Jodi Auborn Books

Meet the Author

 

I was born in Ticonderoga, my mother’s hometown, but grew up in the small towns of Hadley and Lake Luzerne, NY. I graduated from Hadley-Luzerne High School in 1995, then received a Liberal Arts degree from Adirondack Community College, Queensbury, NY, in 1998. After living for almost ten years in the nearby city of Saratoga Springs, I moved up here to Ticonderoga in 2005. A year later I bought my first house here, not far from the family home that my grandfather built. So, I’ve always lived in or near the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park, where “Stormwind of the North Country,” "Secrets of the North Country," and "The Forests I Called Home" take place.

Like the characters from most of my stories, I grew up in an ordinary working-class family, with parents who taught me to value the simple things in life. I was an only child until age fifteen. Though not rich, my childhood was filled with books, music, and pets,  piano lessons and Girl Scouts, fishing trips and my first horse, a retired Standardbred pacer.  My favorite times were the yearly week-long vacations at Putnam Pond State Campground, which is now only a fifteen-minute drive from my house. Those trips were a treat that I looked forward to all year. I try to show that small-town lifestyle in my books.

I am single, with a shaggy little dog named Summer,   three cats: Honey, Rio,  and Tom, an aquarium of goldfish, and horse, Timmy, a leopard Appaloosa gelding recently given to me by a friend after the death of my old horse, Solomon. I look forward to sharing new adventures with him for years to come.

Besides writing, my hobbies are reading, drawing and crafts, designing houses, gardening, fishing, music, and photography.  During the summer I like paddling my canoe on local creeks and lakes, sailing my Snark sailboat, and camping and hiking with my dog.  I love both the mountains and the ocean, and enjoy vacationing in Cape Cod, MA, the east coast of Florida, and Monhegan Island, Maine.


IN MEMORY...

Solomon

1980(?) - October 13, 2016

Today I write this with a heavy heart to say that the weakness of old age had finally overtaken Solomon's body, and today he was put to rest at the peaceful farm where he spent the last eleven years of his life.

He wasn't a show horse. He didn't have the best training in the world, and his early life was a mystery. But...he was a friend. Through the years, he brought joy to a lot of people, gave countless small children their first pony rides, and was a constant presence in my life for eighteen years. How quickly the time has passed since that day when I first saw him in 1998, the answer to my teenage dream.  From our earliest explorations for hours and miles, to the walks around the block in his later years...he was a fearless road horse who knew his job well, and always brought me home safe.            

Old age had weakened his body, but never diminished his soul or gentle spirit. Everyone who met him loved him. In his own way, he made a small corner of the world a happier place.  

Somewhere right now, he's running free, young and strong again, and I know we'll be reunited someday. But until then, I just want to say to him, thank you. Thanks for all the lessons taught and learned, the miles traveled and memories made. Thank you for your friendship. And rest in peace until we meet again. 




Author Influences, and The Story Behind Stormwind of the North Country:

I began writing Stormwind of the North Country as a horse-crazy nine-year-old. It was just a simple short story about a girl who rescued a beautiful horse from its abusive owner. That short story grew to fill two tattered notebooks with missing covers and doodles in the margins. As a kid, I was so proud of that story: my first manuscript! Originally called Me, My Brother, and American Courage, (American Courage was the horse's name), and later You Can Call Me Kat, it turned out to be the earliest draft of Stormwind. At the time, I had no idea that that simple story would stick with me through my high school and college years, and beyond, as the story evolved and added new characters and situations. Over the years, later drafts filled more raggedy notebooks and loose-leaf papers, then moved on to typewriter-written pages and computer files.

Although all the people and events are fictional, writing “Stormwind” was a chance to revisit some favorite places of my childhood. I spent several of my pre-teen years living in a log cabin in the woods, along a winding mountain road frequented by logging trucks, like the road in the story. (You can read about it in The Forests I Called Home.) Kat's farmhouse, and the nearby cabin with the wild roses, were based on real places I'd admired when I went exploring up that road on my first horse.

This farm in Hadley, NY was the inspiration for Kat's house in Stormwind of the North Country.

The fictional town of "Sprucewood" is based on the small towns where I grew up. And Kat and Randy's lean-to at the pond is just like the hundreds you find today, built all along the Adirondack hiking trails.

In Stormwind of the North Country, the characters Kat and Randy camp for a month in an Adirondack lean-to like this one.  It is on Oxshoe Pond, in the Pharaoh Wilderness Area.


The Story Behind Secrets of the North Country: The Hobo's Story:   

Like Stormwind of the North Country, I had begun writing “Secrets” when I was much younger. When I was in high school in the early 1990’s, an inmate escaped from a nearby prison. The police suspected that he was living in the area forests, surviving off the land. The news reports about him really sparked my imagination. I began writing a story about Jake, one of the characters from “Stormwind,” who was wrongfully accused of a crime and becomes a fugitive running from the law. However, unlike the escaped convict who inspired the story, Jake is an innocent man who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Secrets of the North Country takes place in the fictional Adirondack town of Sprucewood, NY. In the story, fourteen-year-old Kat, her younger brother, and best friend help the wanted man by hiding him in a secret room in the family’s historic 1845 farmhouse. When Jake is discovered, they must prove his innocence and expose the true criminal before it is too late. Meanwhile, Kat must deal with her domineering aunt who is acting as their guardian when their father is out of town, and a corrupt cop who is determined to serve justice.

Like “Stormwind,” “Secrets” was written for readers of about 10 to 15 years old. That first draft that I wrote in high school and college ended up sitting in my desk for years. I never really forgot about it, though. I signed a contract to begin rewriting it in August 2011, and got it finished and submitted just two days before the February 1st deadline. Like my other books, the publishing process went quickly, and Secrets of the North Country was released in mid-February, 2012.


The Story Behind Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point:

Like Stormwind of the North Country and Secrets of the North Country, this book is based on a "long" short story that I wrote when I was younger. It was originally called The Son of the Seafarer, and since it was a birthday gift for my dad, I attempted to write it as a serious "adult" story. Looking back at it years later, I realized that the writing was so bad that it was unintentionally humorous and melodramatic. When I decided to re-write it and turn it into a book in August 2013, I was shocked at how much work that it actually needed! That was when I knew that it just didn’t work as an adult story; it was meant to be a book for kids. 

In The Son of the Seafarer, Dylan was a 20-something man who buys the lighthouse as a gift for his wife. The ghost (known simply as "MacMurray" in the original story), didn't really do much, and in fact didn't even appear until the very end. Dylan could neither see him or talk to him. Sleeter and Quint, instead of being treasure hunters, were real-estate men who wanted to tear down the light station to build a tourist resort (too much like "Lavina" in Stormwind of the North Country.) So I kept the basic idea and even some of the original conversations and scenes, but otherwise began a totally fresh and new story. It took over a year to write - MUCH longer than I thought. When I started writing it, I expected that it would be maybe just a 50-page novella, but it grew...AND GREW...into the almost 200 pages that it is now.

Like the original story, Matthias was going to be a gift for my dad. He loved lighthouses and the ocean, and was the one who had also gotten me interested in them when I was a teenager. He was also a very talented storyteller who could make up the BEST, SCARIEST ghost stores - on the spot - during all of our family camping trips. However, he died unexpectedly before the book was finished. 

After that, researching and writing this book took on more meaning for me. It turned out that writing it was like therapy for me as I dealt with his death, and it made me feel closer to him during that time. Since I was writing it in his memory, I considered it especially important to get the dialogue and storyline just right, as well as making sure that the facts about lighthouses were historically accurate. I consider this book a tribute to my dad, and I hope that I did it justice.