The Author Strikes Back – Benita Jayne – A Kid-Lit Special

I have recently joined Facebook after resisting for many years.  The reason behind this was a school reunion that I was not able to go to which had its own Facebook group and photographs.  I found myself itching to see how well or otherwise people had aged.  Within a very short time I was back in touch with people who I had not had any contact with for, in some case, 30+ years.  I discovered that one of these, the writer of “Sacred Crystal Pyramid”, the first book in the Angel Messengers Series,  Benita Jayne, I knew under another name and that she was my old school pal who I used to travel on the 207 bus to school in the mornings.  Benita and I have had our own little reunion thanks to the “Sacred Crystal Pyramid” and I am delighted to welcome her to my Author Strikes Back thread where she has gamely answered questions which sprung to my mind whilst reading her book.  So without further ado……………………

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Benita Jayne

How did the idea of a series based around the Angelic Kingdom develop and why was Amethyst a good candidate to enter the kingdom?

I regularly use meditation to relax. During my relaxed state I had the vision to create guided  meditations (describing the place in detail like reading a book) that can take a person on a journey to a healing Angelic world to help reduce stress, aid relaxation and inner healing. The  places that were created for meditation were magical and this inspired me to create an adventure book, based around the places descibed.

I wanted Amethyst not to be the usual type of character that would journey to these places.  The experience for her would be unbelievable, hence her reaction from being a feisty character to one of awe and disbelief. To me she was the girl I wish I could have been.

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What comes across well is your warmness towards the healing power of angels.  Can you tell us more about that?

I have used Reiki angelic healing for quite some time for myself, friends and family. Some experiences have been overwhelming and have created my passion to explore this area further. I have read and heard of many accounts of amazing and lovely experiences with Angels. There are many different beliefs and I respect everyone’s personal belief, however Angels cross many different religons and cultures. I wanted to share my experiences in the form of a fantasy adventure book.

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With children’s books we are often aiming to create lasting memories.  What children’s books have been close to you since childhood?

The books that I remember most were the Enid Blyton Adventure series of books. It is funny how you never forget the characters and amazing adventures they have. To me they remain an important part of your childhood experience. Like your favourite sweets and TV characters, when you remember them it brings a good feeling inside.

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Do you know, the Enid Blyton Adventure books really never made an impression on me when I was a child, whereas I do read adventure books now.  The Enid Blyton books I loved were her magical stories aimed at younger readers.  I was particularly obsessed with a tale about a pixie market for a number of years.  It’s amazing to think now how much influence she wielded on quite a few generations of young readers.  Anyway, I digress…next question

It’s very clear that the Angel Messenger series is a labour of love.  You have developed a website  which has  special message cards and have been in charge of design and cover illustration for both books and website.  How important is this multi-media approach for children’s books today?

The strange thing is I started creating the Angel message cards before the book. I wanted to be able to inspire young people, to feel they are amazing, caring, capable of following their personal dreams. The book concept was born from the characters on the cards and the places I had created in my meditations. 

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My background is in design and illustration so it was a passion to create something that would work and support the series of books. The messages have been developed further and are now an extension of the books inspiration.  I wanted to share the experience of the angelic adventure being able to build confidence, vision, hopes and dreams.

Many books and characters now exist in a multi media form, Harry Potter is a prime example. I think multi media is now expected by the majority of industries, including books. 

The essence of a book can sometimes be lost in translation in a film as some of the detail and thoughts of the characters are lost.  Some of the popular books are then seen as a highly commercial and profitable business in the world of licensing and manufacturing and may dilute the original thoughts and message of the author. 

However if multi media is thoughtfully created,  it can be used in a positive way to communicate very important messages from the author to the reader. 

What’s next for Benita Jayne?

It is very important for me to help children know they are special no matter what their beliefs, culture or country they belong to. I have left the story open to enable me to take the characters to many places in the world to explore different countries and cultures. 

I am thinking about creating meditations for young people to help with daily stress, relaxation to help with studying and being creative. Look out for the next exciting announcements on angelmessengers.co.uk or follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for inspirational messages.

Many thanks for Benita for answering the questions and I would like to wish her luck with the rest of her Angel Messengers series of books. The first in the series, “The Sacred Crystal Pyramid” can be purchased on Amazon by clicking on the book title.  The book has attracted some great reviews.

Let’s not leave it another 30 years, Benita!

 

 

The Sacred Crystal Pyramid – Benita Jayne (2013) – A Kid-Lit Review

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The YA and teen book market is flourishing and there is particular demand for series titles.  A lot of what is being published in the UK is dealing with big, often sensitive issues, which is important but there is a gap for those who want more lightness – a reader perhaps who has devoured their way through the popular Rainbow Magic series and books of that ilk and who has moved on to the stage where they are looking for something a little meatier without going on to full-out fantasy or gritty social issues.

Enter Benita Jayne, whose debut novel in her “Angel Messengers” series might provide a satisfactory bridge.  There’s a good lead character here, the feisty Amethyst, relocated to a new home in Wiltshire and prepared to play the fool on her first day at a new school.  A discovery at home leads Amethyst and new pal Rosalina into the Angelic Kingdom where a battle between forces of light and darkness is being planned.  The transition from school story to the world of angels did jar a little for me as Amethyst, who has played the teenage lack of acceptance card until then becomes disappointingly docile entering the world of angels.  The girls are trained to play their part in the oncoming battle and I would have liked to see Amethyst’s feistiness come through during this training.  I couldn’t imagine the earlier Amethyst instantly accepting instructions such as “I would like you to feel immense love in your hearts whilst directing your wands towards the dark energies.” The training section felt a little rushed with the characters temporarily losing their identities (overpowered by the angels?).  I know there’s a desire to get on with the main event (the battle) but a series gives the luxury of being able to get the groundwork just right.  Once out of the Angelic Kingdom Amethyst and Rosalina reverted to type chatting about the couple of boys they met there.

The problem I have with a lot of books that deal with the fantastic is that events can dominate characters.  It is tricky to get the balance just right but when it works the results can be superb.  Benita Jayne has managed to portray good, convincing characters but they become inconsistent in the Angelic Kingdom.

Once we are onto the quest to recover the Crystal Pyramid from the darkness the author’s enthusiasm for the realm of angels shines through and there’s a strong section when Amethyst faces peril and does more closely resemble the earth-bound teenager and things do come to a satisfactory conclusion.  I would be interested to know where Benita Jayne goes next with this series as she hasn’t really set anything up so she can probably take the series anywhere.  There’s much mileage in the healing power of angels and the points where they touch our lives.  I’m sure there will be many readers willing to find out more about these angel messengers.

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The Sacred Crystal Pyramid was independently published in 2013.  It can be purchased from Amazon by following this link