Today our guest author is Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, author of the well-know Minstrel’s Song Series. If you haven’t had a chance to check out her books yet, you really must. There are four books in all: King’s Warrior, Second Son, Yorien’s Hand, and my personal favorite Minstrel’s Call. Ms. Schmidt has an incredible gift for writing epic fantasy. There are dragons in her books…did you hear me say DRAGONS?
Author Bio: Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-Midwest. She now resides with her husband and their four adorable children in the wilds of Wisconsin. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family story-times when her father would read out loud to her and her siblings each night before bed. Her imagination was captured by authors such as Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. It wasn’t long before she began making up her own stories and sharing them with her family. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.
Now to the Interview!
Why do you like to write stories?
I love writing stories for many different reasons. I love using my imagination and creating fantastical realms and stories of daring and adventure, because I’ve always loved reading, and that’s the sort of story I enjoy reading best. I like to inspire the people around me with questions of “what if?” and make people consider things from angles and perspectives they haven’t thought of before. But most of all, I write because I want to emulate my Father in Heaven who is the Greatest Author of all time. As the Creator of all things, I believe that ultimately, He is the one who has given me this passion for stories and story-telling, and the desire to reflect His creativity in what poor measures that I am able. To be able to create a story, to reflect some of the creativity of my Creator, to inspire someone else, is one of the greatest privileges I can think of.
If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be? What would you do and why?
I would hang out with Kamarie in a heartbeat. She is, in many ways, the person I would like to be when I “grow up.” She is more extraverted, and more impetuous than I, and though life has given her a lot of responsibility, she rises to it with quiet grace while never losing her sense of adventure… a sense of adventure that I sometimes fear I have lost somewhere in the passing of time and growing up and having to be an adult.
I would love to just let her pull me along on a wild adventure. We’d go horseback riding, maybe go visit the Mountains of Dusk and visit with the dragons who live there. I’d love to discuss some literature or battle strategies with a gryphon, catch a glimpse of the Harshlands (though I don’t have a lot of desire to actually wander through that difficult sand-swept desert), spend some time swimming at the Pearl Cove (perhaps chat with a mermaid), and I’d love to try to find the Ionell—the secret haven of the unicorns. After that, maybe we could beg a ride to Llycaelon from a couple of dragons… because flying on dragonback is something I’ve always wanted to do! Whatever we did, though, I know we’d have a blast!
Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us why or why not.
In a heartbeat. Though I would miss indoor plumbing and the conveniences of modern civilization, I would love to live in Tellurae Aquaous. There is enough danger to make the world a good place to have adventures, but it isn’t so dangerous that I fear I would die in the first few chapters. Also, the world is so big and beautiful and full of interesting places to visit and explore. I would never get tired of finding all the nooks and crannies and surprises.
Can you suggest any books/authors that have inspired you and your writing?
Can I recommend…! Well, you asked for it.
George MacDonald’s The Light Princess and The Princess and the Goblin. C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows. Gwen Walker’s He Whistles for the Cricket. Katherine Patterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Stephen R. Lawhead’s Song of Albion and Pendragon Cycle. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Death Gate Cycle. Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci Chronicles. Anything by Timothy Zahn… and so very many more. The list of authors who have inspired my imagination and contributed to my style of writing is long, indeed.
Can you share one lesson you have learned from your writing with us today?
I’ve learned that the story doesn’t always turn out the way I thought it would… and that’s okay. Sometimes the story I intend isn’t the story that’s needed, and it is important to listen to my characters, my intuition, or perhaps it is the whisper of God into my heart that causes the words to change direction on me. But when I loosen my hold on the reins a little, that’s when the story always turns into something more beautiful than I expected.
If your writing style could be compared to the weather, what would it be?
I’d love to say a tornado or a snowstorm… something exciting and unexpected that whirls you off into delicious adventures where you completely lose yourself and all sense of time until the last page… but perhaps I’m not quite there yet. Maybe someday.
I’d be perfectly content, however, for my writing to be like a beautiful summer’s day. The kind where you just want to go on a picnic, or spend the day on a boat… that beckons you to forget all your responsibilities and troubles for a little while and linger as long as you can….
Bonus: You come face to face with a dragon: What do you do?
I bow politely and greet the dragon with the respect due his enormous size and strength. Then I quickly ask if he might enjoy some riddles, or perhaps is in need of someone to regale him with stories. I might even offer to sing a little… I have an okay voice, though it’s not anywhere as beautiful as my sister’s… but perhaps he would be interested in hearing some of her songs.
Thank you for joining us today, Jenelle!