Wednesday, August 12, 2015



I am getting ready to participate in Pitch Wars, one of Brenda Drake's fabulous contests. In honor of that, Melissa Wideen had the idea that we should all share our inspirations if we so chose. Here is the inspiration for my YA Fantasy, The Protector:

These mountains have always held magic for me. We've been coming here every summer since I was born. My great grandfather loved to camp here and we pass on that tradition. I feel the spirits of my family members who have passed when I am here. It's such a magical place.

My first book was written in these woods. A YA Fantasy about a girl who finds a journal, binding her fate to the trees. She has to solve the riddles in the journal (my dad and I wrote the riddles together and they lead to actual places!), collect the items, and perform the ritual before the Sorceress who is draining the life out of the trees has enough power to release her one true love (and evil villain). My MC is human and the elves are less than thrilled that their fate rests in her hands. But that one hot elf totally believes in her. He champions her. He will give his life to protect her. In the end, she saves them all. Because Girl Power.

It was no surprise that my heart, so fully entrenched in these mountains, in this river, in these pine trees, in those high mountain lakes, would return here for another story.

Wolf Track

The Protector started with this: a wolf track in the mud.

I spotted it when we were backpacking into one of the high lakes. It was the size of my hand. (Stop a moment and look at your hand. That is a HUGE paw!) I showed the ranger the picture for confirmation. He asked that I never say where it was found. There is a hatred of wolves in that area. A blind hatred driven by ignorance. He didn't want anyone with guns up there hunting. It's illegal, but it doesn't step men because there aren't even any consequences for shooting a wolf. Not when you claim you thought it was a dog. Or a coyote. Not even when the wolf is radio collared and you don't have a valid hunting license, but race to the store to purchase a backdated one...

But I digress. It started with a wolf track in these mountains that I love so much.

Lolli and Doc walking on the fire road.

It continued with my fascination over the way people view this apex predator. They either blindly hate him or blindly love him. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. No common sense approach. Either demon or angel. When the truth is neither. He is simply a wolf. A complex creature who has complex, deep relationships that mirror our own. A creature who has to hunt to feed his family.

The first version of the book was Magical Realism with ranchers as the villains. Too political. I knew it was political when I wrote it. I was angry. I spewed it onto the page. No one would have touched it - and I got that feedback enough that I decide to keep the best part of the story (my wolves and my MC), but set it in a different world at a different time.

Such a varied terrain for my character to wander
I kept the mountains that I love, but I pushed them back in time because I love the medieval era and thought it would be fun to play with. I could have a Kingdom that was selfish and greedy and poisoning the land, much like we are doing with our environment today. One that had it's own illogical reason for wanting to slaughter wolves. AND  I could also play with how wolves were viewed in those times - sadly, it's not much different than how they are viewed now.

River running through a meadow.

The setting brought my characters to life and the words just rolled right off my fingertips. Auria was meant to be in these mountains, but in those times. She was meant to fight the constraints of society - hers in the mountains and those in the Kingdom.

My MC and her pack den here (in the book).
 This story was meant to be a Fantasy all along.

Daddy fishing at one of the high lakes.
Sigh. These pictures make me want to throw my dog in the car and drive back to Oregon.

This is MY inspiration for my story. I can't wait to hear yours!

(Disclaimer: My books has wolves, NOT werewolves. No one changes into a werewolf. No one changes into a wolf. A warrior might be chosen by The Creator for the honor of having his spirit return in a wolf once he has died in an epic battle, but that is the only way that one may become a wolf.)

Doc's very first fish. Lily (my dog) would like a taste.

The dog loves these mountains too.


  1. Hey Jennie! Good to hear from you.
    Two interesting stories from those mountains. Wild you saw a real wolf track. Shame there are no consequences for shooting one.

  2. I love how much this place has inspired you. It's gorgeous and definitely on my bucket list. Through BOTH your books set here, I've feltl the majesty, power, and beauty of this place and your writing makes me long to walk those paths as well. The pictures don't hurt either!

    It's amazing to me how one wolf track and a few disheartening comments from a ranger spawned an epic as grand as this. Your passion is a constant inspiration to me.

    PS. Your little blurb about Dark Forest made me want to read that again, lol