About the Author
Janet Jensen leads a quiet life in a college town nestled in the foothills of the northern edge of the Wasatch Mountains. She and her husband Miles, an attorney, met as members of Utah State University’s Intercollegiate Debate Team and are parents of three grown sons: a soccer enthusiast/physician in Salt Lake City, Utah; an exercise physiologist/football coach/graduate student in Jyvaskyla, Finland; and a skydiver/embedded systems engineer in Berkeley, California. The Jensens have happily become grandparents of four.
Janet is co-author of a literature-based cookbook, The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Great Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them (Wenger & Jensen, Ballantine, 2003), and an award-winning novel, Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys (Bonneville Books, 2007), which won a gold medal for Cultural Fiction in the Readers Favorite International Book Awards Contest.
Her work also appears in Parables for Today (Cedar Fort, 2012) and Gruff Variations (Writing for Charity, 2012). Baking Day, a personal essay, placed second in the 2011 national essay/memoir contest sponsored by The Writer Magazine and Gotham Writers Workshops.
Janet holds degrees in Speech-Language Pathology from Utah State University and Northwestern University and worked in educational settings for more than twenty years.
A retired soccer mom, Cub Scout leader and PTA president, she is a now a full-time writer and a literacy tutor who feels genuine panic when she is stranded without something to read.
An impressive work of literary fiction that accurately explores the struggles of being raised in a polygamous community. Jensen’s novel explores the unique strengths and weaknesses of the bonds in a polygamous family.
Gabriel's Daughters wrestles with issues of polygamy, homosexuality, and modernity through the lives of the large, loving, and polygamous Martin family. The story is told primarily through the eyes of Zina Martin, a young girl who, upon discovering she is impregnated by her "sterile" teacher—and will soon be married off to a man three times her age— escapes the enclosed polygamous town of Gabriel's Landing, Utah.
Zina then embarks on a journey full of self-discovery, yet she can never completely escape the longing she has for her family and even the controversial and outdated lifestyle she once lived. Through both tears and triumph, Jensen has crafted a moving story that not only acts as insightful social commentary but also prompts readers to reevaluate their lives.
“You’re absolutely right,” he said. “That would be discrimination against left-handers, and the law doesn’t allow it.” He picked a dandelion and twirled the stem between his fingers. “What’s your name.”
“It’s all right,” he said. “I’m a teacher here.”
“Zina. Zina Martin.”
“I’m Mr. Stratton. Mark. I’ve only been here a month. I teach biology and chemistry. This is fabulous country. I really came here to bike, hike, and ski. Teaching will support my hobbies if I watch my budget. And,” he added, with a glance at the girls who were doing their warm-ups as directed by the team captain, “I coach girls’ soccer. Do you play any school sports?”
She shook her head. “Oh, no. Sports aren’t appropriate for girls. I mean . . . we, uh
. . . we go straight home after school. But our regular bus got a flat tire today and they’re waiting for another one to come. It’s such a nice day, I just wanted to stretch out in the sun by myself.”
He stood. “Well, then, I should leave you to your solitude.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just that—”
He sat down again. “Let me guess. I don’t know too much about Gabriel’s Landing yet, but I suspect that all day you’re in a crowded school with hundreds of other students, and when you get home to your big family, you probably don’t have much time or space that’s just for you.”Excerpted from GABRIEL’S DAUGHTERS by JANET KAY JENSEN. Copyright © 2015 by JANET KAY JENSEN. Excerpted by permission of JOLLY FISH PRESS, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Tell me a little about your book, Gabriel’s Daughters
If sixteen-year-old Zina Martin doesn't escape from Gabriel's Landing, Utah, she'll become the bride of her father's oldest friend, a prolific polygamist. She's also a little bit pregnant, and the baby’s father is her sterile high school teacher. Follow Zina Martin’s journey of self-discovery in Gabriel’s Daughters, as she becomes her own person; only then can she come full circle and reconcile with the family she loves.
Who has been your greatest writing inspiration?
I love to read the classics. Contemporary author Sandra Dallas has been a great inspiration. She writes with honesty and clarity and creates memorable characters.
Now a little more about you: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you bring (excluding family, laptop, or writing utensils)?
Plenty of batteries and an ipod so I could listen to great music and books. And sunscreen. And Gus, my BorderBeagle.
We find out the world is going to end tomorrow. How do you live your last day?
Asking forgiveness and expressing my love to the most important people in my life.
If we were to make a movie of your life. Who would play the part of you?
That’s a hard one. I don’t think I’ve seen that actress yet. Meryl Streep?
Tell us 5 random things about yourself.
1. I had never seen snow until I was 12
2. My university students voted me The Queen of Tact
3. My partner and I took state in high school Debate
4. I met my husband when we were members of a university debate team
5. My parents met at a debate tournament.
What are the three places you have always wanted to visit but have not yet?
I’ve visited England and Scotland briefly, but I’d love to return to the British Isles and travel in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Then I’d stay in Europe for a while longer and spend some time in Romania, Austria, Germany, Norway, and Sweden.
Okay, crystal ball time. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
With 5-10 published novels to my name, good health, my good husband by my side, and more grandchildren. Still living in my adopted hometown of Logan, Utah and cheering for the Aggies.
Janet welcomes correspondence with readers. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JanetKayJensenAuthor?fref=ts. She maintains a website at her website at www.janetjensen.com, and an author page at GoodReads. She tweets as JanetKJensen and blogs at www.janetkayjensen.blogspot.com.
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