Jan Brenner has co-authored all of Hopscotch Press' books. Although she received a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley, she backed into writing only after spending ten years in social work and four in publishing. Along the way she got a couple of other degrees that have never been put to official use. A lifelong dilettante, she's quasi-conversant in 3.1 languages, dabbles in domestic pursuits, and travels whenever she gets the chance.
Domestic status: Single…unless you count my dog. Hey, he does sleep on my bed!
Favorite ways to spend my free time: Baking. I’ve finally perfected a lime tart and these little almond-butter cakes called financiers, and if I had a fast metabolism I’d probably make these two confections the mainstays of my diet. I also love training my dog to do tricks. Every time he masters a new one, I enjoy his success as much as he does.
Guilty pleasure: Sigh, watching Chinese or Korean period soap operas. Ah, those elaborate costumes…the drama and intrigue…the often amusing and sometimes ridiculous English subtitles (yeah, they probably don’t pay those translators a lot)…
Childhood career choice: I really wanted to be a teacher, nobly imparting wisdom to kids eager to learn… But after substitute teaching in the chaotic Oakland public schools for a few months, the classroom reality made me realize that I should try a different profession.
New Year’s resolution: I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.
Marriage advice from the trenches: Although I’m not married, I’ve certainly observed a lot a relationships and I’d say the reason most of them don’t work as well as they might is communication problems. Learn how to listen to and talk to your partner and you’ve got a much better chance of marital success. Hey, if everyone knew how to do this, Dr. Phil would be out of a job! Premarital counseling should probably be required along with the marriage license.
Pet peeves: Biggest peeve is probably injustice on any scale (I am a Libra, after all), followed closely by folks who aggravate my allergies, like smokers who don’t care that they’re poisoning the air we share, and women (men, too) who douse themselves in perfume/aftershave and then go out in public. Smaller peeves include people who carry on conversations during movies, and dog owners who let their pets relieve themselves on sidewalks and lawns and don’t clean up after them.
What people would never suspect about me: I, um, used to be an enthusiastic bowler. (Do bowling alleys even exist anymore???) And yes, I still have my own ball — custom-drilled finger holes are a must!
What I liked most about my job: My co-workers, who are really exceptional, and the freedom to do my work the way I wanted to.