This week, I’m honored to spotlight Jenna Elizabeth Johnson. Faelorehn, The Otherworld Trilogy is her current work, and we here at LOGI are excited to hear about the series. Before jumping into the interview, I just have to comment on the beautiful cover designs of Jenna’s books. She has certainly inspired me!
Jenna, thank you so very much for being a guest on Legends of Green Isle. We are always excited to highlight fellow wordsmiths, particularly in Fantasy. I always open up my interviews with a similar question, but I’m curious as to how or what made you want to write?
Jenna: The first book I ever wrote was a short mystery story in fifth grade. It was a project assigned to us by our teacher and was meant to be a gift to our little buddies. My buddy was a bit aloof, and I never really connected with her, but I knew she liked mystery stories. I put a ton of effort into that story and was rewarded with my buddy’s reaction: she absolutely loved it. After that, I fancied myself a poet, but never seriously considered writing novels until my final year in college when inspiration struck me out of nowhere. I was an art student, and most of my sketchbook was full of character sketches and maps, and even bits of text laying out the foundations of a story. In that moment, I realized I wanted to be a writer of fantastical worlds and beings. After I graduated, I locked myself away in my room and began the first draft of what would become my Legend of Oescienne series.
LegendsofGreenIsle: You should very similar to one of my daughters who is an artist and writer too. I know that you have many books available on Amazon. You are certainly a prolific writer. Tell us about some of the books, or the book you are spotlighting today.
Jenna: Faelorehn is my fifth publication. I had already published three novels and one short story collection (all in my Oescienne series) before getting to work on my Otherworld series. Since Faelorehn, I’ve published six more novels (one in the Oescienne series, five in the Otherworld series), as well as a some short story collections and novellas.
LegendsofGreenIsle: Wow!!! Can you tell the readers some about these series and its characters?
Jenna: Faelorehn is the first book in my Otherworld series and it tells the story of Meghan Elam, a junior in high school who has always seen and heard strange things. Meghan chalks it up to being different, or maybe even slightly crazy, until Cade MacRoich, a young man who looks like a Celtic warrior, arrives out of the blue while she’s being attacked by a pack of Otherworldly monsters. Meghan likes to keep to herself, with only a handful of friends. She’s quiet and often the victim of the cruel kids at her high school. On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, the strange visions and voices grow worse, until she finds herself in the middle of the woods behind her home, surrounded by supernatural beasts. That is where Cade comes in. Cade is a faelah (Otherworldly monster) bounty hunter and has been tasked with keeping the creatures under control in Meghan’s neighborhood. When he stumbles upon Meghan, he realizes she isn’t human, but Faelorehn, an immortal from the Celtic Otherworld. Throughout the rest of the book, Cade visits Meghan, feeding her bits and pieces of information – just enough for her to put the pieces together. Toward the end of the book, however, the Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war and strife, decides to check in on Cade to see what has him so distracted by this little corner of the mortal world.
Throughout the first three books of the series, Meghan gradually learns who she is and that her unknown past is far more significant than the life she leads in the mortal world. She grows both in spirit and in character and by the end of the third book, she is no longer that timid, teenage girl we met at the beginning of Faelorehn. Cade, on the other hand, is a character who struggles with a haunted past and a current geis (or curse) that has him tied to the Morrigan. Of course, this constantly gets in the way as he grows closer to Meghan.
The reason I decided to write a series incorporating Celtic mythology with the modern world is that I wanted to make this particular mythos more accessible for teen and young adult readers. So often high school students are educated about the Greek and Roman gods, and sometimes even the Egyptian gods, but the first time I learned about Celtic mythology wasn’t until college. I absolutely loved all my Celtic studies classes and so decided to bring some of those traditions to life in my Otherworld series.
LegendsofGreenIsle: We are similar in respect to bringing some of the Celtic mythology into our works. Morrigana, an ancient spirit, guards Green Isle in my series. She is based off Morrigan. I love it! I’m so excited to see another author use this. Where do you see yourself in about five years? Where are you headed?
Jenna: It would be great if I could finally reach my goal of writing full-time by then. I thought I was almost there a few years ago, but last year book sales took a huge plunge and haven’t recovered. I’m still working on my many projects, however, and currently have at least a dozen books I’d like to get completed in the next handful of years. Six of those books will be follow-up trilogies to the original Otherworld Trilogy, one will be the sequel to Lorehnin, one of my Otherworld spin-offs, three more are part of a brand new trilogy I’m working on whenever I get a chance … The list goes on! Let’s just say I’ll be quite busy the next five years and I’ll just keep my fingers crossed the book business will start to look up in the future ;).
LegendsofGreenIsle: I understand perfectly. I bounce back and forth between writing academic history and my love – Legends of Green Isle stories. I would love to retire and just write. 🙂
How can readers find you or your books?
Jenna: It’s actually quite easy to get a copy of Faelorehn … It is currently FREE where ebooks are sold (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Google Play, and you can also read it on Wattpad). If you prefer paperback books, Amazon and Barnes and Noble are your best bets. You can also order an autographed copy from me via my Square Store (check out my website to access the link: http://www.jennaelizabethjohnson.com), OR buy it from me personally if you happen to see me at one of my book events. I should also mention that The Legend of Oescienne – The Finding (the first book in my middle grade/YA epic fantasy), is also free in ebook format.
Thank you, Connie, for having me on your blog, and to everyone else, happy reading!!
LegendsofGreenIsle: Jenna, thank you for being our guest! Happy writing!