By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon High teachers book is published
pic rhs author n copy
Jill Mortensen, using her maiden name J.J. Francis, just released her novel The Phoenix during the summer. Shes also the Activities Director at Ripon High. - photo by Photo Contributed

Jill Mortensen’s recently published book marked the end of a journey.
According to the Ripon High Activities Director, ‘The Phoenix’ was three years in the making for obvious reasons.
“I’m a teacher by day, a writer by night,” said Mortensen, who wrote the self-published novel using her maiden name J.J. Francis.
Her husband Brian Mortensen was both an inspiration and great supporter of an endeavor that started years ago for Jill under some negative criticism.
“I had been told throughout my years of education as a child and young adult that I was terrible at writing and was even told once by a college professor that I would never make it in our world as an accomplished educated person,” she wrote back in July 2013.
Back then, Jill Mortensen was asked by a good friend: “What is something you want to accomplish in your future?”
She wrote that goal on a small piece of paper.
“I knew immediately what I wanted to accomplish – I wanted to write a novel,” Mortensen said.
It was an ambitious plan filled with fear and self-doubt. She even recalled that same college professor lambasting her in front of the class on her writing.
Her story is of a character, Phoenix, who encounters current social issues while trying to find purpose in her own life no matter the issues or tragedies.
Mortensen said Friday that the characters were based on actual people she knew.  Many were near and dear to her.
Included was her sister Kimberly Francis, who is an artist and inspiration for the character, Trinity.
She applauded Mortensen’s work, saying: “The Phoenix provides readers with the treasure of letting go into an environment of trust, self-discovery, seduction and love – allowing a nightmare to be awakened and released by a capsule of memories.”
Kimberly Francis is recognized for her work in watercolors. She even designed the cover for ‘The Phoenix.’
On July 9, Kimberly Francis had an art opening, displaying her pieces while Mortensen was able to piggyback on the event with her first-ever book signing session.
Her recent sense of accomplishment has also given Mortensen that something special to share with her students.
“My whole point of the book, and something I instill in my students yearly, is to follow your dreams and never let judgment and fear dictate your wish to pursue,” she said. “It has taken me three years to write my fictional novel, but I finally accomplished something that meant so much to me while balancing a teaching career and having a family.”
‘The Phoenix’ is available at on both paperback and Kindle.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail