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