Jess's Fav Things    ::    Q & A  ::  Press Kit (pdf)

Twenty-six year old Jessica Burkhart (Jessica Ashley) lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her birthday is January 29, 1987.

Before she started writing, Jess was a serious equestrian. Like Sasha, she rode daily and dreamed about competing on the United States Equestrian Team.

But at 13, Jess had a spinal fusion for severe scoliosis. While she recovered, she started writing and loved it! Jess began homeschooling that year and decided to pursue publication.

For six years, Jess wrote dozens of articles-not one about horses. She didn't want to be reminded of not being about to ride. But when Jess was 19 and a senior at Florida State University, the idea for Take the Reins came and wouldn't go away. Jess wrote the draft (an awful one!) in 30 days and loved every second she spent writing. She lived vicariously through her characters' adventures with horses.

Now, Jess is fully engaged in Horse World and she'll never leave it again. When she's not writing, Jess loves hanging with her bestie Kate, reading and watching TV. She loves to shop the PINK collection at Victoria's Secret and is obsessed with Twilight and all things RPattz. And, like Sasha, Jess has a lip-gloss collection that fills many, many cosmetic bags.

For more about Jess and the latest news, visit her personal Website or her site for young adult novel projects.

Contact: jess_burkhart AT hotmail DOT com

Snail mail address:
Jessica Burkhart
C/O Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want a reply! I may not respond right away, but know that I read (and love!) every letter.

If you'd like a signed book, go here for instructions.

Photo by Janice Khreis 2009.



Jess's fav things:

Kevin Murphy Color Bugs

Twilight (books and movies!)

Vampire Academy series

My kitties-Bliss, Bella, and Khaleesi

Nail polish: Dior in Spring Ball, Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Lightening, OPI in Pink Friday, Deborah Lippman in Candy Shop, Essie in Pretty Edge, Zoya Pixie Dust in Godiva and Stevie, Chanel in Black Pearl and Julep in Emma.

Shopping: Target, Kohls, Office Depot

Food: watermelon, cotton candy, pizza

Music: Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Britney, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry



You wrote Take the Reins when you were a teen. I'm a young writer, too! How can I get published?

There are so many ways for young writers to get published! If you like to write essays or magazine articles, several publications print writing by kids and teens. A great place to start is Teen Ink. Check them out online and search for other magazines that publish teen writing. You might see your byline in a future issue!

If you love to write fiction, find a friend who writes and form your own critique group. Trade manuscripts back and forth and give each other comments and helpful criticism to make the best possible book. There are books for young writers to help you with your craft. One of my favorites is A Teen's Guide to Getting Published by former teen authors Jessica and Danielle Dunn. The book is full of great advice!

Keep writing and reading. Read lots of books in all different genres. Maybe start a blog that keeps track of the books you read. Or, start a reading challenge with your friends and see who can read the most books in a month.

When you get published, send me an e-mail and tell me about it so I can read your story!

Where did you get the idea for Take the Reins?

I thought about my dreams when I was in middle school. I'd always wanted to compete on an equestrian team with my friends. I moved a lot as a kid and I knew what being the new girl was like. I injected that into my equestrian story and Take the Reins came to life.

Will you visit my school, Pony Club, etc?

I'd love to! You will send me home with a horse, right? :)

Have a teacher, Pony Club instructor or other adult visit my personal Website where they'll find all of the details about visits and how to contact me. If you're too far away, I'm offering author chats via the Internet and video visits.

How many books are in the Canterwood Crest series?

There will be twenty books. :) Stay tuned for publication dates in the news section of this site.

How often do you write?

I write six days a week. I save the extra day for catching up on my massive to be read book pile and rereading what I wrote over the past week.

What's your #1 favorite horse book EVER?

Oooh! Tough question! But I'd choose Ashleigh's Dream (book 5 in the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell). One of my former teachers gave the book to me in fifth grade. She wrote a lovely note inside about how I should follow my equestrian and writing dreams. I've read the book a zillion times and reread her note when I need inspiration.

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