Wednesday, June 08, 2016

CAPTURED - Dennis Jernigan - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the first book in Dennis Jernigan’s Chronicles of Bren series. When we were raising our children, James and I sang in the church choir. Many of the songs we used were written by this man. I really love his music. He also came to our church back then more than once. He’s been part of my Christian music heritage, and his life testimony is powerful.

Welcome, Dennis. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
In Book One of The Chronicles of Bren, Captured, I saw myself as the protagonist - the main character - Lee/Leonolis. It is very allegorical to my life in many ways. As a young man, I was often bullied but as I grew into manhood - and especially as I came into the understanding of who God made me to be - I was able to overcome so many obstacles in my life. This is how I wrote the character in Captured. Once a victim but eventually victorious!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
It may not be quirky, per se, but I have been working on a building a fantasy adventure land for my grandchildren. I have several acres of woods where I have built a campground and cleared almost 3 miles worth of trails. Each trail will be named for a grandchild. My goal is to fill this fantasy land with statues of creatures like lions, dragons, unicorns, etc. At the entrance will be 2 stone lions. After a few feet down the trail they will come to a stop sign. Below that stop sign will be another sign that reads “Stop here. Put down your logic and put on your imagination…and proceed.”

That sounds awesome. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
My first introduction to writing came in the form of music. To express myself musically helped me develop the craft of writing in general. In college, I wanted to declare my major as a song writer, but was not allowed into that degree program because they saw no potential in me. I have since had over 400 songs published! As I grew into my gifting to write, the next natural step was to write a book. I was approached by a book publisher due to my song writing. My first book was a devotional book called A Mystery of Majesty which went on to sell in excess of 12,000 copies and win an Angel Award. Now, one of my life verses is Psalm 45:1 which says “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer…” My belief is that if I am ready to write, God is ready to pour out material to write about!

That is so true. That verse is one of my life verses, too, but mine is mostly Christian fiction, not music. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love biographies and autobiographies like The Hiding Place by Corrie Tenboom. I am drawn to allegory. Some of my favorite books are Hinds Feet On High Places and Mountains of Spices by Hannah Hurnard. I have read The Chronicles of Narnia to my children through the years. In addition, I read to my children the entire Little House series by Laura Wilder.

Hinds Feet On High Places is my favorite classic allegory. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Since I have a singing/speaking career, we travel many weekends during the year. My wife and I live in the country on the farm where I raised my children. When my mind is overwhelmed with writing or I just need a break from work, I walk outside my barn (where my studio is) and go fishing at one of my ponds. Sometimes, I go walk in the woods to clear my mind and refresh my soul. I spend time worshiping the Lord in song. I LOVE being with my grandchildren so I spend as much time with them as I can. Keeps my soul focused on the important things rather than the urgent things.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I base each character’s name on the meaning. In fact, before I write the name I think of the meaning then find a name that contains that meaning. Often, I will derive a name from the Latin word with the desired meaning…especially when writing in the fantasy genre.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Several things come to mind. My wife and I have been married for over 32 years. We have raised 9 children together. We are about to be grandparents for the 8th time. Even though I have songs that are sung literally all over the world via the church, my greatest accomplishment is my family. Everything I write is to leave a legacy for them…for generations to come.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’ve never been asked that before! The first thing that comes to mind is an eagle. I often imagine myself with the ability to fly!

What is your favorite food?
Popcorn, hands down! Just ask my children!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Being told I had no potential as a song writer was a major blow to my very identity. The way I overcame it was through my faith. I came to a point of being so convinced of who God made me to be that it affected every aspect of my life. My worldview changed overnight and I became convinced God would give me a song a day if I would listen…if I was ready! That attitude carried through to authoring books. I’ve released several devotional books designed to lead people to understand their identity in Christ. My autobiography was released a couple of years ago and continues to do well. In addition, I have authored several children’s books and am currently finishing up a fourth fantasy novel featuring my grandchildren as the main characters. Writing is simply fun and empowering and allows me to go anywhere and do anything my imagination affords me!

Tell us about the featured book.
The Chronicles of Bren, Captured, is my story told in allegory. The word Bren means “tears.” Even though I have gone through much pain in my own life, I have also enjoyed quite the adventurous journey in the process. This story begins the saga of Lee. Life is rough for this young man. Bullied and teased and constantly on the lookout for those who would antagonize him, he does not start the journey well. Yet, through a series of events, he finds himself falling into another realm. In this realm he has a new name and, rather than being bullied, finds he is a prince - the son of a king! Even in this realm, he finds himself in danger, taken captive by the resident evil lord of the realm. Though in his previous life he felt no hope for rescue, in the land of Bren he finds that his father - the high king - is laser-focused on finding his captured son. What ensues is a tale of many twists and turns, fantastical characters, and the discovery of magical gifts. I wrote the book to encourage young people (from 10 years of age to 110!) to pursue their destiny and to discover the reason and purpose of their existence…no matter how rough their reality may be.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter One
Lee picked himself up from the ground, as the boys who had just delivered his latest humiliation—yet another pummeling—walked away mocking him. At least this time he would come away reasonably unscathed. Last time he had walked home with a black eye and a bloodied nose. The embarrassment and shame he had had to endure for almost two weeks of school had taught him to be quick to block the punches to his face. This time he would have the weekend to at least ice the swollen lip he now wore and bring it back to its normal size and shape before school began again on Monday.

