Saturday, December 23, 2017

Author Interview: Josie Jaffrey, Author of The Solis Invicti Series

About the Book

The Solis Invicti series is set in London, in a world in which the human population has been decimated by a blood-borne virus.  In the wake of the zombie apocalypse that follows, a vampiric race called the Silver seizes control.  Without the protection of the Silver, humanity will soon cease to exist, and without uninfected human blood, the Silver will perish.  A necessary symbiosis is the result, but the power of the two races could not be more unevenly balanced.
The protagonist of the series is Emilia, a twenty-something barmaid with an insubordinate and reckless approach to the new order.  In the first days following the collapse, she struggles to accept that her life has changed irrevocably and that she is powerless to reclaim it.  That recalcitrance brings her face to face with the highest ranks of the Silver.
The series is targeted at adults and mature young adults.  The books contain horror, profanity and sexual content.  This isn't erotica, but there are some steamy scenes (only one or two per book).  There are love triangles, aggression and drama, but there is also an eventual HEA.

About the Author

Josie lives in Oxford, England, with her husband and two cats.  When she’s not writing, she works as a lawyer, specialising in intellectual property and commercial law.  She also runs a video book review club, The Gin Book Club, through her website.
The first book in the Solis Invicti series (A Bargain in Silver) is Josie’s debut novel.

Author Interview

What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

A Bargain in Silver is the first novel in my four-book paranormal romance series, the Solis Invicti series. I’ve always loved paranormal romance and read more of it than is probably healthy. It seemed like an obvious choice when I started writing; I think it’s a good idea to write what you love, because you have to write for yourself primarily. If you don’t enjoy your books, then it’s likely that no one else will either.

What is the intended audience for you book?

The series is New Adult, so it’s targeted at adults and mature young adults who love vampires and zombies! The books contain horror, profanity and some steamy scenes (only one or two per book). If you love Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books and are looking for something a bit grittier, it might be for you.

Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

The Solis Invicti series is self-published. I did initially approach agents for the series to see if I could swing the traditional publishing route, but although the writing was well-received, the market was at that time so saturated with paranormal romance (and vampires in particular) that there was no hope of selling it to publishers. I’m happy to keep it self-published for the time being.

I’ve just finished writing a YA historical fantasy novel, which I intend will be traditionally published. I'll be speaking with agents about it in early 2018.

Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?

There is absolutely value in reviews! They are completely essential, particularly for self-published authors like me. That’s why I run an online book club, The Gin Book Club, through my website, which provides honest review of all kinds of books, both traditional and self-published.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I do read my reviews, because I’ve usually requested them from book bloggers, and it seems impolite not to. I always respond by email (not publicly) to say thank you to the reviewer for taking the time to read and review, whether the review is good or bad. I don’t generally engage with the content of the review unless it’s extremely positive; it’s certainly not my place as an author to argue with how a reviewer has interpreted or criticised my work. Not everyone is going to like it!

I think it’s important for authors to recognise that all reviews you receive, even the awful ones, will help to improve the visibility of your work to potential readers.

The author/book reviewer relationship is such an important one, and I see so many authors getting it so wrong. I actually wrote a blog post about it earlier this year ( I think the problem is often that authors have unrealistic expectations of book bloggers, or of the quality of their own work, and are unable to deal with criticism. That said, the vast majority of my interactions with authors and book bloggers have been overwhelmingly positive. After all, at the end of the day we’re all doing this because we love books.

What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

I’m very lucky that in the UK we have the wonderful Writers’ Workshop. They run an event called The Festival of Writing every September at the University of York, where authors, agents and book doctors get together to discuss the industry, pitch books, and attend or present seminars about writing technique.

I attended in 2017 and met some lovely agents, whom I’ll be approaching in early 2018 with my latest manuscript. It is a completely amazing event that I highly recommend to all unrepresented authors in the UK. Even if you don’t come away with offers from agents, you’ll meet some great fellow authors and learn a slew of valuable writing skills.

Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

For me, writing is increasingly becoming a career. When I started writing seriously in 2014, I was working (at least) twelve-hour days in my day job and just crammed in the writing wherever it would fit. Back then, writing was very much a hobby. Now that my working life is a little less demanding, I have time to approach my writing in a more structured and commercial way, which I hope will (eventually) mean that I can give up my day job entirely and write full time.

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

I do my plotting in a notebook first, then when I’m ready to write I set myself a writing target (somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 words a day, depending on how busy I am) and just write until I’m done. I have a habit of becoming ridiculously immersed in what I’m doing, and I stop noticing that time is passing. It’s not unusual for me to sit down to write, then look up only to find that it’s dark, five hours have passed, and I’ve missed a meal. This is why I eat a lot of chocolate!

What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

When I’m in plotting mode, I make sure I have my notebook with me at all times. When I’ve moved on to writing, I use the notes app on my phone to jot down scenes or snatches of dialogue that come to me, so I can copy and paste them into my manuscript later.

What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

I really dislike editing, but I think all authors do. It’s the hardest part, and it takes so long.

My favourite part is writing the first draft. I always get to a certain point, about halfway through, and then find myself getting completely carried away. My daily word counts start skyrocketing, and invariably I write the second half of a book in a quarter of the time it took me to write the first half. That’s a heady experience.

What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)

I usually find love scenes the easiest to write (because I’m an incorrigible romantic), but sex scenes are a different matter entirely. They can go wrong so easily, and then they’re just awful.

Generally, I find action scenes quite difficult because you have to be aware of everything that is happening, and describe it in precise and concise detail so that the pace doesn’t slow. When it’s done well, it should feel as real and natural as watching it happen in front of you.

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