My wonderful friend and author extraordinaire, Jenelle Schmidt, has published a new fantasy novel titled An Echo of the Fae. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I am very excited to share my review of it in a few days. She was kind enough to stop by for an interview. Enjoy!
You’ve mentioned on your blog and in person how this story surprised you
with the urgency it compelled in you to write it. Can you describe that
urgency a bit more?
Sure! It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I was trying really hard to write a different book last year, and every time I sat down to write, I felt stalled out. I felt like I had to almost wrestle the keyboard for every single sentence. I kept putting “Echo” on the back-burner, but I couldn’t ignore it. So I tried making it my “reward.” I would slog along for 2 hours, getting my word count on Towers done, usually aiming for 500-1000 words and then I’d write 100-200 words of Echo before shutting my computer. Every single time, I exceeded the 100-200 word goal easily in the span of 5-10 minutes.
It was kind of breath-taking, actually. I finally laid Towers aside and focused on Echo and the story continued to drag me along behind it. Sometimes it felt like I couldn’t type fast enough!
To be honest, I still don’t really feel like I wrote the story. The words just begged to be written. I definitely felt that the Lord had etched this story on my heart, and I would spend some time in prayer before each writing session and then as I wrote the words just came almost effortlessly. This is by far the easiest book I’ve ever written, and came together in the shortest time, and I definitely don’t feel like I can take credit for any of it.
That is absolutely incredible! As someone who loves the Lord and loves to write, the feeling of the two being in complete harmony with one another makes for such a peaceful experience and purposeful motivation. Speaking of motivation, you have a passion for writing stories that families can enjoy together. Is this one of those stories?
Definitely! I always hope that my stories can be enjoyed by families who love reading together, and this is no exception. The main character is a bit younger than most of my other protagonists, but I think adults can still get a lot out of the story. There are some big themes in this one that I think kids will understand and adults will appreciate on an even deeper level.
Also, while I wrote this one with a more middle grade audience in mind (9-12 year olds), I didn’t pull any punches when it came to vocabulary, and there are definitely some words in there that I hope challenge that audience and delight their parents!
As funny as it might sound, vocab and wording both work to make a book memorable, particularly for younger kids. I remember in one of your novels you used the description “a ghost of a smile” for someone’s expression, and it has always stuck with me as beautiful throughout the next eleven years (ooooof) and onward. However, more important than fun word choices, are the themes and the story. What hopes do you have for the effect this story will have on its audience?
There are so many things I hope this story says to its audience, but mostly, I hope that it takes them on an adventure that teaches them something about themselves.
I hope it conveys the importance of family. I hope it leaves an impression about the power of adoption. I have an aunt and an uncle who were adopted and several friends as well, and to be honest, it’s often a struggle for me to even remember that they were adopted, because they are so tightly knit into their (our) families. I wanted to write this story a little bit for them, because their stories aren’t the kinds you usually read in fantasy fiction. Rather, their stories are beautiful. And while, yes, there are the painful, human moments in their stories as well, they are mostly beautiful. That’s not at all meant to discount the stories that are hard or messy or tumultuous, but I wanted to write a story that focused on some of the stories I actually witnessed and how they inspired me.
I hope that this story imparts its audience with the overwhelming power of forgiveness. There are some difficult themes that the main character comes face to face with and she has to choose whether or not to forgive those at fault. In one instance, she must forgive someone who has wronged her directly, while in another, she faces the decision to forgive someone who has wronged many others, and these are difficult moments for her.
And finally, I hope it speaks comfort to parents who have lost a child. Having experienced two early-term miscarriages, that is a sorrow that I truly, deeply empathize with. I hope that Echo’s story helps them know that they are not alone.
Thank you for writing your heart, even when it felt painful. I cannot wait for others to read this novel.
Jenelle has been very busy over the past few days, writing a myriad of posts on quite a few different blogs. If you’re interested in more of her writing (and, objectively speaking, you should be), a good place to start would be her blog. https://www.jenelleschmidt.com/
An equally good idea would be to go ahead and pick up your copy of An Echo of the Fae. You can purchase it on Amazon.
Be on the lookout for more posts soon!