Jeanelle Frontin is the Founder and CEO of Mark Made Group Limited, a Caribbean-based company specialising in entertainment and the arts with this sole purpose: to enable adept humans and choice projects, to make their mark on the world. Having been actively involved in various fields, from engineering to the creative industries, she holds a BSc (Hons) in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and an MSc (dist) in Project Management. Jeanelle is also the award-winning author of The YaraStar Trilogy, a series that explores the journey of Yara, an unmarked girl with unknown origins, on a planet where one’s birthline markings determine those who are of light from those who are of darkness. The Unmarked Girl (Book One) is the winner of the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. The books follow three themes—finding yourself, knowing yourself, and being yourself She dedicates her books to the son of her dreams, Alyxander (the Great).
In an interview with the WE Mag team, Jeanelle opened up about her journey to success and why she chooses to do what she does. Check out what she had to share with us:
What are you working on at present, what is keeping you excited?
I am constantly involved with multiple goals and teams (simultaneously) because combined, they keep me quite excited. I love challenging myself through the exploration of a variety of projects that move my soul. On my list at present: promotion for my series The YaraStar Trilogy, writing my new Fantasy/ Sci-Fi novel (due for release in 2020) alongside a few other writing projects, progressing myself as a publishing entrepreneur, learning digital art, launching my latest movement WE ARE MARKMAKERS (wearemarkmakers.com), and of course my business and creative consultancy with a few special clients.
What are some of your treasured milestones thus far?
For this year, having my first book, The Unmarked Girl, win the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature remains the most surreal moment. Other milestones include launching the pilot for Trinidad and Tobago’s first Live Music District under my purview as the GM of MusicTT, and having that experience juxtaposed with leaving such a meaningful job (as well as the stability of the “white collar”) for my entrepreneurial and creative pursuits. Naturally, I can include all my educational milestones here, but I think the most treasured among them was attaining a distinction in my Masters a little over a year after my son was born while overcoming serious health challenges at the time. I believe this was a pivotal moment that assured me of one thing: we can always find a way to not just overcome, but to rise.
What is your ultimate goal or biggest dream for your future?
Years ago, I stumbled upon a quote. It said, “Someone once told me the definition of hell; on your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.” I remember cringing when I read it because I knew that for someone like me, that WOULD be torture to the highest degree…to see who I could have become if I had only pushed harder, learned more, and all the rest. What I’m most passionate about in life, my ultimate goal so to speak, is being a MARKMAKER…which is, in essence, someone who makes his or her mark. Doing that doesn’t mean I need to do the greatest things, but rather that I need to become the greatest manifestation of who I am. I’ve lived my life since then in insatiable pursuit of that person, whether by learning, growing, facing fears, or facing, well, me.
Why do you do what you do?
This may be a more spiritual view, but I believe that we each have a role to play and a contribution to make in exchange for the life and time we’ve been given. I think we will spend our lifetimes figuring out exactly why we are here, but as we journey along, we are given hints and leadings in different directions if we are open to listening. My choices are always connected to that anchor, and as such, it feels like my life’s mission is to manifest the fullness of who I am and why I am here. I think that’s the definition of a “life well-lived”. I do what I do because I don’t think life would be worth living without following that profound calling and yearning within me.
What advice would you share with any woman who is interested in becoming a writer?
DO IT! If you feel that pull, that intrigue, that calling, I believe it is your responsibility to see where it leads. Don’t concern yourself with whether you’re qualified to do it—pursue various means of educating yourself instead. I did a few online courses, for example, in preparation for writing fiction because the first thing I learned was that I didn’t know and I needed to fix that. Everything you need to know is on the other side of a lot of effort combined with freely/cheaply available online resources. My next best advice is to accept yourself as a WIP (Work-In-Progress) always. I am still learning and improving on my craft, and that is a lifelong journey. I seek improvement even in the most daunting critiques. While I might need a minute to get my creative ego under control (I’m human after all), I know for certain that such critiques can only make me better—if I let them.