Meet Jacquelyn

Jacquelyn Benson writes smart historical fantasy where strong women confront the stranger things that occupy the borders of our world.

She once lived in a museum, wrote a master’s thesis on the cultural anthropology of paranormal investigation, and received a gold medal for being clever. She owes a great deal to her elementary school librarian for sagely choosing to acquire the entire Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown series. 

Her debut novel, The Smoke Hunter, was nominated for Best Historical Fiction by RT Times. When not writing, she enjoys the company of a tall, dark, and handsome English teacher and practices unintentional magic.

If you’d like to be friends, you may find her everywhere @jbensonink or join the email list and she’ll send you updates every 2-3 months.

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Bonus Questions

What museum did you live in?

For four years, my husband and I were caretakers of Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine. This riverside manor house was built in 1785 and is managed by Historic New England. We lived in the adjacent cottage and were responsible for chasing off squirrels and midnight snoggers during the off-season. We gave up our post when I got pregnant with our first child, seduced by the allure of 20th century insulation.

Who gave you a gold medal for being clever?

Bill Clinton. I was a Presidential Scholar for the state of New Hampshire in 1998. I’m even part of the Congressional record. [144: 73 (1998), p. S5994]

Did you really write your thesis on ghost hunters?

Sure did. You may request a copy of “Tuning in to Alternative Frequencies: Perception, Interpretation and Knowledge in Paranormal Investigation” if you’re ever in the library of Queen’s University of Belfast. It’s a scintillating read.

What’s “unintentional magic”?

I’ve caught ghost voices on tape. I’ve experienced exactly one full-on clairvoyant vision. My fortune cookies are always accurate. There are borrowers living in my house. (They usually bring stuff back after I ask nicely.) I am dubious about calling my work fantasy – I write about the strange because I see it all around me.
I am very, very careful what I wish for.

Any other hidden talents we should know about?

I read tarot cards, slay karaoke, and engage in a little light mushroom foraging. I have never successfully completed a cartwheel.

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