The Siren’s Refrain by Dennis Jung follows a renowned travel writer and novelist, Leon Riser. Leon is facing middle age and a terminal illness. With this, he sequesters himself in his cabin in the Rockies with his private duty nurse, Fumiko Sato. He receives a visit from his stepdaughter, Iris, whose mother, the award-winning singer-songwriter Lou Ann Catskill, is Leon’s ex-lover. Iris tells Leon that her mother is missing. She needs his help to find Lou Ann, who struggles with bipolar disorder.

Their cross-country journey takes Leon to a memory lane that lets him reexamine some of the seminal chapters in his tangled relationship with Lou Ann as they get closer and closer to her whereabouts.

Author Dennis Jung sat down with Kate Delaney on the latter’s syndicated radio program America Tonight with Kate Delaney to talk about his book The Siren’s Refrain.

Dennis is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Who Likes Writing.

Kate Delaney asked Dennis what led him to start writing. Dennis said he started writing in the seventh grade and has always done some on-and-off writing. However, he only started writing professionally 20 years ago with travelogues.

I did a lot of traveling in the Pacific and the Middle East and, I mean, Southeast Asia,” he said, “and I wrote a lot of these letters by account.”

The Siren’s Refrain is a Departure to What Dennis Used to Write

Kate introduced Dennis’s novel as a departure from what he’s used to writing. She asked Dennis if he could tell her about it since his previous works take place in the backdrop of Syrian refugee camps and other conflicts.

This is a completely different story,” Dennis replied. “This is more of a relationship story. It concerns itself with a 25-year-long on-and-off-again love affair.”

Leon Riser and His Odyssey

The story follows the life of Leon Riser, a man who is aging and has a terminal illness. Author Dennis Jung wrote the character as a 60-year-old guy who’s a renowned writer of travelogues. He sequesters himself away from everyone in his cabin in the Colorado Rockies but puts aside his physical limitations and multiple myeloma to find his missing ex-lover.

Their initial efforts sort of come to a knot, and the trail eventually leads to Austin, Texas,” said Dennis. “The rest of the story’s sort of told in the alternating points of view between these main characters where they replay in their minds or on accounts they give to their fellow traveler where they replay these seminal chapters in this very complicated relationship.”

Dennis Jung’s Reflection on Leon Riser

Kate Delaney pointed out that Leon is like Dennis, as both of them are travel writers and novelists. She wanted to know if the story was autobiographical.

Dennis answered that his affinity towards Leon is the profession of being a writer. He added, “Leon’s profession allowed me to take the reader to a lot of interesting locales as the story sort of plays out and they revisit where they first met in Tahiti, and it goes to different places.”

 Writing and Finishing the Romance Story

The romance novel features a complicated relationship between two people that it pulls in its readers, page by page. Kate asked Dennis about how he felt when it was finished. Dennis said, “I wanted to explore themes of mortality and aging, something that is close to me with my advancing age. There’s a lot of introspection and retrospection, and you think about roads taken and not taken, and choices you’ve made, and those kinds of musings inevitably lead to thinking about relationships and the experiences that colored your life.

“That was the genesis of the story.”

The Take Away

Dennis Jung wanted to capture something about the complexity of relationships through the characters in his story. He aims to reflect it on the real world as when people get older, they think of relationships that are important in their lives.

The Dennis Jung Universe

Dennis is currently working on an upcoming novel to come out this December, titled The Uneven Surface of the Soul Woman, in which one of its main characters is an outlaw leading a complicated life.

 The author also pointed out that his books borrow characters from his other books. One of his characters in the upcoming book has been breathing in two or three of his novels.

I steal characters quite often,” said Dennis. “I have a series of four books with one female protagonist that’s the main character in four of these novels, and it fills ten years of her life.”

The Siren’s Refrain: The Song

The interview started with a folk/country-ish song that was actually written by the author and his songwriter friend, Tom Faust. Dennis Jung’s book is composed of close to 40 chapters that start with short lyrics that, in the novel, were written by Lou Ann Catskill. Dennis and Tom used these song lyrics to create a song that captures the essence of the story.

He said, “At the beginning of each chapter, I opened it with some short lyrics that I wrote that attribute to this character, singer-songwriter Lou Ann Catskill, where they’re her lyrics. So, I opened every chapter with song lyrics, and it was an interesting exercise to do.”

You can get a copy of Dennis Jung’s The Siren’s Refrain on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You may also visit the author’s website at to learn more about the author and his works.