Leon Jennings was about to turn thirteen, but for all he had already endured in life he felt much older. Born into a farming family and expected to work the farm, Lee (as his folks called him) found the work easy enough. Every morning at 6:00 a.m. his dad would call up the stairs, “Lee! It’s time to get up! The cows won’t milk themselves!” Dragging himself from his slumber, he’d somehow manage to dress himself in the dark so as to not wake his three little brothers who shared the attic bedroom with him. Traipsing out into the predawn morning, he would go out into the pasture and find the two old Guernsey cows and herd them to the barn. Once there, he would put some feed in the stall and guide the first cow in. Once he had gotten all the milk he needed, he turned her out to the holding pen where the cow’s calf was kept so the baby could have her turn. Then he would drive in the next cow and go through the process once again.
Lee’s dad was a good man. Hardworking and silent most of the time (and stern in his discipline), he kept Lee busy. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” he always said. Lee loved his father and, being a sensitive boy, often hoped he would hear his dad say something to him besides just giving him his next chore list. He really looked up to his dad.

But Lee and his dad couldn’t have been more different than night and day.

The boy was quite adept at drawing and spent hours (when he could squeeze time in on weekends between chores and schoolwork) drawing images conjured by his dreams. When he wasn’t drawing you could find him playing the old upright piano that had belonged to his grandmother Jennings. Lee’s mom had recognized his musical abilities quite early on. It was she who had traded some of her handmade quilts to purchase back the old piano from the elderly neighbor lady who had bought it years before. On his twelfth birthday, she had surprised him with that old piano and he had spent hours losing himself in its vast array of magical tones, improvising and making up tunes that went hand in hand with the adventures he had envisioned for himself from the time he could remember. Although at first glance Lee seemed to be different than the other country boys he was raised with, at heart he was every bit as passionate and every bit as strong as they were . . . just in a different way, a way they could not seem to see.

When Lee had gone to school, he lapped up every art lesson and ached when he had to go on to spelling or math. By the time he was in fifth grade, the other boys began to take a somewhat less than well-intentioned interest in Lee’s artwork. The day the other boys discovered he played the piano was one of the worst days of the boy’s life. (Incidentally, it also didn’t help matters that he was skinny as a rail and had big ears). Innocently, Lee had assumed others would appreciate his talent and be as encouraging as his folks had been. But he was wrong.

One day during the morning recess break, Mr. Tillman, the music instructor, had heard that Lee could play the piano. Asking him to please meet him in the auditorium, the teacher asked the boy to play something for him. As Lee began to play one of the tunes he had made up, one of his classmates was at the door listening. Having heard Mr. Tillman ask Lee to meet him in the auditorium, the boy had assumed Lee was in some kind of trouble and wanted to check it out for himself, hoping to find yet another reason to tease Lee. This discovery would prove to be a goldmine for the boys.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Other Books by Dennis Jernigan
A Mystery of Majesty (Angel Award Winner)
This Is My Destiny
Help Me To Remember
What Every Boy Should Know...What Every Man Wishes His Dad Had Told Him
Giant Killers
A Worshiper’s Guid to Creativity, Song Writing, and Ministry
Victim to Victor
A Worshiper’s Guide to the Holy Land
Daily Devotions For Kingdom Seekers - Vol. I
Sing Over Me - Autobiography
The Chronicles of Bren: Book One: Captured
The Chronicles of Bren: Book Two: Sacrifice
The Chronicles of Bren: Book Three: Generations
The Christmas Dream
Daddy’s Song
A Thread of Hope

Thank you, Dennis, for sharing this book with us today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Captured (Book 1 of the Chronicles of Bren Trilogy) - Paperback
The Chronicles of Bren: Captured: Book One - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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Anonymous said...

angela in ky would love to win

Janetta Messmer said...

Sounds like a great book. Thank you for your interview! said...

Thanks for doing the interview! I appreciate any opportunity to share.

Christina Howell said...

This DJ fan in Midland, TX is excited to read and share this book! :)

J.C. said...

I'm a HUGE fan of allegories, fantasy, and medieval-based settings! In fact, more than half of the books I own would fit in that category! Really looking forward to this!
J.C. -Indiana-

Mary Preston said...

CAPTURED does sound like such an interesting read.

Mary P


Connie said...

Dennis's life journey is very inspiring and I'm sure these experiences have greatly influenced thus book. Thanks for sharing!
Connie from KY

Sandy Quandt said...

Dennis, thank you for writing this book for the reasons you stated ... to encourage young people to discover the purpose of their existence. How important that is for us all. Your book sounds like a wonderful way to accomplish that goal.

Sandy Q TX

Becky Smith said...

Enjoyed reading your interview and really enjoyed how you select character's names! New author to me, but I look forward to reading your books. Becky from Missouri.

Kim hansen said...

Sounds like a good read. north platte nebraska.

Caryl Kane said...

I love allegories! Captured sounds awesome!

Caryl K in TEXAS

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds like a good read. I love how the author has been so successful in song writing despite being told he couldn't.


Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC. said...

Dennis Jernigan here! Thanks for all the great comments. Just wanted you to know you can go to and sign up for the free Bren newsletter. By doing so, you will receive a bonus book called The Bairn of Bren - Hide and chapter per week!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Wow! Dennis, that is a wonderful offer. I hope lots of my readers get on board.