Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Meet the MG Writing Duo of J. S. Jaeger

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes the Middle Grade writing duo J. S. Jaeger and their fantasy story Scrolls of Zndaria.

First, a bit about this duo:

As husband and wife, we have teamed up as J.S. Jaeger to write Scrolls of Zndaria. We live in Southern Utah and have four wonderful children. We have worked hard throughout our lives to prove that with hard work and persistence, any dream is possible.

Overcoming stuttering and bullying in his early years in school, Jerry earned his black belt in Kempo Karate and graduated with a law degree from the University of Wyoming. He served as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and currently works as a prosecutor with the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

While raising their family, Stephanie earned her bachelor degree from the University of Wyoming and master’s degree from Southern Utah University. She ran her own accounting practice for several years before turning her focus to writing Scrolls of Zndaria with Jerry.

Why did you pick to write books for Middle Grade readers?

We write middle grade books because we want readers of all ages to have an uplifting, clean read. Young readers can read along with a parent or older sibling, while experienced readers can read for entertainment while noticing events that are intertwined between the first five books of the series. Our goal in writing this series is to make it fun for experienced readers while being able to read it to our young children without having to censor or blush.
What types of books do you like to read?

Jerry enjoys reading epic and juvenile fantasy. Stephanie also enjoys juvenile fantasy and loves historic fiction. 

When you two are not writing, what do you like to do?

With four active children, a full-time and part-time job (Jerry) and several part-time commitments (Stephanie), we have to make time to write. When we aren’t doing this, Jerry enjoys running, biking, and training for challenging events such as the Ironman and Ironman 70.3. Stephanie also enjoys running and reading. She loves combining these two interests by listening to books on tape while running half or full marathons. Together, we love to travel when the opportunity arises.

Tell us about Scrolls of Zndaria and how the story came to be.

Scrolls of Zndaria is a seven-book series with The Golden Wizard first book. Jerry first envisioned the world of Zndaria while finishing the seventh book in the Harry Potter series. He began writing. The first five books each introduce a new unlikely hero. The lives of each of the heroes are intertwined. Events from each book will appear in the other books written from a different hero’s point-of-view, giving readers a different perspective of the event or more information to answer questions and explain the event.

As the story unfolded, Jerry realized that Stephanie would be an asset to the series. Jerry is the creative genius behind the story. After he puts the story on paper, Stephanie reworks it to ensure it follows the grammatical rules and that the story flows smoothly.

Here's a peek at the Scrolls of Zndaria: The Golden Wizard:
 Join Nathanial “Nate” McGray, the fifteen-year-old son of the king’s woodsman, on an unforgettable adventure. He is determined to be the first peasant to become a wizard in the magical world of Zndaria.

Wedged in a sticky spot, Nate is saved from the town bullies by a mysterious elf named Blinkly. Together, Nate and Blinkly embark on a journey to the Halls of Magic. Along the way, they encounter vicious Dread Vikings, deadly bounty hunters, and a deranged beast. Just as Nate begins to learn magic, the Infinite Wizard and a devilish army attack his Kingdom.
Will Nate become a wizard? Can he save his Kingdom?
 Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

Scrolls of Zndaria: The Golden Wizard is our first published book. We entered a children’s picture book called A Monster in the House in a writing contest. Although it didn’t win, it was fun, and our children hope we will be able to publish it someday.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
We are currently working on our second book, Scrolls of Zndaria: The Alamist Queen, and a short story about Nate’s brother, Ted. Ted’s adventures parallel the Scrolls of Zndaria: The Golden Wizard. Readers will see the world of Zndaria from Ted’s point-of-view, find out what happened to him after he became a champion, and be a part of the war.

The Alamist Queen introduces readers to the second hero in our series, Cenaya. She will witness events from The Golden Wizard, giving readers more details and deeper perspective into Nate’s journey. One example: we recently rewrote the chapter from The Golden Wizard entitled “The Crossroads Inn” (seen completely from Nate’s perspective in The Golden Wizard) from Cenaya’s perspective. Readers will learn why she was at the Inn, what she was thinking, and what happened to her afterward.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Start writing. There is only one guarantee with writing stories: if you never start, you will never finish. Don’t expect your first draft to sound fabulous. Just write. Fabulous comes with revision. You have to get your ideas on paper in order to rework them. Next, rework, rework, rework. Did we mention that it is vital to rework your story? The number of reworks required depends on your writing skill and experience. Once you have your best work, let someone that isn’t afraid to tell you the truth critic it.

We worked on The Golden Wizard for seven years and then paid a professional content editor to help us make it great. She didn’t hold back, and we are so grateful for her. Some of the pages of our manuscript have as much of her writing on it as our typed words. We learned so much from her that is now reflected in our writing skills, easily trimming several years off the writing of The Alamist Queen.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Scrolls of Zndaria: The Golden Wizard is currently available at, Barnes and Noble, and from our website

A giveaway for Scrolls of Zndaria: The Golden Wizard is currently underway on Goodreads. It ends on May 27, 2014.


  1. Scrolls of Zndaria sounds like such a fun book to read and I know that my son would enjoy it. I will definitely have to find it.

    1. I hope your son enjoys Scrolls of Zndaria. Please let us know what he thinks after he reads it!

  2. It's amazing they find time to write with 4 children!! How wonderful that they are creating this magical world -- I'm sure their children also enjoy being part of this too!

    1. Erika. It can be difficult to find the time. We plan time every week, usually on Saturday, to spend a block of time working. Slowly but surely we are moving forward. Thanks for your comment.

  3. A creative genius and a production genius - what joy! I'm looking forward to reading this :) Thanks for including it in the Kid Lit Blog Hop, Cheryl :)

    1. I hope you enjoy the book. We've had fun writing it and continuing on the series. I also thank Cheryl for including me in the Blog!

  4. Great interview! The book sounds wonderful. I like that Nate is rescued from bullies. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Stacie, I'd love to hear what you think of the book after you read it. We are having fun with the series.