Simner, Janni Lee
Simner, Janni Lee
Married Larry Hammer. Education: Attended Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
Author of books for children and young adults. Washington University, worked in Publications Office, taught in Department of Parareality. Also Internet Web site designer.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, International Association of Business Communicators.
Honorable mention, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, for "Drawing the Moon," and for "Virginia Woods"; honorable mention, The Year's Best Science Fiction, for "Raising Jenny," and for "Virginia Woods."
"PHANTOM RIDER" SERIES
Ghost Horse, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.
The Haunted Trail, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.
Ghost Vision, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.
Secret of the Three Treasures, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of short stories for children to anthologies, including Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares, Scholastic, 1995; A Starfarer's Dozen, edited by Michael Stearns, Jane Yolen Books/Harcourt Brace, 1995; Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens, Scholastic, 1996; Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares II, Scholastic, 1997; A Glory of Unicorns, edited by Bruce Coville, Scholastic, 1998; and Half Human edited by Bruce Coville, Scholastic, 2000. Contributor of short stories for young adults to anthologies, including Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, edited by Deborah Noyes, Candlewick Press, 2004. Contributor of short stories for adults to anthologies, including Chicks in Chainmail, edited by Esther Friesner, Baen Books, 1995; Sisters in Fantasy 2, edited by Susan Shwartz, NAL, 1996; Elf Fantastic, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, DAW Books, 1997; and Sword of Ice, edited by Mercedes Lackey, 1997. Contributor of short stories for adults to periodicals. Also author of nonfiction, including feature articles and business writings.
Janni Lee Simner grew up on Long Island in New York. Simner eventually moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she graduated from Washington University and taught in the university's Department of Parareality. Simner's westward tack continued and delivered her to Tucson, Arizona, where she has "fallen in love with the mountains and huge skies," she wrote on her Web site. Simner's first three books were published by Scholastic, a publisher that specializes in books for children. Although her material is accessible to children, especially those between the ages of seven and thirteen years old, Simner dismisses the categorization of her material as strictly juvenile. "When I write," Simner explains, "I don't think about whether I'm writing for children or adults. I just think about writing the best story I possibly can."
Simner's favorite topics include the southwestern United States and horses. Her first book, Ghost Horse, set in Arizona, follows twelve-year-old Callie Fern. Callie does not like living in Arizona, but her feelings about the area begin to change after she spies a silvery, phantom-like horse outside her house. Callie sets out in search of the horse and then helps the horse find its owner.
The Haunted Trail, Simner's second book, also features Callie Fern and a ghostly horse. Callie takes her first trail ride since her separation from Star, a ghost horse. When a threatening stranger pursues Callie and her companions on the trail, Callie considers sharing a secret about Star. Callie Fern stars again in Simner's third book, Ghost Vision. Callie takes secret rides with Star, the ghost horse, during the summer. When school resumes in the fall, Callie cannot spend as much time with Star, and Star becomes ill. During this crisis, Callie is lured into the ghostly world that Star inhabits.
In Secret of the Three Treasures, elementary-school-aged protagonist Tiernay West plots to escape her mother's plans for Tiernay's life. Rather than the respectable future Ms. West has planned, Tiernay resolves to be more like the heroines in the adventure novels penned by her absent father. "She's put together adventure equipment just in case she does meet adventure—and when she has to go out to dinner with Mom, her friend Greg, and his son Kevin, Tiernay practices by ordering squid and snails for dinner," explained Sherwood Smith in a review posted on the SF Site. Opportunity knocks when Tiernay overhears rumors of uncovered Revolutionary War treasure somewhere in her New England town. "With help from her mother's boyfriend's geeky son, she sets out to find [the] treasure," Gillian Engberg declared in her Booklist review. "By the [novel's] triumphant close," stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "she's not only helped solve a rash of local crimes, but has even unearthed that gold." "Tiernay," concluded B. Allison Gray in School Library Journal, "is an irrepressible role model in her unwavering self-confidence, intellectual curiosity, and sense of humor."
When she was a child, Simner took a cross-country camping trip with the Girl Scouts and "fell in love with the open spaces of the western United States." Simner is especially fond of Tucson, which she calls "culturally rich and wonderfully laid back." Simner's journey from east to west opened up new vistas for her; she took horseback riding lessons as research for her books. Simner has written numerous short stories in addition to her books. She also produces nonfiction work, such as business writing and articles for magazines.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Secret of the Three Treasures, p. 49.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2006, review of Secret of the Three Treasures, p. 524.
School Library Journal, August, 2006, B. Allison Gray, review of Secret of the Three Treasures, p. 129.
Janni Lee Simner Home Page, http://www.simner.com (April 12, 2008).
Janni Lee Simner MySpace Profile, http://www.myspace.com/innaj (April 12, 2008), author profile.
SF Site, http://www.sfsite.com/ (April 12, 2008), Sherwood Smith, review of Secret of the Three Treasures.