Kaylie Jones is the author of Lies My Mother Never Told Me, a Publishers Weekly starred review memoir chosen as one of the hottest summer reads by The Palm Beach Pulse, The Daily Beast, and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Kaylie was born in Paris, France and attended French schools until she returned with her family to the U.S. in 1974. Her father was the novelist James Jones.
Kaylie began to study Russian as her third language at age 8, and continued to study the language and literature through 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, Kaylie 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, Kaylie became a Writer in Residence in the NYC public schools through Teachers & Writers Collaborative.
She taught Fiction workshops at The Writer’s Voice from 1988 to 1996, then became involved in the creation of the MFA Program in Writing of LIU’s Southampton campus, where she still teaches Literature and Fiction Writing. Between novels, Kaylie writes short stories and screenplays. 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.
Her third novel, A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, (Bantam, 1990) won a New York Public Library Young Adult Fiction Award. The novel was adapted as a Merchant Ivory Film directed by James Ivory and starring Kris Kristofferson, LeeLee Sobieski, Barbara Hershey and Jesse Bradford, in September of 1998. Working on the screen adaptation of A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and James Ivory increased Kaylie’s passion for film writing. She and her husband recently co-wrote two screenplays for Terrence Malick and Intermedia Films.
Her novel, Celeste Ascending, was published by Harper Collins in April 2000. Her latest novel, Speak Now, was released in hardcover by Akashic Books in October 2003, along with a new paperback edition of A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries. Speak Now will be published in France by Belfond in 2005. Her novels have been translated into many languages including French, Dutch, German, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.
Kaylie has been a manuscript reader for Book of the Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club (now Bookspan) for over twelve years. She also chairs the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, which awards $10,000 annually to an unpublished first novel. In the last eleven years, nine of the winners have been published to critical acclaim.