Jane Wood is no stranger to speaking in front of audiences. She is a former teacher and has a natural way of connecting with her young readers. In fact, this weekend, Jane was on hand at the Amelia Island Book Festival teaching students again, but this time as a hand-picked featured author for the county’s Literacy Day.
The Amelia Island Book Festival selects children’s authors every year to visit schools and read their books to the students. Each one of the children goes home with a signed book from the author. And this is not the first year Jane was invited to this program. She’s gotten so proficient at getting schools to buy her books that she wrote a book about it so other authors could learn how she does it. That book is called, “Schools: A Niche Market for Authors,” and is available through her website.
From St. Augustine to Boston, Jane’s books have the readers trying to guess what’s going to happen next while learning about the cultures, traditions, environment landscape, and historical significances of each geographic location.
Books have been an important part of her life and she is doing everything possible to make sure that the love of books is passed on to the next generation.
Her passion for writing began in the 4th grade during a poetry lesson. She quickly discovered the magic of words when this native of Astoria, Oregon relocated to Florida. It was a thrilling time in American history. “My family moved to Cocoa, Florida when I was ten where I watched America’s early journeys into space. I spent two of my college summers working at the Kennedy Space Center. I graduated from the University of Florida, majoring in history and English.
Jane describes her writing style as easy-to-read. “I know my audience – young readers, ages 8-14. I do lots of research so all of the history I include in my books is accurate, but I tell about the intriguing and sometimes funny tidbits in history that kids would find interesting. I also include humorous situations because kids like that.”
Jane’s casual story-telling makes her stories amusing, quick reads. As a former teacher, with a Master’s Degree in Education, she is thrilled when the teachers she meets on school visits compliment her writing style. “It’s gratifying when teachers tell me how my books have helped reinforce what they’re doing in their classrooms – teaching history and getting students to read.”
Mrs. Wood is semi-retired but she has an active schedule serving on the Board of Directors as Past-president for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. Jane has also been involved in many international activities in her community. She was active in the Jacksonville Sister Cities Association for many years and served on the board of directors for Sister Cities International for six years. She has traveled to three of Jacksonville’s sister cities in Russia, China, and France.
Her previous jobs have helped her hone her craft of storytelling. She taught junior high and high school in Central Florida, but left the classroom when her first son, Jonathan, was born. Three years later, along came Brian.
Jane remained a “stay-at-home mom” while her sons were growing up in Jacksonville, Florida. She was involved in school parent groups, Boy Scout activities, and their athletic associations.
When the boys were older, Jane wrote for a local newspaper for three years. After earning a Masters degree in Education in 1988, she was hired by the local cable company as the Educational Programming Coordinator and was later promoted to Community Affairs Manager. During her 12 years there, she produced numerous television shows relating to education, including many that involved local youngsters in the productions.
In March, Jane will be speaking at Sleuthfest about marketing books to schools. Sleuthfest is a huge annual conference – for mystery writers – which will feature many NY Times Bestsellers. The weekend is filled with classes running concurrently that help authors strengthen their writing skills.
Then in April, she will be speaking at Publishing University, which is the annual conference of the Independent Book Publishers Association. This event is taking place in Chicago, Illinois.
When Jane has down-time, she enjoys reading. “I like historical fiction – Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Leon Uris, Eugenia Price. Also, Pat Conroy, C.J. Box, and Carl Hiassen makes me laugh out loud!
Jane offered some great advice for aspiring authors. “Use professionals for things you can’t do well yourself. A professional book editor is a must. And I suggest a book formatter, illustrator, cover designer, graphic designer for marketing materials and web designer.”
Jane lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband Terry. They like to travel and spend time with their family and friends.
You can find out more about Jane by checking out these sites:
You can find out more about Jane R. Wood by checking out these sites & her social media.