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about ME

I grew up performing in a family bluegrass/gospel band and majored in theater in college. In my 20s, I made a living busking on street corners, working as an old school late night deejay, and doing voiceovers. Between 1980 and 1994, my voice was heard on over 3,000 radio and television commercials. 

At age 32, when my kids were 5 and 7, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a virulent blood cancer. That laid me pretty low for about two years, but I used the chemo downtime to write my first two novels, Crazy for Trying (MacAdam-Cage, 1997) and Sugarland (Bertlesmann, 1999). I followed up with my first bestseller, Bald in the Land of Big Hair (HarperCollins, 2001), a memoir about my experience as a young mom and emerging writer struggling with blood cancer. (Spoiler Alert: I lived!)

The success of BLBH sparked a syndicated newspaper column, then a major magazine column, a robust speaking career, and invitations to participate in high-profile book projects. The collaborative process took me back to my creative roots in theater and music, and I loved it. In the past twenty years, I’ve written a few more novels of my own and collaborated on more than thirty books, most of which have been NYT/international bestsellers.

As a collaborator specializing in memoirs and literary fiction, I've worked with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony winners, cultural icons, social change agents, and ordinary people living extraordinary lives. 

I live on the beach in Washington State with multimedia artist Gary Rodgers, my husband of 40+ years. It's a wonderful life, and I'm extremely grateful.

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Me circa 1966

Photo credit: Mom

LONDON DAILY MAIL

“Thoroughly enjoyable, idiosyncratic, and funny... an uplifting celebration of life.” 

NEW YORK TIMES

“Breathtaking candor...and a steady supply of wisecracks.” 

HOUSTON PRESS

“Think Jane Eyre with rock and roll.” 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Joni Rodgers lives, loves, and writes without a safety net... a mix of Molly Ivins' blowsy wit and Anna Quindlen's suburban logic.” 

SOUTHERN LIVING

“This talented author knows how to bring pen and ink people to flesh and blood fulfillment.” 

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Rodgers' strength is her knack for realistic characters and a womanly wise laugh-through-tears appreciation of life.” 

Artist Statement

As a novelist, memoirist, and collaborator, I’m dedicated to storytelling that makes an impact and provokes thought. I believe in the power of parables and in the art of memoir as a sort of cosmic cartography. We each have a small piece of the map of human experience; sharing our stories, we bring clarity and empathy to a collective understanding. I’m not always the best messenger for the moment, but as a collaborator, I have the strength and skill to carry water for the messenger whose moment is at hand. It’s a sacred trust that I take seriously, but overwhelming this work brings me joy. My goal is to convey that joy to We the Reader.

Kudos from Critics

Kudos from Clients

Bona Fides

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Working Relationships

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