FAQ's

Here are some of the common questions I get asked...

What do you like to read?

I enjoy reading books that transport me to another world, are deeply moving or just highly entertaining!

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite book as a child was How to Eat Fried Worms. I really read anything and read often. As a teenager my mother introduced me to Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney and the Gothic romance. I devoured those books. Marion Zimmer Bradley influenced my love of fantasy and storytelling from a female point of view. My other favorites are Robert Jordan, Stephen Lawhead, Jack Whyte, and Bernard Cornwell. Their dedication to their work, the detailed research and their creativity amaze me. I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips because she lets humor into some very crazy situations. Her characters are real, hilarious and I find her books fun and relaxing. There are some great books that have transformed me and inspire me to try to do the same. I listened to Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain a couple years after I lost my son, Nick. “What you manifest is before you,” really resonated with me in that I was trying to recreate my life without my first son. Plus it dealt with grief and I could connect to having a dog help me get through, since two months after Nick’s death we adopted Zoey who was my grief pal. Garth’s writing is so poetic and it moved me.

What else do you like to do besides write?

I love to read all different types of books. I also enjoy walking my dogs, as well as riding my 2015 Harley gx750 street that I got for Mother’s Day in 2016. I try to get out on my bicycle as well. I love going to yoga classes, exercising, and spending time with my family and friends.

What’s your favorite movie?

There are a lot of movies that I have watched more than once like The Princess Bride, A Knight’s Tale, any superhero movie (especially Iron Man!), Men in Tights, 16 Candles, and Johnny Dangerously. But my all time favorite is Dirty Dancing, because it reminds me of the resorts I use to work at in the Catskills where I grew up. Plus, I love all the dancing.

Where did you grow up?

I lived in Long Island until I was seven. Then we moved to a small town in upstate, NY called Greenville. It was a very big change for us, but a good one since I was often bullied where I lived. I consider myself a country girl and was a big tree climber. We had tall pines where I could climb higher than the houses. I stared in wonder at the world around me. I could often be found sitting in one of my favorite trees reading.

What do you like most about writing?

I like seeing where the words and the characters take me. I very rarely plan what I’m going to write. If a topic interests me I’ll do some research or I’ll free write until a concrete idea forms. I enjoy the chaos and unpredictability of writing and how much words affect me. I often have very strong emotional responses to what I write, because I write about what bothers or moves me.

What inspires you to write?

I’m inspired by the characters, thoughts and stories that pop into my head at any point in the day or night. The possibility that words can positively affect another, entertain them or heal them keeps me writing. The healing power of words and the connection that I feel to my children when I journal to them inspires me to continually write down what happens in my life and theirs. The need to know our history and what makes us who we are keeps me writing.

What is the hardest part of writing a novel?

Getting started and keeping the momentum. Getting the character’s personalities developed well enough so that I know how they will react in any situation. It takes times and patience. The entire process takes patience and the passion not to quit.

What role do dreams play in your writing and how do they inspire your work?

Much of my writing comes from my dreams. I’ll spend a morning writing a short story that I dreamt about the night before. It begs to be written out. While writing Warriors Within, I dreamt of rock warriors in the Cave of the Warrior during Maecha and Kelan’s quest. I also dreamt about Natalie Fischer and her connection to Michaela’s father. Dreams allow my creativity to flow without the interruptions of daily life. I always write down as much details as I can. I write about dreaming and my characters usually use dreams in their lives. Dreaming plays a major role in the Fianna Cycle trilogy. It’s a form of communication and time travel. Dreaming is my lifeline to my son, Nick. I dream of him often and love his visits.

When you think about your readers, what do you hope they receive from reading your novels/books?

I want my readers to be entertained, to have hope, and to get into my book as much as I did when writing them. To be moved or changed or inspired to bring about change is what inspires me, especially in What Makes Them Amazing. My goal was to share these incredible stories and inspire others to keep trying, to give, and to feel emotions that are often pushed aside. It hurts to read about children suffering from cancer, but there is beauty and joy in their journeys. I want readers to feel the different levels of reading—entertainment, enlightenment, and healing. This sometimes happens all at once or when the reader is ready to receive the message.

Hope. I want my readers to know that when you think life just can’t get any worse or your emotions are so strung out you can’t possibly move another step, there is always hope. I’d like them to be able to connect to my characters and feel enriched by my words. Or at least be entertained. I love when I can’t put a book down and I am completely swept away by the story. I strive to be that kind of writer, but I’m still learning.

What drew you to write about ancient Celtic warriors?

