Welcome to my very first author interview on Wednesdays. This is my trial run so today I will be interviewing my own resident author, my daughter, Jen Winters. Friday will have a book review of her first published novel. I am so glad you are here today. I’d like to just jump in with my first question. I’m sure readers will want to know.
GP: Tell us about yourself what do you do when you aren’t writing?
JW: I am a stay at home mom and I homeschool. I also admin a Facebook group called Author Promo Co-op and I moderate a GoodReads book club called Trail-Mix Readers. Sometimes I get to go on dates with my hubby which helps refresh me a lot. Our favorite restaurant is a little hole-in-the-wall Asian place with delicious Dim Sum.
How would you describe your books to people who’ve never read your work?
I write sweet and steamy paranormal romance with an urban fantasy edge. My main characters are a mixture of supernaturals including one type I made up: immortal women who are the maternal instinct of god in the flesh. They are kickass women who have lost children in their mortal life and strive to make sure that they can impact the world in such a way that no other mother has to feel that kind of grief.
My more common supernaturals are werewolves, vampires, shifters of all types, fairies, and more esoteric supernaturals like the Wild Man of South America.
GP: It seems many authors have been writers since youth. When did you begin writing and what made you decide to begin publishing your work?
JW: I began writing in Middle School with my BFF and decided to write for publication when I found myself on the other side of a bad marriage and in need of doing something to take care of my daughter.
GP: For new authors what do you believe is the best advice they could receive?
JW: For every word you write, put aside a penny. When you are done writing your initial draft, you will have enough pennies to pay for an editor. Use an editor. Listen to them thoroughly. Do not get so attached to your rough draft that you won’t change your story for the better.
My first editor told me I had to kill someone. It took me months, but I finally did it. I killed off a lot of someones and the book was better for it. In fact, if it wasn’t for my first editor, my second book and third would not have been as good as they are. She taught me a lot about plot, character development, and detailed description.
How has publishing changed the way you view your writing? If so tell us in what ways.
First, I have realized that I need to be better than traditionally published authors because I have only myself to blame for typos, inconsistencies, and plot faults. I have worked and practiced to make myself better with each novel and each short story. I have to be so good that readers think of me when they are looking for a book instead of going to the NYT Best-seller shelf at Target (or whatever retailer). I have to be better than the best because I won’t get the audience if I’m not, and that isn’t how a lot of authors think, but for me, this is what I am striving for.
Some authors have stories they outline in detail before setting the story down in detail while others have a basic story idea and just start writing and let it develop as it is written.
GP: How would you describe your style in this regard?
JW: My PNR novels are all written the latter way; I write until the story comes to me and develops a life of its own. I am working on a YAF novel that I have a pretty detailed outline of. I have biographies, and have developed the characters before ever writing them in. It’s been a challenge to do the outline because I am not used to it, but it’s also been a fun exercise and I can tell the difference between the romances and the young adult novels already. The romances take a lot more thought to write while writing, whereas the YA doesn’t take as much thought while writing, but more before the writing.
Tell us about your most recent series or published book.
Last December, I published my first novel, Kissing Demons, and on July 17th I published my second, Falling Angels. I also have a short novelette that came out in March, I think (keeping track of dates isn’t a specialty). Here are the blurbs:
I’ve been a Guardian for 800 years, and sometimes, even us immortals need a vacation. So when my big sister calls and tells me I’m off for two weeks, I take the opportunity to visit my favorite place: The Hunter’s Moon, a bar for supernaturals only. There’s a few things I want to accomplish while I’m not working: get a grimoire, find a little temporary fun, and make a friend. I did not want to find my soul mate, nearly die, watch a sister give up this life, and see my city in the throes of mass destruction.
What am I supposed to do now? My vacations over, my soul mate’s been kidnapped by a demon I’m not powerful enough to defeat, and Fort Worth, one of the cities I love, is in pieces. If I help the city, I will lose my soul mate; if I help my Alex, I will lose the city. What kind of Guardian would I be if I didn’t do everything in my power to defeat Yuruch? Am I even sure I want to be a Guardian anymore?
Kissing the Rain:
I was happy, living the good life in France. I taught Math and Computer Science, I mentored a group of great kids, and I had my dates—the lovers I visited regularly. Then My father decides it’s time to call me home. If I could, I would ignore him, but I’m a halfling and a demon bound to my father’s voice. When he calls his children, we all have to answer.
I want to be better than I am and I don’t want to help whatever foul plan he’s come up with. I can keep him off my back for a little while with the psychic static of the supernatural club, The Hunter’s Moon, but eventually the club with close and I would rather die than go to him.
My only hope is a petite, fiery Guardian, Geneva Archer. I’ve heard of her before—she’s famous among supernaturals for her dedication to her work—but can she really help me? I’m a halfling and she’s a Guardian, two of the worlds most infamous enemies.
When Yuruch calls for his children to join him in Ft. Worth, it takes every ounce will will-power Alex has to stay away. He may have to go to Texas, but he would rather die than become his father’s puppet. This novelette follows Alex in the days leading up to meeting Geneva. If you haven’t already read Kissing Demons, this is your chance to meet the MCs from Alex’s POV.
What’s worse than losing your job? How about losing your life, your home, and everything familiar? I just wanted to work. What did I get in return? A long fucking fall with a sudden stop.
Stranded on earth with little hope for survival and an eternity of banishment ahead of me, I did the only thing I knew—I worked the jobs I could. Until I realized I’d been replaced. Then I got mad. Eleven thousand years of fighting for my destiny had me broken, bitter, and ready to just give up. And then my best friend blew up Fort Worth and screwed the entire universe in the process. Now I have to save his ass from everyone including the Guardians.
I hate Guardians—those intrusive vixens replaced me, took over my job, and left me utterly useless. But this one, Lavinia, she’s almost as old as I am and she is starting to get under my skin. I can’t concentrate when she’s around—everything about her mystifies me and why the hell do I remember her from before? She shouldn’t even exist! And certainly not in my memory.
GP: Can you give us hints about what you are working on now?
JW: Sure I am writing the third of my initial Guardian trilogy: Raising Hell. The entire series is themed around Redemption and this book is about Yuruch finding his redemption with the help of the lovely (and short!) Ai Ye.
I am also working on a YA PNR about a girl who has lived her whole life outside of the influence of culture and is suddenly thrown into it with the death of her father. Hannah is without a doubt the most difficult character I have ever written, and I kind of have a girl-crush on her.
I am also working on a short story for an anthology coming out in April. This one is called Long For Freedom and it is about three witchy sisters. It will be a paranormal fantasy that will lead to a PNR trilogy.
GP: Where can readers find you and your books?
JW: Subscribe to my blog
Favorite me at Smashwords
Like me on Facebook
Become a fan on GoodReads
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Amazon
I want to thank Jen Winters for the opportunity to interview her for this trial run. Please come back on Friday for a review of Kissing Demons.