Welcome to BRB, everyone! It's rare that I'm able to interview a self-published author when they're a fledgling, just spreading their wings, so the interview today is a treat. It's great to have you here, Jess. What genre do your currently write? And, is there a genre you'd like to write, but haven't tried yet?
At the moment I'm writing fantasy romance, with the occasional erotic short story. Eventually I'm going to tackle a sci-fi novel. It's been a long time since I tried sci fi and I have a few ideas for a sci-fi novel floating around.
My favorite (which I'll probably never write, because it takes a special writer to handle spoofs and satire) is “The Adventures of Domly Sir Domingtom, Master of the SpaceWays!”
Many authors use a nom de plume, and they may use one opposite to their own sex. Do you think an author's sex or sexual orientation should dictate what genre they write?
It is a really sad fact that, especially when it comes to younger readers, books written by women are 'for girls' and books written by men are 'for kids.' In sci-fi/fantasy you also see an assumption that women can't write hard sci-fi or good mil-fic. I don't think any author should feel the need to conceal their gender or orientation to appease stereotypes, but I'm also not going to blame authors who choose to work with the realities of the market, rather than fighting against them.
For me, well this is a nom du plume, but I use primarily to separate my fiction and non-fiction work, and to prevent my almost-teenagers from Googling my name and finding something a bit too explicit for their father's comfort.
Some authors have issues with character development, writer's block, plot summary etc. What is the biggest challenge you face when writing? How do you overcome the problem?
Fifteen years ago my grandfather read one of my first novel-attempts and said “You're missing some details here. It's like you have the whole thing clear in your mind, but I'm not in your head, so you need to write the 'obvious' stuff down or I don't know what you're talking about.”
And damned if a freelance client didn't call me on the exact same thing last week.
I've gotten better with practice. The main way I deal with it is by repeatedly going through the manuscript and adding details, and adding more details, and adding more details, until I can't think of any more to add. (And still, I know I'm light on details compared to other authors. I will never be guilty of Tolkiening.) After that, I trust my beta readers to tell me if there is something that doesn't make sense to them.
What has been the single most successful marketing tool you've used to date?
So far, the best marketing technique has been starting a blog on a relevant topic, which eventually draws readers to my books. For this book I'm trying something different, combining the book and the blog to make a webserial. Anyone who wants can read the entire book at no cost—as long as they don't mind waiting nearly 9 months to get to the end. If they really want to know what's on the other side of that cliff hanger right now? Well, the ebook will be available December 1st (barring more cover art delays).
Guest blogs and interviews such as this have also been good tools, but mostly I find they draw readers to my blogs and then the blog draws them to the books.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Starliner, by David Drake. Not sure what I'll be picking up next.
How do you measure success?
There's different kinds of success. Being able to keep a roof over my kids' heads and food on the table is one kind of success. Actually finishing a novel is another kind. The letters I've gotten (on occasion) about my non-fiction from people telling me how much it helped them or praise for my work from the people I look up to in my sub culture? That's a head swelling kind of success. And having my favorite author invite me to connect with him on LinkedIn doesn't fit any traditional model of success, but I've been dancing for a week over it.
Just for fun–
What is your favourite drink? Mead
Are you a cat or dog person? Both? If I absolutely had to pick, I'd say I'm a dog person. But I love cats too.
Love or lust? Love. It's hard for me to have serious lust without love. I also fall in love very, very easily, so usually I get both.
If you could spend the day with any famous author, who would it be? And, why? Probably Ryk Spoor. I like him as a person and not just a writer. We've gotten into some fun discussions online, and I'd love to see what he's like in person.
If you could indulge free of any consequences, what would be your ultimate sexual fantasy? I have to pick ONE!?!?! It's more sensual then sexual, actually. My ultimate fantasy, is to finally be part of a stable, long term group relationship, and after an evening of mind-blowing sex, all of us just collapse into bed and cuddle together in that lovely “I just got my brains fucked out” haze.
Website Link: http://www.fantasyromanceserial.com
New Release on December 1st.!!
When the fae lord, Oeloeff, takes his sister, Mattin seeks out Countess Jahlene n’Erida, a fae noble who is Oeloff’s enemy, and begs her to help free his sister. In return for her help, he offers the only thing he has–himself. Lady Jahlene accepts Mattin’s offer, and he finds himself an initiate of a strange world where pain is pleasure, cruelty is love, and nothing is as it seems.
Mattin hates being a slave, almost as much as he hates and fears the fae. But as he learns more about Jahlene, he finds himself drawn to her, and her sadistic pleasures. As they race to prepare their trap for Oeloff, Mattin fights to reconcile his desires with his fears. Until he makes a mistake that costs him everything…
The lady was silent. The glass shell around Mattin shattered. His knees nearly went out from under him, and he had to stumble forward to keep his feet. "Bloody Mare! Stop playing with me. Yes or no?"
The lady stood, she towered over Mattin. Without saying anything, she walked over to a small cabinet, set in the corner of the room. From within the cabinet she took a plain strip of leather. The size of a collar, but with no latch or fastener.
She took the leather back to her desk. Laying it out, she placed her hands on it and looked at Mattin, "Very well, Mattin Brenson. You have your bargain, if you are sure you wish it."
Mattin needed to clear his throat twice before he could speak. "Yes, lady."
Mattin's eyes were pulled from the collar to her face. She was looking at the collar, with an expression he couldn't name. She changed. Becoming larger, more real, more present. The rest of the room faded to insignificance beside her. He felt his focus, his will, being drawn to her. She could ask anything and he would agree. She filled his mind, his heart, his soul, until there was room for nothing else.
He could never, then or later, explain what happened. Somehow, she took that pull, that enchantment, that…love, and made it a part of the collar. All the power and majesty which filled her flowed into the simple leather under her hands. When she released the leather and sat down, it glittered in the light. Lady Jahlene was again just a fae woman--a tired, drawn, fae woman sunk back in her chair. Brit and Parlen were pale and their eyes wide. The lady waved Mattin closer. Hesitantly, he walked around the desk to stand next to her. The leather, when he saw it clearly, was marked in gold with the same abstract sigil that was on Brit and Parlen's collars.
The lady picked up the leather and offered it to Mattin. "If you would enter my service, you put the collar on yourself."
He forced himself to take the leather. It felt no different than any other piece of leather he had ever held. "What.. what was that, lady?"
Her lips quirked, "Glamour. A very powerful glamour, placed within the collar. While you wear it, no other fae can control you."
Mattin's breath caught. He remembered the press of Lord Oeloff's will, driving him to his knees.
"I scented Oeloff's touch when you came in the room." The lady said, as if she read his thoughts. "Once you wear my collar, he will never touch you again."
Meeting her eyes, Mattin asked, "But you can?"
The lady hesitated, then nodded, "I have never done so, but yes, I could. It is the bargain your ancestors struck--they gave control to one they trusted in return for protection from the many they did not."
Faintly, Mattin heard Brit scoff, "Sure and that worked well, didn't it."
The lady glared at Brit, but did not reprimand the man for speaking out or disrespect. Mattin was beginning to think he might like this strange fae.
"Seal our bargain, Mattin Brenson, so we can all get some sleep."
He had no idea how to fasten the leather band, and no real desire to put it on. But he refused to show his fear again. Closing his eyes, he lifted the collar to his throat. When he brought the ends together at the back of his neck, they joined seamlessly. The band tightened on its own. His hands spasmed as the leather pressed against his throat. I wanted this, he reminded himself, warding off despair, It's the only way... Slowly, he raised his eyes to the lady... to his owner. In that moment, he hated her.
Purchase Link: http://www.fantasyromanceserial.com