I have always loved medieval literature and the stories of courtly love and King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. However, it bothered me that women basically didn’t have rights and were not treated very well. As it happens I met one of my best friends, Kathy Lange-Madden, in a medieval literature class. During the last semester of graduate school, I realized that I was three credits short to graduate. I could do an independent study and Kathy suggested women in Celtic literature. I had never really read this time period and I focused on third century Celtic Ireland. I fell in love with it. Celtic Ireland was led by a matriarchal society so women were considered equal to men and ruled side by side. I was enamored by the stories of fairy folk and the Otherworld and all the quests and challenges that warriors went through. I wrote my paper on Feminism in Celtic Literature. Even though women were considered strong and equals, they still couldn’t rule in the all-male band of warriors called the Fianna, so of course I had to change that.

I write about strong female characters, but also how men and women can work together in a positive and effective manner. They can respect each other and not feel threatened by their success.

What did you like best about writing your collections of interviews, What Makes Them Amazing?

I liked that I was immortalizing very important and incredibly powerful stories and that these young adults and their families trusted me enough to let me into their lives. The hardest part was the emotional aspect and not breaking down during an interview, because I could so closely relate.

How did you become interested in martial arts? How do you incorporate this into your writing?

I have always loved martial arts as does my family. We watched Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris with my dad. We are a physical family in that my dad took Judo and I dabbled in a couple forms but didn’t really stick with it until Kenpo karate. You could always find a wrestling match happening in our house. Still do! I love the physical and mental challenge of karate. I wrote about martial arts because I wanted action in my novels and Michaela is the strong, but feminine type who uses karate to help others.

Did your interest in martial arts lead to your interest in the literature and history of ancient times?

My love of mythology and literature led me to reading about medieval battles and ancient forms of fighting. Sword fighting has always interested me and the sense of honor that knights live by. I took some fencing lessons while I was writing Warriors Within and that was loads of fun, but also gave me a sense of realism. My father reminded me of a knight. He was always true to his word and looked out for others.

You have two sisters, one younger and one older. How does your relationship with your sisters affect your writing?

Michaela and Shannon’s relationship reminds me of connection with my sisters. That sense of looking out for one another and knowing when something is wrong. That strong connection between women is very prevalent in my books. Family comes first, but family isn’t always defined by blood. I have very strong female friendships, too. By the way I have an older brother and he is connected to his sisters with his sense of humor. We all get along really well and always have each others’ backs.

What genre do you enjoy as a reader?

I love fantasy, but also like romantic suspense or thrillers. I don’t like hard core police stories or horror. I prefer books with fun interactions between male and females. I like to read Sandra Brown, Karen Robards and Catherine Coulter. I do love reading Nora Roberts, because how well her characters interact and I know what to expect.

Are there any authors or genres that have influenced your writing?

Marion Zimmer Bradley highly influenced my writing. I realized that I could rewrite works of literature or take a story and spin it so that modern readers could connect. I found Diana Gabaldon after I wrote Warriors Within and the longevity of her books give me hope that people love time travel mixed with a love story and action.

How does journaling work for you with regard to your writing?

I journal write every day. It’s more on what is happening during my day or in my son’s life so that he will have a family history when he gets older. I want him to know that he did the same things when his own children act up! We lose so many stories because we aren’t a storytelling culture. I write out my blogs first because the act of writing helps me formulate my thoughts. I write it all down then simplify. Sometimes that leads to other pieces of writing.

What new writing are you contemplating these days?

Now that the first book in The Puzzle Quests series is done, I plan to write the next four so that the momentum continues. I have Luke, Rose, Mark, and Peter’s voices all clear in my head. I don’t want to lose that connection. Of course I need to get back to the Fianna Cycle and hope that I can work that in. I also have a Victorian steam punk novel in my head about eight women who support each other while empowering young women to live fulfilling lives.

What's Being Said?

  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


     

  • The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer's Eggs
    by Janine De Tillio Cammarata
    Highland Mountain Publishing

    "'What is the quest?' Luke asked, not getting pulled into the excitement of an adventure, even if that was what he had just been hoping for."

    Luke is an active 11-year-old who loves to swim—until one day he is sidelined with an illness that has him bedridden in the hospital. His family, including his brother, Peter, would do anything for Luke to get better. One day, upon waking in the hospital, Luke finds a puzzle next to his bed. Thinking it is a gift from a family member, he and Peter put the puzzle together. But this is no ordinary puzzle. Placing the final puzzle piece brings the puzzle to life and transports Luke and Peter into a medieval world of dragons and knights. A princess named Meriwether needs their help and in exchange will grant them each a wish. Longing for his brother to get better, Peter agrees, and Luke is excited about an adventure away from his hospital room.

