Author Interview Series (4): Meet Author Jenelle French
Our fourth interview in this blog series is with Jenelle French, author of the 'I Am A Problem Solver' book series. Jenelle is an amazing author and supportive friend in the writing community! I've really enjoyed reading her books, connecting with her, and sharing our experiences together. I'm very excited to share this interview with you all!
Hi Jenelle! Can you introduce yourself?
I’m a mom of two daughters, a wife, and a former school counselor. My passion is for helping kids become the best they can be. Without a doubt, my biggest fans and supporters are my husband and daughters. My husband does so much behind the scenes that many do not see, and we truly work as a team. He wears many hats; IT technician, editor, website developer, Amazon ad developer, and most of all, an amazing husband and father! I am thankful to have him and my daughters by my side and with me on this self-publishing journey.
What inspired and motivated you to write your first book and how long did it take from the initial idea to finally publishing it?
As a former school counselor, I was always trying to find books that I could incorporate into my lessons. I have a passion for helping kids grow and develop socially and emotionally, and books are a wonderful way to do this. They keep kids engaged and make learning fun!
One of the lessons I would teach as a school counselor is “I Statements”. There are so many benefits to teaching children “I Statements.” “I Statements” help children express how they feel and help them learn to resolve conflicts in a positive and peaceful manner. When I taught this lesson to my students, I could not find a book on “I Statements” anywhere. It was during the lockdown that I finally had the time to sit down and write my first book. It took about 4 months from start to finish. Since then, I released another book and have just released the third book in the “I Am A Problem Solver” series this month.
Wow! I also wrote my first book during the lockdown! I guess it gave us a lot of time to try and pursue new opportunities.
So what are some of the challenges you have encountered on your author and self-publishing journey, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge as an author on the self-publishing journey for me is the marketing aspect. You’re in charge of marketing your books, which has some advantages, but also requires a lot more time than I initially anticipated. Being a mother with two daughters that are learning virtually, and having another job outside of being an author, it can be hard to find the time to do everything. For me, all the good things that come along with being an author definitely outweigh any drawbacks.
What has been the most rewarding experience since publishing your first book?
The most rewarding experience is when you hear from children and parents who have read your book and enjoyed it. Also, knowing that it has helped them to develop socially and emotionally is very rewarding. Another thing that has fulfilled me personally is being able to donate my books to children and help out some great causes.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from self-publishing?
The most valuable lesson I have learned about the self-publishing journey is to connect with other authors. Learn from them and support and celebrate each other’s successes. We truly rise by lifting and encouraging one another.
I totally agree with you! I'm so glad that we have connected, and so grateful for your support, too.
So what other advice would you give to other aspiring writers or authors?
My advice I would give to aspiring authors is to not give up and keep believing in yourself. Being an author takes a lot of time and hard work but through it all it is worth it. It is never too late to start writing and publish your books, no matter how old or young you are. If you are thinking about publishing, I encourage you to start. There is never going to be the perfect time.
Alright, can you finish the following sentence with the first thought that comes to your mind: "If I could only read one book for the rest of my life, it would be…"
Me too! It's a true timeless classic! Ok, can you share with us what your newest book is about?
My newest book is called Preston’s Positive Thoughts. Preston is having a really bad day. All day he tells himself he can’t do something well, and that’s what happens. His negative thoughts lead to negative actions and outcomes. But what would happen if Preston were to change his thoughts? Instead of thinking negative thoughts, what if he thinks positively about himself?
It’s amazing how much our way of thinking leads to positive or negative outcomes, If we believe we are bad at something, we usually will be. If we believe we will succeed, we have a much better chance of succeeding.
I’m so happy to release Preston’s Positive Thoughts. It may be my favorite one yet!
This is such a wonderful book! I really enjoyed reading it. I wish I had read a book like that when I was young!
Can you share with us what ‘a day in the life of an author’ looks like? Describe your typical day.
This varies greatly and no two days are the same. My days are usually spent helping my daughters with at-home learning. I work from home some days and other days I go into the office. I also work on marketing and all the other things that is required for self-publishing whenever I get a spare moment. As a matter of fact, I am writing this as I sit at a hotel waiting for daughter to be done with her dance competition. So really anywhere.
And finally, what’s the best thing someone has said about your book? Or something they said that made you really happy.
Here is one of my favorite reviews on my first book:
This book is fantastic you guys! Using “I statements” is one of the most common strategies I use as a School Counselor to teach kids conflict resolution skills. This book is such a great way to open up a discussion about using I messages. Meet Gabby, the little girl in the story who teaches us all about using I statements and how to be a problem solver. She encounters common kid conflict situations like a toy being taken from her, being called a mean name, and someone cutting in front of her in line. She uses the I statement: I feel (say how you feel) when you (describe what caused your feeling). Please (tell what you would like to happen). She discovers the more she uses the “I statement” the more her confidence grows and the more comfortable she is telling other kids how she feels. The illustrations in this are beautiful and I love the message of getting kids to be problem solvers and better communicators. This is a total must have for parents, counselors, and teachers alike. – Ashley from Heart and Mind Teaching
Oh, it's so lovely to receive reviews like this! Congratulations on your successes and on publishing such an amazing book series. Thank you so much for sharing all about your publishing journey and your wonderful books with us!
Check out the clip below for a sneak peek into the book series!