I do not know what brings you here, to my humble website, but know that you are most welcome. Please come in, sit by the fire, rest your weary feet, snuggle under a comfy blanket, and enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate. It’s imported from the UK and France, because that’s where I first tasted the best hot chocolate in my life. So far, I’ve not tasted anything that compares.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in West Chicago, IL, “the middle of the middle-West” as Alabama might say. I’m the oldest of four, and was homeschooled until high school, when I attended the small, private Christian school known as Wheaton Academy. I have two younger brothers and one younger sister. I love baseball, country music, and thunderstorms, and my favorite seasons are fall and winter. Until recently I resided in the lovely state of North Carolina, but the Lord moved us to Wisconsin in October 2015 and so my husband and I headed off on a new adventure to the Northern Tundra with our four adorable children: Leiana Arwen, Nathalie Eowyn, Brantland Eomer, and Grayden Erebor.
Yeah. We’re unashamed Tolkien nerds. But I come by it honestly.
All through my growing-up years, my parents inspired a love of reading in my soul. My mom read the entire boxed set of Little House books to me when I was but a wee babe, and continued to read out loud to me as I grew, eventually teaching me to read for myself, all the while praying earnestly that I might grow to love reading. (I think she might have regretted those prayers just a teeny, tiny bit when I got older and moved from “avid” reader into “voracious” reader and would stay up until all hours of the night just to finish “one more chapter.”)
Most evenings before bed, my dad would read out loud to us kids, and it was through his voice that I first journeyed into the realms of Narnia, Middle Earth, Prydain, and Sunnybank. Each night, I battled the Witch King of Angmar with Eowyn, or was transported through the Wardrobe with Lucy. I sobbed over the death of Queenie with Miriam, made my way home alongside Bruce, and traveled via tesseract with Meg and her brother Charles Wallace.
All throughout my life, stories have played an integral role. They have molded who I am as a person. One of my favorite quotes is one by George Christopher Lichtenberg:
“To read means to borrow; to create out of one’s readings is paying off one’s debts.”
So I suppose it was only natural that I also had an unquenchable desire to write my own stories. I have always been a story-teller. Whether it was penning ridiculous novels about young orphans happening upon a wild horse, taming it, and winning the Kentucky Derby, playing games of vivid make-believe with my siblings and cousins, daydreaming, or making up stories for the kids I babysat… I was almost always creating a story of some kind.
In the fall of 2000, I began attending Taylor University, a wonderful Christian college surrounded by vast fields of corn. When I came home that summer after my freshman year, my dad greeted me with a challenge.
“Jenelley,” (he’s one of a very, very few people who can still get away with calling me that) he said, “if you want to be a writer, you ought to be writing. I’d like you to write ten pages of an adventure story each day this summer for me to read out loud to the family each night.”
Ten pages a day? My mind reeled a bit.
“I’ll pay you a dollar per page, and an extra thousand dollars if you finish the story by the end of the summer.”
And that was how I got serious about being an author. It was the best summer of my life as I frantically wrote my pages during breaks throughout the day at my job in the admissions office of our local water park, and then I would bike home and furiously type up those pages to print out for my dad to read out loud to the entire family as we grabbed blankets and pillows and got comfy on the couches in our living room. No author could ever ask for a better audience. Don’t get me wrong, they let me know when they didn’t like something! And sometimes their excitement about certain aspects of the story led to changes from what I had intended. But for the most part, they fell in love with my story and my characters and clamored for more at the end of every reading.
Even now, my family remains my biggest fans, and whenever I share a new story with them, I get instant requests for more and questions of, “When will the next book be out?”
Dear Reader, I hope you will enjoy stopping by now and then to peruse my scribblings. I write to entertain, to inspire, and to kindle a fire of imagination in the hearts of my readers. And I always keep my first audience in mind with everything I write: my family.
That is who I am writing to, dear Reader. I want to create stories that families can read out loud together before bedtime, stories of heroes and adventures, stories of love and loss and heartache, stories of overcoming insurmountable odds, stories of mystery and magic… but always stories that are family-friendly, stories you can read without fear of tripping over objectionable content. Because I believe there are other families out there like mine, who love to read together.
If that sounds appealing, then by all means, settle in and stay awhile.
P.S. I love hearing from you! If you ever wish to send me a question or a comment, feel free to contact me by email: HERE (firstname.lastname@example.org)