In the world of writing, participants get to meet a lot of different people. It seems every day we come across agents and editors, book bloggers and critics, lots and lots of readers and, of course, other authors. Still, it's a rarity when I meet somebody who has a genuine sparkle in their eyes and an aura that says, "Yes! I am passionate about every word I write and I love what I do!" When I see that, I get excited because I realize I am not speaking to just another story teller, but to a true artist who paints portraits with a dazzling display of words onto the blank canvas of people's minds. Lenora Henson is such an artist, which is why I chose to host her on the ASMSG Electorate Interview Blog Hop.
Tell me a little about yourself; where you come from, what your life is like and what brought you to where you are as an author.
I am a native of Southern Illinois, now living in the Central part of the state. I spent seventeen years in the newspaper business, doing pretty much everything from reporting and taking pictures, to circulation and office management. I spent most of those years as a graphic designer, which has helped me tremendously with my book covers and promo work. I am a mother to 12-year olds: Sophia and stepson Jack, and soul mate to The Mighty Oak. I love mythology, archetypal psychology and all things symbolic. I read Tarot, and facilitate a women’s soul circle called Psyche’s Circle. I enjoy photography, philosophy and have an ongoing fascination with 70s music.
I was an active writer and creator of fictional worlds all my life. I gave it up for ten years, and five years ago really dove back into the writing with zeal. You can run from your life’s purpose, but it will ALWAYS catch up with you. I was certainly glad it did.
You have written a book series titled “The Wicked Garden”. Tell me about it and give me a quick run down on each book and the inspiration behind them.
Sure thing Melodie. Here is an overview of the first three books.
I just published the third book in The Wicked Garden Series – BELTANE. This is a six-book series that I have been engrossed in for about four years. The genre is witchy fiction or magical realism. Most people are surprised by how close to home this story hits. It’s like they see themselves in at least one of the characters, or can see themselves living in the town of Irvine. Being able to connect with readers who may not be into the paranormal romance scene has been huge. This series is about the human experience, and I think that’s what has made it so successful.
The Wicked Garden – Book One
A prophecy brought them together. A curse tore them apart.
Book One, The Wicked Garden, introduces us to main character Gretchel Shea. She is a beautiful woman with a lovely family, a gorgeous house, and a country-club membership. As far as her neighbors are concerned, she is living the dream. It is just that the dream she is living is not her own, and a nightmare – completely new and centuries – old festers beneath all the luxury.
Eli Stewart has never gotten over Gretchel. He has spent the seventeen years since she left him building the semblance of a life, but a chance encounter unsettles him from this comfortably numb existence, stirs memories he’s tried to bury, and compels him to seek out his lost love.
As Gretchel and Eli stumble toward each other, forces – human and otherwise – rally to keep them apart. Will they find the strength to create their own future, or will they succumb to a cycle of violence that reverberates through the centuries?
The Witches of Snyder Farms – Book Two
History has no mercy.
Book Two, The Witches of Snyder Farms, Gretchel and Eli are just learning to be together again when secrets from their past – secrets they’ve kept from each other and secrets others have kept from them – threaten to destroy their fragile happiness. Even as Eli’s relationship with Gretchel is tested, his bond with Gretchel’s daughter grows deeper. Then the malign spirit that has haunted the women in Gretchel’s family for centuries begins to stalk Ame, Gretchel’s daughter, and Eli discovers the key to the mysterious prophecy that his mother has been obsessively researching for more than forty years…
After a series of stunning revelations from Miss Poni, the family matriarch, Gretchel, Eli and Ame are forced to reconsider everything they think they know about themselves – and each other. Will their love survive? And will Ame be tough enough to fight the curse that has plagued her family for generations?
Beltane – Book Three
There’ll be no rest’n fer the wicked.
An intricately carved box contains a power so great that opening it could change the course of history. Gretchel's seen the box in a vision, but can she remember where it is and does she want to? The energy inside haunts her family line, but also has the power to heal. Will she have the courage to dig up the past?
All your favorite characters return for the third intense volume of The Wicked Garden Series. Join them as they celebrate the Beltane holiday at Snyder Farms where a joyous ruckus ensues and an insidious spirit hides in the shadows of Gretchel's mind.
There are three more books expected in this series. Book four is expected out sometime this summer.
Did you have any particular inspiration as to the characters? How did you decide on their names?
The name Gretchel was present in my mind after a meditation four years ago. I knew her name and I knew she was a redheaded Scottish witch. The others developed as I wrote the story.
What’s the best piece of writing advice anybody ever gave you?
Just do it. Stop talking about it and do it.
What opportunities have your books opened for you? Have you traveled? Who have you met and what came out of your journey as an author.
Great question. I have traveled a bit around the state, and plan to do much more this summer as festival season commences. I have met so many amazing authors since I started traveling the author’s road, along with many creatives and other amazing people who share a similar spiritual path. Every day seems to be a new opportunity to connect with people in the biz and share the journey.
I love to learn about other authors and what makes them tick. Tell me what your greatest obstacles are, not just an author, but as a person who writes books. I know it may sound like it’s the same thing, but people who write know it is not.
It isn’t. As an author my greatest obstacle is staying focused, and trusting my ability to create a well-told story. Managing the business side of being an author has been a learning experience for sure. It still seems weird to me that it is a business.
As a person that writes books, I could get lost in the story and characters all day long. I immerse myself there when possible. It is an obstacle for me now because the business end of it really requires a lot of energy. So everyday, I really feel the pull of two worlds. It is a harmony I am still learning.
And, Finally, tell me how you define success and what writing your book series has meant to you.
Writing this book series really was a healing experience for me. I hadn’t written in ten years, so when I finally started again, it seemed I couldn’t quit. I felt successful when I first held Book One in my hands, and when I saw someone holding it in a picture. It was surreal. I had arrived! Everyday I reach for little successes that add to this, and snowball to keep me motivated. When I know someone was touched by the series, I feel successful. When I know a woman understands one or many of characters on a deep level, I feel successful. I want this story to be engaging, to entertain and to heal others as writing it healed me.
Please give any final words or messages you’d like to leave for your readers.
Thank you for traveling with me on this magical journey through time and memory. Gretchel thanks you for listening to her story. She has much more to tell, and you are not going to believe what happens next! Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye.
Links to Lenora's virtual world:
Start your journey into the realm of magical realism and witchy fiction at http://www.amazon.com/Lenora-Henson/e/B00CA7DT2C/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 in Print or on Kindle.
Or order a signed copy straight from the author at www.lenorahenson.com While at the website, sign up for the monthly newsletter to get exclusive updates.
Hook up to The Wicked Garden world and Lenora Henson with these links:
Facebook, Private Wicked Garden Group: