John Stahnke & Naomi Jewell: Father & Daughter Bring to Life Story 30 Years in the Making

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Jonathan Stahnke & Naomi Jewell, a father-daughter team who co-authored, “The Blue Feather Escape.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Hello, my name is Jonathan Stahnke, and I am one of the authors of The Blue Feather Escape. Like all books, ours has a very interesting story of how
it came to be. As unbelievable as it sounds, the plot for this book has been in the making for nearly thirty years.First Time

When I was very young, my parents used to take my four siblings and myself camping in San Isabel National Forest. On one of those trips, we went walking along a dirt road and begged my dad for a story. As we walked, Dad invented a story about several orphaned children who lived in a forest and became friends with a mysterious bluebird. This was the first telling of what became known as “The Bluebird Story”, and it wasn’t long before the impromptu tale became a staple on all of our camping trips. I loved the story so much that even after I grew up and started my own family, it lived on as I told it to my children.

Blue FeatherWhen I was about thirty, I decided to develop my dad’s short oral story into a novel, which proved to be a bigger task than I anticipated. I had to do a lot of research and write more than ten drafts. After a few years, though, I discovered that while I am a great story-teller, I’m not a good enough writer to be published. And so I was stuck. But, thankfully, Providence intervened and provided me a much needed co-author, Naomi…

Hi! My name is Naomi Jewell, and I am sixteen years old. Now, it probably seems to you that since I published a novel at such a young age, I must have loved writing my whole life. My fingers must have been born holding a pen, I must have spent my whole childhood making up stories, my parents must have been shocked at my amazing abilities…
Ok, you can stop thinking that now. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth! My poor mom (who has home schooled me my whole life) tried everything she could think of to get me to put ANYTHING on paper. And it worked. Once. In the first grade.authorphoto

But from then until I was about thirteen, I was adamant: writing was pure torture!!! And if it was up to me, that is where the story would have ended. You never would have heard of The Blue Feather Escape. It would have been left on the laptop to live out the rest of its days in silence. But, fortunately, God had a better plan.

It took two years in a homeschool co-op writing class to change my mind. But by the end, I had discovered that God had given me a very unique gift for words. Also right around that time, my dad, Jonathan, was discovering that he didn’t have that gift. As a story teller, he is simply brilliant, more so than I could ever hope to be. But it didn’t take long for us to decide that putting the story – a story I had heard ever since I could remember – into words would be my job.

Fast-forward about ten months and a couple heaps of hard work later, and there we were, opening a box postmarked “Bloomington, IN”. Needless to say, it’s a very unbelievable experience to open a box and find a book inside. Well, not just any book, but a book with your name on it!

Check out Naomi’s blog at and Like Naomi and John on Facebook at

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.

1 Comment

  1. Great lesson for us all in this….never abandon the dream that God has awakened within you. Discover what He wants you to do, then do it with all your might, as unto Him. So proud of you!

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