Third Time’s a Charm: Inside the Third Installment of Local Author’s Jem Series

Taylor Reisdorf

Local author Delaney Green’s tale of Jem – a strong-willed but kind 18th century character with immense depth, an interesting past, and a set of magical powers – continues with the sequel’s third installment: Jem, a Foreigner in Philadelphia. Jem is an orphan trying to navigate life and keep her Second Sight under control while dealing with a determined adversary, Patch. She experiences visions, is able to hear animals’ thoughts, can diagnose an illness with a simple touch, and her soul is sometimes catapulted out of her body and into the body of other beings. Foreigner – the third in a planned series of six books – follows Jem as she travels from London to Philadelphia. The trek is made in pursuit of a promised American destiny and to escape Patch and his deep desire to drain her powers. Thrown into an unfamiliar and swarming city, Jem encounters a multitude of challenges that lead her to question life as she knows it. Jem’s story has been churning and growing in Green’s mind since the fall of 2009. From beginning to end, Green had the major pieces mapped out and, during a three-hour period, typed out Jem’s entire story. She said, “I know how and where the story wraps, and I want Jem to end up where she belongs.” Green has become attached to Jem because the character mirrors her own mother and because Jem’s imperfection, curiosity, and desire to improve herself and others are undeniably endearing. Although Green had Jem’s story hashed out, a plethora of research was required while writing each of the installments. “When I write, I need to know where I am so I can move my characters around in that environment,” she said. However, being historically accurate comes with constraints. When writing Foreigner, Green struggled to find information about Deborah Franklin apart from her relationship with her famed husband, Benjamin Franklin. As a firm believer in the saying “Behind every great man is a great woman,” Green wanted to give a glimpse into Deborah’s perspective. “For once, I thought, Deborah Franklin deserves to have her own story told – even if I had to invent it,” Green said. “Debby deserved a moment in the sun.” Jem’s magical powers play a major role in the series, but also aren’t necessarily accurate. The paranormal plays such a large role in Green’s work because it allows her to explore some of her other interests: the mysterious energy of living things, faith, and Things We Don’t Understand. “Magic is an exercise in faith, really,” she said. While she doesn’t deliberately place themes into her writing, Green’s readers have unearthed many lessons sprinkled throughout the Jem series. Some of these include the importance of being true to yourself, learning to be independent, leaving your comfort zone, questioning the status quo, being open-minded, and the unimportance of gender.  Green plans for the series to be completed by around 2025, and could see a few unrelated works published in that time as well. Next to come in the Jem series is Jem, a Journeyman in America.

All installments of the Jem series can be purchased at The Local Store and online at