    The brothers take a journey to a faraway magical land where they must help Meriwether’s dragon, Shimmer, find all her stolen eggs. But that will prove to be more challenging than either brother thought. Each adventure leads them closer to their goal, and they even bring along their best friends, Mark and Rose. But will they find all the eggs in time? Will they get their wish? Will Luke get better and be able to leave the hospital?

    Cammarata has a vision for medieval worlds and dragons and delightfully portrays that world for young readers. This book is perfectly matched to the minds of 8-12-year-olds and will captivate both boys and girls alike. There are adventures, dragons, knights, kings, and princesses, all twisted together in a beautifully told story of hope and determination. It is a tale of adventure and love.

    RECOMMENDED by the US Review


     

    "Cammarata's action packed storytelling never lets up. The urgency of the pacing draws the reader into Maecha's world quickly, but it is the fierceness of her loyalty and love that defines the narrative. Well-developed details ground the magical elements and make a world where people time travel in their dreams and are friends with gods believable. Jumping from the ancient past to modern day is at first jarring, but as the characters' lives weave together, their complicated relationships deepen the meaning of the story and give it a powerful sense of destiny fulfilled. "

    The US Review of Books


  • "I really enjoyed this book. I love Celtic stories. I really enjoyed the dreaming aspect to the book as well. How in our dreams we can go anywhere . The characters in this book , knew that and took advantage of it.

    I had read "Warriors Within", which was her first book. I looked forward to reading this sequel (Eyes of the Goddess) and was not disappointed. I look forward to her next book!!"

    V. McCarney


  • "I bought The Warrior Within at a fundraiser although it was not the type of book I usually purchase. I have been missing out..! I was immediately hooked and disappointed that it took so long for Eyes of the Goddess to be published. Please know that I purchased Eyes of the Goddess through Amazon and appreciate how quickly it was delivered. I am amazed a the skill of the author in being able to transition from the present to the past without losing the reader in the process. I love the Celtic aspect and the storyline continues to keep me addicted to this trilogy. I am eagerly waiting for the next (and unfortunately the last) book to be published. A whole new world of books has been opened to me though my initial purchase of The Warrior Within"

    Ann Frantti


  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


     

  • "I loved learning about the Celtic lore that is written about in this book! Can't wait to read the next one :)"

    Cie


  • Adult Writing Workshop Review

    "This well-thought-out course covered the essentials of creative writing in a logical progression. Class discussion and activities as well as assignments were thought-provoking and stimulating."


     

  • "Eyes of the Goddess, Book Two of the Fianna Cycle, takes up where Warriors Within left off. Present-day New York City is entwined with 3rd century Ireland by their respective inhabitants, Michaela Sommers and Maecha Ruadh Mac Art, heiress to the throne of Tara. Michaela is involved in a search for the drug lord who killed her father, Police Narcotics Officer Jack Sommers, while Maecha is about to embark on a voyage to Alba (ancient Scotland) to free her father, King Cormac, who had been kidnapped by the Picts. The two worlds are connected by the dream travel of Michaela, the chief druid Finnius Amergin, and Natalie, a child who exists in NYC but is destined to save ancient Ireland from ruin. Cammarata's keen knowledge of Celtic lore and skill in martial arts combine to create an exciting story of ancient battles, gods and magic, honor, loyalty and love. Young adults who love a good adventure story will certainly love this one. While Eyes of the Goddess can be read as a stand-alone, readers will want to start with Warriors Within to experience the full epic tale."

    Joan Weiskotten

    Young Adult Librarian
    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

  • "Your book is excellent – a picture of Celtic landscape and adventure remained in my mind long after I completed the novel - I am looking forward to your sequel!"

    Mary


  • "The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer's Eggs is amazing. Haven't been able to put it down. What a wonderful magical adventure!!"

    Melissa


  • Adult Journaling Workshop Reviews

    "Being able to take time to journal and focus on myself has been an incredible experience."


     The Writer's Journal School Program

    “Janine Cammarata, a natural teacher of her craft, is able to ignite a spark even in your most reluctant writer!” 

    --Marcy Philo, 4th grade teacher, Karigon Elementary School, Clifton Park, NY

     

     

    "Thank you so much for visiting! My kids truly enjoyed your lesson. I've never had so much fun or participation during an author visit. We were all excited to continue working on our pieces!"

    --Shannon Race, 4th grade teacher, Karigon Elementary School, Clifton Park, NY

  • "The girls' best treat yesterday (Halloween) was picking up their personalized copy of Shimmer's Eggs from our favorite author! The girls were beta readers a couple of years ago before it went to press!

