Jeffrey H Baer
I was born January 21, 1969 in Brooklyn, NY. My dad was stationed in Fort Huachuca, AZ after his return from Vietnam, so I was an army brat without knowing it. My childhood was like a lot of others–difficult. I was advanced for my age, as everyone discovered when I read the Times Square message boards at age two– out loud, no less. My grandparents told me how surprised the pedestrians were; I was too engaged to notice, or else I'd pass the hat around. Unfortunately, the other kids weren't surprised. In fact, they were downright offended and often reminded me as much.
The worst of it came in junior high school, when the entire grade hated my guts without knowing why. Looking back on it, I should've thanked those kids for giving me all that attention. I realized I could write when our seventh-grade English teacher asked us to write an essay about a famous woman. Since I loved listening to pop music, I wrote my essay about Roberta Flack, but I was out sick the day after handing it in. The next Monday a girl in my class complained “Gee, thanks, Jeff. We all really wanted to hear about Roberta Flack.” Apparently the teacher was so impressed with my essay, he read it to the class–and my classmates had yet another reason to consider me persona non grata. My so-called “bad reputation” followed me to high school. Suffice it to say I was never so relieved in my life than graduation day.
I entered Baruch College in 1987 to study accounting, but after seven years I realized I didn’t know how to crunch numbers the way they should be crunched. I detoured into journalism for a year, but my heart wasn’t in it, so I took time off to sort out my career goals. At the same time I worked as a receivables manager for a Manhattan-based trade magazine. It was the worst job I ever had, as I coped with office politics and the nastiest, most manipulative boss I ever had. But the experience inspired THE STRICKLAND FILE, which I wrote between 1997 and 2003 and am revising at the moment.
After Mill Hollow I worked at a list management company called Stevens-Knox & Associates for sixteen months. After losing that job I had trouble finding steady work for fourteen years. But in April 2002 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is high-functioning autism that affects social skills. It answered a lot of questions, particularly why I was socially inept as a child and couldn’t get jobs on my own. Now I work part-time for a security firm thanks to a supported-employment group called JobPath.
In addition to writing fiction, I compose songs using software. I enjoy old school R&B as well as 70s pop. I also sing and play guitar, bass and drums.