This weeks’ “Ours Goes To Eleven” interview is with Jami Gray, a paranormal romance writer with a thing for Starbuck’s, cake pops, and men from the British Isles.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, if you’ve read my bio, you know I come from a HUGE family. It’s not a joke, promise. It’s very real. Here’s the fun part—I am the least social person you’ll probably ever meet. No, really. In real life, where people come up and hold actual conversations, I have to rely on my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor for support. I’m pretty shy until the ice gets broken. Then, woo baby, I’m right in there.
I have two boys because someone up there knows I’d never survive raising girls. I have nothing but admiration for those who have accepted that challenge. My Prankster Duo are two of the greatest things I’ve ever done, well, next to marrying my best friend. So yes, I’m very outnumbered in my home, but they’ll tell you it feels the other way around.
I sport a type-A personality, even managed to get a Master’s in Organizational Management. Yep, it’s a real degree. It’s the one behind the individual who comes into a company, looks at it and says, “You know, guys, you’re going about this all wrong. Here’s what you need to do…”
However, no matter how much in order the rest of my life must be, I’m a pantser when it comes to writing. I detest outlines. Maybe because they remind me of all my college research papers and Journalism assignments. All that structure just sucks my creativity down into a deep, dark hole. However, I do have very detailed character sketches, down to what their homes look like, what their quirks are, fav foods, you name it, I have it written down. I think that’s my saving grace when I write.
2. Give us a five word synopsis about your latest work.
Just five? You are cruel beyond belief…*takes a deep breath* Okay, here we go:
Fur, murder, magic, love, secrets.
3. When you’re finished with a piece, do you find that it tends to differ from your original idea, or does the original idea remain more or less intact?
Overall, not by much. I know my overall story arcs; what surprises me is where my characters take me. They’re not shy by a long shot and if they think I’m not taking them where they need to be, they’ll make damn sure I hear about it. I’ve found so long as my general picture is fairly in focus, the creative discoveries I find when I write come in who my characters turn out to be, what they go through, their reactions and their relationships. They surprise the hell out of me on a regular basis.
4. If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
I have an actual series bible for the Kyn Kronicles that includes various pictures and sketches of my characters. Some are represented by a few well known names, but to be honest, Raine’s picture is an actual sketch from a young artist. Unfortunately, I can’t find her name so I won’t share the image, ever, since it’s her work, I don’t want to mess anything up. However, a few friends have compared Raine to Selene from Underworld. I could go with that.
Gavin would have to be a tall cross between Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell.
Jonah Talbot would have to be Liam Neeson. (Yes, I know I’m seeing the same Gaelic trend…)
5. What’s the best thing about being an author? Worst thing?
I’ll answer worst thing first, because it’s easier for me. The worst thing, finally getting a solution to that scene/character motivation/plot line you’ve been hung up for EVER while you’re in the shower—with shampoo in your hair and knowing you have to jump out and write it down before you FORGET IT. This happens more than you want to know.
Best thing—readers who take time out of their lives to pick up your stories, fall in love with them, and then actually share that experience with you. Writing is a solo endeavor, so when a reader tells me how much they enjoyed a story, it makes my entire week!
6. What writer’s blogs make your Top Three list? Why do they stand out above the other flobbity-jillion out there?
Kristen Lamb’s Blog: We Are Not Alone (http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com).
Every writer, I don’t care what genre, needs to follow this blog. Kristen doesn’t pull any punches with the reality of being a writer, what it takes to make in this industry and how to succeed.
Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/)
As writers we all hit that WTH stage and Chuck’s blog is a great place to get a no holds barred, horribly witty and terrifyingly sarcastic view of just what does it mean to live in our minds.
Bob Mayer’s Write on the River Blog (http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/tag/bob-mayer/)
Any writer who wants to know where this industry is headed needs to be paying attention to Bob’s words. Not only has he been to the top of the traditional pub scene (NY Times), but his insight into the self-pubbed world is fantastic.
7. What is your writing-time beverage and snack of choice?
Hello, my name is Jami and I am a Starbucks addict. I have two beverages of choice: warm weather: Carmel Frappuccino no whip or cold weather: Skinny Carmel Macchiato. Snack wise, those little cake pops are way too tempting.
8. Do you have any useful marketing tips for other authors?
Wow, I wish I had some magic formula that would bring forth millions of readers and their pocketbooks. Unfortunately, I’m learning as I go. The biggest thing I’ve had to do is step outside my fantasy worlds and put myself out there. Blog hops, interviews, giveaways, meeting librarians, book sellers, you name it, you have to think of every person you know and/or meet as a possible connection to a new reader. It’s not easy either, but every time you put your name and your books out there, is one more chance for someone to discover you and your books.
9. What changes do you see taking place in the publishing industry over the next couple of years?
Interesting question with so many different paths spreading into the future. Personally, I think the lines between self-publishing and traditional publishing will disappear. The main goal of a writer is to share their stories with a readership. To get your readership, you’ll have to travel a road inundated with turns, which means you better understand the role of an agent (what can they really do for you and your work), the role of a publishing house (what can they offer that will improve your craft) and how to navigate the self-publishing world. Chances are authors will become hybrids, some of their titles will go through publishing house, some they’ll put out on their own. However it works best, that’s the right road for that author.
10. What’s your next project?
I’m currently in the midst of a new Paranormal Romance I’m hoping to have finished by end of October so I can make it go do the rounds of the publishing world. Think murder, romance, psychic abilities and some serious kick-ass characters who tread a thin line between black and white. *wiping a tear away* It’s so hard to send your babies out into the big unknown of agents and publishers.
11. Who would win in a fight—a ninja-pirate robot or a zombie werewolf? Why?
Oh-oh, I got this one—Zombie Werewolf hands down (or falling off). You just can’t kill the undead… hence the undead part!