My Bio:I was born in Brisbane, Australia, with a rare craniofacial syndrome, called Crouzon syndrome. Growing up I was bullied constantly, suffered from anxiety and depression, and felt very misunderstood. I underwent pioneer craniofacial reconstructive surgeries which left me visually impaired. From being bullied growing up, I went into a domestic violence marriage, which I eventually was able to escape from.
I have three beautiful children to my husband who I met on the internet. My eldest two children have my craniofacial syndrome and my youngest child has Down syndrome.
Having three children who have needed surgeries and therapies, and constant hospital appointments, has given me a unique perspective on life.
I am an advocate for people living with facial differences, mental illnesses and for the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream schools and out in the community. I admin the International Crouzon Syndrome Support Group and Our Faces Australia group on Facebook, and I am a working member of the Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education.
Before I became an author...
I enjoyed writing and learning as a child and teenager, and followed this passion into primary teaching, for 25 years. I loved caring for the children, seeing them learn something for the first time, or achieve something that they had been struggling with. In 2014, a severe bout of anxiety and depression abruptly brought my career to an end. I grieved for my loss. While recuperating, I started to write again. In 2016, as well as writing, I studied to become a youth worker.
My writing journey...
As a child I loved to write. I have memories of spending my lunchtimes writing stories in Year 3 and 4. In high school I turned to poetry and journaling to release my frustrations with the world. I won a regional writing competition in Year 12.
When my children were young I started writing my blog: Crouzons, Downs and Me...Love and Life. This blog was a way of documenting what my family was going through with the children, and also as a resource for others to access. It was around this time that I also set up the International Crouzon Syndrome Support Group page on Facebook. In 2016 I started the blog, Jenny Woolsey - The ABCs of Life, which is a reflection of how I see the world.
My debut children's novel, Ride High Pineapple was launched in July 2016. The story is about Issy who has my craniofacial syndrome, is bullied and suffers from anxiety. It follows her journal as she learns through skateboarding to be an overcomer. I was fortunate enough to have the Children's Craniofacial Association in America write the foreword for me and endorse the story.
My second novel, Brockwell the Brave was released in October 2016. This story is about a gentle Viking boy, Brockwell Ness, who lives on a dragon farm but he is scared of the adult dragons. Brockwell would prefer to be at the healing hut. His father is angry with him for not being tough. Mr Ness doesn't come back from rescuing a wild dragon and Brockwell must face his fears to find his father.
My third novel, Land of Britannica was released in September, 2017. This story is about twelve-year-old Brittney who is upset that her parents have broken up. When Dad introduces his new girlfriend to her, Brittney is plunged into the fantasy Land of Britannica. A land with talking animals, weird food, dragons and an evil queen. She finds out it is her destiny to save the cracked green heart from falling from the sky. Brittney receives a special suit with superpowers to face the many challenges she must overcome.
In 2017 I had two short stories published in anthologies: Finding Alisha about teenage depression was published in Redemption, and The Power of a Woman's Eyes about women becoming superheroes was published in Like a Woman.
Why do I write?
I write to help people. I have been through a lot in my life and if I can assist others in the same situation through my writing, then that makes me feel happy and content with what I have been through. It's been a tough road.
The children's books are fictional but have an element of reality in them. They are aimed at helping children who are different; children who feel they don't fit in the world; for children with mental illnesses and fears; and for children who are being bullied.
I write about what would've helped me as a child and teen.
I belong to the following professional writing organisations:
- Queensland Writers Centre
- The Alliance of Independent Authors
- Book Links Inc. & Write Links
- Moreton Bay Arts Council
- Writers' Anthology Group