My professional titles have included software programmer, bilingual sales rep, and proposal specialist. But my favorite title, besides wife and mother, is author. It’s the only one that lets me call daydreaming “research.”
Just to clarify, Elle Jacklee is my pen name. No, I’m not trying to be mysterious! It’s just that my real last name is difficult to spell—no offense to my hubby. (I even spelled it wrong once or twice when we were first married!) So I chose a pen name that has special personal meaning to me as well as being easier for you, my readers, to remember. As much fun as it is sometimes to imagine being someone else (like when I’m in my characters’ heads), truthfully that’s not what I’m doing with my pen name.
Like all writers, I’m also an avid reader, and always have been. I love the outdoors, too, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find some connection to nature woven into my stories. Nature is my biggest inspiration.
I grew up in Wisconsin, where we enjoy all four seasons, though one always seems to last longer than the rest… In the summers, when I wasn’t swimming, biking, hiking or playing outdoor sports with my parents and sister, I was sitting in a lawn chair in our yard or on the beach, either with my nose in a book or writing one. During the long and brutal winters in the state of the “frozen tundra,” if I wasn’t sledding or building igloos and snow-people with my sister, I either had my nose in a book or I was writing one. No matter the season, reading and writing have always found their way into my days. I wrote my first chapter book when I was seven years old. And I’ve been writing ever since.
My first published book is a middle grade/young adult fantasy, The Tree of Mindala. I started writing for this age group because that’s the age I was when books really started to get interesting. I’d always loved reading, but books like The Wizard of Oz series and The Chronicles of Narnia really took the experience of reading to a whole new level of excitement for me. And that’s when I got hooked on the fantasy genre. Then came The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and, of course, the Harry Potter series, and too many more to mention. For me, fantasy books are an escape like no other genre is. I like and read most genres, but I always come back to fantasy.
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m in the middle of my own adventure with my husband and two young, rambunctious sons. We’re still in Wisconsin, and the winters are still brutal, but if they weren’t, we wouldn’t appreciate the wonders of all the other seasons. Like I always say, the magic is in the balance!