I've been writing ever since I could hold a pencil, but I didn't understand that writing, or being an author, could be a job until I was much older. I was one of those people who said, "I'd like to write a book" but instead of adding "someday when I have time", I decided there was no time like the immediate and I just dived in and did it. I was 28, had three kids under the age of 12 and worked two jobs. Twenty years later, I haven't stopped writing books. As of this paragraph's inception, I have written at least twenty novels for children (and a lot of other stuff!). Of course they have not all been published, which is probably the most disappointing aspect of being a writer. But I write because I can't help myself, not because I thought I'd be rich and famous. This is why I have tried everything, written across all ages and genres, and continue to challenge myself with language, story, and structure.
Most recently I started Wandering Moth Press because I needed a way to continue working on creative projects when other avenues put up too many roadblocks. Despite winning several awards for my writing, my work doesn't always fit into the industry's tidy box, so I decided making a book literally from start to finish might be a fun adventure. And I was right. Thanks to my incredibly talented partner-in-creation, Corina Alvarez Loeblich, who designed the entire concept and covers of MONOLITH, WMP's first publication will be available next Spring.
Thanks for joining me here. If you're a young reader, teacher, or librarian, I hope you'll check out my books. If you're an older reader, I hope you'll give my creative nonfiction a chance.
Awards and Recognition
2024 | Awarded Sponsorship to Attend | Rebecca Dykes Writers and Highlights Foundation | Writing Through Trauma to Empower
2024 | First Place | Hunger Mountain: The Katherine Paterson Prize | Novel Excerpt: The Girl in the Window
2022 | Excellence in Teaching and Learning | Online Course Creation and Teaching: English Composition
2019 | Scholarship | Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium | Master Class on Place
2018 | Honorable Mention | Hunger Mountain: Katherine Patterson Prize | Novel Excerpt: The Young Travelers Club
2017 | Writer in Residence | Weymouth Center for the Arts, Southern Pines, NC
2017 | Scholarship to Attend Award | Highlights Foundation, Honesdale, PA |Master Class on Nonfiction
2013/2014 | Academic Scholarships | Short story, Creative Nonfiction | VCFA MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults
2012/2010 | Writer on the Rise | Warren County, NJ
2011 | Second Place | Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest | YA Novel: The Dream Recorder
Jess Rinker is an award winning writer who has several books for young readers including picture book biographies and middle grade fiction. Titles include Gloria Takes a Stand, a biography of feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY. Middle grade novels The Dare Sisters and The Dare Sisters: Shipwrecked!, Out of Time: Lost on the Titanic, The Hike to Home and the forthcoming MONOLITH, a Wandering Moth Press endeavor.
Jess has a BA in Social Welfare and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also teaches in the University of Reno, Nevada at Lake Tahoe’s MFA program in the Writing for Children and Young Adults track, and undergrad creative writing at Centenary University in New Jersey. Most recently Jess won the Katherine Paterson Prize for The Girl in the Window and was awarded the Excellence in Teaching and Learning award for quality online course creation and teaching.
In addition to writing for children, Jess’s creative nonfiction has been featured in Feminine Collective, Creative Parents, Family Circle Magazine, PA Theatre Guide, Hunger Mountain, and other online publications including this recent guest blog on the Cancer Hope Network website chronicling her experience as a caregiver while living in a rural area. You can also find more of her personal work on Substack.
She currently lives in a small river town in New Jersey with her husband, Joe McGee, who is also a children’s author.
If you're interested in hiring me for school visits, speaking engagements, writing workshops or just want to say hi, send me a message.
I also coach writers and help develop projects from time to time, so feel free to inquire!