Read the intriguing first book in the Jenelyn's Journey series to explore different countries and real-life legends! This exciting series is filled with travel, mystery, and the supernatural. Eighteen-year-old Jenelyn follows her family's strange tradition to go on a quest to find their true homes called the Journey. Along the way, she faces personal challenges, mystery, and mythical legends.
Where reality meets fantasy a legend turns into a mystery.
A dark legend and a tragic secret create a dangerous mystery but in order to solve it, Jenelyn must put her own life at risk.
Alone for the first time in her life, Jenelyn must face the challenge of starting her Journey. A quest that all members of her family embark upon when they turn eighteen. Guided by her Spirits, she must leave behind everyone she knows and travels from LA to Germany. Luckily she has help; two of her parent’s friends, Gretchen and Laszlo, have offered to host her, but beneath their friendly nature lies a dark family secret and an alluring legend of werewolves that haunts the small German town.
Will Jenelyn be able to find out what really happened? Or will her Spirits guide her to her next destination before she can learn the truth?
Readers who enjoy travel, adventure, fantasy, and personal growth will love being Jenelyn's companion as she sets out to find where in the world she truly belongs.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from northern California but moved to Ireland 8 years ago. I met my husband here and we now have 3 kids and a cat named Guinness. Before moving to Ireland, I was an equestrian trainer teaching the Olympic disciplines and running a horse boarding & training facility.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
In between taking care of kids and housework, I enjoy hiking, reading, singing, and baking, when I get the chance.
Do you have a day job as well?
No, I’m lucky that my husband supports me, allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom and author.
What was your favourite book as a child?
That’s nearly impossible to answer. I adored Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series as well as Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series.
When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
I’d been writing stories for over 20 years when I had the opportunity last year to pursue publishing them. Writing had always been something I did as a side hobby, but never took seriously. Last year, I decided being an author was something I’d be interested in.
What book do you wish you had written?
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that I wished I’d written. I do have several unfinished works that I simply never got around to finishing, and I do wish that I’d fully written them.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
If the planets align and I could live the way I dream, then I would be a successful author fully supporting my family so my husband wouldn’t have to work. That’s my goal, and I can only hope to ever reach it.
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I wrote my first story at 10 years old. Writing was something I always enjoyed, which was why English was my favourite subject in school. I finished my first book when I was 12 years old, and my first “good” book when I was 14. That book actually became my first published work 20 years later.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I never specifically chose my genre, rather just writing what I enjoyed reading. The natural stories in my mind tend toward fantasy and historical fiction. I prefer fiction and fantasy since there aren’t any limitations to what my characters want to do.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas come from different places, but mainly when a particular character or scene from a movie or book sparks one. Sometimes even meeting certain people, such as with Tom’s Song, can create a story in my head.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Rarely, but it can happen when the characters aren’t cooperating smoothly. When it happens, I put the idea aside and work on something else, hence why I have unfinished works.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
I’m actually a plantser, since I do a combination method. I start out as an organised planner with the best intentions to stay true to the outline I created. Then as I write the story, the characters take over, arguments and struggles ensue, and I become a frustrated pantser at the complete mercy of my characters. Although sometimes I do win.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
As I child, I greatly admired Madeleine L’Engle’s writing style and storytelling. I thought the way she described her stories was magical and inspiring. As an adult, I found Diana Gabaldon and Tracy Chevalier to be just as inspiring for the same reason.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Learning how! The publishing world is daunting and I wanted to give up several times. There are so many options and ways to go about it. My first challenge was making the decision to either publish traditionally (if I was lucky) or self-publish. I chose the latter since I like having control.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Yes, I would’ve tried to traditionally publish longer than I did. I was querying agents while learning how to self-publish, and although I do love having full control, the marketing side is arduous enough to make me doubt my abilities. I also question whether my novels are to market, since I’m struggling to find their place in the mainstream trends.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Yes, although I haven’t tried publishing it yet. I plan to in the future once I decide what I want to do with it since it’s in the completely different genre of romance.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I try to do as much organic reach through social media and bloggers as I can and limit my amount of ad spend. I’ve played with Amazon ads with minimal success and haven’t found the courage to try Facebook ads yet. I do plan on creating a newsletter in January that will hopefully help me find readers, but that remains to be seen.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I’m currently writing two YA contemporary fantasy series, the main series being Jenelyn’s Journey, and its companion prequel series, The Journeys Begin. The first book in each series is published. My upcoming book is the second book in the Jenelyn’s Journey series and will be released sometime in 2023, hopefully by spring/summer. It’s called The Curse of the Cheval Mallet and continues following Jenelyn on her Journey to Chaniers, France.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
When I first began writing the Jenelyn’s Journey series, it was purely from imagination. But after making the international move to Ireland, I can now draw from my own experience to relate to her travels.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I always enjoy writing the climax of the stories best. This is when the character grows the most and faces their biggest challenges. Jenelyn’s Journey has a lot of mystery involved, so I don’t want to go into too much detail about the climactic chapter.