    Time travel, enduring friendships, and persevering during hard times...this book is best for midde elementary aged readers...but I loved it too! Heart-warming, an adventure-filled story about childhood bonds that wishstand place and time!"

    Felicia


  • "I SO enjoyed your work, I didn’t want to put it down, and then didn’t want it to end. I am very excited for the next book in the series, to continue my adventure with the sisters."

    Judi


  • "I just wanted to let you know that I loved your book. I have been an avid reader of fantasy based novels or most of my life and I found this one refreshing and highly engaging. I truly hope there will be a few more books in this cycle. Thanks!"

    Rebecca


  • "I usually read mysteries or non fiction. Every once in a while I like to try something different. If you like J.R.R. Tolkien or the Chronicles of Narnia this is a good fit. I enjoyed the story line and the character development. I wonder if and when book 2 will be available?"

    Marla


Events & Workshops

  • JOURNALING WORKSHOPS

    Must register for each workshop separately:

    WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17--Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2019 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2019 - Piracci Board Room

    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library from 6:30-8:30pm

    Adults 18+

    Whether it's in a notebook, blog, or sketchpad journaling can help you lead a whole and fulfilling life. It's a way to keep track of goals, life activities, dreams, and is very fun! Learn the many ways to express yourself! Each workshop will be different so come to them all!

    Bring your own journal! We have the rest!

     

  • JOURNALING INTO ESSAY WRITING

    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library: PIRACCI BOARD ROOM

    WEDNESDAY, October 17 FROM  4:00-6:00 PM

    For teens in grades 9 to 12 or home school equivalent.

    Writing is necessary for school and life, but it doesn’t have to be boring! Join Janine De Tillio Cammarata as she explores different types of journaling that can be woven into narrative and descriptive essays. No experience necessary. Bring a notebook and an essay that you are working on (optional). Please register to attend.

    Register Here

  • Write Stories to Save Atlantis

    MONDAYS, October 29, November 5, 19, 26 from 3:30-4:30pm

    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, Piracci Board Room

    Join author Janine De Tillio Cammarata as she shares excerpts from her latest middle grade book, The Puzzle Quests: Saving Atlantis, and provides prompts for you to change or expand the story. Learn to create characters to write your own story. No experience necessary. Bring a notebook.

    For children in 3rd-5th grades, registration required and is for the four date series.

     

     

    Register Here



    Fan Fiction and Other Creative Writing

    MONDAYS, October 29, November 5, 19, 26 from 4:30-6:00pm

    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, Piracci Board Room

    Join Janine De Tillio Cammarata as she shares excerpts from her latest Middle Grade book, The Puzzle Quests: Saving Atlantis, and provides prompts for you to change or expand the story. Plus, create characters to write your own story or other fan fiction. No experience necessary. Bring a notebook. 

    Please register to attend this four date series. Registration opens August 27 at 9:30am

    Register Here

  • THE PUZZLE QUESTS: SAVING ATLANTIS

    BOOK RELEASE EVENTS!

    Rose and her growing band of knights get the chance to save Atlantis during their next puzzle quest. When Rose attempts to save this world on her own, her team is thrown into danger and the safety of Atlantis and her friendships are compromised. Will Rose see the value of working as a team before she is trapped in Dragonia forever?
     

    Saving Atlantis is the second book in The Puzzle Quests’ series of adventures that span across time and generations. No matter where you are, there is hope.

     

    Ages 8-12

     

     

    PRE-ORDER HERE: Free poster to first 100 orders online or at events.

    Book Events:

    The Writer's Journal: School Writing Program
    Berlin Middle School
    October 23
     
    Berlin High School Featured Presentation
    October 23 4-6pm
     
    The Writer's Journal: School Writing Program
    Mechanicville Elementary School
    Grades 3-5
    November 13, 14, 15
     
    Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza
    Saturday, November 3 from 3-5pm
    3-3:30 collaborative writing event
    3:30-5 chat and book signing
     
    The Glens Falls Chronicle Book Fair
    Queensbury Hotel
    Sunday, November 4 from 11am-3pm
     
    The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
    Book Release Beach Party! Family Event!
    Sunday, December 2 from 1-3:30pm
    Bring your favorite beach towel!
     
    The Writer's Journal: School Writing Program
    Waterford-Halfmoon School
    Grades 7-8
    December 17, 18, 19
     
    Northshire Bookstore Saratoga
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 from 1-2:30pm
    1-1:30pm collaborative writing event
    1:30-2:30pm chat and book signing
     
    If you would like me to come to your school or bookstore for a writing workshop or book signing, please contact me!