Jenny S. Burke enjoys the wild side of life but only if she can experience it through nature. As a former marine biologist, she has an ocean of experience to fish from for her adventure stories.
A multi-award winner, Jenny’s novel, Dragon Lightning, was featured on TV twice. She has also published five marine research papers, been nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award and done a host of radio and blog interviews.
Jenny has earned degrees in Math, Science, Marine Science and Education.
Now that I’ve introduced you to Jenny let’s get to know her a little better.
Hello, Jenny, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Ellwyn, thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of your blog!
Why did you become a marine biologist?
I grew up land-locked. When I was eight, I saw a short movie on the sea and decided to become a marine biologist.
I took math and science courses, improved my writing, became a certified diver, and more, always working toward my goal.
I love the sea! This love became a unique undersea world in my Dragon Dreamer books.
Where did you work?
I’ve worked in several Florida cities, including the Florida Keys.
What did you do there?
I worked off of boats, studying life on the coral reefs and also in the dark abyss.
Do you have a favorite animal? If so, which one is it and why?
Of sea life, the octopus is my favorite. Octopuses are at least as smart and clever as humans.
They’re fast-thinking and have amazing abilities; some types can shape-shift in the blink of an eye to perfectly camouflage or to mimic another type of sea life.
An octopus who was grabbed by a shark put her arms in his gills so he couldn’t breathe. He let her go.
How has your experience as a marine biologist influenced your writing?
My experiences at sea and fascination with the natural world are part of my Dragon Dreamer Series.
My characters experience the sea storm that nearly killed me, and the three terrifying waterspouts that surrounded my boat. They enjoy the glowing sea life and watch the sun melt into the sea.
From The Dragon Dreamer: “Black clouds rolled silently overhead, devouring stars in the darkening night sky. A sudden barrage of lightning crackled above. Startled by the noise, Arak spun in the air. Again the lightning flashed! In the blinding light he clearly saw the monstrous black claw of the storm. His body shook as powerful waves of thunder rolled through him. His heart beat with the new rhythm.
The young dragon veered left, toward the weaker side of a storm. But this storm was huge. There was no escape.”
What inspired you to become a writer?
My marvelous third grade teacher started a poetry club, and I joined. She published anthologies with our poems.
I continued to write poems for years, for fun; I love playing with words. But I never planned to write a novel until one grew in my mind.
Which genres do you write?
I write science fantasy adventure and I’m working on a children’s book. I also have an educational Crystal Series that uses the angles of natural crystals, and a coloring book with the fantasy snowflakes my dragons grow in the winter clouds.
What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
I take longer than I’d like to write a proper novel that satisfies me.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing stand-alone books 3 and 4 of the Dragon Dreamer Series. I’m drawing more fantasy flakes as illustrations and for a second coloring book.
How many books have you written?
There are two crystal books (Crystal Geometry and Crystal Colors) with cartoons and science/math/art educational activities.
The first novels of my science fantasy series are The Dragon Dreamer and Dragon Lightning.
There are hand-drawn mandalas in Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book. This coloring book includes information on natural snowflake growth and math-science-art connections.
What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
I love meeting readers and writers in person and online. A good review is satisfying. A few times, readers have added my books to lists on Goodreads. Knowing someone enjoys your work helps justify all the effort.
What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Just start writing! As you write, study what you like in your favorite books and apply this. Learn the basics of a novel. Get feedback from readers and writers. Start a website and join Goodreads.
What message are you sharing in your books?
The Dragon Dreamer books are first a science fantasy adventure story written to entertain.
Beyond this, there are messages about the priceless gift of friendship, the benefits of combining different abilities, using your wits to solve problems, persevering despite mounting problems, and environmental connections.
When you not writing where can we find you?
I love wild spaces on land or sea.
What are your favorite books/authors?
Too many to list them all! I love the evolving poems in The Lord of the Rings, the beautiful message in The Velveteen Rabbit (I still cry when he becomes Real), Dune, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and many more. I also love many books by Indie authors.
What are your favorite TV shows/movies?
I love the many Star Trek Series, Dr. Who (especially Doctor #10), Psych, The Big Bang Theory, and JAG.
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
I love to paint, draw, and make jewelry. I painted the covers for my books.
Do you have a website/Facebook page?
Where can we find your books!
“THE DRAGON DREAMER” by J.S. Burke
“DRAGON LIGHTNING” by J.S. Burke
“FANTASY SNOWFLAKES COLORING BOOK” by J.S. Burke
Thank you, Jenny, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck.
Ellwyn, thank you so much for having me here!