| Ravenstone Press
Stories of Kansas and the Great Plains
|Jerri Garretson - Author, Illustrator & Photographer|
Peter W. Garretson
Jerri writing on the Konza Prairie near Manhattan KS.
It is embroidered with Hardanger embroidery and cross stitch.
Jerri won a second-place award for it in a needlework contest. The judge was from the Smithsonian Museum.
Photo by Peter W. Garretson
Jerri drew the horse above when she was eleven years old, on Christmas Day 1958. Luckily, her handwriting improved as she got older.
Jerri & Peter Garretson
|Jerri Garretson was born in
California. When she was less than two years old,
her family moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where she attended Eugene Field
Elementary school and
graduated from Manhattan High School. Jerri has one
brother and two sisters, all younger than
Jerri was a tomboy who liked to play imagination games,
pretending grandiose scenarios with her friends. They were
pirates, Indians, horses, magical beings, explorers, anything that
struck their fancy. She liked to roller skate, ride her bicycle,
swim, and play kickball and tetherball. She avidly collected rocks and
fossils and still has some of her childhood collection.
She was crazy about horses and always wanted one. She and her friends had a "club" they called "The Order of White Horses" with silly rules like, "you have to wear white every day" (which was easy because they had white underwear and socks) and "you have to draw a horse every day."You can see one of her childhood drawings in the green column on the left. She loved to ride horses but didn't get to do it very often and she never did get a horse.
Some of Jerri's other favorite activities were music (she played the violin and piano), dance (she took ballet, modern dance and flamenco dancing and taught dance when she was in high school), drama, arts and crafts, and Girl Scouts. She was a Brownie and Girl Scout for seven years. In high school she taught herself enough guitar chords so that she could accompany herself singing folk songs and then and later sang for parties.
Jerri also loved to read. By the time she was in fourth
grade, she was reading both children's books and adult books. She
trouble with her fourth grade teacher for reading when she should have
working on assignments. Some of her favorite books were Winged
Moccasins, the Black Stallion books, Robin Hood, Black
Beauty, and fairy tales.
Because she loved stories, she liked to write her own and began making stories with her spelling words in the second grade. She still has a story that she wrote in sixth grade about Martians invading the New York subway system, and she thought it was fun to put that into her book Imagicat as one of Jeff's stories.
Jerri earned her bachelor's degree in English and psychology from the University of Kansas. Life is full of surprises. Jerri planned to be at least 26 years old and have a PhD degree before getting married, but she met Peter Walter Garretson in the Manhattan swimming pool the summer after she graduated from high school. They got engaged four months later when she was only 17, and married two weeks after her 18th birthday. He took out their marriage license on her 18th birthday, the first day her mother didn't have to sign a form giving her permission to get married that young.
A friend of hers said, "Marriage at 18 is the acid test of maturity," and predicted the marriage wouldn't last a year. Jerri laughs and says, "I must have passed the test because Peter and I are still married and still in love." Peter is four years older than Jerri and graduated from Kansas State University the same day they got married.
The first three years they were married, Peter was in Law School at the University of Kansas while Jerri completed her undergraduate degree in English and psychology and went to graduate school in clinical psychology for a year. Then Peter entered the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant. Although he hadn't planned to make a career in the army at first, they both enjoyed military life and travel. Peter's 24-year career as an army lawyer took them all over the world. They lived in Germany, Japan, and Puerto Rico overseas, and in Kentucky, Virginia, Kansas, Hawaii and Illinois in the USA. One of their favorite activities is traveling, and during all of their years in these places, they got to see many interesting and unusual places.
Jerri started writing professionally as a Public Affairs
Officer for the U.S. Army Engineer District in Japan, where she created
and edited their first corps newspaper, the Bamboo Bridge. It was
in Japan that she also began publishing her photos in the Bamboo Bridge
and other publications. Her first published works for children were
articles about other
cultures in children's magazines such as Highlights for Children
and Child Life. Most of her articles in children's
magazines have been
illustrated with her photos. One of them is online here.
Jerri and Peter have two sons, Peter Anthony, who is a US Air
Force officer, and Leif (also known as Alex), who served in
infantry. Leif died in April 2008. Peter Anthony is married and
and a son.
As a military wife, Jerri learned to be versatile and
flexible. She worked as an office manager, a writer-editor, public
officer, personnel manager, and preschool teacher. She earned her
degree in educational technology from the University of Hawaii at
When Peter retired from the army they returned to
Manhattan, Kansas, where they lived in an old stone house built in
1886. You can see part of the front porch or that house in Diane
illustration on page 134 of Imagicat.
It was fun imagining that Jeff and Mortimer lived in her house.That
old stone stone house has since been demolished to make way for a
Jerri and Peter now live in Sun City Center, Florida.
For six years she was head children's librarian at Manhattan Public Library. She resigned to spend more time with her family and writing and to continue to develop Ravenstone Press, which she founded in 1997. To help her with book design, she went back to school at Manhattan Area Technical College and earned a degree in Graphic Arts. Jerri also worked part time as a general reference librarian at Kansas State University's Hale Library for two-and-a-half years.
Jerri still loves to travel, write, read, draw and take
photos. You'll find many samples of her writing, art and photography
graphic design on the
Ravenstone Press website. She also designs for several CafePress
shops. See our home page for links to
some of them. In the fall of 2006, she realized a dream she'd had for
years and spent three weeks in China with Peter.
Jerri's most popular book is The Secret of Whispering Springs,
a ghost story/mystery read by all ages.
Time: Ghost Stories from the
Prairie, published in July 2005, includes
her stories. They are her first published fiction for
adults. See the YouTube
video with Jerri reading the Afterword from Trespassing
Jerri's newest book is a color edition of Johnny Kaw - The
Pioneer Spirit of Kansas, published in September 2011.
Jerri is available for school and library visits, and presentations for organizations.
You may send email to Jerri through Ravenstone Press at:
Shop Writers -- Jerri still belongs to a group of Manhattan, Kansas
write in a wide variety of genres, from fantasy to romance and
fiction. Jerri is the only one who writes for children and young
Visit the Coffee Shop Writers' website to see what our lively
Jerri's interview at Fallen Angel Reviews (June 2006)
Teacher/Librarian Resources | Fun for Kids
Kansas Tall Tales | The Secret of Whispering Springs | Trespassing Time Twister Twyla
order forms for our books
| Order our books online
Last updated October 8, 2011