Welcome, Author Jenelle Leanne Schmidt!
Welcome to my website, Jenelle Leanne Schmidt. I love your writing style and am so honored to have you agree to the Saturday feature!
Jenelle grew up the oldest of four children. Here love for adventure and fantasy became forged every night before bedtime when her father read to her and her siblings.
While she adored the stories of the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Prydain, the Wheel of Time, and the Chronicles of Narnia; it wasn’t long before her imagination led her to the creation of a world and story all her own.
In 2001, Jenelle completed King’s Warrior, originally titled The Dragon’s Eye, as a project for her father who wanted something new and fun to read to the family at night.
This first endeavor gave way to the completion of a four-book series that is full of the same adventure Jenelle grew to love in literature as a little girl. Jenelle graduated from Taylor University in Indiana in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in English Education.
Jenelle has written numerous short stories and many poems, as well as some full-length work within the realm of science fiction. King’s Warrior is her first published work, and she is currently working on bringing the rest of the series to public availability.
Her tagline is “Family Friendly Fantasy,” and she strives to write books that can be read and appreciated by the whole family. Jenelle lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three children.
Jenelle, I have to admit we escaped the cold of Wisconsin for the Gulf Coast this past winter. What is your favorite “Go-to” place in Wisconsin?
I must confess that I haven’t explored Wisconsin too much yet since moving here, though my family did vacation here when I was younger.
I also recommend Door County to anyone looking for a peaceful, relaxing get-away. The Dells are fun if you want a bit more excitement and entertainment.
There are a lot of other locations I am hoping to visit at some point: the Apostle Islands and the Laura Ingalls historical sites and museum, just to name a couple.
You have four children. Do you prefer to read books with them or tell them fantasy stories from your wonderful imagination?
Well, to be honest, I prefer reading them stories. They love it when I tell them made-up stories. But they like for the stories to sort of continue over long periods of time. They also love to jump in and participate in the story-telling and sometimes it can get a little hard for me to remember what has happened in the story.
Thankfully, they don’t seem to mind if things don’t make sense or I forget something. But reading out loud is definitely easier!
If you could visit one of the destinations in your books, which place would you go?
All of them! Seriously, I would love to tour all the various locations that I mention in the Minstrel’s Song series. Pearl Cove, Ayollan, the Mountains of Dusk, even the Harshlands are all places I’d love to visit in Aom-igh. The dormant volcano and beaches of Emnolae.
I’d love to sail to the Nameless Isles. I would truly enjoy visiting Llycaelon and investigating the caverns and tunnels beneath the palace, maybe jump off the cliffs into the swimming hole where Rhoyan and Ky played as children.
I think my favorite location, however, is one from the yet-to-be-released fourth book: Minstrel’s Call. In that book, several of the characters will sail to an all-new location that isn’t even on the map. I don’t want to say much about it due to spoilers, but I can tell you that it is an enchanted land, and it reflects my love of winter.
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. There’s only one thing that can dampen the princess’s excitement: Oraeyn.
The squire views his task of protecting the princess on her journey as an inglorious assignment and makes no attempt to hide his disappointment.
Despite a rocky start to their journey – in which Oraeyn throws the obnoxious princess in a river just to get her to call him by name – the travelers soon learn that they must depend upon one another if they are to locate the man they have been sent to find.
The adventure merely begins when they meet Brant: a warrior with a mysterious past.
He joins their 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.
I read “King’s Warrior” in April, and it is a marvelous epic fantasy. How far back in your memory did this book begin to develop?
Thank you! It’s always encouraging to hear someone enjoyed my story. The book began to develop the summer of 2001. Up until then, I had not written much in the way of fantasy.
I had written short stories and poems, mostly for classes, and a friend and I had attempted to co-write a science-fiction novel. But when my dad challenged me to write “an adventure tale” over the summer I was home from college… the idea of a fantasy world just caught my imagination and ran away with me.
Here’s what one of your readers had to say:
“I was quite caught up in the story almost as soon as I started reading. The fantasy world was epic… of all sorts of mystery and mystical creatures. Dragons, wood nymphs, griffons, wizardesses, and the like. I would mention some more… except you might like to come across their appearances unexpectedly.”
“I was pleasantly surprised and delighted! I love fantasy, and I also love when it has a fae twist. So yes, the strain of fantasy that King’s Warrior had was ever so much fun! :-)”
Did you do research on the fantasy creatures, or were they firmly planted in your subconscious from the books your father read?
I did not do much in the way of “research” on the fantasy creatures in this series unless you count all the reading I had done in the fantasy genre up until then as research! I had a lot of inspiration to draw from when it came to fantasy creatures (the “myth-folk” they are called in my series), but I also knew that I wanted them to have a unique flavor and each race has its own distinct culture.
