Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for: What's up with the name Jennifer?

When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted a different name than the one my parents gave me. I tried out all kinds of names, wrote them with my last name in a notebook the way some people do with their boyfriend's last names, but I was sure that "Megan" did not fit me. I was not a Megan. But everything I tried either sounded like an 19th century novel or a stripper.
I even asked my mom if there were any other names they were considering when I was born. (My sister was almost Mercedes. After the car. I know. My mom put her foot down.) But "Hilary", while great for the Secretary of State, didn't fit me at all. I have internalized Megan. And I'm cool with that. At the time I was born, Megan was a very uncommon name, even though there are lots and lots of little girls running around with that moniker these days.
So what is my beef with the name Jennifer? Nothing. Well, except there seems to be a cosmic collusion to give people with the name Jennifer the ability to write amazing books. I don't know if I've pointed this out to you yet, but I have a very good friend from high school, Jennifer Nielsen, whose books have exploded onto the scene. Her newest, the first in the Ascendance Trilogy, The False Prince, just came out this month. I got it yesterday. Read it yesterday. It has been compared to both Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games and Megan Whelan Turner's Newberry Award winning The Thief. I've read both. Enjoyed both. In my opinion, The False Prince blew them out of the water. It was that good.
So I mentioned I got the book yesterday. My very good friend, Jennifer Griffith, also a published author, had purchased the book for me for my birthday. Read her review of The False Prince (and the funny thing that happened with this copy of the book before it reached me). Jennifer Griffith's new book, Big In Japan, is due out in July. I helped her, in a small way, prepare it for submission, and I can tell you it's gonna be big. (No pun intended.) Funny, sweet, and exciting, this book defies genre, but is all together wonderful. (I wish I had a link of some sort to a trailer or cover or something, but I don't have one yet. Come back in July. I'm sure I'll have all kinds of stuff then.)
Of course, I can't fail to mention our very own Jenni James, who while I don't know her personally, is the co-founder with Nikki of this blog. She has seven children, cans, and can write books in a single bound. Like in three weeks. When I was at the ANWA conference, the publisher of her Jane Austen Diaries, Walnut Springs Press, was there. Her editor, Linda Mulleneaux, mentioned Jenni as the only author she knew who could write a book in two months and submit it almost perfectly ready for print.
So here I have three real life examples of Mormon Mommy Writers, all named Jennifer, and all, it seems, with the writing "green thumb". I've been mulling this over for a while, wondering if there was some kind of magic in that name. That if you have that name, and you're a writer, you have a golden ticket to writing fabulous books.
But after I'd pondered this for a while, it occurred to me that I knew something else about these women. They are all determined, driven, and darn hard workers. That while it's an amazing coincidence, what really makes these women worth emulating is their ability to see the job through, to work even when it's hard, and to keep the end goal in sight.
So there it is. I will NOT be changing my name to Jennifer. I will, however, be tempted to tattoo "Determined, Driven, and Darn Hard Worker" on my forearm, if only to continually remind myself that these qualities are the ones that get books written and published.


  1. Wow! It must be true. My favorite Jennifer is an amazing mother of three, very determined, driven, and a hard worker. She is also the author of Mark of Royalty, and has her second book The Unbreakable Chain slated to be out next year, and is submitting another book to her publisher this month.
    I must also mention she's an awesome sister.

  2. Jennifer was the top name for baby girls in the U.S. for ten straight years. That means there are a whole lot of us to find awesomeness in!

  3. Funny about names. I know a Jennifer who writes too. I wished I'd been given a different name as a child, but soon grew into it. ;-) 5ft 10 inchis at 14 years.

  4. I definitely like Megan. You can start the long list of best selling Megans



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