As a little girl growing up in Jefferson, Jenna Ryan started writing stories on Post-It notes to show to her parents. Now she has published one book and is working on a second. Her first, The Channeler, was launched on January 18 by TCK Publishing.
Ryan took a creative writing class during her sophomore year at Jefferson Township High School. Her teacher, Alice Daken, encouraged her after reading a particular story she had written. “She told me if writing stories is my passion, I am going to be someone’s favorite author some day,” said Ryan.
She graduated in 2012 and enrolled at Montclair State University, deciding against a major in English and writing because she didn’t want to get “frustrated.” As a college junior, Ryan started to work on a book – actually a trilogy – she had thought about since age 13. She researched publishers and agents and hired a freelance editor. TCK accepted her manuscript and signed her to the three books. She graduated in 2016 with a major in sociology and a minor in environmental justice.
Ryan explained that The Channeler is about a psychic college student who has visions of angels and aliens. One vision is of a girl who then walks into his life.
The book was launched at the Grasshopper Irish Pub in Newfoundland, and the new author is looking into venues for book signings. Her publicist, Sarah Disanza, was a runner at High Point High School and the state’s top runner in 2012. Ryan felt they would be a good fit, and that proved to be correct.
Ryan has lived in Jefferson with her mother, a teacher, since her parents’ divorce when she was three years old. She credits her father with helping her to become “invested in the fictional world” by reading the entire Harry Potter and Eragon series to her. She acknowledges her large Irish-Italian family as her greatest supporters.
Ryan’s day job, which she does not plan to give up, is as a paralegal at Pellegrino and Feldstein in Denville. Her particular interest is environmental law.