About the Author
J.N. Hups was born Cheryl Joanne Miller in Denver, Colorado, on November 10, 1955, at the Florence Crittenton Home for unwed mothers. At the age of 6-weeks she was adopted by Jack and Jean Gardner, who also lived in Denver, and had her name changed to Jill Nancy Gardner.
As a small child, Jill surprisingly never dreamt of being a writer. School teacher, yes. Artist, poet, painter, singer/song writer, yes. Clothing designer, interior decorator, architect, yes; but not writer. Upon graduation from high school in 1973, Jill did an abrupt left turn from her desire for the arts and considered a degree in psychology; however, later decided spending eight years in college was not something she wanted to do. So instead she took a handful of fun classes at a local community college, moved out of her parents’ home, and pursued many different job opportunities, including her favorite position as Administrative Assistant to the man who founded Mr. Steak, an American steakhouse restaurant chain, which operated from 1962 through the mid 1980s.
Being adopted, Jill always felt something was missing. As a result, her journey through life was woven with many different colored threads. Some bright and colorful, some dark and foreboding. Brought up in a Christian home, as a teenager Jill became discouraged with the religiosity of her upbringing and at the age of seventeen, walked away from God. During those dark years, she dealt with an unwise abortion, involvement in the occult, and a life that involved sex, drugs, and alcohol. Then in 1979, a year after she was married, God called her back to Him.
After renewing her relationship with the Lord, Jill dealt with the death of both parents and grandparents, the death of a beloved sister-in-law, an unbelieving alcoholic husband, the difficulty of being a stay-at-home mom with four children 12-years apart, and eventually an identity meltdown. But God was good and never gave up on her. In 1990 He renewed who Jill was and allowed her to see that her identity was not wrapped up in her biological DNA, but in Him. Then, 5-years later, after 17-years of praying for her husband, God healed him of alcoholism and brought him to salvation. Not only that, but shortly thereafter the Lord also allowed Jill to first be reunited with her biological mother and her children, then her biological father and his children.
Thirty-eight years later, Jill remains married to her amazing husband, Kevin, and continues to reside in Westminster, Colorado, a northwest suburb of Denver. They have four fantastic adult children, Amanda, Matthew, Samantha, and Danielle, four beautiful grandchildren, Madison, Olivia, Adeline, and Emerson, two great son-in-laws, Josh and Jason, one equally great daughter-in-law, Jenna, and a wonderful son-in-law hopeful, Wade. Looking back on her life, Jill can now see those solitaire footprints in the sand were not times when she was walking alone, rather they were times when the Lord was carrying her. And by His grace and mercy, she knows God will continue to carry her forward.
About the Process
On November 19, 2002, during a time of prayer and meditation, God impressed upon Jill to write a book. Being that it was something she wasn’t interested in doing, her response to Him was a kindly, “No thanks, you got the wrong person.” A week later, God communicated to Jill the same request and, as before, Jill replied, “No thanks, you got the wrong person.”
This exchange between God telling Jill to write and her replying. “No thanks, you got the wrong person,” went on for about a year. Finally, after being exhausted from wrestling with the Lord over this, Jill gave in and told Him fine, she’d do it. However, she added she had no idea what she was supposed to write about. God replied no problem, He had a story in mind. All she needed to do was listen, then do.
So, she did.
Shortly thereafter, a story unfolded. But not just any story, this one had a cadence—rhymes narrating the adventure of a young elementary school boy who found himself in a place called Computerland. Shortly thereafter, Computerland the rhyme morphed into Computerland the non-rhyming children’s book.
By 2004, it had morphed again, this time into a titleless chapter book about a 12-year-old boy named Samuel E. McNichols. A boy destined to save the world. Between this time and 2005, the story transformed again, this time into a series. Jill didn’t know how many books were to be involved, nor was she any closer to knowing its title, all she knew was God promised He would tell her what to write and what to call it. It was also during this time He gave her the following instruction: apprentice and learn the craft of writing.
Jill’s search for the right niche to apprentice with soon became exhausting. There was nothing out there that fit what she felt God had told her to do with the book series. There was no middle ground between Christian and non-Christian markets, no independent publishing (outside of print-on-demand), no social media presence. During this time Jill dabbled with online classes and joined critique groups that met in chat rooms, uploaded onto local bulletin boards, and communicated via email.
By now it was the end of 2005. Jill was frustrated with what was out there and with people who claimed to be professionals, but were nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing. Finally, Jill told the Lord she was done unless He could provide her with something or someone who would help her move forward without sucking the life out of her.
As 2006 rolled in, God answered Jill’s prayer and told her He’d give her new wine skins. Ones that would be pliable and not tear. Ones she could trust to fill with the words of her book. Ones she could take with her as she learned the art of writing. Soon, one thing led to another until Providence landed Jill at the doorstep of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Immediately upon meeting the gal who planned to start a new ACFW chapter in the North Denver area, Jill knew she was home. A month later, Jill attended her first meeting and by the end of that year, had joined their board and stepped into the position of Secretary.
In 2008, during Jill’s time with ACFW, God finally gave her the title to her book series. It was to be called The Chronicles of Spector. He also told her to change the age of Samuel E. McNichols from a middle school boy to that of high school teen.
Things remained roughly the same with the series until 2011. From 2011 through 2016, it changed once more. This time it morphed into a book within a book as a second main character, a teen named Peter Greenly, was added. During this period of metamorphosis, time travel, other worldly dimensions, and a dystopian world where Peter lived 500 years in the future, came into play. While all this was going on, Jill’s writing apprenticeship continued with ACFW North Denver where she served as Secretary for four years, Vice President for a year-and-a-half, and President for three years. She also helped implement website and social media presence for hers and other ACFW chapters in Colorado. Then in December of 2014, as quickly as the apprenticeship began, it ended as Jill was released by God to go full steam ahead with her manuscript. At the same time, Jill and her husband, Kevin, were also instructed by God to form an independent publishing house called Mt. Cydesh Publishing Company. It would be through this company that The Chronicles of Spector would be released.
Amid her years of apprenticeship, God allowed Jill to become friends with many other writers, but only a close-knit few have been her life line. The book series, as well as these special ladies, her amazing family, and her relationship with God, have become the air Jill breathes, the water she swims in. Jill can no longer look at herself without seeing “writer” etched somewhere deep within her soul. Her words are no longer, “No thanks, you got the wrong person,” rather “Thank you, God, for teaching and showing me who I am.”