July 27, 2014

From New Jersey with resident Jacqueline Seewald

My husband and I were visiting San Francisco some years ago and ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant. The waiter, observing we were tourists, asked where we were from.
When we told him New Jersey, he became animated.
“I know all about New Jersey,” he said. “I watched every episode of The Sopranos.”

New Jersey isn’t all about gangsters and Mafia—although we’ve had a notable share of criminals in our state. I was born, raised and still live in NJ. There’s a great deal that is special and unique about my state, some good, some bad.

We used to have lots of industry in the state, much of it not clean. So we had a serious pollution problem and high rates of cancer. But most of the industry is gone now. Of course, that means fewer jobs. Our state suffers serious financial problems. We have some very rich as well as a great many poor people. Inner cities such as Camden and Newark have bad problems not easily solved. However, the city of New Brunswick has Rutgers University and a number of solid businesses. It’s an excellent example of how cities can reinvent themselves and rebuild in a positive way.
The Jersey shore is a great place to visit. There are many resort locations near the beaches. In New Jersey, you’re never really far from the ocean. New Jersey also has many lighthouses. All the lighthouses are open to tour during the October Lighthouse Challenge.


I now live in North Jersey overlooking the Hudson River and facing Manhattan. It’s a lovely view. The George Washington Bridge looms. It’s the world’s most busy bridge.  For forty years I lived in Central Jersey, an area that was once rural and now has many housing developments. New Jersey is a small state in area but has the greatest density in the nation.


Like many authors, I often write about what I know best. New Jersey provides the setting for many of my books.  My children’s picture book A DEVIL IN THE PINES was published by Afton Press. It is in part about the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, a fascinating and unique location with roots in our country’s colonial history era. My co-authored mystery novel THE THIRD EYE is also set in the Pine Barrens. My Kim Reynolds librarian sleuth adult mystery series is set in Central Jersey. There are four books in this series, the most recent being THE BAD WIFE. It’s a realistic mystery series that has been critically well-received. In addition, I set my YA novels in New Jersey, THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER being the most recent. I hope you will visit our state and also read my books.

 Visit Jacqueline Seewald and find out about her work here:

(All info provided by author.  Pictures provided by Anna Seewald)


  1. Jacqueline, I enjoyed your article about your home state of New Jersey. I lived most of my life in Garfield, NJ, taught school there, and when I retired after nearly thirty years, I moved to West Virginia with my wife Sharon. While I liked NJ, I love WV! I suppose had I lived in a more rural part of NJ, I would've liked it better.

    Good luck with the sale of your books!

    Sal Buttaci
    author of Flashing My Shorts

  2. Hi, Sal,

    Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting!

    For those who would like to know more about me and my writing, please check out my new blog site:


  3. Interesting comparisons of cities in your state, Jacquie. My grandson & family live in Pompton Lakes and my children's ancestors lived in Montclair long ago. I like the idea of blogs about your native state. Mary

  4. Jacquie, it's been years since I visited New Jersey (went to Atlantic City) but you've enticed me to make a return trip. Great post!
    BTW, I loved "The Third Eye." You did an incredible job of drawing me into the story and making me feel as if I were really in the Pine Barrens!

  5. I think it's so funny that your waiter thought all of NJ was like "The Sopranos." I hate to admit it, but that's what I think of when I think of NJ--and I've been there! What I remember is gorgeous green patches of farmland. Would like to see the Pine Barrens one day.

  6. I would like to visit your state someday! I confess to knowing not much about it!

  7. I loved learning about the Pine Barrens in your novel. You're correcting a lot of erroneous impressions of your state. My father spent some of his early years in New Jersey and longed for the woodlands he left behind when his family moved. He talked about the pastures in northern New Jersey, and the summer camps.

  8. For a small state, New Jersey offers a lot of variety. Jacquie has done a good job here of outlining the positives of a state which has had its share of bad press (often undeserved, though not always). I've had some good days in NJ.

  9. My family stayed in NJ in November and drove across the George Washington Bridge to get head shots done in NYC. I didn't get to know your state as well as I should've but the gas was cheaper, and...no Sopranos! Lovely blog.

  10. We just got back from visiting our children and found all these wonderful comments! Mary, Pat, Alice, Susan, D'Ann, John and Melissa, thank you all for stopping by today. I appreciate it. Annette, thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest blogger here.

  11. Hi Jacqueline - interesting post. I lived in Rutherford for quite a while (odd to never have an answer to the ubiquitous "what exit" question), but I survived. The Sopranos were a hoot - I never had a Joisey accent, but I knew people who did and I'm a great mimic - so with the advent of the Sopranos, I taught my husband the world according to Joisey. I'm looking forward to picking up your books. A literary visit to the old state is definitely on the agenda. Thanks for posting.

  12. Jacqueline, loved reading this as I'm from NJ, long time ago. Brings back memories. I didn't know about the Pine Barrens growing up, so I have enjoyed reading your books that talk about them. What a great idea this is for a blog. I'm looking forward to more posts about the different states, Annette!

  13. Hi, Jan,

    Thanks for dropping by. I love to write about the Pine Barrens of NJ because they are unique both physically, historically and in legend and literature.

  14. Hi--I enjoyed learning about NJ from your post. Setting is such an important part of telling stories. Now I know more about NJ than The Sopranos…before I was like that waiter. :)

  15. Hi, VJ,

    Glad you enjoyed my post. NJ is a complex state with many contrasts: wealth and poverty, urban and rural.

  16. I'm sure most people have the image of Sopranos when they think of NJ just as most think of cowboys, longhorn cattle, and cactus when it comes to my state of Texas.

    I confess I never think of the picture of the lovely beach.

    I guess we all have preconceptions which are usually wrong.

    Enjoyed your post!


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