Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Dear Gotham,

Five years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom caring for my twin daughters. As of August 3, I became an officially published author!

My debut novel, Georgia's Kitchen, published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, can be found at bookstores everywhere ... and even in Target. There's no doubt in my mind that had I not enrolled in that very first Fiction I class with Dave Koch, I wouldn't be obsessively checking my numbers on Amazon (a dreadful habit, and one of which I'm not proud), and I certainly wouldn't be working on my second novel.

After that first class, I was lucky enough to enroll in Susan Breen's fabulous Fiction II class. I don't know if all classes are like ours, but something about our group just clicked, I think for all of us. We were a diverse bunch, ranging in age from 22 to 70 (that's a guess, Jo!), arriving from uptown, downtown, Queens, Brooklyn, Connecticut and upstate.

That three-hour session was the highlight of my week. After, a classmate and I would walk back to Grand Central, talking about authors we loved and writing. The camaraderie was just what a fledgling writer who'd recently left the city for the solitude of the country needed. And the instruction was top notch: Susan is a sharp, insightful, encouraging and funny teacher, who made the experience of being critiqued enjoyable (yes, enjoyable) and positive. It was in Susan's class that I realized my novel-in-progress had a shot at being published, not a big shot, but a shot nonetheless.

Thank you, Gotham, for giving me deadlines and providing a classroom where I could hone my voice, test out characters and work through plot points. I recommend your classes to everyone I know and to anyone who's ever felt they have a story to tell, but needs help getting it on the page.

Jenny Nelson