Tuesday 5 June 2018

Author’s Inspirations ~ J.A.Snow #HistoricalFiction @JACISNOW

Please welcome historical fiction author, J.A.Snow, on to the blog.

Author’s Inspirations

I have a story to tell….

Over forty years ago I embarked on an incredible journey: digging up the roots of my family tree.

It has whisked me away to such remote places of the world as the quaint hamlet of Porlock on the southwest coast of England, where I found myself among pirates and smugglers.  It has dragged me through the bloody streets of London during Tudor times to suffer the black death and the cruel hand of Henry VIII. It has drawn me up the gangplank of a ship sailing across the Atlantic to an unknown place called Plymouth Colony to struggle and come close to starving to death. It found me in the trenches of the bloody Civil War and spying on the Redcoats on old Cape Cod. And, long before that, it has me jumping aboard a Viking long ship to pillage and plunder, sending me on a rescue mission for a kidnapped princess to the wilds of Norway and fighting on the island of Orkney. My family has seen it all.

But, I guess to understand where I came from and why I began to write, I must go back to my early childhood, back to the fifth grade, as I recall. The class was studying the solar system and I sat down and wrote my first short story: My First Trip to the Moon. Writing has since been a part of my life. When I was only thirteen years old, my English teacher saw a spark in me and told me about a national short story contest put on by Scholastic Magazine. It was then that I wrote my first award-winning piece, I’ll Just Watch, which received Fourth Place and got my picture in the newspaper. From that time, as my grandmother put it, I was destined to write the story of my family.

It began one day at my dining room table, with a three-ring binder, a box of sharp pencils and some blank family pedigree sheets, where I went to work piecing together the giant jigsaw puzzle that would be my genealogy. Today, that binder has grown to three huge notebooks and sixty generations of what can only be described as the history of a remarkable family. But, it didn’t happen overnight. You must remember this began long before computers and Ancestry.com. I did my research the old-way, reeling through old microfilm in the Mormon library and writing hundreds of letters (via snail-mail) to various county clerks and state registrars of vital statistics, to obtain copies of old birth certificates, wills and military records. I corresponded with every distant cousin I could find and wrote down all the family stories they shared with me.
Still, the idea of writing a series of historical novels had not entered my mind. I continued to write of course. To a writer, picking up a pen or sitting down at a keyboard is as vital to life as breathing (well, almost). I tried my hand at poetry, winning a few awards and being published in the pages of literary magazines. I wrote some novellas and mysteries and began submitting them to large publishing houses. But, as any writer will tell you, that process can be long and discouraging. I had almost given up the hope of ever seeing my name on the cover of a book when my older brother suggested publishing my stories as Kindle books. And the rest, as they say, is history. Fourteen independently-published books later, seven of which are historical novels, I find myself on a mission of writing one book every year to finally give faces and new life to the names who fill the dusty notebooks on my shelf.

The one thing I discovered in all my years of research was that if you can trace back far enough you will eventually find you are related to some well-known people. I was fortunate in that there are many famous faces lurking among the branches of my family tree. I have traced direct bloodlines to Emperor Charlemagne, Rollo the first Count of Normandy, William Longsword and Richard the Fearless. My eleventh-generation great grandmother was Constance Hopkins Snow who came to America on the Mayflower. I also count such notables as William the Conqueror and Eleanor of Aquitaine among my direct line, which are on my to-write-about list.  So many stories to tell and so little time left to tell them! It has been an amazing ride and it’s not over yet!

The Sea King

The nation of Norway was formed after decades of civil war and unrest. In a land that was divided not only by mountains and fjords, it was made of up hundreds of smaller kingdoms, ruled by petty kings who were isolated from each other both by brutal winters and family rivalries. It wasn't until one man named Harald Fairhair put an end to the civil wars and was finally able to unite his people.

 J.A Snow

Award winning author J.A.Snow has experimented throughout her lifetime with different genres; in everything from mainstream and mysteries to poetry and the supernatural.
But, she has finally found her "niche" as she puts it.
After over forty years of intense genealogical research,compiling hundreds of years of history on her own family tree, she recently embarked on an incredible journey; writing a set of novels based entirely on her own ancestors.
Her first series, An American Family, follows her paternal line all the way from medieval, rural England, taking readers through the bloody streets of London during Tudor times, sailing on to Plymouth, Massachusetts with the original Pilgrims. In America, the family survives several wars,devastating epidemics and, finally, migrates westward from their home on colonial Cape Cod to find their destiny in the Great Plains through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of 1934.

Released just last year, her second series, The Viking Sagas, took off with a fiery start with A Dynasty of Giants. Readers are taken all the way back to ancient Finland where another branch of her family tree emerged. The second book, The Sea Kings, details the founding of Norway and the conquest of Orkney. She describes this series as "history meeting Norse Mythology", for there will be an element of Scandinavian folklore and fantasy firmly implanted in between the pages of the family stories. Projected to be another five-book series, the next books will migrate with her ancestors to Normandy and finally England with the Great Heathen Army.

J.A. says there are times, when she is "in between" books, that a story iea comes to her and she will crank out a short story or novella on a whim. Such was "The Caregivers" she recently released while she was writing An American Family, inspired by the very real personal life experience of losing a loved one.

You just never know what this eclectic writer will do next!

While all of her work is offered in Kindle format,
the historical books are offered in both Kindle and soft cover.
They are also available in all San Diego County public libraries.

J.A. Snow has an author page on Facebook,Twitter  on which she
answers questions and keeps readers informed of new releases and progress
on current projects.


  1. Excellent post. It must be great to be able to make that personal connection with the past.

    1. Yes, Jacqui it is quite rewarding. Quite different than just going to Grandmas's house for Thanksgiving! LOL

  2. What a superb post and interesting history too.

    1. Yes, Carol, when I first learned that my great grandmother was actually on the Mayflower, it just opened up so many doors!

  3. Such a great post! I love researching my family tree. I can spend hours stalking the dead!

    1. Thank you so much for your support Mary Anne. Yes genealogy becomes more than a hobby...it consumes you.

  4. Oh, Wow! Image having Rollo in your family tree! That must have been a wonderful find. I have always wanted to research my family tree, but I have not got the first idea how to go about it. Any tips?!

    1. Oh I have lots of tips Gemma! Have you tried Ancestry.com yet? I would suggest that for starters. But, as you get "hints" from other trees be very selective what you use for your tree, ie only use information you can prove through official documents. I have found that the Millenium files and the Netherlands genealogy records are the most accurate.

    2. PS Rollo is the main character of my current book The Pagan Princes. It should be released by Christmas!

    3. We must be cousins, J A Snow! I found Rollo in my family tree too! LOL!

    4. Well its a small world isn't it Beatrice! You will enjoy my upcoming book then about our ancestor. He was a very interesting character. Hrolf the Walker they called him. First Count of Normandy.

  5. I read with great interest Jaci's books about the Snow family. Turns out that Constance Hopkins Snow is my 9th Great grandmother. I am directly descended from Thomas and Joseph Rogers who would have sailed with Constance on the Mayflower. I spent many summers on Cape Cod and reading references to places like Skaket Rd. bring back many memories for me. Jeep in writing!

  6. Hi ,JA I, I have been reading all your books about the Snows which are my line also. I go back to John Anthony Snow 1360. Constance was quite young girl right on till her death. And yesI have been to her grave with all my family and friends on. I am waiting for your fourth and fifth book. I would like to have one of your books autographed. My name is Gayland “ Quincy” Snow, I live on an Island off the coast of Washington State and Iam 84 yrs old.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx