Jessica Ashley (born January 29, 1987) better known by her pen name Jessica Burkhart is an American author. Burkhart works primarily in the tween fiction genre, and is the author of the Canterwood Crest series.
|Born On:||January 29, 1987 (24)|
Personal Life and EducationEditBurkhart was born in ☀Goodlettsville, Tennessee. By the age of ten, Jess started her own business, "Jessie's Tack Cleaning Service" to pay for horseback riding lessons. She rode daily and on occasion, wore her paddock boots to school.
In eighth grade, Burkhart had a spinal fusion for severe scoliosis. During her recovery, she read dozens of teen magazines and thought she could do that. She learned how to write a query and sent dozens of queries to magazines. She used writing to fill the emptiness of no longer being able to ride horses. Each query was rejected. She finally stopped writing about topics she thought editors wanted to read about what she loved--volunteering with the Humane Society. That article became her first acceptance. In 2001, a year after her spinal fusion, she started "Str8 Spines for Shriners," a support group for kids and teens facing spine surgery at any Shriners Hospital. Burkhart, still disheartened by not being able to ride, kept writing about anything but horses. She hated being reminded of what she couldn't do.
Burkhart's family moved to Florida and she focused on two things--education and writing. She started college at sixteen, and got Associate's Degree from Lake City Community College in fall 2005. Burkhart kept freelancing and had over 100 pieces published in magazines such as Girls' Life, Listen and The Writer.
She transferred to Florida State University and in November 2006, during her senior year, she signed up for National Novel Writing Month. Burkhart graduated in April 2007, with a BA in English from Florida State. Burkhart relocated to NYC in April 2009.
Jess co-owns Violet & Ruby with friend Kate Angelella. Violet & Ruby was started in January 2011. Kate and Jess will be bringing tweens original, fun e-book novellas for download via BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com.
In 2006, she completed a manuscript as part of National Novel Writing Month. While browsing Burkhart's blog, a literary agent learned of the novel and offered to read it, which eventually led her to sign the author. Afterward, Burkhart's novel, Take the Reins, went through a series of revisions before being put on submission. In May 2007, she signed a four-book deal with Simon & Schuster. As a result, Take the Reins became the first novel in the Canterwood Crest series—a story about disparate schoolgirls engaged in equestrian competitions at an academy.
Throughout 2008, Burkhart worked on additional books in the series while helping to promote the first one online, largely through blogging and vlogging. The Canterwood Crest series was later extended. In 2010, she announced plans to write in the young-adult genre under her own surname, while maintaining her work in middle-grade fiction.
- Take the Reins (January 2009)
- Chasing Blue (March 2009)
- Behind the Bit (May 2009)
- Triple Fault (August 2009)
- Best Enemies (October 2009)
- Little White Lies (December 2009)
- Rival Revenge (January 2010)
- Home Sweet Drama (April 2010)
- City Secrets (July 2010)
- Elite Ambition (September 2010)
- Scandals, Rumors, and Lies (November 2010)
- Unfriendly Competition (January 2011)
Canterwood Crest specials
- Chosen (May 2011)
- Home for Christmas