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Jenn MacLeod Interview

Updated: Aug 26, 2023


I was born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Canada. I earned a degree in 19th-century English & history with a focus on Great Britain. As a child, my favourite authors were Lucy Maud Montgomery and J.R.R. Tolkien. My interest in mystery authors began in early high school, but in university, I fell in love with the Romantics. If I’d had a son, I would have named him Blake (after William Blake). I was called to teaching from a young age, always desiring to help people. I earned a teaching degree and have been involved in the educational world for 21 years. I have taught every age, and everything from English Lit. to creative writing, history, social sciences, French, special education, and developmental education. I was even a guidance counsellor for a couple of years. I hope to retire in young(ish) so I can devote myself entirely to writing and editing.

How and when did you start writing?

I’ve been writing my whole life, from my earliest memories. I was an early reader, and a voracious one. The only time I ever remember getting ‘in trouble’ in school was when I wouldn’t hear the teacher say it was time to put silent reading books away and get out math textbooks! I wrote my first longer work around age 9 or 10. It was called The Jennings Family.

Once I got into university, I didn’t have time for creative writing; instead, I was researching and writing essays. Two degrees later, I got married. Once again, life took over and I didn’t write creatively for many years. I believe the absence of art made it more difficult to deal with life’s challenges. As soon as I divorced, I started writing. I wrote every day for about 4 years straight, until the pandemic shifted my routine once again.

Tell me about your books?

My debut novel was Abalone. I started writing the book in the early years of my marriage and then, forgot about it. After my divorce, I added 400 more pages to complete what I would describe as a fictional memoir that helped heal my soul.

A trip to Ireland inspired The Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu trilogy. Many of the characters are historical figures; therefore, I did not have complete creative freedom, but I did base the story loosely around real events, and combined those with my own journey through the country, as well as my need for a little melodrama and romance at the time.

I believe by the time these works were completed, my spirit was much lighter. I wrote the first two romantic comedies, The Future Bride and The Past Love, to take a risk and branch out into a niche subgenre. These stories include a heroine with a black belt in karate, and many Scottish characters pulled directly from my research into my own family tree.

I have also written a work of science fiction that blends romantic suspense and teaching experience into a fast-paced read. A Moment in Time is intended to be a guilty pleasure.

If you could be a character in one of your books, who would you be and why?

I know that readers will expect me to say Brigid, because who wouldn’t want to end up with Ferghus? But my answer is Lily. She is my oldest protagonist, and we have the most in common. We have both experienced abuse, stalking, and addiction, and know how difficult and rewarding teaching can be. Lily’s story shows me that someone can go through absolute hell, and work to heal. Even when we think we are unworthy of love, we are more than enough.

What do you consider your biggest challenge?

My greatest challenge right now seems to be balancing numerous responsibilities with my own mental health and creative needs. I work full time, have three young children, and assist my mom now that my dad is gone.

What writing advice have you been given that really helped you?

I used to have an ‘all-or-nothing’ way of thinking about writing, but that is unhealthy. If I can’t write full time, or sit for hours upon end, I used to think I was failing. Now, I know that even researching a topic, or editing something, or marketing past novels is still engaging in the ‘craft’ of writing. If I write a sentence, it’s more than I had before. I need to celebrate small successes and not feel guilty for taking time for myself. Daydreaming is necessary, too.

What do you consider your greatest writing accomplishment?

I set a goal to try something different with each book or series. This meant taking large risks. For example, to branch out of realistic, new-adult fiction into historical romance, romantic comedy, and even a domestic thriller would normally sound intimidating, but I viewed it as an opportunity for growth. I am a complex person with various interests, skills, and strengths. Niche genres help me express these sides of myself.

What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?

With Abalone, it was that they felt less alone after reading it. With my trilogy, it was that they could picture each setting in detail. With my Brigid adventures, it was how much they fell in love with Ferghus, as well as how all of the supporting characters were equally dynamic. Finally, with A Moment in Time, I had more than one person say they cried at the end because it had such a deep impact on them. These are all compliments that I cherish.

What do you want your readers to feel when they have closed the last page of your book?

I hope that readers will feel empowered and entertained. I want people to escape from the world for a time and get lost in my settings.

What would you do if you didn’t write?

This is not possible, because I am someone who craves writing to feel balanced.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

My greatest dream as a writer is to be financially secure enough to do this full time.

What are your current projects? What should we be looking out for?

Watch for The Once and Future Love, the third installment in my time-travel adventure series, this summer. Ferghus will get a taste of 21st-century Canada as he helps Brigid navigate karate classes, survival competitions, and time travel. Prepare to have your mind blown as most of the mystery is finally revealed!

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Feb 19, 2023

Love this dive into the life and times of the amazing, accomplished, talented, and authentic Jenn MacLeod! Thanks, Lily!


Feb 19, 2023

This was a wonderful opportunity. Thank you so much for featuring me. J.G. 🙏


Feb 19, 2023

Such a wonderful interview with the amazing J.G. MacLeod. Thank you so much for this. On to the others!

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