Jennifer Niven lives in Los Angeles (where her film Velva Jean Learns to Drive won an Emmy Award and she once played the part of Shania Twain in a music video). Even though she's always wanted to be a Charlie's Angel, her true passion is writing, and her first book, The Ice Master, was released in November 2000 and named one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly. A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer, Jennifer has ten different publishers in ten separate countries, and the book has been translated into eight languages, including German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Danish, and Icelandic.
Jennifer and The Ice Master have appeared in Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Talk, Glamour, The New Yorker, Outside, The New York Times Book Review, The London Daily Mail, The London Times, and Writer's Digest, among others. Dateline NBC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel have featured The Ice Master and Jennifer in hour-long documentaries, she and the book have appeared frequently on the BBC, and the book has been the subject of numerous German, Canadian, and British television documentaries. The Ice Master has been nominated for awards by the American Library Association and Book Sense, and received Italy's esteemed Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize for 2002.
Jennifer's second book, Ada Blackjack — an inspiring true story of the woman the press called "the female Robinson Crusoe" — was released in November 2003, was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick, has been optioned for the movies, was recently translated into Chinese, French, and Estonian.
Jennifer’s third book and first novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive (based on the Emmy Award-winning film of the same name), was released July 2009 by Penguin/Plume. Her fourth book, a memoir —The Aqua-Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town — was published in February 2010 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and was optioned by Warner Brothers as a television series. Jennifer's fifth book, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, was released by Penguin/Plume August 30, 2011. She is currently working on the third and fourth books in the Velva Jean series.
With her mother, author Penelope Niven, Jennifer has conducted numerous seminars in writing and addressed audiences around the world.
My mother, Penelope Niven, has and continues to be the greatest influence in my life, not only as a mother and a friend, but as a writer. When I was little, we would have writing time, with Mom at her big desk and, me at my little one, working on our stories. She always taught me that I could be anything I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do. She is my best editor. Other influences: Flannery O'Connor, Harper Lee, and Hemingway. Ray Bradbury influenced all of my high school and college-era work. Johnny Cash's songs are an influence as well--I love how spare and raw and powerful they are. I think he's great inspiration for a writer. I studied screenwriting at the American Film Institute, and from AFI learned the importance of discipline and dedication. Lastly, one of my high school writing teachers, who taught me "pure economy of word," a lesson I remember every time I sit down to the computer.
I recently completed my second novel, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, which was released August 30, 2011. This is the second book in the Velva Jean series (and the follow-up to my debut novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive). At present, I'm wrapping up the first draft of the third book in the series, Velva Jean Goes to War, which will be released by Penguin in the summer of 2012. Soon I'll begin work on the fourth book in the series, Velva Jean Goes to Hollywood, to be published the summer of 2013.
John Ware -- literary agent
Dan Baron & Jack Leighton -- TV agents
Steve Fisher -- film agent
The Velva Jeans: Penguin/Plume
Aqua Net Diaries: Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books
The Ice Master & Ada Blackjack: Hyperion Books
When I'm not writing, I study belly dancing, yoga, and electric guitar; explore my inner bombshell; hike the great outdoors; immerse myself in the movies and culture of Hollywood's golden age; rabidly follow my favorite TV shows; come to the rescue of homeless animals; read three to four books a week when my cats aren't lying on them; and see as much of the world as I can.
Alley Cat Allies
The American Cancer Society
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