Jen Jeffrey began her writing career in 2011 while living in New York. Living on Long Island was a brief stint, but it was a very pivotal time in her life. It was the year she ‘stepped out’ and became brave. It took courage to go to New York. It was something she had always wanted to do and after a painful divorce, Jen faced the second half of her life being brave and to say, “Why not?”
She reached out to the publisher/editor of the Chattanoogan.com online news publication and asked if he would be interested in her writing about living in New York through a Southerner’s eyes. Little did she know that John Wilson would be her mentor. John took Jen under his wing as she began writing a column in the Happenings section of his publication. He taught her AP style as she went, giving her hints here and there as she honed her writing skills with her talent. But most importantly, he believed in her.
Jen Moved back to Chattanooga, Tennessee – her home of 30 years and continued to write for the publication. With a series that started out as “A Chattanoogan on Long Island” and then “A Chattanoogan Back Home” Mr. Wilson then headed Jen’s column as “Jen Jeffrey”. He began giving her other assignments such as writing people profiles interviewing hundreds of people in Chattanooga, and a series called “Growing Local” in which she traveled a 100 mile radius to local farms interviewing the farmers of the region.
Jen’s favorite assignment came in 2012 when her role as an 80-year-old satirical ‘food reviewer’ came to be. Mr. Wilson asked her to try her hand at writing food reviews and to come up with a fictitious name. Jen chose her maternal grandmother’s name “Willie Mae” and the character came to life. What was meant to be a column about the local restaurants ended up more for entertainment. Jen couldn’t help writing these stories with humor and as Mr. Wilson saw her unleashed her inner story-teller, he encouraged her to keep doing it her way.
Jen wrote for The Chattanoogan.com and also for City Scope Magazine in Chattanooga up until she married her childhood friend Jason Billington from her birthplace of Murray Kentucky and she moved back there in 2014. Two years later, she tried her hand at publishing her own online magazine, “The Murray Mirror” and it seemed to have taken off. A year later when her beloved mother became ill Jen had to discontinue the magazine and eventually her mother passed.
In her spare time she writes on this blog site as well as still sending The Chattanoogan.com an occasional article. She has a few books she is working on and desires to one day publish.
Jen is the mother of twins Jonathan and Nathan Carter and also her youngest son Andrew who is a police officer in East Ridge, Tennessee. The twins live in Kentucky and so do two of her grandarlins, Landon and Kylee. Her youngest grandchild Ellie Cheyenne is still in Tennessee along with Jen’s step-grandarlins Lacey and Macey. Her son Jonathan joined her husband at his insurance company and Nathan currently works for CASA.
Jen is a horsewoman with three Tennessee Walkers on their nine acre property, Grace Reins Ranch. With all her family and several animals, and wide interests, Jen has plenty to write about.
You will find her past stories under “Read It Again” on the menu of her website. Jen has included her series of Happily Married Discoveries she began after marrying Jason. And as an outdoors enthusiast, she also has a section revolving around nature. There is a section for her new articles, a section for poetry, and the Lifestyle section which has various content. All of this wouldn’t be complete without new stories of Willie Mae.
CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW SLIDESHOW