Who is the author behind Jamie Poole?
Happy February wherever you are. We have readers all over the world. As we're adding new readers regularly, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself to everyone. I am Ellen Sutherland, author of the Jamie Poole Series. But, as is quoted in the series itself, my name doesn't tell you "who" I am. So, let me tell you, and say welcome to everyone reading this.
I was born in the American state of Indiana not far from where Jamie’s series begins. I have lived in other parts of the US, and Jamie’s story has seemed to stalk me. Currently, I reside in Nova Scotia, Canada. I have either visited or lived in most places where the series takes place, taking to heart Mark Twain’s advice to “write what you know.”
I wrote my first book at the age of four. The topic was two otters, Ollie and Edith, and it was fully illustrated in crayon. I’m sure I still have the book somewhere. But with that book, I was hooked and writing became my life’s passion.
Unbeknownst to my dad, he was influential in stoking this passion. He supplied me with books. While I read Nancy Drew and other favorites of the time, under his influence my best friends were Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Mark Twain.
Also unbeknownst to my dad, he influenced me with an understanding of how to conduct thorough research. He was an avid genealogist and became the leading source of information on his father’s ancestral line. He spent extensive time in libraries and in the field. By field, I often mean graveyards. Forget Disney! Some of the most vivid childhood vacations were spent hunting for graves of long-deceased ancestors. Other times we visited archaeological sites, historic battle fields, and castles. Perhaps this sounds morbid, but it played its part, building a foundation for storytelling. The experience taught me you can't choose your relatives, but you can dig them up...figuratively. Lizzie Borden was only one notorious ancestor. Since then I've dug up several living relatives to balance things.
As a teen I told stories through comics, and a hint of Science Fiction bled through. This again was my dad’s influence. By now you must realize the pattern. I blame my dad for my love of writing and research—as well as Science Fiction. He introduced me to Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Carl Sagan, to name a few. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. My dad never realized what he inspired. Science Fiction became the catalyst for telling a good story. (Thanks, Dad)
I didn't pursue archaeology—my childhood dream job—and part of me is disappointed. I have taken it up as a hobby. It’s become a natural subject to research, and I will never say no to visiting a museum or grabbing a good book on mummies or bog bodies.
I graduated university with a degree in English Education. As part of that education, I wrote many short stories. One of those was the prototype for Jamie Poole and was titled “Ben and the Dragon.” She would go through considerable evolution before she emerged, having found her voice and an understanding of her destiny. I’ve taught high school English, Business English, and English as a second language. I’ve spent over 20 years writing technical documents in the Information Technology sector, but through it all Mark Twain's advice to write what you know stuck like peanut butter.
The story of Jamie begged to be told, and finally I listened. It was natural to begin with what I already knew, and so her story began in Alexandria, Indiana. For more exotic locations like ancient Egypt, the fictional Isle of Osiris, or even Mars I have relied on the research skills my dad instilled. The same is true of historical events like World Wars I and II or Fimbulwinter. I admit to drawing from personal experience for plotlines, but Jamie is entirely her own character and the story is mostly fictional except for those parts that are not. It is, after all, a mixed genre of history, science fiction, and fantasy. Did I mention time travel? I’ve kept to the truth (and facts) other than where I cannot, but I will let the reader decide which is real and which is fantasy.
Currently I live near the city of Halifax always with some assorted gathering of furry family to help with editing, advice, and inspiration. I hope you enjoy reading the Jamie Poole Diaries as much I enjoyed creating them.