So, who the heck is Amalie Jahn... for real?
Award-winning #YA author. #TED speaker. #HuffPost contributor. #Ironman. Cancer survivor. Laundry folder. Berry eater. Skinny jeans opponent. Here to serve & <3
When Pitch War mentees were asked to pimp our bios here on our blogs, my gut reaction was just to expand on those 140 characters. I mean, they do a super job of reflecting the accomplishments of Public Amalie Jahn, the person who's on display for the whole world to see. The bio's perfect.
Maybe a little too perfect.
The truth is those 140 characters represent the shiniest 8x10 Glamour Shots version of myself. Elegant lighting, mild retouching, and the Mayfair filter. In real life, I am about as far from perfect as one person can get. So maybe that's what I should be explaining here instead.
Who is Amalie Jahn? The Unfiltered Private Amalie Jahn?
Much like my manuscripts, I see myself as a work in progress. I remember when I was younger I assumed becoming an adult meant having All The Answers. When I reached some magical age of maturity I would have it All Figured Out.
I could not have been more wrong.
When I started my publication journey five years ago, I didn't know what I didn't know, but somehow I thought I would be able to lone wolf myself onto the New York Times Bestseller list. That dogged perseverance would see me through.
And I quickly discovered that was never going to happen.
Being an author is a terribly isolating profession. You sit at a keyboard alone, talking only to the imaginary people inside your head. I should not have been surprised when the depression set in.
But I was.
I learned eventually that I needed other authors. And editors. And beta readers. At first, I thought I needed them to make my books better. What I discovered was that I also needed them to make ME better.
So, that's why I'm here doing Pitch Wars. Would I love to land a mentor and even an agent? Absolutely. But over the years I've learned success isn't measured by what you can cram into a 140 character bio. It's measured in growth. Growth of my craft. Growth of my community. If I come out of this with a more polished manuscript and a bunch of really great new friends, I'll be thrilled. Because if I'm ever going to make it in this industry, I won't be doing it on my own. I'll be doing it with a whole lotta help from all of you.
- My name is pronounced A-mal-ya. I'm the fourth generation Amalie in my family which is pretty darn cool.
- I taught elementary school for seven years before my children were born. I learned more from the students than they ever learned from me.
- I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Germs are my weakness. If we meet I probably won't touch you, but I might ask you to use some of my hand sanitizer. And I swear, it's not you, it's me.
- I have three cats: Felix, Freckles, and Flint. They are grumpy, lazy, and naughty, respectively.
- I married my college sweetheart and followed him around the country with the Army. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Two decades in and we're still fumbling our way through adulthood.
- I'm ridiculously uncoordinated except in the water. Swimming is my favorite therapy.
- I can not cook. I can not bake. Boiling water has presented challenges in the past. It's not really a meal unless my family is scraping off burnt bottoms or cutting around the parts that "aren't quite done." My go-to meal is spaghetti. Yeah, I know.
- I'm a vegetarian. My favorite food is chocolate cake.
- My dad was an industrial arts teacher so I know my way around a workshop. What I lack in culinary abilities I make up for in miter saw prowess. I can also change the oil in my car.
- My greatest regret in life is that I teased my little sister when we were kids. I'm sorry is never enough.
- If I wasn't an author I'd be an interior decorator or a professional organizer. I dream about cleaning your closet.
- The Cure is my favorite band of all time. #RobertSmithForever
- If I had to pick one book I wish I'd written myself it would be I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. It's literary perfection. My favorite children's book is The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman. All. The. Feels.