Jess spent her childhood between the UK and India, and grew up hearing stories about the Himalayas from her grandmother: how she travelled to India by boat at ten years old; settled on top of a Himalayan foothill, and encountered many animals. Soon, Jess was clambering over the mountains searching for wildlife and imagining that she was on her own adventures in the wilderness.
Jess has always wanted to be a writer. She holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she won the Bath Spa Writing for Young People Prize 2011, and an MA in Creative Writing for Young People from there too.
Jess began writing Running on the Roof of the World whilst living in the Indian Himalayas in 2013. As part of her research, she trekked into the mountains in search of yaks, met the Dalai Lama after attending his teachings and went up to an altitude of 18400 feet at the Indo – Tibetan border.
She now lives between Louisiana and Bath, with her husband and her two office assistants, Luna and Bo Bo, the Maine Coon kittens. You’ll often find her back in the Himalayas too.
Running on the Roof of the World: There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. ‘Dalai Lama.’ Tash has to follow many rules to survive in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash’s parents, she and her best friend Sam must break the rules. They are determined to escape Tibet – and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India. And so, with a backpack of Tash’s father’s mysterious papers and two trusty yaks by their side, their extraordinary journey across the mountains begins.