I was raised in rural, western Michigan and after 4 years at Michigan State, I started a career in Advertising. I was in the Creative Department and spent 20 years working on such accounts as Pontiac, Cadillac, FTD, Mr. Goodwrench and many others. After that, I published a travel and history magazine for boaters in the Great Lakes. That kept me busy for the next ten years and during that time, I did get to write two books. Of course, they were about places to stay and restaurants not to miss. Some years back, I slowed things down a little and started a small computer consulting firm. This allowed me time to pursue things I’d never don e before. One was to work on a weekly comic strip with my old Art Director buddy, Bill Savage. Together we do “Cannville,” a really off-the-wall look at life. (www.cannville.com). While that’s fun and I love doing it, I had always wanted to write fiction… After several shorter efforts, I started working on the project that became, “Angela’s Coven” and my reading circle went crazy over it! I finished it and within weeks, I had it under contract to Museitup Publishing. It was released last October as an E- book and comes out as a paperback in the relative near future. Book #2 in the series, “The Great Northern Coven,” is scheduled to release, October 19th, 2012.
I’ve always been a big fan of the paranormal, especially Steven King and Hans Holzer. But I also love the action and adventure of Clive Cussler. And everybody loves a good hero! I’m told I bring a nice mix of action-packed paranormal to the E-book shelves.
Inspirations for the book?
Like I said, I’ve always been a big fan of the paranormal and there are those in my family who could share some very interesting experiences with us all. Also, I love Halloween and the only thing I love more than Halloween is History. I found myself actually studying the history of the traditions, icons and myths associated with my favorite holiday and I was surprised and amazed at what I was finding out.
Did you know that the first women ‘accused’ of being witches back in the Dark Ages were actually nothing more than the village midwife practicing what we would today, call home remedies and holistic medicine? Here’s a surprise, the accusations came from the leaders of the organized church. See, the Church was training men to be Physicians but the women had a better success rate due to the fact they were not limited in their examinations by the decency laws of the Church. Women could get behind the bed curtains and better treat maladies of the day. Labeling them as ‘witches’ and being ‘in league with the devil’ was a way of leveling the playing field for the men without allowing any ‘indecent’ patient examinations.
That whole image we have of long nosed witches with hairy warts and green skin is just part of the myth the Church created to scare people into seeking male physicians for their health care needs, rather than the traditional midwife. After burning a number of them at the stake, the midwives who
practiced their ancient healing art went underground where they have pretty well stayed for the
past thousand years or more. Only since the enlightenment of the 1960s have they begun to come
It made me wonder, what technological advances the art might have made while it was out of public view? After all, in the past thousand years, we’ve made some great breakthroughs and can do things not even dreamed of back then. Well, maybe the midwives have been busy, too! Think of it this way, they very first time you saw a DVD player, did you think it was a great technical achievement? Or did you think it was the work of the devil himself and did you try to burn the Best Buy guy at the stake?
Exactly. So, I had some fun with it and allowed my Cabbottown witches to fight their own battles, their way, the best way they know how. What we have, is an inspiring, empowering story that will not only entertain you, but make you think about everything you believe in. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it for you!
Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
I’m from an entire family of school teachers, so at least I was well-armed at an early age with the necessary skills. But what really inspired me to write, or rather who inspired me to write, was my Uncle, Tom Shawver. Tom came to our family by marriage and was a newspaper journalist for the Detroit Free Press in those days. I remember one holiday in particular when I was in grade school. We were at my grandparent’s farm house and Tom was under some deadline. After dinner, and some small talk, he excused himself to take his portable typewriter into the bedroom just off the living room and get a story finished to turn in the next morning. I could hear him in there, pounding away and I remember thinking, “there he is in there, making up a story and getting paid to do it! What a great gig!” And that drew me away from teaching and into the world of arts and letters. Later, Tom would be part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the 1967 Detroit riots. When you’ve got a Pulitzer Prize winner in the family, it takes a lot of courage to sit down at that keyboard with your coffee!
Any Pet Peeves?
Oddly, when I’m writing, it’s my pet that peeves me the most, really! I love dogs. I grew up with dachshunds. My current ‘best friend’ is a red and black, long-haired, miniature wiener dog named Fitz. I know, it’s an Irish name, but he came to us when we owned a Great Lakes travel and history magazine and his real name is Heilsher’s Edmund Fitzgerald… What? They were both long and red! Fitz is getting up there. At 13 ½, he’s turned into a demanding curmudgeon of an old man not really attuned to anyone else’s needs but his own. On days I decide to work in the recliner with my lapdesk and laptop, he likes to sleep while stretched out between my knees with the computer over the top of him. Well, the game is these days, that you can’t get him interested in sitting with you until you give up, get your feet up in the air and get all situated. THEN, he wants up and with bug you without mercy! At his age, it’s just not as easy as allowing him to jump up. You have to go give him a proper boost to make it.
