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Alumni Profile Jennifer Howard

Spring/Summer 2015

Alum Jennifer Howard Publishes Second Novel Movie Release to Follow

Tiffin University alum Jennifer Howard’s second young adult novel Tracers, was published by Putnam Juvenile in January under the name J.J. Howard. The release date of the movie Tracers, featuring Twilight’s Taylor Lautner and The 100’s Marie Avgeropoulos, was in March.

The novel is the tale of a young bike messenger, Cam, played by Lautner, struggling to free himself of his debt to New York mafia when he runs into a beautiful stranger, Nikki (played by Avgeropoulos), engaging in the sport of parkour. Cam joins her in the underground group of teens who have turned the city into their playground. As the stakes turn into life or death, he becomes torn between his love for Nikki and his pursuit of paying off his debts.

Jennifer Howard received her Master of Humanities degree from TU in 2011. Her first young adult novel, That Time I Joined the Circus, was published by Scholastic in 2013. That first book began as an assignment for the novel writing course taught by Dr. Vincent Moore, Associate Professor of English.

Howard is currently teaching English and Humanities related classes at Lake Mary Preparatory School in Lake Mary, FL. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

For more information about J.J. Howard and Tracers visit www.jjhowardbooks. com. The book is available online through Amazon or penguin.com

TU Experience

When asked why she chose TU, Jennifer replied, “I looked at a lot of programs—I was really interested in studying writing, but there are really no quality MFA programs online that were within my reach. With TU, I loved the fact that there were so many writing courses (especially the Novel class!). I liked the fact that I could continue to study English Literature and writing but also branch out into new areas. The course I took on Documentary Film was a particular favorite that would never have been part of either an English MA or an MFA program.”

Although Jennifer never visited campus as an online student, her favorite virtual memory was when her professor, Dr. Vince Moore told her that her first book felt like “The Catcher in the Rye” with a female protagonist. “Still the best compliment I will probably ever get as a writer,” she said.

“Selling my first book to Scholastic is definitely my greatest accomplishment,” Jennifer said. “I hope to keep writing and hope to reach even more readers, but nothing is ever going to top the news I got in July of 2011—that I was finally going to be a published author.”

Becoming a full-time teacher is what Jennifer likes best about the career path she has chosen. “I love the students,” she said. “Recently, one of my AP kids brought me lunch— just because—and put a note on the napkin. Writing for teens is awesome as well (and I like to think I have a hint of an advantage since I spend all my time with high school students. I love writing because it gives me a creative outlet—and a great excuse to visit New York City a few times a year.”

“I really enjoyed my time at TU, and I was able to turn my senior thesis project into the next phase of my career. But in smaller ways, my time at TU was incredibly valuable,” she said. “Going back to grad school was really rejuvenating for me as a teacher. I was reminded what it’s like to figure out an assignment, get feedback, and plan my time with multiple projects. Being able to complete my MH online was really wonderful—the program allowed for us to get to know our professors— through phone calls, online chats, etc., and, we were still able to fit in school alongside a busy life complete with job and family responsibilities—which is so important. I’m proud to be a TU alum and I’m so glad I took the chance and went back to grad school!”