Tawni O'Dell (born 1964) is an American novelist. Born and raised in Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States. O'Dell was born in the same town as movie actor Jimmy Stewart. The first in her family to attend college, she graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism. She disliked journalism and preferred writing fiction. She lived for many years in the Chicago area before moving back to Pennsylvania, where she now lives with her two children. O'Dell's literary career began with uncertainty. In 13 years she wrote six unpublished novels and collected over 300 rejection slips before her first novel Back Roads was published to enormous acclaim. The July 24th 2000 issue of People magazine featured her in a story and mentioned praise that Oprah Winfrey gave proclaiming her not only as "an author but a writer".