Spinelli then dreamed of being a baseball player. He was involved in the sport during his junior high and high school years, but he soon switched gears. In an interview on Scholastic.com, Spinelli said he had his first work published in high school. He wrote a poem about his high school football winning “a heart-stopping game against one of the best teams in the country.” The poem appeared in the local newspaper, and “suddenly I had something new to become: a writer.”
After high school, Spinelli attended Gettysburg College. There he majored in English and served as the editor of the school’s literary magazine. Spinelli also attended writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He then landed a job as an editor for a magazine, and he used his lunch hours to craft his fiction. It was also at the office that he met his wife Eileen, and the couple eventually married and had six children together.
At first, Spinelli focused on writing for adults. He had four unpublished novels under his belt before he had his first big break. Spinelli decided to write from a child’s point of view for his next book instead of an adult. With the help of his wife, he landed an agent to represent him and went on to publish his debut children’s book, Space Station Seventh Grade, in 1982. He followed up that novel with Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush? (1984), which drew inspiration from two of his own children who had a contentious relationship.---from biography.com/writer/jerry-spinelli