Book Nerd Interview
Janell Rhiannon has been writing since she was in grade school. In high school, her 9th grade English teacher suggested she consider a career in writing. After a decade in college and a Master's degree in history, she became a part-time college history instructor and eventually settled into teaching high school.
Writing never stopped. Stories never stopped. READING fiction never stopped. Now, Janell writes and publishes her works on-line. Invisible Wings is her first YA novel, a compilation of short stories centered on triumphs and tragedies in teen life. Mythology and Fairytales are her favorite things to research and write about. Anything magical and mystical floats her boat. There are dragons in her new future.
She enjoys reading every night before bed. YA novels as well as literary and paranormal fiction and fantasy.
She now resides in CA and continues teaching freshmen.
Visit the author at Facebook @Janell Rhiannon and Invisible Wings. If you want to see upcoming projects or find out more about the author, visit:
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Loyal, tenacious, and firecracker
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I never thought about what I wanted to be. I was a great dreamer…had imagination for fantasy worlds. In grade school I wrote skits and performed them to my captive audience of family or classmates. I always had my nose in a book.
Tell us your latest news.
I figured out how to reset TAB on an entire InDesign document! I got dibs on Crixus as my TV boyfriend among my gal pals. I also got my first royalty check from Amazon.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
Reading and writing. My 9th grade English teacher once told me to consider a job in writing. I wish I could thank her…Mrs. Reisenbichler. She believed in me, saw something I didn’t understand at the time. I guess I learned that some people can be truly inspirational. Secretly, I wanted to be a writer, but everyone told me that was a pipe dream and I had to get a real job. So I did. Then, I still wanted to write. Irony? I teach writing…
This is your first book. Where’d you get the idea to do a collection of short stories instead of a full-length novel?
It sort of just happened that way. One day I watched my students taking a test and I thought, What if one of them was an angel just sitting there. She could probably read their minds, maybe she would be listening to their thoughts…I thought, I wonder what she’d hear them thinking. The idea formed that I could write one story for each student she could hear…maybe help each of them get what they “really” needed, instead of what they thought they wanted. Viola! Short stories
What inspired you to write Invisible Wings? Is there a story about the writing of this novel that begs to be told?
I teach high school, so I see teens every day. I hear their plights: watch them get their first broken hearts, hug them when they cry because their parents are divorcing, dad or mom went to jail, they are going to jail, watch as they get pulled into gang life…it never ends. So, it seemed natural to just write different stories that really honor the real teens I see. I wanted them (my students and any other teen out there) to know that even if life deals you crap, you can still find hope and love if you hang on.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your characters?
It surprised me how much my Nonna influenced me when I was a child. I don’t have a traditional belief in “god” so the fact that I wrote about an angel and used religious symbols was a big surprise. It’s not a religious book at all…more about faith in something bigger than yourself, to never give up. I found that as I wrote, I used curse words because it made my teen characters “real” even though I was hesitant to do that. I guess I realize how much I appreciated teens and what they have to endure at times…things that would snap a grown up like a twig.
Which character was your favorite to write? What about the hardest to write?
My favorite character is Ramon. He’s a boy who joins a gang, because his father was in a gang. He despises his mother who gave up on him and his little brothers when their dad went to prison. The phrase “when bullets fly like butterflies” just came out of that story. I love it. The hardest to write was about a girl named Nalae who’s homeless. Her father, her little sister and she live in their car and wash up in the Wal-Mart bathroom. She misses her mother who died a few years ago…this one makes me cry when I read it. I cried when I wrote it. The characters are fictional, but I know real kids who’ve faced these real things…
If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
Have faith in love. Never give up on love. BELIEVE in your own power.
Do you have plans for a new book?
OMG several. Dragons of Elysia (YA) about a girl who ends up in a Dragon Temple with her dog, The Forgotten Prince (Paris of Troy) (YA with Language), and Trinity about a woman who has visions of the Battle at Little BigHorn, and ChrisTian and RosaLinda (YA) a gargoyle romance…
If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
Romeo and Juliet
Anything spicy and Vodka or Gin
What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Coconut Silk, apples, and chocolate pudding
List 3 of your all time favorite books?
Lord of the Rings, Mists of Avalon, and The Odyssey (all fantasy/mythology)
What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I watched the The 4th Kind…I didn’t sleep for a week. All I could think about was aliens sucking me up at night when I slept. Something about using the ancient language, the freakin’ tape recorder, the bodies hovering. I even looked up the doctor on Google… OMG I don’t even want to think about that now! I refuse to watch that again…ever.
Where can readers stalk you?
Janell Rhiannon @ FB
Invisible Wings @ FB
Theravenangel @ Twitter
On her fifteenth birthday, Arabella finds out she’s on the path to becoming a full-fledged Virtue angel. When the Voice fills her with a blinding light, her angelic mission is revealed: she was put on Earth to guide and guard teenagers. She hears their darkest thoughts and their secret wishes. She must help them realize their true destinies…and she can time travel to do it. The moment the first star pops into the twilight sky, Arabella shimmers into action on invisible wings. 12 Twilights 12 Destinies 12 Teenagers who will never be the same
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