Jan Brenner

Editor Emeritus

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.

Insider Info

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.