Jean's birds, 1986, collected from telephone doodles.


In 25 years. I wrote 40 books. Most of them came out under my own name, but a few were published under the name T. J. Bradstreet.

My newest book is SINGER, a fantasy set in medieval times. I began researching it the first time I visited Wales in 1985, and the book could have been twice as long - or even longer. I've only begun telling the marvels of that place and time.

Viking, 2005. Gwenore of Wales was born under a curse, and she suffers at her witch mother's hands, until a serving maid, a boy, and a mysterious priest help her escape. She takes refuge first in an abbey, where she is renamed Mary Blondine, and then, when she is discovered, she is taken to Blessingwood, a community of fine women who train her in healing and music and help her develop her magical skills. Mary is renamed again, this time called Singer. But the wonderful community is betrayed, and Singer escapes to the mythical land of Lir, where she takes care of the king's children - until the king marries Singer's power-hungry mother. The witch kills the children, and only Singer can bring them back, risking herself. Throughout her life, she is aided - and sometimes tormented - by the Fair Folk, but when the time comes for the final battle, all stand with Singer, no matter what the danger.

When I was asked to write a sequel to A SEA SO FAR, I was delighted, because Kate still had more to tell about her life and Ellen wanted to talk about hers. Sometimes characters are so real that they become nags.

I like visiting both San Francisco and Ireland, so it seemed only natural to write a story involving these two wonderful places. Kate and Jolie might never have met if it had not been for the chaos that came after the 1906 earthquake. And what better place to send them to recover than Ireland? A sequel to this book is coming.

For many years I've owned a painting of a beautiful wood where a unicorn and a lady stand half-concealed. One day it seemed to me that the unicorn and the lady were real - and the world around me might not be. And some of us might be "between."

Who hasn't fantasized about having magical power, especially for protection from a bully? And maybe a little revenge. But what if using the power just once meant that you couldn't give it up, not ever? You'd always be different from everyone else - and everyone else would know it. Accepting the power could come with a price too high to pay.

When I was a child, the little girl who lived across the street was stolen from the grocery store parking lot. Sometimes, all these years later, I'll see a girl with wonderful glossy curls hurrying along ahead of me, and for a moment, I'll think that I've found her. And I'll wonder how her family survived.

Sometimes finding a real friend in a new place isn't easy. But with a wonderful tree house and a collection of magical beasts, anything is possible. Difficult, and perhaps even frightening, but possible.

I'm often asked if the women in this book were real. There were women like them in my childhood. My mother's friends met for tea every Thursday, and somehow they managed to solve the world's problems then. Or so I believed.

My mother was raised in her grandmother's boarding house, and I loved the stories of her childhood among that select group of inept but well-meaning ladies and their eccentric boarders.

A foster girl, abandoned in the woods with a foster boy, an abused child, and a handicapped woman, struggles to make a home for them.

Copyright Jean Thesman, 2003, 2004, 2005.


The true story of the Children of Lir and the girl who rescues them.
Viking, 2002. Charlotte discovers that her adopted brother may not be human.
Viking, 1999. Not every witch wants to be a witch. Changing your true nature can be complicated.
Kate returns from Ireland, determined to start a business with Ellen - in spite of everything.
Viking, 2001 Two girls survive the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Houghton Mifflin, 1996. An orphan moves to her grandmother's Seattle boarding house during World War I.
Viking, 2000. Skylar's family must deal with a tragedy.
Viking, 2001. What makes this tree house so unusual? Two girls know.
Houghton Mifflin, 1991. A girl needs to know why her mother abandoned her, and loving friends can help.
Houghton Mifflin, 1992. An orphan creates her own family.