I’m Jen Wheeler.
I’m a writer and erstwhile editor with a voracious interest in all things food and how it’s enmeshed with every aspect of our lives, but my first love is fiction—so I’m stoked to share that my debut novel, THE LIGHT ON FARALLON ISLAND, is out now! (And a second book will follow in 2024.)
Born in Baltimore, MD, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t live to eat and read. The writing bug bit a little later but is just as intrinsically a part of me. I fell in love with Gourmet magazine — the embodiment of all my passions — when I discovered my grandmother’s back issues in dusty basement treasure boxes at ten years old; my longshot life goal immediately became to write for them when I was older.
Real Life led from two abbreviated stints in college (Bennington and Portland State University) to culinary school to tech support (and from Baltimore to Portland, OR, where I’ve now lived roughly half my life). But finally — in a totally unlikely stroke of luck that makes it hard not to believe at least a little bit in fate — I landed at (sadly now-defunct food site) Chowhound. I started as a sort of all-trades assistant and contributing writer and ended up as managing editor. Writing and reading and thinking and chatting about food *every* day — and getting paid for it too. Literal dreams actually came true!
Then they came unraveled, as they tend to do. The site was sold, netted as part of a bigger deal — and I was bycatch. (So 2020.) I was lucky enough to find a silver lining in the opportunity to focus on fiction; I considered it the closest I’d ever get to a Harper Lee year.
I finished a manuscript and found an agent, and my first book, The Light on Farallon Island, is now available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats — which once more sorely tempts me to believe in fate. My second novel, Tenderhearted Executioner, will follow in 2024.
Whatever else happens in my life, I hope it remains a bountiful feast of words until The End.