I hope you enjoyed last month's Creatures in Paranormal Fiction, but today we return to regular programming. :)
Our guest author this week is Jami Gray, who writes UF/paranormal romantic suspense.
Welcome, Jami! How do you take your coffee?
JAMI: I help put Starbuck baristas through college, and my addiction of choice is a Skinny Carmel Machiatto.
Ally: Lol. I think I'm paying their rent. One Skinny Carmel Machiatto coming right up. Can you tell our readers something about yourself?
Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She is surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and a male lab, who masquerades as a floor rug as she plays with the voices in her head.
And you wanted something unique about myself that isn't in my bio: I’m the fifth eldest of thirty-seven (and yes, you read that right) children. Thirty-five were adopted (including me), two were biological. We resemble the United Nations when we gather. (Ally comment: WOW, talk about unique! what an incredible family!)
Contact the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B006HU3HJI
JAMI: When I was in high school, I loved fantasy, Susan Cooper, Katherine Kurtz, Lloyd Alexander, Anne McCafferty, Robin McKinley, and Piers Anthony. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I discovered an emerging genre, Urban Fantasy, through Ilona Andrews, Laurel K. Hamilton, and Patricia Briggs. Now, my mom was a huge Romance fan, and being an avid reader, I didn’t discriminate on what I read. Reading across genres is something I highly recommend. My love of magic, suspense, and romance is why I do UF and Paranormal romantic suspense.
Ally: Rank the following in importance from one (most important) to four (least) in your writing: plot, characters, word choice, setting.
JAMI: Characters would take the top spot. Characters drive my stories, because they’re the reason I tell them. What makes them tick determines how they handle what I throw at them, and what kinds of things I decide to throw at them. You could have two people face the same dilemma, but who they are, because of what they’ve lived through, will result in two very different outcomes. As a reader, I first connect with characters before I even begin to ponder the plot or setting. As a writer, I want to hook my readers from the get go, so they can’t escape. Complex, multi-faceted characters are great lures.
Plot comes in a close second. You don’t want to write a boring story, so if you’ve managed to create some tricky characters, you have to give them a plot worthy of their time. To do that, it needs to be as complex and driven as they are. My writing group accuses me of loving my sub-plots. In my defense, I did grow up watching daytime soap operas. Still, plots, whether the main or sub, are key in developing your characters and story. Plot forces your characters to grow, and it’s an adventure for your readers.
Word choice would be third. I love my words. The right word helps to paint the picture or evoke emotion. If your word choice is weak or dull, so is your story. Action scenes require tense, active verbs that kick much butt, those verbs that just walk or talk won’t cut it in an action scene. Words are mental tripwires for readers. Being an avid reader, I can’t tell you how many times the wrong word in a scene just shoves me out of the story. The old adage of “pick your words carefully” are especially true for writers.
Setting would be fourth, but not because its least important, but if you have dynamic characters, and spine-tingling plot, and well crafted words, the setting becomes the cherry on top. It’s like the garnish of a well crafted meal. When beautifully executed, setting will elevate your story from ‘lovely’ to ‘divine’.
Ally: When and where do you write? Do you have a writer's cave, special hours, goals?
JAMI: I used to sneak out to the coffee shop and write, but then I got distracted people watching. So now, I stick to my home office, that I share with my hubby. Of course, it helps that I’m at one end and he’s at the other. Those online gaming sessions can get down right rowdy. I try to write five out of seven days a week. It used to be seven out of seven, but then reality hit and I realized five was much more doable. I do aim for a word count, about 1500 a day. Sometimes I make it, others, not so much. Still, the fact I sit and write consistently, that is what helps me get my books out there.
Ally: Tell us about your current work in progress.
JAMI: I just turned in the second book of my Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV (think cypher) Teams to my editor. TOUCHED BY FATE will hit shelves in Spring 2016.
So now I’m in the midst of planning a new series that doesn’t involve any magic but is set in a post-apocalyptic timeframe. I’ve also decided I’m a glutton for punishment, so I’m trying to complete a series of short stories set in the Kyn universe for release in Fall 2015.
Ally: It's time for some quick answer questions.
- a. favorite cereal: Grape Nuts (w/yogurt)
- b. favorite summer activity: Going to the mountains (I live in the desert, cooler climes is a must)
- c. an item on your bucket list: Take my sons to Europe before they trot off to college, specifically England/Ireland
- d. a food you hate: Brussel sprouts
- e. an author you’d love to take to lunch: (I have way too many, but…) Let’s do Patricia Briggs.
JAMI: We've reached that all important moment before you say goodbye, the revelation of the book. What did you bring to show our readers?
Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…
When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.
As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.
Shadow’s Edge Buy Links:
Black Opal Books: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/shop-our-store/authors/jami-gray