My Quick Bio.
J.R. Alcyone is the pen name of a historical fiction author. A lifelong history enthusiast, she is the author of The Historical Fiction Company’s 2021 Book of the Year, The Stars That Govern Us. She is currently working on a sequel to The Stars That Govern Us with a working title of With Hoops of Steel.
Jen is a self-taught creative writer. She earned her BA in history and philosophy from Baldwin-Wallace College, and her JD from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where she was managing editor for the Cleveland State Law Review.
When she’s not writing, Jen is usually tucked behind a Nikon with a very long lens. An accomplished nature and wildlife photographer, she is also an avid hiker, birder, and reader.
Me. Myself. I.
For those who would like to know a bit more about me not written in the pretentious third person, here’s a little more detail.
I’m Jen, and I’m a native of Cleveland, Ohio. Every writer starts out as a reader, and as a child, my favorite books were Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series; I read those books over and over until their bindings fell apart. (Alec’s horse Jarrah in my novel The Stars That Govern Us was inspired by the Black Stallion and the star-crossed filly Ruffian.) I liked reading enough that I minored in English literature in college; as you might guess from my novels, I have a special fondness for Shakespeare. (Five Fathoms Beneath‘s title comes from The Tempest, and The Stars That Govern Us‘s title comes from King Lear.)
Although I do love to write and am proud to be a published author, I’m probably far better known to the world as a photographer. My favorite subject matter is birds, and of the many beautiful birds that we get to see in Cleveland (yay for living in a migration corridor!), my favorite is the green heron. My nature photography has been featured by a variety of great organizations including the Cleveland Metroparks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Cornell’s BirdNote; I’ve had photographs also published in Cleveland Magazine, Lake Erie Magazine, and too many books to list.
A little gallery of some of my favorite bird photos.
Historical fiction was a natural fit for me because I’ve been really interested in history since I was a teenager.
My favorite era to read and learn about is the American Civil War, and I am one of the rare women who especially enjoys studying military history. I am a dedicated battlefield stomper, and I am able to combine my love of history and photography by serving as a volunteer photographer and contributor to the American Battlefield Trust. If you are a member of this organization (and it’s one I recommend – Civil War battlefields not only preserve the past, they also preserve vital green spaces and habitat for wildlife), you’ve likely seen some of my battlefield photography in the Trust’s gorgeous magazine, Hallowed Ground.
I started writing as a way to deal with depression and anxiety, and I write #ownvoices fiction. An #ownvoices novel is a fictional book about a marginalized person written by someone who is actually part of that marginalized group. Like Alec in The Stars That Govern Us, I deal with depression, general anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (How Alec’s mind works in the novel is modeled directly on how my mind works.)
I wish I could say I write professionally, and I sort of do, but unfortunately, I don’t make living as a novelist. By profession, I am an attorney. It wasn’t my first choice of professions, but I graduated right into the recession that followed the September 11th attacks, and well, here we are. I am an attorney for a small law firm that does lemon law (breach of warranty on cars).