Daughter of a preacher from Southern Illinois, Jené Ray Barranco was born and reared in the land of expansive cornfields, hay rides, church socials, and casseroles. Along with her parents and four siblings, Jené uprooted to a new Southern landscape in Jackson, Mississippi when she was thirteen. Here she continued to
spend most of her life in the deep South.
Barranco’s creative gifts were always in motion growing up as she drifted from endless hours of sketching with charcoal pencils, to dancing and choreography and then to the love of writing she picked up during a creative writing class in high school. In 1986, Michael Barranco swept her off her feet and they married the following year. Never abandoning her love of writing, she wrote spiritual songs, poetry, and love notes to her husband of twenty-four years.