Jan Karon Biography
Jan Karon was born in Lenoir, North Carolina, in 1937 ("A great year for
the Packard automobile," she says). Her creative skills first came alive
when her family moved to a farm. "On the farm there is time to muse and
dream," she says. "I am endlessly grateful I was reared in the
country. As a young girl I couldn't wait to get off that farm, to go to
Hollywood or New York. But living in those confined, bucolic circumstances was
one of the best things that ever happened to me."
Jan knew that she wanted to be a writer, and even wrote a novel at the age of
ten. Her first real opportunity as a writer came at age eighteen when she took a
job as a receptionist at an ad agency. She kept leaving her writing on her
boss's desk until he noticed her ability. Soon she was launched on a forty-year
career in advertising. She won assignments in New York and San Francisco,
numerous awards, and finally an executive position with a national agency.
Recently she left advertising to write books, and moved to Blowing Rock,
North Carolina, a tiny town of 1,800 perched at 5,000 feet in the Blue Ridge
"I immediately responded to the culture of village life," says Jan.
"And I must say the people welcomed me. I have never felt so at home."
Blowing Rock is the model for Mitford, and the similarities are strong.
"None of the people in Mitford are actually based upon anyone in Blowing
Rock," says Jan. "Yet, the spirit of my characters is found throughout
this real-life village. You can walk into Sonny's Grill in Blowing Rock and find
the same kind of guys who hang around Mitford's Main Street Grill."
Jan is quick to assert that there are Mitfords all over the country, those
hundreds of towns where readers of Jan's books cherish their own cast of
eccentric and beloved characters.
Jan has a daughter, Candace Freeland, who is a photojournalist and musician.
This biography was last updated on 08/10/2010.
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