C.J. Kirkland was born in New York to an Italian American mother and a Bahamian father. Raised in the Bahamas and having lived for three years in The Netherlands, she considers herself truly multicultural!
C.J. attended Spelman College on a full academic scholarship. She initially chose to major in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. However, her desire to study and better understand the human psyche (because of events that transpired during her childhood) led her to transfer to the psychology program during her sophomore year. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and subsequently enrolled at Morgan State University to pursue a Master of Arts in International Relations. C.J. planned to embark on a career in journalism and, at the advice of her best friend, moved to Los Angeles during her second year of studies. She completed her requirements for her MA in International Relations at UCLA, during which time she had a short internship at CNN. It was during this internship that C.J. met her mentor who believed she should open herself up to opportunities in mainstream television, not just news broadcasting. After booking a national commercial on her very first audition, C.J. worked as a commercial and voice-over actress for four years before returning to her first love: writing.
While working as a freelance writer C.J. embraced her psychology background and began a creative writing group at a Los Angeles residential home for at-risk youth. She also volunteered at a Memphis non-profit organization, helping students build their writing and English skills in preparation for the GED exam. In 2011, C.J. was the graduation keynote speaker at BRIDGES in Memphis, Tennessee.
Currently, C.J. is writer of the River City Rising blog for cityCURRENT. She is also a contributing writer for Executive Speakers Bureau and the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.
C.J. recently completed her first Contemporary Fiction novel, FOR TRUE. She lives in Memphis with her husband, young son, and two dogs.
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