Oh, elemental magic, an Immortal queen, and a whole other world inside a snow globe? Count me in. Today my guest is Jenna Nelson, author of THE SNOW GLOBE (The Winterhaven Chronicles, Book 1) (September 2015, Purple Arcana Publishing).
Jenna Nelson grew up in Shoreview, MN, where hanging at the local supermarket was considered a big night out. After graduating from UW-Madison, she drove her 1979 Buick Electra, the largest car known to man, to California to flee the snow and find refuge in the land of film, her favorite pastime.
Soon Jenna noticed that the TV needed turning up, spoken words seemed muted, and everyone sounded like Charlie Brown’s parents. Diagnosed with a significant hearing loss, Jenna turned from movies to books, where every word was savored and none was missed.
A Midwest girl at heart, Jenna lives with her husband and their saved-from-the-pound-pup Clancy. By day she works as the VP of Marketing for a financial firm, by night she weaves tales of nefarious and fantastical worlds.
Me: So tell us a little about the book.
Jenna: My book The Snow Globe – Book 1 of the Winterhaven Chronicles – is a YA Fantasy. By day, Sondrine Renfrew works at Cimmerian’s Curio Emporium, her aunt’s apothecary and antique shop in London, 1875. By night, she weaves fire, water, and air into both inanimate objects and living creatures. When a hooded stranger offers Sondrine a snow globe in trade for medicinal herbs, she accepts, enchanted by the castle, forest, and sea encapsulated under the glass.
Her enchantment fades, however, when her deceitful aunt betroths her to one of London’s wealthiest men—a complete stranger. Determined to escape the marriage, Sondrine trades her corset for trousers and decides to run away. With one foot out the door, she falls down a veritable rabbit hole into Winterhaven, the haunting world inside the snow globe.
Sondrine soon discovers her arrival in Winterhaven is no accident. There, she meets Shán, a man who broods more than the darkened sky above. Turns out Shán is not to be trusted. Not only is he the man who sold Sondrine the snow globe, he is a bounty hunter employed by the king. The beginnings of a sovereign war have been set in motion and an Immortal queen, one who uses fire as a weapon, is set on destroying Winterhaven. Because of her Elemental gifts, only Sondrine has the means to stop the queen. If Sondrine refuses the king’s request, he will behead her. If she rises to the challenge of killing the Immortal queen, her death is just as imminent. After all, an Immortal queen cannot be killed.
Or can she?
Me: Oh, sounds exciting and intense. How long did it take you to write this book?
J: Three years with too many rewrites to count.
Me: It must be wonderful to finally finish the journey. What Genre do you write and why?
J: I write YA and MG. I think my true voice is probably MG, oddly. I have a MG manuscript, Violet Strange, that I love. But I have more mss that are YA. I’m not certain why I write these genres. I’m sure if something more adult struck me, I would be happy to write it. I’m not glued to any one genre; I’m just looking for a great story to pop into my head and put it to the page.
Me: I feel the same. Something about YA just speaks to me. Can you pick a favorite line from your latest work and tell us why this is your favorite?
J: “Just as the sea molds the earth’s shape, wind sands mountains into gentle valleys, and flames of a fire disperse seedlings into the soil, something must die before awakening another.”
I love it, because it’s a foretelling.
Me: Beautiful What can you share with other writers were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
J: I’ve been around for quite some time, so sadly, nothing really surprises me at this point. Many things do not make sense in the arts – A+B does not necessarily = C. I try to remember that when I think about why some books make it big while others fall through the cracks.
Me: Totally agree. The arts are so subjective and there’s no one clear path to get there. Do you have a favorite author(s)?
J: Roald Dahl, Markus Zusak, Maurice Sendak, JK Rowling, Ursula Le Guin, Stephen King…the list is endless!
Me: What are a few things about yourself most people would expect?
J: I’m hard of hearing. People don’t expect someone young to have hearing problems, but we’re out there in abundance. It’s why I never like to assume anything about anyone. People are enduring hardships on a daily basis, things not obvious to the naked eye. Also, I love all things fantasy and geek – Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Sherlock. I’ve just started watching Dr. Who, and I am getting sucked in!
Me: I need to get on the Dr. Who train, you’re not the only person I know who’s obsessed. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers?
J: Write for you. Once you start to write for publication, for deadlines, for other people and their expectations, you will lose something in the process. When you write for yourself, it’s pure. And that’s gold.
Me: Great advice! If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
J: King Andronicus would be Alan Rickman, unquestionably. The character is the devil incarnate, and I think Rickman would make the character deliciously evil. Kit Harrington or Richard Madden for Shán, the MMC. Or if Viggo Mortensen could travel back in time, that would be helpful. To be honest, I don’t know who would play my heroine, Sondrine. I would love some unknown actress to cut her teeth on this role.
Me: Something fun. Chocolate or Wine (or any other adult beverage)?
J: All three! I’m a foodie. I also love my vodka martinis. And cheese.
Me: Who doesn’t love cheese? What is your favorite meal?
J: Fettucine Alfredo with smoky mozzarella. See? There’s cheese in that!
Me: Lol. Yes! Favorite Color?
J: Indigo – that purple-blue hue you see right before the night carries it away.
Me: If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What would you wear?
J: Wow. Uh…maybe Grammar Girl? Jeans and a t-shirt. Wings, for sure. Whatever I would be, I would love to fly!
Me: I know totally unrelated writer question, but it’s fun! What’s next in your future?
J: Writing. Book 2 of this series. And then I have about 3 manuscripts to choose from.
Me: Awesome. I love options and bright things in the future. Thanks for joining us today, Jenna. And for our readers, check out all of Jenna’s links and an excerpt from her book below.
Click on Author Interviews on my homepage if you’d like to be featured on an upcoming post of Behind the Scenes, an author spotlight series.
Excerpt from The Snow Globe (The Winterhaven Chronicles Book 1):
“Two pounds for medicinal herbs?” The stranger spits the words. “Do you mistake me for royalty?”
I want to burst out laughing, to assure him he would never be mistaken for even a lowly knight. “It’s a fair price,” I say in an even tone. “True, you’ll get it a touch cheaper down the road at Whittock’s Apothecary, but their ingredients aren’t as fresh, guaranteed.”
He’s silent for a moment, his finger tapping the countertop in contemplation. From beneath his cloak, he removes a satchel, sets it on the counter, and opens the flap. “You’re a vendor of antiques as well, aye?” He reaches in with both hands and takes out a large object wrapped in navy blue silk. “I’ll have to sell something in order to pay you.”
According to Dante, there are nine circles of Hell. Should I have to suffer through each and every one of them, I still would not buy his wares in exchange for the medicine. While I contemplate how to phrase this in a more delicate manner, he unravels the swath of fabric little by little until the last piece falls away, revealing a snow globe.
My annoyance fades. Like him, I need both hands to pick up the globe—not surprising given the size of it along with the impressive stone base. A castle of sandstone sits beneath the curved glass, with indigo turrets reaching for the sky. It stands sentry on a snow-blanketed hill over the brick cottages below, all lining either side of a twisting cobblestone road. An aquamarine sea with sailing ships hems the entire village.
“Can you tell me the history of this piece?” I ask, careful to appear disinterested, a tactic I learned from my aunt. “Where did it come from?” I turn the globe in my hand. A mountain range circles the background; a forest nestles the foot.
“For thousands of years, the snow globe has been passed down by kings and queens and their sons and daughters,” he answers. “An heirloom of sorts.”
Not one drop of sovereign blood is flowing through the stranger’s veins, this much is clear. He must be a thief, the snow globe likely stolen. “Kings and queens of where?” I ask. “Here in England?”