Jennifer Gennari

I was absolutely floored by the premise of MUFFLED by Jennifer Gennari. I was especially struck by the theme of noise, and the importance of finding the silent spaces in between it. Have a look:


Muffled coverAmelia does not like noise. In fifth grade, she has to learn to play an instrument or, as she sees it, make noise on purpose. To help Amelia cope, her father gives her a pair of earmuffs to wear. When she makes a new friend in trombone class, the two form an unlikely friendship that helps Amelia find a way to let in the noisy world she’s muffled for so long.


According to your website bio, when you were 15, you were tied for first place in a newspaper short story contest. What was the short story about?

First, thank you for having me on the Writer Librarian! The short story, A Circle of Light, was as idealistic as I was at that age. At night, a boy gets in trouble with an officer but then, when the two of them step under a street lamp, the relationship changes from adversarial to kind. It was about connection, a theme I return to again and again. I was a prolific writer from a young age, always scribbling poems and stories but I didn’t publish a book until thirty years later. I credit practice and persistence and fearless revision.

What a great story concept! And I love the premise of MUFFLED just as much. How did you develop Amelia’s relationship with noise as you wrote her?

One of the most important attributes for a writer to have is curiosity to the point of nosiness! I observe people around me all the time, accumulating details and emotions. In the case of MUFFLED, noticing was easier because I live with someone who finds loud noises hard. I like quiet, too, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to create a character who finds the absence of noise not only pleasurable, but necessary. As I revised and revised, I continued to put myself in Amelia’s head, imagining what it would be like to be sensitive to sound. And I love reaching for analogies that make sense to that character, from her perspective.

I’ll bet! I love the design of your website. What do you recommend for authors looking to customize their online platforms?

Thank you! I adapted a template from Weebly (and there are many similar website platforms). I’ve always liked design, which I dabbled in when I worked as a newspaper editor, laying out pages. I wanted my website to be clean and uncluttered, with only essential information for readers, teachers, and writers. The best part was working with author/illustrator Anna Raff, who created the playful logo of my name.

The logo is amazing! What are some of your current projects?

Every author I know is always working on the next story! My next two middle grade books are ready for the world: The Last House on Marsh Lane is the story of a determined girl trying to stop the sea from flooding the only home she’s ever known, and The Pippin Detectives is about a lonely girl with a mysterious connection to the past who finds an heirloom apple tree that restores family ties and resolves ancient grief. I’m also teaching two courses this fall, an introductory one for Gotham Writers Workshop, and an advanced editing class for The Highlights Foundation, one of the best places for children’s book writers. I bring my passion for reading and words in everything I do.


For more about Jennifer Gennari and her books, go to

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