Welcome back to Author Showcase where I endeavor to shine a light on talented authors. I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit with this month's author, Jenny S. Burke, and I can't wait to share our interview with you.
Please make welcome, a very talented author, Jenny S. Burke.
AS: Jenny, it is a pleasure to have you join me in the tea room for a visit.
JSB: Thank you for inviting me here! And thanks for liking dragons with an undersea world.
AS: Jenny, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?
JSB: I love words. I joined a poetry club in 3rd grade and never stopped writing!
The Dragon Dreamer is my first novel. It’s a fast-paced, middle grade/young adult science fantasy adventure with dragons, an undersea world, and an unexpected friendship. Arak and Scree accept those who are different, and this changes the world.
AS: I'm sure our readers will be just as excited as I was to read your Dragon Dreamer Series. I instantly fell in love with Arak and Scree. There story is absolutely delightful and I am so grateful for the chance to see more into their world.
Now, let me introduce Arak and Scree to our readers. Arak is a dragon and Scree is an octopus. Folks this is fresh. Never before have I read a book with this combination.
What prompted you to combine dragons with ocean life? It's an effective combination.
JSB: I love dragons and I love the sea, but I didn’t plan to combine them. I was looking at an odd, lumpy rock in my ceramic bowl. I brought a picture of the bowl.
Suddenly I knew this was a dragon’s nest and egg. A story grew in my mind. My young dragon dreamer, Arak, flew out to sea. He crashed and was badly wounded.
How could Arak survive? Scree appeared in my mind. Octopuses are very intelligent shape-shifters, and I’ve studied them for years.
I imagined more dragon and ocean characters. Suddenly, I had two fantasy worlds, and this felt right. From my love of the ocean, the sea just flowed into my dragon book.
AS: If you could choose to be one of your character's, which one would it be and why?
JSB: It would be hard to choose between my dreamer dragon Arak and my philosophical, shape-shifter octopus, Scree.
Arak has great adventures and becomes a deep thinker. He’s open to new ideas and friendships. I’d love to spiral through clouds and quest across the sea with my mind.
Scree is clever and always tries to do the right thing. Scree saves the dragon even though she’s terribly aware he could kill her.
But I love the sea so much that I might choose Scree. I would explore beneath the waves every day.
AS: I would have to choose Scree as well. I, too, love ocean life. I need water elements around me. I'm drawn to the blue ocean colors such as in the Carribbean and around Greece. Beautiful waters.
Let's talk about Arak and Scree's favorite meals. Now, Scree nurses Arak back to life and she chooses from all sorts of ingredients in her world to heal him. Have you done research to see what their diet would mainly consist of?
JSB: My dragons live near the sea. They eat seafood, tree nuts, and roots like carrots and potatoes. Arak loves roasted almonds, grilled fish, and seaweed salads.
Dragons need copper supplements for their copper claws, so I researched the foods and rocks that have copper. They make fractal patterns on their food with ground turquoise. It looks like lacy lightning, an artistic display that provides more copper.
Octopuses eat a variety of seafood: shellfish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, but seldom fish. Scree loves clams, oysters, seaweed, and crab claws. Her favorite meals include the spices and chocolate that dragons learn to make. (I love chocolate, too.)
AS: I know of another dragon who loves chocolate. Perhaps they all like it.
Do you have a special story to tell about how you came up with the names Arak and Scree? Both are absolutely fitting for their personalities - their nature.
JSB: Thank you. My young dragon Arak has an exotic dragonny name, not a name I have ever heard. It sounds artistic and strong, ending with a “k”.
Arak is a dreamer who loves to explore with his mind. He’s bullied for being odd. His mother tells him that “the seal of approval he needs is his own.” As Arak grows up, he learns how to channel his unique abilities to make his dreams a reality.
Scree is a fearless misfit in a cautious octopus society. The name “Scree” sounds like the sea, with waves tumbling stones and seagulls crying to the wind. The first letter and last two letters spell “see”. Her motto: “What will be, will be. And then I’ll fix it.”
AS: I love it and I like their names. I didn't have to read very far into your book to realize you crafted a masterpiece; well written, exciting to the end, and can't wait for more.
I understand you were a ocean scientist and you have other published works. Tell us a little about that, please.
JSB: Yes, well I worked as a marine biologist for years. I've published science research papers, two Crystal activities books that teach math-science-art with crystals, and an art-science coloring book.
AS: That is awesome. I have a daughter that just graduated and loves the ocean. She is having a hard time choosing her career right now. She wants to be a marine biologist but she also wants to work sports medicine for football players.
What can we expect from author Jenny S. Burke in the near future?
JSB: I’ve nearly finished Book 2 of the Dragon Dreamer series. It’s a fun new way to write! Arak sails north in search of a myth. Dorali, a young, deeply scarred dragon Healer, joins the crew.
Ice dragons warn him to leave with a bolt of black lightning. Can Arak survive the journey home with a damaged ship and an angry, wounded legend? And can the crew of unlikely friends work together to escape a growing threat that could destroy all their worlds?
I’m also finishing a Fantasy Snowflake Coloring Book based on the snowflakes my dragons grow in the winter clouds. These are made of dragons, butterflies, dolphins, and more.
AS: A must have for coloring fans worldwide. I love to color. I have a coloring book of lighthouses from everywhere.
I have written an article, The Writer's Tool Box. As a writer, what would you say is your favorite tool?
JSB: I read your article. Excellent ideas! My favorite writer tool is the “Find” feature of Microsoft Word. I can easily hunt for something that I remember writing by looking for a specific word.
I have unusual words like “feel-see” to describe dragons seeing the magnetic lines. Scientists believe birds can actually see the magnetic lines to follow them when they migrate. I can check to make sure all my made-up words are spelled the same.
I also have special words for my octopus’ senses. They have simple eyes in their skin to see everywhere, and can shape-shift to match their world. This is fancier than the car in the James Bond movie with the invisible car. And it's real!
AS: Gosh, you have done your research.
Jenny I want to thank you again for taking the time to stop by Author Showcase. I have so enjoyed our visit and learning more about Arak and Scree. I look forward to their new adventures.
JSB: I've enjoyed it, too, Alexia. Thanks for inviting me over for a visit.
AS: To find out more about Jenny, visit her at http://www.jennysburke.com . Follow Jenny on Twitter at @TheDragonDreamr.
Thanks for stopping by Author Showcase. Take Care.
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