If I’m working at the desktop in my office, he’ll sit in the kitchen and make grunting and grumbling noises like an old man. I get up, leave the keyboard to see if he wants out. Usually, he’s just pointing the cookie cupboard. I try to get him to go out but he’s never interested. But let me go back to the office and just as soon as I sit down… he’s barking to go out and at his age, you don’t call his bluff! My wife keeps telling me she’s going to get me that T-shirt that says, “Today’s Agenda: Let dog out, Let dog in, Let dog out, Let dog in…” He can be a pain sometimes, but I will sure miss him when he’s gone. He’s a loveable old curmudgeon.
Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
BOTH! Me and ET, suckers for those Reese’s thingies!
The weirdest thing you've ever done?
Well, my first reaction to this one is to only go back to those where the statute of limitations have expired. And there’s probably a lot your follows would put under TMI (Too Much Information). But keeping it all printable, I would have to look back to the late 1960s. In an effort to extend the waterskiing season a little later into the Michigan fall, my brother, my cousin and myself tried skiing in our pajamas. Seriously. It did very little to keep the chilly winds and evaporating water off our skin, but the crazy thing is, it caught on. By the next day, we weren’t the only ones around the lake waterskiing in our pajamas! Then it became a competition of the loudest, ugliest waterskiing pajamas you could wear. So, of all the things I’ve done, scouring the stores of Grand Rapids for really ugly pajamas to go waterskiing in, would have to be up there. (This fad/ tradition continued on for a few seasons whenever it was a cooler, overcast day.)
Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
Absolutely! Angela’s Coven is about Reggie Sinclair, an aging rock star living in New York City. He’s a veteran of the British Invasion and was/is a solo artist during the whole Classic Rock era. The background to this story sounds like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and countless others. But if I had to narrow it down to just one album, it would have to be “Eric Clapton Unplugged.” This story is about Reggie’s personal life and how it is affected by the witches far more than about his performing life. There are a couple of scenes on Aunt Maddy’s porch and in her parlor where I think you’ll feel that connection.
Do you need anything to write?
Caffeine! In the early mornings, it’s my coffee cup and by lunch, I’m down to the nitty gritty of my Diet Coke. Give me a winter’s day with some fuzzy slippers and some comfy sweats and I’ll write you a novel! Concerning the other usual items writers are credited with having around, I find myself doing without and doing so by choice. As much as I love music, especially oldies and classic vinyl, I find I prefer it quiet when I’m writing. Music creates an emotion within me, be it a happy feeling when hearing a favorite song, or maybe a fond memory/sad memory of where I was at the time. If I’m busy killing someone on paper, these things just don’t go together! So… quiet, please. I want my emotions focused on my words.
How long do you write on any average day?
If the rest of the world and the day job stay out of my way, I like to get started in the morning, by 7 or 7:30AM. I’ll take breaks but I’m pretty well wrapped by lunch. After lunch I’ll look at what I’ve done and massage it a little but generally, that puts me at a comfortable 1,500 words a day. Anything more and I can feel myself getting ‘mechanical’ about it and the ‘freshness of the flow' starts to disappear. If I’ve been off for a while, it takes me a while to get back up to that 1,500 word level. Sometimes, I may stretch it into the late afternoon if I’ve taken a lot of breaks or I’m pounding out a difficult passage. But if it’s dialog, dialog flows for me. I’ll have my quota in and be playing with my big boy toys before lunch.
Give us the number one reason to read your book.
Because this one is different! There are no naked cowboy hunks or lingerie babes on the cover! Yes, these are modern-day witches but there are no pointy hats or magic wands allowed. It’s “Witchcraft—Unplugged!” With that we have characters that range from Lucifer’s henchman to young witches in training, to Guardian Angels as you’ve never seen them before. (Mine don’t have wings and flit about blessing people. Mine are more like a Secret Service protection squad and carry Berrettas.) his is really a story about starting over, second chances and it will cast a whole different light on anything you may have ever considered as faith. When you are done with Angela’s Coven, after you’ve laughed and cried and then laughed and cried again, I want you to think; “I want some of whatever Jenvey’s been smokin’!”
He also has a very dark secret: When he was still an undiscovered teenager, he sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his great fame and success.
As his life draws to an end, he prepares to face the inevitable until he stumbles upon a very enchanting, modern-day witch named Angela, and her untraditional coven.
Angela gradually introduces Reggie to her world of old school Witchcraft with its roots in alchemy and ‘natural chemistry’ dating to the Dark Ages. As their relationship grows, they devise a plan to break Reggie’s contract and save his soul.
This is a story of the struggle between good and evil with a cast of characters that ranges from guardian angels to young witches-in-training. Together, they have to come to terms with the uncertainties of love, loss, and life decisions to save Reggie from an unbearable eternity. Here is a plot filled with unexpected twists and surprises to the very last page that will also cast an entirely different light on anything you may have ever considered as faith!
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