Jenelle grew up in Maryland. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and the MA in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University, she writes young adult fiction and contemporary short stories. Before I Breathe is her first novel.3LB: Who or what inspired you to write? Do you have any role models, whether in writing or life in general?
I was inspired to write through reading great books, including Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins and Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. My role models are real-life people, because we get to see how a person would handle various situations− which comes with time. Then its best to decide if they qualify as a role model.3LB: Synopsis in a Tweet! Describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Kalena is a girl who falls in love with the wrong boy and has her life turned upside down.3LB: Are any of your characters or scenes based on people/events in your own life?
I knew someone who left home as a teenager because of a boyfriend. That’s the only aspect of the story pulled from real life.3LB: If you could hang out with one of your characters for a day, who would it be?
I would hang out with the main character, Kalena, because she’s interesting and does her own thing.3LB: Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
If you want something different, then Kalena has no special powers and in that regard is like the reader; and she’s a heroine who follows her heart despite what others say and faces life head-on.3LB: What’s next for you? What other books have you written?
I’ve written four short stories. One of them, “Note to Self,” is a YA story. It’s available on Amazon and includes a bonus story. I’m currently working on another young adult novel.3LB: Finish this sentence "I can't live without..."
Water.3LB: Favorite band/singer/music group?
I like Joe, he’s an RnB artist.3LB: When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
A doctor. Which I’m sure many people have wanted to be at one point or the other.3LB: Can you…
Dance? Yes3LB: Tell us five interesting things about yourself.
Speak another language? Un poco
Write with your left hand? No
Play a musical instrument? I can play one song after years of piano lessons in elementary school.
I write. I read.I cook fab food. I like things neat. I love books!
3LB: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I recently started a blog on my Goodreads page. It will include writing advice.
Thank you, Jenelle! For more information about Ms. Pierre and her books, visit:
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Kalena Moore is a Montgomery High student who isn’t into school. Isaiah Wilkins is a classmate that her friends think is trouble. Life becomes more interesting when Kalena starts dating Isaiah, but soon things spin quickly out of control and she gets pregnant. Then Kalena sees that there's another side to her boyfriend.
Determined to put her life back together, Kalena takes a path where there is no turning back.
With compelling characters and vivid storytelling, Before I Breathe is irresistible reading.
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