Interview with Author Jenelle L. Schmidt

The Orb and the Airshipby Realm award-winning author Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, is an adventurous tale about a rogue airship captain, an ambitious youth, and a clash of powers beyond their imagination. The first in a series, The Orb and the Airship was released on June 16th, 2023. Jenelle’s the author of the complete series “The Minstrel’s Song,” a four-book saga of epic adventure full of dragons, quests, magical swords, fierce warriors, friendship, loyalty, and an enigmatic minstrel. Her short stories have been numerous anthologies and Havok publishing.

Jenelle’s splendid writing held a signature style that will be both appealing to Young Adult and adult fans, Christian and non-Christian. The plot was intricate and surprising. Great attention and detail was dedicated to the world building and beautiful characters. Janelle mentions in the acknowledgments page that her husband thought of the idea of the world of Turrim seventeen years prior and asked if she could write a story about it. It shows that this book was 15 years in the making with the great amount of details and descriptions.

The beginning of The Orb and the Airship focused on a  young man transitioning from his homeland to life on his own, but the end changed into an old man laying his life down for others so that they could have a home. In Jenelle’s words, the character’s journey “was a road that would always go onward, and never back.” The book did the same for me. I went on a journey that I hope will continue onward.

This is the first book I’ve read by Jenelle, so I have nothing previously written by her to compare, but in my opinion, The Orb and the Airship is an instant classic, a timeless treasure that will be enjoyed for generations.

I asked Jenelle to share what led her to be an author of Christian fantasy and what her days look like in her writer’s world. Read below to hear what she has to say.

Amy Earls: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Jenelle Schmidt: I don’t know that there really was a “moment of truth” per se. It was more gradual. I grew up listening to my dad read my grandma’s book out loud, which she never saw published, but I edited and published for her after she died. But that was kind of my first encouragement that “normal” people could be authors. I was always making up stories as a kid, usually grand adventures of some kind. And reading is my superpower, so it just sort of naturally seemed to coalesce into writing books. When I came home from my freshman year of college, my dad challenged me to write an adventure tale for him to read out loud to the family in the evenings, and that was pretty much the “no turning back” point in my writing journey. I enjoyed writing that book so much that I just kept writing!

AE: How long does it take you to write a book?

JS: It really depends on the book! But I’d say I average out around 4 months per rough draft. 

AE: What is your real-life work schedule like when writing? 

JS: I’m a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom-of-four by always (I was going to say “by day” but that’s not really an accurate picture of my working hours!) so my writing hours are a little bit whenever I can grab them. Usually I get an hour or so in the afternoons while the kids are having quiet time or play time, but most of my writing happens after they go to bed in the evenings. I’ve been making a lot of use out of 5-minute writing sprints, where you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write as much as you can in that time. I have written whole books in 5-minute bursts, so it can be done. And it’s easier to grab 5 minutes of time than set aside an hour.

AE: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

JS: I often write in silence. I don’t do a lot of the “mood board” or “make a writing music playlist” things that seem to be all the rage. However, when I run into a rough spot, I will often turn on Christmas music to get me through it. 

I also find that I need to take frequent walks outside with my husband to talk myself out of corners I’ve written my characters into.

AE: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

JS: Usually from my husband. He helps me so much with so many aspects of the writing process. He helps with a lot of the world-building, is my sounding-board, my formatter, my map-maker… and he’s great at asking me questions that make me see various problems, characters, and story elements from different angles.

AE: What’s your best advice to writers wanting to be published?

JS: Read a lot in the genre you want to write.

Write! Keep writing. Write some more!

Find someone who is willing to give you honest feedback and kind (but honest) critiques… someone you are willing to take both encouragement and criticism from… because if you only surround yourself with people who think your rough drafts are the best things ever, then you’ll never improve.

You can find out more about Jenelle and her books at or through her LinkTree account:

Amy Earls is a professor of first-year college students and holds a master’s degree in education for adult learners with a focus in writing. Amy is passionate about helping teens and adults build strong faith. When she’s not grading papers, she’s writing, mentoring authors, or dreaming up ways to make life an adventure. She lives in a bike-riding and Beaver-loving college town in Oregon with her husband, two daughters, and a never dying goldfish.

You can follow her here:

3 thoughts on “Interview with Author Jenelle L. Schmidt

What Do You Think?