Monday, September 30, 2013

Interview with Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Jenelle, welcome to Homeschool Authors. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Introspective, imaginative, devoted

What are some of your hobbies?
I don't have much time for hobbies after being a stay-at-home mom of 2 young daughters (4 and 1), about to dive into homeschooling a kindergartener, and writing fantasy novels... but if I had time for hobbies I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, biking, reading, horseback riding, downhill skiing, ice skating, and ultimate frisbee.

Have you always loved fantasy?
Pretty much. Growing up, my Dad would read out loud to my younger siblings and me every night before bed. That was where I was introduced to The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Taran of Caer Dalban, Charles Wallace and Meg from A Wrinkle in Time, and many other wonderful fantasy classics. These story times inspired my imagination and my siblings, cousins and I spent countless hours trying to find a door into Narnia.

The homeschooling experience is different for everyone. What do you feel made your experience unique?
I don't know about unique, but I have 8 girl cousins all within 4 years of my age and we were all homeschooled... so our homeschool "co-op" was all family. I think that's one of the reasons I have always had such a close, almost sibling-like, relationship with my cousins. I loved being homeschooled, I love that it cemented my friendship with my younger brothers and sister in a way that might not have happened otherwise as there are 4 years between myself and my next oldest sibling.

What caused you to start writing?
I've been writing since I could hold a pen and form words. I recently found a short story I had written when I was six or seven about my then baby brother. My grandma wrote a book, and most of my family loves reading, so I guess it's just in my blood. In high school I co-authored a science fiction novel with my best friend, it was kind of cheesy, but we had a lot of fun doing it. I think that was when I first started to think about writing seriously.

What inspired King's Warrior?
My dad asked me to write an adventure story that he could read out loud to my siblings at night. The idea sort of inspired me. I went and started hunting through old creative writing journals, looking for somewhere to start, and I came across an old journal entry I had written about the sun rising over a pond. In the journal entry I likened the sun to a dragon and the pond to its cave. This got me thinking about how in a world with dragons, the sun might be seen as a sort of dragon to the people, and maybe even called something like The Dragon's Eye instead of the sun. From there, the story sprang to life.

Could you give us a description?
When Dark Warriors invade her country, it is up to Princess Kamarie to seek out the legendary king's warrior and request his aid. The feisty princess has spent her life dreaming of adventure and is thrilled to be tasked with such a quest. However, the adventure merely begins when she meets Brant: a warrior with a mysterious past. He joins her cause readily, his heart smoldering with a vendetta Kamarie cannot completely understand. But whether she trusts him or not, the hope of their world rests on the steel he wears at his side.

Who will enjoy this story?
I wrote the story originally for my dad to read out loud to my family. At the time, my audience consisted of myself (20), my high school aged brothers (16 & 14), my younger sister (10), and my parents (40s). My goal with writing fantasy is to provide clean, adventure-filled stories that can be enjoyed together by families.

Where can they buy King's Warrior?, Barnes and, anywhere books are sold online. They are also available in the Raleigh, NC area libraries. We are working to get them into more libraries, as well.

What is the best writing advice you every received?
"If you want to be a writer, you need to be writing." My dad told me that when he challenged me to write that very first book the summer after my freshman year of college. It's the best advice I've ever gotten when it comes to writing.

Do you have any final thoughts?
I'm not sure about final thoughts, but I'd love to share a snippet from my book with you. This is my favorite scene in the entire book. It's from near the beginning of the story:
"And which way do you think we should follow the river, your highness?" Oraeyn asked through gritted teeth.

"That way, of course," Kamarie said, pointing upstream, which she knew full well was the wrong direction, back towards the palace, just to annoy him; it worked.

"Fine!" Oraeyn exploded. "Have it your way! But when we show up back at the palace, I'm not going to take the blame for getting us lost, I know which way we are supposed to go, and you, apparently, have no experience in following directions at all! You want to go up-river,¦ then¦ you... go up-river!" He knew he was sputtering, but he no longer cared, “I, on the other hand, am going to go down-river, through the Mountains of Dusk, and into the village called Peak's Shadow, to find your father's friend and explain why you are not with me. But I won't have to explain that will I? Because you know where you're going. You know your way around, don't you?" 

Of course I knew we had to head down-river, stable boy, Kamarie said in a chilly tone. As he began his tirade, Kamarie was simply amused, but by the time he finished, she was no longer amused and in no mood to explain that she had been teasing.

At that, Oraeyn completely lost any and all grip he had on his loosely controlled frustration. What right did she have to treat him like this? She was only a princess, after all. And he was a squire, in training to become a defender of her nation. Without people like him, she might have been born a peasant's daughter. The nerve of her referring to him as a stable boy!

He dismounted from his chestnut horse and marched over to her. Glaring up at her through the rain that had been pouring down on them all day, he grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the saddle. She let out a startled yelp and started beating on him with her fists. He had to admit, the girl could throw a punch. He swung her into his arms and turned as she started yelling and protesting.

"Now, young man" Darby started, but stopped when he threw her a withering glare.

"I am not going to hurt her. I am just going to teach her that she can't treat people the way she does and get away with it," he said.

He slowly and deliberately carried Kamarie to the riverbank and dumped her into the four feet of chilly, slow-moving water. He watched until she came up, making sure that she was not hurt. Then he turned and walked back to his horse.

 Thanks so much for having me!

Jenelle is giving away a copy of her book! Enter to win below!


  1. Your book sounds really intriguing! I'd love to read it some day. I also love fantasy, especially The Auralia Thread series by Jeffrey Overstreet, and The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Have you read those?


  2. Tialla: Thank you! I have read Eragon, but not the rest of the series yet, and I have a copy of the first book in the Auralia Thread series in a drawer in my nightstand... waiting its turn :)

  3. This looks so exciting! I hope to read it soon!

  4. Well, at least you have a copy of the first book in the Auralia Thread series - most people haven't even heard of it. Anyways, when you get around to reading it, I'm sure you'll like the series - it is by far the best fantasy series I have ever read. :)


  5. This is a good book!! You all should read it!!! :)

  6. The books you mentioned are some of my very favorites! I really enjoyed the excerpt from your book.

  7. sounds like a really great book

  8. Tialla: I have heard that from several people, so I am looking forward to starting the series.

    Anna: Thank you :) I am so glad you enjoyed it!

    Morgan and Deb: Thanks!

    (Please excuse the typos in the excerpt... something went wonky with the formatting, apparently, because they aren't there in my document that I copy/pasted for the interview)!

  9. Jenelle,
    Sorry about the mistakes, my email messed up some things.

  10. Once again, your novel intrigues me! I love an exciting, well-written, clean fantasy, and they're hard to find. Thank you! What message do you hope your readers will learn when reading King's Warrior?

  11. Sarah: not a problem!!! I noticed them and went to check my original document to make sure that I hadn't somehow missed something major in that section... then realized that it must have been something with emailing them (I've had that happen before on both ends of sending/receiving stuff). NO worries! :)

  12. This book sounds like a great one for family read alouds! So glad to have learned of it, and also the The Auralia Thread from the comments. I am always looking for reading material for my home school students!

  13. Hannah: the overall message is the theme of good vs. evil. But there are lots of other themes as well: forgiveness in the face of horrible betrayal, the importance of friendship and loyalty, courage in the face of fear, perseverance in spite of overwhelming odds... are all messages I would like my readers to take away from my books.

    And, if nothing else, I hope they find it to be a fun adventure to get lost in for a while.