I’ve been a tobacco farmworker, dance club hat check girl, stable manager, daycare owner, reporter, corporate vice president, and publicist before I landed on writing books. It took some learning (I can milk a goat) to get where I am. Writing for the New York Times was a really big deal for me. But so was publishing two of my novels via the indie route.
I was born in Somers, Connecticut, a small town on the Massachusetts border. We lived next to my grandparents’ dairy farm, surrounded by cornfields, hay meadows, and tobacco sheds.
The first in my family to attend university, I studied journalism at the University of Connecticut. Anxious to get on with life, I quit early to begin a career as a reporter, first with community newspapers (hey Westport News!) and then as a regular contributing writer for the New York Times. After a decade or so, I found my way back to college, graduating from Quinnipiac University summa cum laude. Along the way, I was a founding member of the Island Writing group and a member of Duxbury Writing Group.
I lived in New Haven, Connecticut for many years, raised two daughters, and fell in love with great pizza and abundant arts, especially theater. Now? It’s Plymouth, Massachusetts, just a ways down the coast from Boston with a view of the water, a sea breeze and enough sunlight to keep me happy.
I’ve won some modest prizes and recognition: Santa Fe Writers Project, Laurinda Collins Whitney Short Story competition, and Connecticut Writers’ Short Story competition. My PR work won awards from the Public Relations Society, New England Society Healthcare Communicators, and Telly awards. Mostly, the real reward has been the work. Damn, I love putting words on page. And telling stories.
(I changed my name to honor my mother after her death. My early work is bylined Betsy Percoski.)
Justine Johnson Photography 2021