Long journey ends with award for local author

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St. Johns resident Jennifer Farmer’s first book, “Blue Sky Gone,” is now an award winner after being named a recipient of the IndieReader Discovery Award in the new adult fiction category.

“You put so much of your heart and soul into your book,” Farmer said. “You just want people to enjoy it and get something from it. It is an honor because these are well-renowned people within the author and publishing world.”

The book depicts a fictional account of two sisters, one a police officer and the other working in the financial world, that were in New York City during 9/11. New adult fiction was one of about 40 categories that earned awards.

Farmer began working on the book in 2019, and when the idea for the book came to her it seemed like the perfect fit, because she was about to graduate from the police academy while living in Connecticut when the events of 9/11 took place.

“For me 9/11 was very personal,” Farmer said. “I’ll never forget wanting to get out of the academy and get started with my career so bad. When 9/11 happened, it was very sobering because it was the sudden realization of what my chosen field would entail. It defined to me what being a hero meant.”

One of the driving forces for writing the book was to have it come out in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 in 2021.

However, she was halfway done with the book when the COVID-19 pandemic began and suddenly she found herself homeschooling her children and moving the family to Florida, which left little time to focus on her book.

“I had lost a little bit of hope that I would be able to get it finished,” Farmer said.

But just when she was about to put the book on hold, she walked into her 9-year-old daughter’s room one day and found her overcome with emotion as she held her mother’s half-completed book in her hands.

She encouraged her mother to finish because it was a story that needed to be out there for others to read.

Farmer was moved by her daughter’s words and began dedicating time to the book once again, and it paid off as it was finished and released to the public a couple of weeks prior to the 20th anniversary date.

“I give her all the credit, because without her support, I wouldn’t have had the nudge I needed to get it finished,” Farmer said. 

According to Farmer, cancer and respiratory diseases are still taking their toll on personnel that were on site during the fateful day, even more than 20 years later. She believes the book is a great way to create awareness.

“It brings forth the challenges that we’re still facing today and brings to light the illnesses that many are still dealing with years later,” Farmer said.

The events of 9/11 wound up changing her eventual career path, as years later she ended up working in government and doing her part to help by working for a defense contractor.

“I want people to come away with an overall feeling of hope even through loss and tragedy,” Farmer said. “I also really want to reach a lot of the younger generation, who were not around when it happened. Even though the story is fictional, I did my research and there are a lot of historical details within it.”

A large portion of the proceeds from the book are donated to the 9/11 Memorial Fund and the Tunnels to Towers Foundation.

However, Farmer has been holding book signings and public appearances in the local area of late, where a portion of the proceeds also benefit The Fire Watch, a statewide organization with the goal of ending veteran suicide.

The book can be found in the St. Johns County library system, as well online outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Walmart.

For more information about the book or to purchase personalized and signed copies, go to jsfarmerauthor.com.

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