About Jane Bradley...
Jane Bradley was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she was raised by her mother, Barbara Biggs her stepfather, Melvin “Shorty” Biggs whose nickname was ironic given he was a large powerful man. He was a fire fighter known for his bravery and tenacity when fighting fires; fellow firefighters called him “The Train” for his ability to withstand smoke and heat. Her childhood was a poor one and rough given both parents had drinking problems and violent outbreaks were not uncommon. Bradley found refuge in reading fairy tales, then any novel or biography she could get her hands on. She excelled in school until her young teen years when her parents divorced and her mother turned to dealing drugs for income. When Bradley was sixteen, her mother was arrested for selling drugs and sent to prison. Bradley’s siblings scattered and she managed living on her own while finishing school one year ahead of schedule and working at a local Woolworth’s.
Yes, her life is an unusual one. At seventeen she went to Spain for three months where she studied with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and became a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. Back in Chattanooga, she and her young friends founded the Transcendental Meditation Center. She soon realized that she needed a college education to succeed in life and she attended UT-Chattanooga. After a year, lonely and uncomfortable with the conventional life, she went to live with her sister who was known as “The Snow Queen of Atlanta” for the vast quantities of cocaine she sold. Her sister’s customers ranged from rock stars to bankers and she seemed to be making a profitable, if illegal, career as a dealer. Bradley soon realized she was in great danger in such a lifestyle and she returned to Chattanooga to receive her B.A. in English. Her mother was released from prison and soon returned to her drug dealing ways. Bradley kept her distance, and she went on to attend Syracuse University for her Masters degree in English. She attended the Bread Loaf Writers Conference as a student then again as a Fellow.
Bradley taught composition Syracuse for a few years then went on to Virginia Tech to teach composition for five years. She was publishing stories in journals across the country and then published her first story collection, Power Lines. She was stunned to see it receive rave reviews including one in The New York Times Book Review, which also named the collection a “Notable Book.” With her contract expired at Virginia Tech she found herself having to move out of state for a job, and she was hired as the University of Toledo in 1990, where she still teaches. She went on to receive her M.F.A from Vermont College.
She has also published a novella, Living Doll, a screenwriting text, Screenwriting 101: Small Steps While Thinking Big, another story collection, Are We Lucky Yet?, and most recently a novel, You Believers. This novel is based on a true story of the carjacking and murder of Peggy Carr who grew up in Toledo and died in Wilmington, North Carolina. The novel’s protagonist is based on Monica Caison who is founding director of CUE (Community United Effort), an organization which helps search for the missing and provides guidance and comfort to families and loved ones of the missing.
Ten percent of author proceeds from the novel are donated to CUE.
With a history of community service work with women’s shelters and with teens with criminal records in Baltimore, soon after arriving in Toledo she started teaching community workshops at local shelters for woman recovering from substance abuse, and she has designed a service learning course at the University of Toledo, a course which trains students to go into the community to teach therapeutic writing workshops. Since her hire at the University of Toledo, she has frequently taken time away to live in Bethesda, Maryland where she taught workshops at the Bethesda Writing Center. She’s lived in Nashville and has often returned to Chattanooga where she spent one year teaching creative writing at UT-Chattanooga. In short, she likes to return South as often as possible.
Check back for a link to her upcoming essay “A Story of CUE: Finding Faith in You Believers.”
13th ANNIVERSARY GIRLFRIEND WEEKEND AUTHOR