How did you come up with the title?
The title actually created itself in a way. I knew my character was named Jenelyn and that the traditional quest she has to go on is called the Journey. Her family has called it that for five generations. It was pure coincidence that her name and the name of the tradition flowed so well together.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I learn to love all of the characters I write, in one way or another. So I always plan to revisit them when I have to say goodbye. I suppose it’s one reason I tend to like writing series, since I can always loop back and see previous characters again. I don’t purposely write with a theme. I just write the story, but readers have told me they enjoyed the lessons given in Jenelyn’s Journey and The Journeys Begin: Ora. This tells me that I must subconsciously like writing a teaching theme, or at least providing emotional depth and reason to the character’s driving actions.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Although it’s always easiest to write what we love, I would strongly recommend researching current market trends to see if your story fits. Yes, people will say that they love original ideas and enjoy uniqueness, but it’s difficult to market. In saying that, I’ll be a little hypocritical since my stories are original and I’m continuing them. But I’m still not convinced I’m being smart! So do lots of research, see how you would market, and then pursue it more. Also, don’t allow imposter syndrome to win!
What does your protagonist think about you?
I think Jenelyn patiently puts up with me. I tend to throw her in situations that she’d rather not go in. Jenelyn would rather have a simple life at home with close friends, and I’m always destroying her plans.
Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his creator?
I think so, but I think she’d find me boring after awhile. Jenelyn’s taste in music is different than mine and her general interests are different. But I think we’d have good conversation, even though we wouldn’t be close friends.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?
I’ve been lucky that my worst review was two stars and the person said she just couldn’t enjoy the book. Another three-star review said it lacked spice and was a little boring. I take these criticisms to reflect the story rather than my writing style and can understand what they mean sometimes. However, I’ve been fortunate so far (knock on wood) to have not received any direct criticism to me personally as an author.
What has been the best compliment?
The highest compliments are when people say they can’t wait to read the next book! Knowing people are waiting to read your work makes it much easier to continue writing. But as a single compliment, I would have to say when someone loved how unique and original the story was.
Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
Since the story is predominately about Jenelyn, she often has the dominant voice. However, some characters do compete for attention, as we see in the second book. I was constantly being pulled by two particular characters, even though one of them was only meant to be a visiting one.
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee or some complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Actually, Jenelyn doesn’t like coffee and prefers tea with milk. Strong tastes are hard for her.
What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I prefer to write in silence, though if there is music it has to be Celtic instrumental. I only write on a laptop, since I’d end up with carpal tunnel if I did pen and paper. I greatly admire the hand strength of the old-era writers. They must have had fingers like steel.
Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?
One reason I write in the YA genre is due to an embarrassingly bad talent at writing racy love scenes. Cheesy doesn’t begin to describe it. So those scenes would by far be my hardest, but in YA, my hardest would be action, since it can be difficult to keep description tidy and compact in the middle of a drawn-out action scene.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Without you, I wouldn’t be an author and my stories wouldn’t be shared and enjoyed by others. So you have my eternal gratitude for helping keep Jenelyn alive and continuing her Journey.
Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?
I don’t like horror or thriller at all, so won’t ever venture into those genres.
Do you have any strange writing habits? Like writing in the shower?
Considering I write on a laptop, I think a habit of writing in the shower would be quite short-lived. Unfortunately, I’m a boring writer without any eccentricities when writing of any kind.
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation – who would you choose for which character?
I don’t connect characters in my books with celebrity actors really. Those two worlds are completely separate in my mind.
How important are the names in your book?
Some names are important, if that character has a particular identity or personality that needs to be supported, but most of the time names are simply identification.
Did you choose them based on how they sounded or looked, or was it completely random?
Some names are important, but 99% of them come up out of the blue. I rarely research for names, though there are occasions where this is necessary, particularly in historical fiction. I tend to do it backwards, where the name comes to me and if I find reason to look into it to be sure it fits, find that it is, in fact, suitable to the character and their meaning
Do you have any name choosing resources you would recommend?
When I do research names, I use good-old reliable Google. It hasn’t failed me yet since the copious amounts of baby name sites are endless.
Do you read your reviews?
I suffer from insatiable curiosity, so although I’ve been advised not to, I can’t help myself. I’m too curious to know what people thought! I’d make a terrible moth. I’d be burned every time.
Do you respond to them, good or bad?
The only reviews I have ever responded to were ones where the reader had a concern that I could fix. If there was a part in the story that they were confused by or wanted more information about, I would respond since I could.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Ignore it, unless you see a common complaint popping up. If there seems to be the same problem in multiple reviews, it’s time to look at your work and evolve them from bad review to constructive criticism.
What is your best marketing tip?
Be tenacious and creative. Don’t give up trying, even when you feel there’s no reason to continue. Knowing that the books are out there keeps me going, and unless I keep my end of the bargain, my stories will never have the opportunity to be enjoyed.
What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
My least favourite part of writing is the blank page. I fear the beginning of the next story, since I can sometimes be overwhelmed by the idea of it. My least favourite part of the publishing process is all of it, although I do tend to enjoy the editing part.
4 out of 5 (very good)
JENELYN'S JOURNEY: THE WEREWOLF OF WITTLICH is the first book in the Jenelyn's Journey series and we start off in L.A. with Jenelyn and her parents. Because she is now eighteen, she must start her Journey, following where the Spirits lead. She will start her Journey in Germany, the starting point changing for each person but following as tradition dictates. Luckily for Jenelyn, a German couple who helped her mother on her own Journey, have agreed to let Jenelyn stay with them.
I loved the changes in German and American cultures and traditions, as seen through Jenelyn's eyes. She had a wide-eyed wonder about the architecture, places, and people that I thoroughly enjoyed. She was both naive and street-smart which worked for her. She makes friends and has great relationships with various people in her life, which just makes the goodbyes so much harder! Gretchen and Laszlo were brilliant characters with their own secrets but always supportive of Jenelyn.
I would say this book was a bit heavier on the mystery side than the Spirits. There wasn't as much on the supernatural side as I was expecting, but I still found it interesting, especially with how it all tied together. The book is immersive in Germany, so I expect the same will happen in the next book - I won't say where she's off to next so I don't spoil it for anyone.
A very different story is being told here and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely recommended by me.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
I was born in northern California and was raised riding horses and enjoying outdoor recreation. When I found myself indoors, I would escape into my books and had a passionate thirst for reading. Since my family didn’t travel much while I was growing up, I wanted to explore as an adult and moved several times across the USA.
I was raised being proud of my Irish ancestry, so naturally, the first place I wanted to visit outside of the US was Ireland. I immediately fell in love with the country and culture and decided to move there in 2014. I now live here with my husband and three children, where I continue to enjoy long walks along beaches and forest trails.
Settling into my true home allowed me the peace of mind to finally be able to complete my lifelong dream of becoming a writer and finishing the books I had started over 20 years ago. Ireland is fuel for my imagination and I look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the years to come.
Follow me on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/eebyrnesauthor to keep up to date with current books, future projects, and my life in general.