Jane Bryant Quinn

How did you become a writer?

I wrote and I read. As a journalist-to-be, I practiced all the time, in school publications and summer jobs on newspapers. And I read good writers, especially in American history and literature and journalism classics, such as Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

Like many journalists, I learned my craft on the job -- seeing what worked and what didn't. I have also had some fine editors.

When and where do you write?

I write from an office in my home, and every day. I'm slow in the morning, and pick up speed in the evening.

What are you working on now?

I write a column for AARP Bulletin. I co-founded an internet company, putting community news online -- that's management and writer training, not writing, and takes a lot of time. I'm gathering string for another book.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Never, in the sense of not knowing what to write, or being able to write. On the other hand, I'm a slow writer -- squeezing out every word, rewriting all the time. When I hate what I've written, or can't find the thread, I get back to it the next day. Then, I can usually see my way through the problem.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Write, write, write, read, read, read. Journalists should read history, biography and politics, as well as literature. And a grammar book, please.

Bio: I'm a commentator on personal finance and, newly, an internet entrepreneur. My best-selling book, “Making the Most of Your Money,” is a comprehensive guide to personal finance. First published in 1991, it was named by Consumers Union as the best personal finance book on the market. The third edition—Making the Most of Your Money NOW-- was published in January, 2010.  “Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People,” published in 2006, is my personal list of the best, low-cost strategies for saving more money, finding good insurance, planning for college tuition, and investing for retirement.

In 2009, my husband and I founded a company called Main Street Connect, which brings local news to communities online. (Almost no one under 40 reads news on paper anymore.) Currently, I write a monthly column for AARP Bulletin, in print and online. My personal website is JaneBryantQuinn.com.

My past career includes a twice-weekly newspaper column syndicated to 250 papers by the Washington Post; a personal finance column in Newsweek magazine; a monthly column for Good Housekeeping; and a bi-weekly column for Bloomberg.com. On PBS television, I co-hosted an investment series, “Beyond Wall Street,” and hosted my own program, “Take Charge!” I worked ten years for CBS News, first on the “CBS Morning News,” then on “The Evening News with Dan Rather.”

I graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont and got my training writing for newsletters. I'm married, with two children and six stepchildren. I was born in Niagara Falls, NY.