Stuff in the ‘Jennifer Lynn Alvarez’ Category

5 September, 2014

Guardian Herd: Starfire highlighted in ABC Best Books for Children

Starfire - JacketWe’re so pleased that Jennifer Lynn Alvarez’s middle-grade debut The Guardian Herd: Starfire (pubbing September 23rd from Harper Children’s) has been chosen for the prestigious ABC Best Books for Children 2014. Of 1000’s of books considered only 200 are chosen. Congratulations Jennifer!

ABC Best Books for Children Announcement


18 April, 2014


JENNIFER ALVAREZ-headshotJennifer Lynn Alvarez grew up with a crazy love for horses, but her family couldn’t afford them. To satisfy her cravings, she read horse books, volunteered at stables, bought horse toys, took lessons, and played “horses” at recess with her friends. She wrote in her childhood diary that one day she would be a published author, and she would own a horse that lived outside our window.

In pursuit of her goal, she worked hard at school and earned a scholarship to UC Berkeley, where she studied English literature. She wrote in her college essay that her ambition was to write animal stories for children. After she graduated from college, she proudly purchased her first horse, a failed Thoroughbred racer named Splash. The mare reared every time she rode her, kicked her twice, and trampled her once—of course Jennifer loved her dearly. Meanwhile, Jennifer wrote middle-grade novels about animals, but she was intimidated by the process of getting them published.

Time went by, and once her youngest child began school, Jennifer resurrected her publishing dreams. She still wanted to write a book about horses, but she felt like every horse story had already been told. Then in June 2012, she was driving down the freeway and she was struck by an intense visualization. Jennifer saw a herd of flying horses and they were migrating! A white mare, heavily pregnant, was struggling to keep up.

A burning curiosity to know more about the pegasi and the special unborn foal overcame her. As soon as she arrived home, Jennifer began Starfire. She wrote the first draft at a lightning pace, revised it, and then sent it to Jacqueline Flynn at Joelle Delbourgo & Associates. Everything happened quickly after that because as it turns out . . . not every horse story has been told!

Jennifer is now living her dream. The second book of her new trilogy, RIDERS OF THE REALMlaunches on March 26th, 2019 with the publication of THROUGH THE UNTAMED SKY(HarperCollins Children’s Books). She is also the author of The Guardian Herd Series and The Pet Washer. 

You can find more information about Jennifer and her projects on her website, on Twitter @JenniferDiaries, and on her Facebook author page.

Learn more about Jennifer’s books on the Official Site

12 August, 2013

Story Telling vs. Story Trapping, by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

JENNIFER ALVAREZ-headshotThe process of writing the first draft of book one of The Guardian Herd Series was magical for me. The story leapt from my head, fully formed, like Venus. There is something sacred about that, right? You don’t mess with a story straight from the muse, do you? I thought you didn’t. I thought a story’s first shape and form must be its best shape and form.

And then I met my editors.

Rosemary Brosnan and Karen Chaplin at HarperCollins Childrens Books know a thing or two about stories (and the muses they ride in on). When I received my first suggested edits for book one, I was perplexed and empowered. They unleashed my plot and revealed my characters without changing them. How could such significant revisions result in the exact same story—only better?

It was my librarian mother who explained it to me. “They are the advocates for the reader,” she said.

Oh yeah, the reader.Author Photo - Jennifer and horse

A first draft for me is not about story telling, it’s about story trapping. I am flying in the clouds with my pegasi, or galloping across the grasslands, or hiding in a tree while they battle with sharpened hooves and flared wings. I record what I see and try to stay out of their way. I am either covered in blood, or dripping cloud sweat, or crying over a fallen hero at the end of each writing session. The one thing I am not doing is thinking about the reader.

Not yet anyway.

Once the story is trapped, I’ve corrected all my misspelled words, and put away my thesaurus (yes I use one and I’m not afraid to admit it), I am at the end of my abilities to improve the story because I was there. I lived it. I know more than what I’ve written on the page. I can’t know what it’s like to view the manuscript without carnal knowledge of it.

This is when my editors come into play according to my wise mother, not to tame the story, but to frame it. Not to create a better draft, but to create a better read. My editors are doing this for The Guardian Herd Series as we continue to work on the first manuscript together.

My relationship with my muse remains intact. I’ve written the second book and a prequel to the series with the same gusto that infused book one. Knowing I have editors to help me wrangle my stories once I trap them has freed me to go hunting for more.

So the answer for me is, no. I don’t mess with the stories I receive straight from the muse, my editors do. And my books are gratefully better for it.