Jena Petrie | About Jena
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About Jena

A bit about me

Late in 2015 I moved with my husband to a small town in the lower North Island of New Zealand, to be near family. Previously we lived in Central Otago, in the centre of the lower South Island. Being central, it has extremes of climate from summer to winter. Here it’s different, because it’s not far from the west coast. At least there are beaches quite close.

This move was a massive change for us. Imagine going from winters cold enough to create hoar frosts and freeze ice on a nearby dam thick enough to skate on, to a winter of no frosts but a massive amount of rain. Man, is it wet here! And cloudy; usually cloudy, in fact. I do miss the lovely sunny days of Central Otago.

Anyway, to get back to the subject of Me; we have four children who have all grown up and left home. Now we enjoy visiting them from time to time and love having them here, too.

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My favourite drink is mochas. Love mochas! (Did I just say that?) Oh, well, you get the picture. Mochas give me an excuse to have chocolate without the guilt, and the mixture with coffee eliminates the over-sweet taste. More stimulating than straight chocolate too, so in my opinion it’s the ideal drink (apart from white wine, that is).

Mornings are my best time for writing so I’m usually in the office until at least lunch-time and often later in the day as well. Apart from writing stories with Happy Ever After endings, I love reading (as every writer should). Romances and Young Adult Paranormal are my favourites but I do read other genres too, for variety.

Next after reading and writing comes a love of gardening, especially flowers. My favourites are the brightly coloured ones. Since our move I’ve loved establishing a new flower garden and in particular, watching some of the flowers last through winter. That’s something I was never successful with down south with the harsh winters and dry summers. I’m not much good at flower arranging so prefer to keep the flowers in the garden and admire them there. And while I tackle the flower garden my husband takes charge in the vegetable garden, even growing a number of plants from seed.

When I have time I enjoy painting, too; not walls or window-sills but pictures, using oils. Landscapes are my favourites although I keep promising myself that one day I’ll try something different. Maybe something more abstract, perhaps.

And travel. Do I love exploring places with great scenery? You bet! Have you noticed a pattern here, with another hobby? How about checking out my Pinterest board: Fascinating places to visit? Apart from seeing most of my own country I’ve visited Australia, the US, Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Tonga, Dubai; and I haven’t finished yet.

Unfortunately I can’t always be traveling overseas. So as compensation I sometimes enjoy the local scenery from the pillion seat of my husband’s motor-bike as we explore this very picturesque country of New Zealand.

Jena Petrie

My writing

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved reading. In fact at school it was probably my best subject. When I was about eight years old I wrote my first story, for a competition. Didn’t win a place mind you, but I did win a consolation prize of three books (probably given to every entrant as a consolation prize!) Still, it felt like a pat on the back – for awhile – although perhaps my mother knew something I didn’t because she never encouraged me again.

So I gave up writing…

Until a few years ago when I decided to try writing travel articles. Sold a few too, to newspapers around New Zealand, the country where I live.

Later, after taking a university paper in creative writing, I found that making up stories was much more fun than writing factual accounts. Ever since then I’ve been writing fiction – first for children, then romances for adults – learning the craft through workshops, reading and attending the Romance Writers of New Zealand conferences. Now I write every day (almost), trying to create the very best stories I possibly can for you, my reader.

I do hope you like them!

Why not try out my writing by visiting my Free Reads page and reading my short story: Honey

Favourite books

My favourite books

Contemporary Romance:

  • And Baby Makes Three, Molly O’Keefe
  • How to Resist a Heartbreaker, Louisa George
  • In Too Deep, Tracey Alvarez
  • Long Lost Father, Melissa James
  • Sara’s Son, Tara Taylor Quinn
  • Second-Chance Family, Karina Bliss
  • The Family Plan, Susan Gable
  • Wish, Kelly Hunter

Women’s Fiction:

  • Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  • The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton


  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte


  • Touching Midnight, Fiona Brand
  • Ripples on the Lake, Dawn Rotarangi

Young Adult Contemporary:

  • Pushing the Limits, Katie McGarry

Young Adult Paranormal:

  • Moonwind, Louise Lawrence
  • Fire Country, David Estes