Why Do Authors Write: Jenelle Schmidt

Hello agian! I have launched a series on my blog called "Why Do Authors Write". It's a series of interveiws and questions I asked a couple authors to participate in. Today I interveiwed Jenelle Schmidt

Why do you write? Jenelle Schmidt

Earlier I told you about how I spent much of my childhood playing make-believe and pretending I could enter imaginary worlds like Narnia. I sometimes think that writing is my way of making up for the fact that I never really did go to Narnia. By creating new stories, new worlds that I hope will fascinate others like me, perhaps I feel that I can even out the score a little. Maybe there are other worlds, fairy mists we cannot penetrate, it is more likely that such ideas simply spring from our human way of trying to explain heaven’s existence, but whether these worlds exist or not, the imagination can make them real at least for a time. Writing is my gift, telling stories is what I have to share with the world. Stories are one of the essential parts of life. Every moment is a story, whether it is spoken, written, or simply experienced. A story is one of the greatest gifts that one person can give to another. The greatest gift God ever gave us was this story, the one we each live, and the hope and promise of a reality beyond the imagination that he made us capable of. To inspire that imagination is to open a door, a door to new worlds ripe for exploration.

1.   Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start writing?

My name is Jenelle Schmidt. I grew up in West Chicago, Illinois. I am the oldest of four and my brothers and sister are my best friends. I’ve been writing (or at least telling stories) my entire life. As a child, I had an incredibly active imagination. My favorite thing to do was to play “make-believe” with just about anyone who would deign to join me. The title of this simple-sounding game encompassed worlds of opportunities, because the parameters of the game were as limitless as our imaginations. The game often involved components such as: pretending to be someone else; pretending to live somewhere interesting and unique, such as a sailboat or in a jungle; or pretending to have the ability to travel to other worlds. In the mind of a child, a bed can become a houseboat, a lilac bush is easily turned into a horse, and a fallen branch from a willow tree can serve for several days as a palace, a forest, a jungle, or a pirate ship, depending on the mood of its occupants.

 2.   Tell me about the books you have written and the most recent ones. How did you come up with the ideas?
King's WarriorI have written four books which comprise the “Minstrel’s Song” series. The first one is published, the other three are done and awaiting editing and cover art. My goal is to have the second one available in the Spring of 2013.
The first book introduces its audience to the world of Tellurae Aquaous, where the realm of Aom-igh is threatened by the darkness of an ancient enemy that was thought to be only legend. A peaceful nation, Aom-igh stands little chance against the impending storm. A king, whose reluctant rise to power has lead to years of peace and prosperity, is given no choice but to seek desperate measures to defend his people. He calls upon his feisty daughter to venture out into the kingdom to seek the aid of a lost warrior; one who had defended Aom-igh in the past. The princess, who relishes the thought of the adventure, is in for more than she could have imagined as she embarks on the quest with her maid and a young squire. Along the path of their voyage they meet strangers with mysterious secrets, enemies whose wickedness would weaken the knees of the stoutest soldiers and creatures of lore long thought not to exist. However, the marvel of the adventure only just begins when they meet the man they have been sent to find, a man with a past as mysterious and a future as clouded as any they have ever known in life or legend. The hope of their world rests on the steel he wears at his side…

I came up with the idea slowly. It started out with a crazy idea - I came home from my first year of college and my dad challenged me to write a book. He wanted 10 pages a day that he could read out loud to the entire family each night. The idea inspired me and I started looking through my old journals and creative writing pieces and happened across an old journal entry in which I had compared the rising sun to a dragon coming out of its cave and soaring through the sky. That image caught my imagination and I started writing. Writing while your target audience is reading every new batch of pages each night is a daunting task, but a good one, as you can get a feel for what your audience likes/wants and get their input and ideas along the way. The story just unfolded as I went along.

3. How did you get so interested in YA Fantasy?
Growing up, my dad read out loud to us four kids every night. We read everything from “Hank the Cowdog” to “The Lord of the Rings” and I loved them all... but the fantasy books were always my favorites. I’ve read hundreds of books in every genre, but fantasy is where my heart remains.

4.What is the hardest part of writing to you?
The hardest part of writing for me lies in all the technical details. In fantasy, you often create a whole new world and there are battles and wars, and for me the hard part is figuring out how that world works: how is laid out, what sort of currency do they use, what are good battle strategies, how does magic work/why does magic work, what is the history of the world.... all the things that may not even be in the actual story, but that as an author I need to know the answers to so that my story and world are consistent.

5.What is a typical writing day for you? When and where do you write?
 There really is no such thing as a “typical” writing day for me. I have two very young daughters (a three year old and a four month old) and I write whenever they are both sleeping. Before I had kids, I would write in the mornings, and I would try to write outside as much as possible, but now I have to take whatever time I get and make the most of it.

6.What advice would you give young writers who are reaching their goals to be an Author?

a.Write. Write often, write about everything you see, keep a notebook nearby and jot down anything that catches your imagination

b.Read. Become an expert in the type of story you like to write. Read outside your genre.

c. Learn how to accept negative criticism without getting defensive. Negative reviews/comments are what can help you polish your skills.

7. Are you working on anything right now?
Yes, I have a new world and story in the works. I don’t have a title for it yet, but it is going to be completely different from the Minstrel’s Song series.

8. Do you have any favorite books or authors?
 I have so many favorite books, I’ll try to narrow it down a bit. All-time favorite books and authors are: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Deathgate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

9. Which book of yours would you most recommend?

Right now, I’d have to go with “King’s Warrior” since it’s the only one I have published. However, when the entire series is out I would most recommened The Minstrel, as it is my favorite of the four.

Thanks agian Jenelle for telling us about your books and Why you write! You can find her on her websites HERE and HERE. Comment if you write the same reason as Jenelle! :)


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