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At one time Jeff Howard never thought he would become a writer. Being born and raised in the lake country of northern Minnesota, his passions lay more in the world of fish and animals and woods and lakes. He was given the love of reading by his mother who read to him and his brothers the stories of Dr. Seuss and Laura Ingalls Wilder. As he got older he read every book he could find on nature and natural history. The thought of writing books, though, never crossed his mind.

 

After a two-year mission for his church in 1976, Howard enrolled at then called Brainerd Community College and studied natural sciences but took a literature course under famed Minnesota novelist Jon Hassler who encouraged Howard to write. Still determined to find a career in the natural sciences, Howard attended the University of Minnesotan from 1978-80 where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in natural resources communications. For the next several years Howard combined his love of the outdoors and journalism by writing articles for outdoor publications, producing outdoor television shows, and syndicating a weekly outdoor newspaper column. 

 

The income of a freelance outdoor writer was seldom enough to provide for a family of a wife and four children so in 2003 Howard enrolled at Bethel University and earned a Master of Arts degree in English. For the next three years he taught high school English but saw himself relating to students in a more personal way. In 2008 Howard began his career as a high school counselor and is still serving students in this capacity.

 

His first novel Oh No, Van Gogh is a composite story of the thousands of students he has known and seemingly endless life experiences – good and bad – they’ve had. The events in the story, the memorable characters, and the Starry Night puzzle are all based upon actual events and individuals.