My Quick Bio.
J.R. Alcyone is the penname of a historical fiction author. A lifelong history enthusiast, she has written two novels: Five Fathoms Beneath, and the Historical Fiction Company’s 2021 Book of the Year, The Stars That Govern Us.
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 little 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. Alec’s horse Jarrah in my novel The Stars That Govern Us was inspired by the Black Stallion and the star-crossed filly Ruffian.
(The photo to the right is me with Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame champion racehorse Silver Charm. I’ve gotten to meet him at Old Friends Retirement Farm twice. He is a sweet old man!)
Although I love to write, I’m probably better known 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.
You might say green herons are kinda my thing!
As you may have guessed since I write historical fiction, I love history. I became really interested in history as a teenager after seeing the movie Gettysburg. I’m a lifelong Civil War buff and a pretty dedicated battlefield stomper, and I majored in history as an undergrad in college. I am also a volunteer photographer for the American Battlefield Trust. If you are a member of this organization (and it’s a good one!), you’ve likely seen some of my battlefield photography in the Trust’s gorgeous magazine, Hallowed Ground.
One of my favorite battlefield photos.
I write #ownvoices fiction. An #ownvoices book is a 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.
Here are five fun facts you may not know about me.
- My favorite color is green.
- My favorite band is Pearl Jam.
- I tried to barehand catch a foul tip off the bat of Francisco Lindor at an Indians game and nearly broke my hand! (I did manage to snag the ball.)
- I love animals. I share my house with four guinea pigs and a parrot.
- J.R. Alcyone is a pen name, although I use my “real” picture and “real” biographical information. Alcyone comes from the genus that includes kingfishers. Next to the green heron, the kingfisher is probably my favorite bird.
This is a female belted kingfisher coming in for a landing.