October 28, 2008
Hi, writers! I can’t wait for you to hear from my friend, Jenny L. Cote. But before you do, let me tell you a little about her. Jenny and I met at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference a few years ago, before she ever had a book contract–and wait till you see what she’s done!
In her new fantasy series, The Amazing Tales of Max and LizTM, Jenny beautifully blends her passions for God, history, and young people as she takes heroes Max and Liz through pivotal points in Biblical and world history. And get this–Jenny is currently working with a movie studio to produce the first book, The Ark, The Reed and The Fire Cloud, as a 3-D animated feature film! How cool is that???
Jenny is from Norfolk, VA, and holds two marketing degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Her career has focused on strategic planning and marketing–not a bad combination for an author! She now writes and speaks full time and lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband Casey, son Alex, and of course, the REAL Max and Liz. Jenny is an active member at Dunwoody Baptist Church.
Vonda: Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Jenny. Would you begin by telling us when you started writing?
Jenny: I’d love to! I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I actually wrote stories about talking fruit when I was about 10, so before Phil Vischer wrote VeggieTales I was writing FruityTales!
Vonda: So I’m assuming you’ve graduated from writing about talking fruit?
Jenny: Yes, I’ve written three books, and am currently writing a fourth. My primary project now is my new fantasy series, The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz. Book one, The Ark, The Reed and The Fire Cloud, was just released by AMG Publishers. It’s the story of the animals making their way to Noah’s Ark where heroes Max and Liz foil a plot by a stowaway who is out to kill Noah and his family and stop the human race from starting all over again.
Vonda: Wow! Max and Liz are amazing!
Jenny: Max is a brave Scottish Terrier and Liz is a French cat who is a scientific genius, and they both had human cultural characteristics long before people were even in those areas! Like the “Forrest Gump” of animals, they make all sorts of things happen behind the scenes in history.
Vonda: Sounds like fun! So, who is the series written for?
Jenny: The target audience is 8 to 12-year-olds but so far, all ages are loving it. I’ve heard from teens and adults who devoured the book and can’t wait for book two!
Vonda: I can see why! But I gotta ask. You take great liberties with weaving fantastic ideas around a well-known traditional Bible story. Why?
Jenny: I really feel that God inspired me to write this series. Think about it: The most cataclysmic event in the history of the world, and we have only three chapters that give few details of what happened that year aboard the ark. So I’ve taken a beloved story and woven a fantasy from the animals’ point of view to engage readers in a “what if” scenario, making it a ton of fun while maintaining the integrity of what we do know to be true.
Vonda: As I understand it, Max and Liz will go through time in future sequels in the series. Where will they go?
Jenny: Max and Liz save the day in book one, and God chooses to send them through pivotal points of human history to affect the lives of people both in Bible stories and recent history. I’m currently writing book two, The Dreamer, The Schemer and The Robe, about Joseph due out in 2009. Then we’ll help Moses in The Prince, The Plagues and The Promise before we jump to The Revolutionary War and help Patrick Henry and The Marquis de Lafayette in The Voice, The Revolution and The Jewel. I want to show God interacting in the human experience not just in Bible stories, but across all points in time. It’s a way to make history come alive and be fun and exciting and–dare I say–teach readers a little history in the process.
Vonda: Well I want to hear about this film. How exciting!
Jenny: Yes, it’s very exciting! I’m working with a studio to bring The Ark to the big screen as a 3D animated feature film. Budgets and contracts are being worked on as we speak, and I’ll be able to give details on this soon. The movie will be in production about 18 months. It’s been a total God-thing from the beginning. It completely goes against the normal scenario of taking a book to film, which usually takes an average of 9-12 years! But God said, “How about a verbal movie deal before the book is even released?” Just blows my mind!
Vonda: Okay, so tell us about the inspiration for The Amazing Tales of Max and LizTM.
Jenny: The REAL Max and Liz are my pets (see photo), and I truly think God sent them on a mission to inspire these stories.
Vonda: Jenny, thank you for giving us an inside look at the story within the story of Max and Liz. In closing, would you tell us how to get this book and “meet” the real Max and Liz?
Jenny: I’d love to! Just visit www.maxandliz.com where you can get signed copies, see some book trailers, and get the latest news on Max and Liz. The book’s also available at bookstores and online at Amazon and Christianbook.com. I’m currently on a book tour, visiting schools and giving lectures on creative writing. I love hanging out with kids,
so if anyone is interested in having me come to their school or church, please give me a buzz.
Vonda: Okay, you heard it here. Jenny is available to speak to schools, churches, libraries, and community groups. To schedule a talk, reading and/or book signing, or interview just contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find Jenny, Max, and Liz at Facebook. Thanks, Jenny!
And readers, if you’d like a chance to get a free autographed copy of The Ark, The Reed, and The Fire Cloud, just leave a comment for us here at the blog. A name will be randomly selected next Sunday and announced next Tuesday. BE SURE TO CHECK BACK TO SEE IF YOU WIN, otherwise, another name will be drawn. ;-(
The Christian Writer’s Den Writing Retreat…
…was amazing! Kimberli Buffaloe is working on a video I can place on the website, but until then, you can catch it here. Believe me, after you see this, you’ll be packing your bags! (Quality is much better if you download it.) Mark your calendars for next year’s tentative date, October 8-11, 2009.
Don’t Forget to Vote November 4!
In this day of turmoil and confusion, despair and failure, I leave you with these words, taken from the book of Psalm.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
When we dwell in Him, we have no reason to fear.
I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,
(Flag photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)