Jan Karon was born in Lenoir, North Carolina, in 1937. Her creative skills first came alive when her family moved to a farm. 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.
Jan went on to have a highly successful career in the field, winning awards for ad agencies from Charlotte to San Francisco. In time, she became a creative vice president at the high-profile McKinney & Silver. While there, she won the prestigious Stephen Kelly Award, with which the Magazine Publishers of America honor the year's best print campaign.
At the age of 50, she left her career in advertising and moved to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to pursue writing. Her works include At Home in Mitford (1994), A Light in the Window (1995), Out to Canaan (1997), Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny (2000), A Common Life: the Wedding Story (2001), The Mitford Snowmen (2001), Esther's Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story (2002), Light from Heaven (2005), Violet Comes to Stay (2006), Home to Holly Springs (2007), Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (2014), Come Rain or Come Shine (September 2015).
Jan has a daughter, Candace Freeland, who is a photojournalist and musician.
About This Biography
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An Interview with Jan Karon
You write about the small town of Mitford, yet haven't you spent
most of your life in cities?
Until I was twelve I lived in the country, then I spent many years in cities. I think that I was born with a kind of deep affinity for the rural, the rustic. In addition, I'm very drawn to the pastoral novels of the English genre -- the village novel where a small group is used to paint a picture of a larger society. I still have in me a great love for the agrarian -- for what this country was, for what we still are. People say, "Oh well, I guess there's no such thing as Mitford." Well, the good news is there are Mitfords all over the country, and there are still great stretches of open land and pastures and meadows and fields. It's not all bad news. There's so much left of this country that is reasonable and moral and strong. And that's the part I relate to.
You've often said how important a rural upbringing was for you. How has it influenced your writing?
On the farm there were long passages of time in which to observe. The senses are very important to me, and I try to bring the experience of the senses into my writing. And life on the farm is very graphic. Calves...
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