Kaylie Jones is an award-winning novelist and screenplay writer. She is the acclaimed author of A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (which was made into the Merchant Ivory film starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Hershey and won the New York Public Library Young Adult Fiction Award), Celeste Ascending, As Soon as it Rains, Quite the Other Way, Speak Now, and Lies My Mother Never Told Me: A Memoir (William Morrow). The daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist James Jones (From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line) she chairs the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, which awards $10,000 annually to an unpublished first novel. Her screenplay Anor of Aquatain, written with her husband, Kevin Heisler, won the gold medal at the Houston Film Festival, while her original screenplay Limbo, won a New York Women In Film Screenwriting Award. A Writer in Residence in the New York City public schools through Teachers & Writers Collaborative and a creative writing teacher at the MFA Program in Writing at Long Island University's Southampton campus, she is a sought after keynote speaker at writers' conferences and festivals, libraries, and universities. She is also a black belt in taekwondo.
Lies My Mother Never Told Me is Jones' story of her struggle to overcome her addiction to alcohol and flourish as a writer beneath the looming shadow of her famous father and her emotionally abusive, alcoholic mother. Raised in the Hamptons via France among the glitterati that orbited her famous father, Jones struggled to find herself, both as an independent woman and as a novelist. She grew up watching her glamorous mother Gloria, a stand-in for Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, and her famous father, James Jones, National Book Award-winning author of From Here to Eternity, entertain the likes of Bill Styron, Irwin Shaw, Willie Morris, and many more. When she was old enough to attend parties with her parents, she mingled with Henry Kissinger, Norman Mailer, and John Steinbeck. The memoir is an intense, searing story of personal evolution, family secrets, and a woman's journey, fraught with the pain of discovery and loss, to find her own voice.
Jones was born in Paris, France and attended French schools (she is fluent in French) until she returned with her family to the U.S. in 1974. She began to study Russian as her third language at age eight, and continued to study the language and literature throughout her four undergraduate years at Wesleyan University and her two years at Columbia University's School of the Arts, where she received her MFA in Writing. Her first novel, As Soon As It Rains, was published in 1986. She continued her Russian studies at the Harriman Institute at Columbia (1986-87), and spent six weeks at the Pushkin Institute for Russian Studies in Moscow in the summer of 1984, and six months there in the winter and spring of 1987, which resulted in her second novel, Quite the Other Way (Doubleday, 1989). While writing both novels, Jones worked at Poets & Writers, Inc. in the Readings/Workshops Program and later as the assistant to the Director of Development. She fell in love with the poetry written by underprivileged children in the workshops she helped fund. As a result, she became a Writer in Residence in the New York City public schools through Teachers & Writers Collaborative.
Jones has been a manuscript reader for Book of the Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club (now Bookspan) for over 12 years. Between novels, she writes short stories and screenplays. Jones lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter.
Praise for Lies My Mother Never Told Me:
"Unadorned, poignant, and honest to the core, Kaylie Jones' memoir is a light emerging from the shadows of a writing life ..."
-- Colum McCann, internationally best-selling author of Zoli, Dancer, and This Side of Brightness
"Kaylie Jones, who has already proved herself a first-rate novelist, shines in this memoir as well. She has the goods, thus writes with restraint. Her talent is different from her father's, but she has his gift for artful straight-shooting. The result, this beautiful story, not unlike From Here to Eternity, brings you to your knees, then hoists you up and dries your eyes."
-- Roger Rosenblatt, author of Lapham Rising and Beet
"The perfect 20th-century hybrid - the drunkalog/celebrity autobio - by the daughter of iconic author James (From Here to Eternity) Jones is a cut above the rest, thanks to Jones' dry wit and some fantastic literary anecdotes about not sleeping with Frank Sinatra, and what to do when your famous late father's famous best friend propositions you when you're barely 20."
-- Sara Nelson, The Daily Beast
"Accomplished author Jones (A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries), daughter of famed literary figure James Jones, has spent most of her life avoiding the twin parental legacies of fame and alcoholism. In this brilliant, touching memoir, Jones faces both head-on. . . A rare child of privilege capable of looking on herself and her family objectively, Jones has produced a memoir that will be a treasure for fans of literature and literary memoirs, as well as anyone who's coped with alcoholics in the family."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A brutally honest account of life with a famous novelist father (James Jones) and an out-of-control alcoholic mother."
-- Scott Eyman, Palm Beach Post
Praise for A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries:
"Although we've gotten used to second-generation actors equaling or surpassing the accomplishments of their parents, the same hasn't happened with second-generation novelists. Nonetheless there are a few... and added to their small number ought to be Kaylie Jones."
-- New York Times
"Jones's third book, a delightful account of Americans living in Paris, captures the essence of childhood. . . Jones, the daughter of James Jones, writes with sensitivity and compassion. Highly recommended."
-- Library Journal
"The daughter of James Jones here offers a discerning, brightly written, apparently semiautobiographical bildungsroman."
-- Publishers Weekly
Praise for Celeste Ascending:
"A heavenly read."
-- Entertainment Weekly