Jen Waldo lives in Marble Falls, TX, west of Austin, and south of the 281 bridge that crosses the Colorado River. Her favorite things to do are: write novels, make quilts, play Mahjong, and travel. Jen started writing years ago when, living in Cairo, she had difficulty finding satisfactory reading material. If she wanted something interesting to read, she was going to have to write it herself. Finding pleasure and power in the process of creating, she’s been hooked ever since. She’s earned an MFA, and has established a blog on her website, jenwaldo.com. In her books Jen aims for a mixture of humor and gravitas. For instance, her latest work explores the theme of stuff—why do people collect stuff? Where do they put stuff when they no longer need it? Why do people want other people’s stuff? This novel, appropriately, is called Why Stuff Matters. Set in an antique mall, it tells what happens when a grieving widow who has no desire to own anything must work with a group of retired seniors who see exaggerated value in everything. Jen’s previous novel, Old Buildings of North Texas, is about Olivia, a cocaine addict who is required to move in with her mother after rehab. Advised by her court-mandated counselor that she should find a hobby, Olivia takes up urbexing. Soon she’s looting abandoned buildings and making money off the possessions people have left behind; this tale, too, explores the theme of what people value and why. Having lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period, she’s often asked why, with her knowledge of international cultures and settings, she places her novels in a stark dry town in Northwest Texas. It’s because it’s the place she knows best—the dusty gusts, the flat earth, the square houses, the late-summer thunderstorms. The people are stocky, stubborn, religious, big-hearted, abhorrent toward change, and suspicious of success. She’s grateful to Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind.Read more Read less
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