism.” I had to look up what that meant.
In university, I combined my desire to be a better writer with my interest in political science, doing a split major in both, at Loyola University in Maryland (Go, Hounds!). I graduated in 2005. Honestly, I really just loved learning. I also studied Classics (yep, I did 4 years of Latin), and Asian History, including studying Thai and Chinese. Those interests came from studying abroad in Thailand, which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
While in Thailand for that semester abroad, I met my husband, Mike. He’s Canadian, which was perfect for me, as I had visited a friend in Canada a number of times and had fallen in love with the country (and I already knew the anthem!).
I moved to Canada in 2007, first to Montreal, where I did a Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration (this typically leads to a job in the government).
My sister’s death upended my life in 2009, right after Mike and I had gotten married and I was finishing my Master’s. Two years later, we moved to Toronto and opened a retail store. Soon after that, we had our first child, closed the retail store, and since then I’ve been a work-from-home mom.
I like to read: non-fiction, especially essays, literary non-fiction, history, current events. For fiction, I love historical fiction, not-too-far-from-real fantasy, and classic literature. Swedish noir is my guilty pleasure. I love poetry but don’t read enough of it.
I like to write: essays, blogs, and I write some fiction for fun (and maybe not just for fun, someday?)
When not doing writerly things, I love to cottage or camp in Canada’s beautiful wilderness, go on spontaneous coffee dates with mom friends, take walks, sing karaoke, and build train tracks or LEGO with my kids!
I may land back in government or politics at some point. But I’m pretty sure that writing will remain a constant in my life!