Jo Linda Susenbach was born in Miami, Florida. As a child, Jo loved nothing more than exploring outside, looking for crawdads under rocks in the creek, catching insects and snakes. Growing up she lived in North Carolina, Ohio and Orlando, FL before settling in the Birmingham, Alabama area as a teenager. Jo attended Vestavia Hills High School during which time she met her future husband, Rick Kittinger, on a blind date. They married in 1974 and had three children.
Jo graduated summa cum laude from the University of Montevallo in 1977. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art, with a minor in biology. Her senior year Jo was president of Kappa Pi, an art honor society, and a member of Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society. Jo’s concentration during college was ceramics and for two years after college, Jo was co-owner of Wood and the Works, a fine crafts gallery and pottery studio.
Jo’s interest in publishing began early. She was editor of her high school yearbook and began submitting original craft designs for publication shortly after college. Her projects may be found in numerous books and magazines published through Oxmoor House and Heritage House. Jo began writing for children in 1991. In addition to her books, Jo has published articles in various books, newspapers, and magazines including Highlights for Children, Pockets, Boys Quest and The Flicker. She wrote numerous feature articles which appeared on the Just For Kids page of the Birmingham News and items for Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement and CTB/McGraw-Hill.
Jo also served as an editorial assistant with The Flicker children’s magazine and is actively involved with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, currently serving as a Regional Advisor for the Southern Breeze region (AL, GA, MS) of SCBWI.
Jo loves to visit schools, sharing her excitement for reading and writing with students. Making school author visits also allows Jo to stay in contact with her readers and promote her books. Jo also enjoys speaking at authors’ conferences.
Jo and Rick take every opportunity to travel and explore the great outdoors, looking for birds and other animals, as well as fungi, ferns and flowers. Her other passions include pottery, photography and seeking to live honestly as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Jo Talks About Her Family
I have a wonderful family that is very supportive of my creative work. My husband, Rick was my high school sweetheart. We met on a blind date. I started writing when my children, Rebecca and Robert, were little. They have grown up as I have grown as a writer. My oldest son, Michael, died in the year 2000, at the age of 20, from complications associated with his cerebral palsy. Michael taught all of us the meaning of unconditional love. We are each a better person for having known and loved Michael.
Over the years, many wonderful people have shared our home, becoming “un-official” family members. Each of them has a special place in our hearts.