For example, many fantasy stories have dragons that are either good and helpful or evil and deceitful. I wanted to create a race of dragons that had the ability to be both, with as varied personalities as you would come across in any other group of sentient beings.
Which character in the series most matches your personality and why?
Definitely, Kamarie, though I think she’s a bit more precocious and prone to desiring adventure than I am. Perhaps that is simply the difference in who I am today versus who I was when I first wrote her, though. I think I sort of wrote her to be the person I hope I would be in the event that such an adventure as hers landed in my lap.
In an attempt to manipulate the future, a family and a nation are forced to decide between two brothers. Guided by a prophecy spoken of hundreds of years before, the King and Queen of Llycaelon have set their course.
Their goal: to fulfill the prophecy and save their nation from a dire fate. Rhoyan has always understood and accepted his role as the second born and perpetual prince. He looks forward to the day when he will be a warrior in his older brother’s guard.
When Rhoyan answers the order on a quest filled with unimaginable danger, nobody anticipates the greater repercussions. As Rhoyan journeys far across the seas on his appointed trial, he will battle creatures of legend, suffer shipwreck, endure captivity, and lay claim to a fallen star.
As tragedy strikes, Rhoyan must struggle to return home believing his quest has failed. However, the home he left no longer awaits him, and the test of his strength and character has only just begun. Long before Aom-igh needed a champion, Llycaelon had the Second Son.
Will we see characters from “King’s Warrior” in “Second Son”?
Yes, definitely! “Second Son” is a prequel, however, so some of the characters from King’s Warrior are not born yet. But Brant is the featured character, as well as his family. You will also get to see how his friendship with Arnaud — before he became king — developed, as well as glimpses of the four wizardesses.
Can you tell us something about Llycaelon that’s not in the book?
I sort of loosely based the idea of Llycaelon on the culture of Sparta.
The years of Oraeyn’s short rule have been peaceful, but now ominous nightmares plague his sleep and cling to him during his waking hours. When two of his most trusted advisors disappear without a trace and not even the power of dragons can locate them, the fell promise of the king’s nightmares becomes a reality.
From the furthest reaches of the world, an ancient enemy stirs. Stretching beyond his crumbling prison walls, this foe seeks to bring life to the darkest of shadows. His army marches towards Aom-igh with deadly intent, threatening all Oraeyn holds dear.
Aided by dragons, and with the warrior Brant and Princess Kamarie at his side, Oraeyn must journey into the wilds of a forgotten realm.
Trusting in the wisdom and skill of the enigmatic minstrel, Kiernan Kane, the companions race against time in search of Yorien’s Hand, a relic that may hold power to save them all.
The third book in the series continues the story with some of our favorite characters in “King’s Warrior,” the first book. Who is Brant most like in your life?
There are two people in my life to whom I can point to answer this question: my dad and my brother. Brant and Kiernan were definitely influenced by the relationship between my brothers, but there are fatherly aspects to Brant that come straight from my dad.
How many citizens live in Aom-igh? Are the majority of the people in the countryside farmers or are the townsfolk as plentiful as the landowners?
That is an excellent question. There are about 300,000 people living in Aom-igh. (The country is based rather loosely on the size of Scotland and population of Scotland in the 1500s). The population spreads out quite a bit.
The majority of the people in the countryside are farmers, but there are many other professions as well: blacksmiths, carpenters, tanners, weavers, etc.
So, wherever several farmers have fields near one another, small villages and towns have sprung up. There are also a few larger cities, such as Ayollan (where the palace is in the north) and the large port on the southern tip of Aom-igh (which gets some page-time in Minstrel’s Call)!
You are one of five authors who contributed to “Five Enchanted Roses.” What are the attributes which make Karyna believe she can fulfill her quest?
Karyna is not the sort of person to back down from a challenge. She is very goal-oriented, and once she sets herself a task, she is determined to see it through to the end. She is also extremely loyal and compassionate. In this case, she cannot even let herself ponder the question of failure because the consequences of failing are too dire to the people she loves.
Have you heard from “Beauty and the Beast” fans? Have they discovered this delightful compilation of tales yet?
I have heard from a few “Beauty and the Beast” fans who enjoyed the stories within the collection. I hope that more people discover it because all five of the stories are fun and interesting twists on the original, and all of them are quite different from each other, as well.
In all the books you have read, which one character would you like to be for a day?
There are a lot of characters I could say, but it always kind of ends up coming back to Cimorene from Patricia C. Wrede’s “Dealing with Dragons.” She enjoys the friendship of dragons, flying on magic carpets, true love, and just enough danger to keep things interesting.
She’s also surrounded by lots of tongue-in-cheek humor and sarcasm, which just makes me happy.
Please tell us one thing no one knows about Jenelle Leanne Schmidt.
This is another marvelous question… but I’m not telling. Otherwise, I might run out of mystery for my fans, and that would be a tragedy of epic proportions!
Thanks for having me over for an interview, Peggy!
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