Sunday, October 20, 2013

"True Nature" Author Jae Interview

"My biggest goal is to publish enough novels to make a living, but to avoid publishing so much that my writing becomes empty and all the characters start to look like weak copies of each other." -Jae

Jae is an award winning author of lesbian romances. I first stumbled upon her when I picked up her ebook Second Nature from Amazon. It is a shape shifter lesbian romance. I usually don't read those type of books (lesbian yes, but not shape shifter), but I really liked this one. I became a fan. Then I was looking up how to find Beta Readers, and landed on her site. I read the article and then saw that the header was her new novel True Nature. I knew then and there I would have to interview her.

Interview with Jae

Tell us a little about yourself. What is something most people don't know about you?
I’m a writer, an editor, a traffic psychologist, and an office supply addict. I’m German and live in the southwestern corner of Germany, close to the borders to Switzerlandand France.

Something most of my readers probably don’t know about me is that I hate public speaking. It makes me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. A weird trait for a psychologist to have, I know.
You just released your book "True Nature." How does this book compare to your other books? Why is it a must read?
True Nature (Purchase Here)has all the trademark elements of a “Jae novel”—at 141,000 words / 480 pages, it’s a nice, long read, giving me ample time to develop my characters and their relationship.
Yet at the same time, True Nature is a fast-paced, plot-driven book. Unlike my other books, I think this one could appeal to mainstream readers too, since it has elements of thriller and urban fantasy. But instead of featuring a hero and a heroine, True Nature has two strong women for its main characters.
Both Rue and Kelsey are strong in their own way—Rue as a take-charge, human alpha and Kelsey as a submissive wolf-shifter, who’s in a conflict between following other people’s expectations and following her true nature.
My biggest complaint about lesbian fiction is the abundance of books with characters who "all of a sudden realize they prefer women." It is as if they were struck suddenly with some potion, and now they are gay. What do you think is important or makes a good lesbian fiction book?
Well, in my books, nothing happens “all of a sudden” or for no good reason. In my contemporary romance Something in the Wine, Annie has previously thought of herself as a straight woman who’s not good at and not interested in relationships. During the course of the book, she falls in love with a woman, lesbian winemaker Drew. But despite the title, there’s no potion in the wine, which is making her gay. She comes to the realization that she’s attracted to women—or at least one woman—through much soul-searching and as part of a process that involves finding out who she really is and what she wants from life, not just in regards to her sexual orientation.
The most important thing for a lesbian fiction book—or any book, for that matter—is to make any event and any action of the characters believable. Readers have to be able to understand what motivates the characters. Unlike movies, books give us a chance to dip into the thoughts and emotions of story people, and writers would do well to remember that this is why reader read books. They want to become part of the inner world of the book’s characters.
How much success have you experienced with your books?
I’ve been much more successful with my writing than I ever thought possible. My books have won a number of awards, among them four GCLS awards. Something in the Wine has been the #1 bestseller in the lesbian fiction category on Amazon for weeks. I’ve had great feedback e-mails from readers from all over the world. I consider myself pretty lucky.
As per your blog, you are moving to be a full-time writer December 22, 2013? Tell us about that transition? How did you come to that decision? What steps did you take to move toward that?
I switched publishers in 2012. Sales with my new publisher, Ylva Publishing, have been great. For the first time, my life-long dream of becoming a full-time writer started to seem less and less like a pipe dream. I hesitated for a long time (and until I was sure I had enough money saved to have a financial cushion), but in May, I finally told my boss that I’d stop working as a psychologist at the end of the year.
I’ve taken a little more time off since then and played full-time writer on those days, testing what a new work schedule might look like once I work from home. I also contacted other writers who write full time and asked about their lives as full-time writers. I started posting a series of interviews with some of those authors on my blog:
What do you think sets you apart from other writers?
I’m not sure if it sets me apart from other writers, but when it comes to my writing, I’m a perfectionist. I do extensive research for each of my books, I take my time developing characters that are three-dimensional, and I go through an extensive process of beta reading, editing, and copy editing for each of my novels. My whole heart is in writing, so I don’t do things by halves.

What do you love most about the writing process?
I love almost everything about it, from the research to the final editing. When the writing just flows, it’s a wonderful feeling.
I have read "Second Nature." I really enjoyed it. What was your inspiration for that book? How did you come into writing about shape-shifters?
Well, actually, a friend from Hollandis a big fan of Buffy, and she convinced me to watch a few episodes. One of the episodes had a werewolf that didn’t look or act very convincing to me. I told her that I could do better than that, and she challenged me to actually write a story about a werewolf. Since I’m more familiar with cats, I made it a story about a shape-shifter who can turn into a liger.
Of all your characters you have created, who is your favorite and why?
That’s like asking a mother who’s her favorite child J

I have a soft spot for Luke from Backwards to Oregon. She’s such a bundle of contradictions. To the outside world, she’s a tough, successful rancher. But on the inside, she’s a big softie.
I also love Kelsey and Rue from True Nature. They have an interesting dynamic together.
How much time to you spend marketing your writing? What venues do you use? Any marketing tips?
It varies. Some days, I don’t do any promotion at all; sometimes, it’s about two hours a day. I do most of my marketing online. I’m on Facebook and Twitter, I have my own website and a blog I try to update regularly, and I participate in online groups.
The best marketing tool is still word of mouth, so the advice I can give you is to write good books, invest in a good editor and a good graphic artist for the cover.
Don’t spam your readers online with repeated posts of “buy my book, buy my book.” Build a relationship with your readers instead, write more good books, and publish a few short stories, either for free or at a low price, because more readers will be willing to try out your writing for $0.99.
What do you think is most important to be a successful writer?
Dedication. Writing is not just an art; it’s a craft like any other. And like any other craft, writing requires years to master. A lot of writers expect the very first novel they ever wrote to become a bestseller instead of seeing it as an apprenticeship.
Ideally, every novel will teach you something for the next one. It’s a life-long learning process, and that’s part of what I like about it.
Your Favorite books or authors?
I’ll list just the favorite authors of lesbian fiction; otherwise, this interview would become longer than one of my novels.
My favorite authors in the lesbian fiction genre are KG MacGregor, Gerri Hill, K.E. Lane, L.J. Maas, Fletcher DeLancey, Meghan O’Brien, and a few others that I now forgot to mention. I also like Radclyffe’s early novels.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? Do you have any other books in the works?
I hope to be a full-time writer and a part-time editor for Ylva Publishing in five years. My biggest goal is to publish enough novels to make a living, but to avoid publishing so much that my writing becomes empty and all the characters start to look like weak copies of each other.
Right now, I’m working on a Christmas short story titled The Christmas Elf. The next novel I will publish will be the revised second edition of Hidden Truths, a historical romance and sequel to Backwards to Oregon.I’m also working on a series of nonfiction books about writing.
I have a million ideas for novels I’d like to write after that, but I’ll let my muse pick which one to start with.
Anything else you would like to say to your readers/fans?
I’d like to take the chance to thank my readers. Each of you has contributed to making my dream come true, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
Purchase any of Jae's books HERE.