|EN McNamara, Author|
As I scan the popular YA titles, I can't help but notice that vampires, sorcerers, werewolves and unicorns crowd the shelves. Often the theme is good over evil, light over dark, along with the message that you are the ruler of your own destiny. The Jamie Keller Mysteries are about real people, but the message is the same.
I believe that our mission in this life is to create our own world, and the earlier we learn this critical lesson, the happier and more peaceful our lives will be. There is a hitch: negative thinking blocks our power. Before we can be masters of our universe, we have to get a handle on our thought process. A simple concept, but not always easy. My main character, Jamie Keller is learning many of these lessons - sometimes the hard way.
I think I am attracted to write for YA audiences because books were so meaningful to me when I was growing up. I also enjoy the middle-school crowd, as I find they possess a high level of hilarity along with very open minds. I’ve been a music teacher for the last six years so I’ve rock and rolled with the best of them.
My writing career began quite by accident. My partner, Jerry and I were mushroom hunting in our woods. Our new kittens Schwartz and Isaiah, insisted on following us. The problem was that they had just been neutered that very morning and we were instructed by the Vet to let them rest. Out of concern we cut our trek a little shorter than usual, and the wee cats made it home without incident - they’re still alive today and quite fat. Later that evening as we sat by our wood-stove, over a glass of wine, we cooked up the bones to the first book, Off the Grid. I jumped up, grabbed my computer and began the story. It was finished thirty days later.
Here are some short descriptions of the series:
Off the Grid -When Jamie Keller's father is killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb, her mother decides to combat the financial and emotional stress by moving the family from Hamilton, Ohio to the rural town of Promise, Oregon.
Fourteen-year-old Jamie narrates the tale of the journey, intermingling descriptions of family dynamics with her own personal philosophy of life.
The victims of Jamie's scrutiny include: older sister Jenny, who listens to praise music and wears a WWJD bracelet; younger brother Jake, contained and brainy, with know-it-all tendencies; and little sister Jana, lover of animals and sometimes the comic relief.
In Reno, Nevada, the mystery begins when Jamie's mother fails to pick the kids up at the mall as had been previously arranged.
After waiting for hours in the blazing heat, brother Jake finally goes in search of his mom only to return with an amazing story. He has located the car, and everything in it is intact (including the family's pet cats), but Mrs. Keller is nowhere to be found. Intensive searching proves futile. Their mother has vanished!
Nervous about becoming wards of the state of Nevada, and fearful of being put in separate foster homes, the Keller kids decide to avoid authority, choosing instead to take the gamble, and continue on to Promise, Oregon.
On the way into town, a giant JESUS banner is the first sign that Promise is in a bible belt. Jenny is thrilled, Jamie, not so.
Upon arriving at the ranch, the Kellers are met with further disappointment when they discover that the 'ranch' is nothing more than an old trailer, situated off the grid. Jake is in his element, with the challenge of solar panels, batteries and generators, but the girls are far from enchanted.
War, religion, world peace, inner peace, dealing with financial stress and self sufficiency are some of the key topics in this story.
Readers relate to the characters in Off the Grid, Over the Edge and In the Groove. The series can be read out of order but it’s much better to start at the beginning. If you do enjoy The Jamie Keller Mystery Series, I would sincerely appreciate a kindly review on Amazon.
Book 4 in the series, On the Brink, will be released in 2014.
Have a great summer Everybody,