I’m so excited to have Jenelle Hovde with us today! All January we will be speaking with the authors of one book: Five Poisoned Apples: A Collection of Snow White Stories. How many of you are like me and love fairy-tails? I absolutely love books with a different slant on my favorite childhood stories.
Jenelle Hovde is one of the authors in this new collection. Jenelle is a pastor’s wife and a homeschooling mama of three little ones. She is also the owner of a very lovable and very large Great Dane who insists on being a lapdog. She currently lives in the midwest with her family where the wind blows cold but the people are warm.
Welcome Jenelle, Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
Hi Kristena! First of all, thank you for having me over! I’m a Canadian who happens to live in the United States. I grew up on the prairies and love the wide, open spaces best. I’m also a farm girl at heart. I married a Marine seventeen years ago and am very blessed. Currently, my husband pastors a small country church and I home-school three little ones. I write in my spare time, which is tough to carve out. I love to sketch portraits as well whenever I can.
What’s your favorite genre to read and write. Who’s your favorite author?
I’m a huge fan of inspirational historical romance, historical, and young adult fantasy. Very different genres, I know! I often cycle through authors just to get a little variety in my reading diet. My favorite historical romance author is Laura Frantz. Her writing is pure poetry and the romance just perfection. I adore Mesu Andrew’s Biblical historical novels. She is an amazing researcher and her novels always teach me something new. As for young adult fantasy, I’ve been following Morgan L. Busse and Nadine Brandes. They both write clean, fast paced fantasy that I would not hesitate to hand out to teens.
What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?
I’ve always loved books. At a young age, I started illustrating a few leather-bound tomes of my parents. They actually kept them! I wrote my first novel at the age of seven. It was about a little boy finding a puppy and sneaking it home before his mother found out. As an audiologist, I wrote for the hearing aid industry. Believe me, it’s far more fun to write novels.
Tell us about this book.
Raven’s Heir is a young adult historical fantasy for ages 12 and up. It’s a Snow White retelling and could be considered a young adult historical fantasy with Christian elements. A young princess flees her evil stepmother and finds refuge with a band of rebels and spies, including one man she thought she would never see again. Tag line: Taking her in could risk the lives of his rebel band — but how can Damien leave the young woman at the huntsman’s mercy?
And yes, there is romance :). Kara Chaloner isn’t the passive Snow White that we usually encounter (Disney), but she is sweet and brave.
What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
I really love history. I love the research and nitty gritty details. At some point, I have to let go and just write. Even fantasy novels need a good dose of reality. Having a few excellent historical books on medieval England proved invaluable to me during the revision process. I fell in love with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The Writer’s Guide To Everyday Life in the Middle Ages. Bottom line: invest in some good academic historical books to layer your fiction world with greater authenticity.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I am by nature a “panster”. I love letting new ideas surprise me and naturally flow within a writing session. However, nothing beats an outline and an organized approach to writing. Most of the time I write in my head and then finally sit down to type. It’s not pretty or fun, but it works for me. I write every single day. Laptops are beautiful things. You can take them anywhere.
Is there a special place you like to write?
Since I have little children, I do tend to write in the living room. I have a comfy leather chair, a portable desk, and a MacBook Air (gold, no less!). I’ve started rising at five in the morning to write. It’s quiet and after a few cups of coffee, I’m ready to go. I think about the current WIP through out the day and make revisions until at last, in the late evening, I can rework the scenes or add new ones.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded?
I set out to write a novella about a young girl reclaiming her throne, yet in the end, the spiritual themes fascinated me more than the romance. The reviews has been stellar regarding the romance, however readers have been touched by Kara’s journey from darkness to hope. I find that really encouraging. We all stumble in our faith journey and wonder if God is really there. Kara learns that even when she feels abandoned, she is not alone.
What advice would you give a new author?
I think every author needs to find a critique partner, a dedicated team of honest beta readers, and a fabulous editor. Most people view writing as a solitary effort. In many ways it is, yet a writer needs to receive feedback. We all have our blind spots, and good feedback helps the author rework the piece until it really shines. That said, a writer also needs to know what feedback to keep and what to jettison. Writing is subjective. What one person loves, may not resonate with another. Be you. Writing is a marvelous place to explore who you really are.
What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a longer historical novel set in England. It’s a bit of a gothic with mistaken identities. I have historical novels out in the proposal stage.
Where can we find your books?