J. R. Geraci

About the Author

I grew up in Sayville, NY, surrounded by a large family and many strong women. One of the things I am most proud to be is a sister to my four siblings. Looking out for my siblings was a huge part of my childhood and the reason I first began to flex my storytelling muscles.

I can still remember some of those first storytelling moments. On Christmas eve, I'd tell my youngest sister stories to keep her from going downstairs to discover Santa putting presents under the tree. When my brother and I would pull out our Playmobil set, I'd drive him crazy making up stories about girls that would disguise themselves as soldiers to fight in wars.

Outside of my family life, I wasn't telling many stories. I was painfully shy—a “turtle” that spent all her time in her shell. My first-grade teacher saw me struggle to read in front of others and thought I was having a hard time learning to read. She put me in a special class, where, instead of learning to read, my older-sister mentality had me focused on helping the other kids. I think this is when I first began to place importance on breaking down complex writing and making it simple and accessible for all. Eventually, my first-grade teacher realized that public speaking was my real problem, not the reading.

When I was nine, I fell in love with fantasy books. We read Harry Potter in class and I requested to read in the hallway because I was on chapter twenty when we were supposed to be on chapter five. That same year, I also fell in love with writing. I remember staying up way past my bed time writing a story for a class assignment. I knew then that I wanted to be an author.

I spent those next few years reading every young adult fantasy book I could get my hands on. I devoured the works of Tamora Pierce, Lois Lowry, Philip Pullman, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gail Carson Levine, Garth Nix, Eoin Colfer, Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, and so many more. When I wasn't reading, I was writing long stories featuring strong female leads and epic friendships. I was still timid and I dreamed of being one of the strong women that I read about—and was surrounded by in real life.

My years in college and the time I spent traveling to other countries (29 in a ten-year span) helped crack that turtle shell of mine. When I joined the Peace Corps in 2012, I had no choice but to emerge from it completely. For 27 months, I lived in the incredible island nation of Vanuatu, away from everything and everyone I had ever known.

While there, I worked as a teacher at the local school. I helped to install a library and formed a girl's leadership group.

When I returned to the states, I moved to Northern Virginia to work in Washington, D.C. While there, I met my husband, founded a women's disc golf club in my community, and started a new job at an emergency management agency.

I now spend my working hours writing about how to stay safe before, during and after disasters. When I log off work in the evening, I turn my efforts to my favorite type of writing: storytelling. In those hours, I dream of fantasy worlds and I bring the characters in my head to life. My hope is that the strong female leads I put on paper will one day inspire girls—like shy nine-year-old me—to come out of their shells, too.

Upcoming Appearances

May 18, 2024: Gaithersburg Book Festival

Summer 2024 (Date TBD): Sayville Summerfest on Long Island

Fall 2024 (Date TBD): Maryland Renaissance Fair