To read an excerpt from Touched by Fate, and the Uncaged Reviews of 3 of Jami's books, please see the August 2016 Uncaged Book Review magazine. Link below the interview.
Thank you Jami, for the feature.
No, thank you, Cyrene for asking me to be a part of this. What an exciting adventure!
1) Do you remember the first book you read and how old you were? Who and/or what inspired you to read?
Oh, that’s a toughie as you’re asking me to reach back into the mists of time. Let’s see, the very first books, after the early readers of “See Jane. See Jane Run.” variety, was a big book of fairy tales. I had to be around six or seven, and that oversized book was dragged around like a security blanket for years. Eventually I moved on, devouring everything I could get my hands on—fiction and non-fiction, didn’t matter. If a story was being told, I wanted to read it.
2) Who are some of your favorite authors now, and what genres do you tend to read the most?
That’s a trick question because the answer could take up page after page, and change depending on where I’m at in my life. Right now I tend to lean toward Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense with paranormal and/or military elements, and anything that catches my attention. If you check out my bookshelves (and they are legion) I have Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Suzanne Johnson, Stephanie Tyler, Stephen King, Cynthia Eden, Elle Kennedy, Seanan McGuire, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Maya Banks, Trish McCallan, CT Adams, Anne Bishop, Christy Reece, JD Robb, Jennifer Estep, Kresley Cole, Natasza Waters, and the list can be endless. I can’t ever seem to catch up on my TBR pile…erm…piles.
3) Who or what influenced you to start writing?
I wasn’t the first story teller in my family as our clan wasn’t too far removed from the Blarney Stone. One of my earliest memories is my maternal grandfather explaining the reason I had spots on my face was because at night, while I was sleeping, brownies were sneaking in and dropping kisses over my nose.
If I had to try and point to one author who inspired me to set pen to paper, I’d be stuck between the Trixie Belden mysteries from Kathryn Kenny and my favorite Urban Fantasy of all, The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Granted, Trixie’s world was all about solving the whodunit which appealed to my inner Sherlock, Will’s world interwove magic with reality and I was a goner. My fascination with a world of unlimited possibilities lingering just out of reach of the “normal” world was born and away I went, trailing words in my wake.
4) Are there any books/authors that you’ve read, that have influenced you as an author?
For any writer, this is one of those difficult to be specific questions because in some way, shape, or form, every book you read influences your writing. One of the things I really, truly believe is that every writer should be an avid reader. When another writer captures your imagination, they become a spark for your creative muse to wonder, and that wonder is what leads a writer to lift their voice in story.
As for advice that has haunted my writing path, I have a couple.
The first comes from Jim Thompson, an American author of hardboiled crime fiction, which I’m sorry to say, I haven’t yet read, but I can remedy that. He made the best comment ever in regards to story telling, keeping it simple and to the point:
“There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.”
The second and third are from Stephen King who needs no introduction, I’m sure:
“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
5) Where is your favorite place to write?
I use to sneak out of my house and hide out a local coffee shop, but as my sons have garnered their own lives, I find I do just fine in the office I share with my hubby. Well, so long as I don my headphones to drown out the cries of agony and ecstasy from the electronic battles raging across the room. Yep, my Knight-in-Slightly-Muddy-Armor and the Prankster Duo all indulge in their own versions of magic and mayhem. If I’m lucky, the two Fur Minxes of the Labrador Guild are either under my desk on my feet or right behind my chair, limiting my escape options.
6) I’ve read books from two different series of yours now, and the one thing that is common to all of them, is the never-ending action packed storylines and well flushed out characters. What inspires your thought process when working on your series?
Oh wow (blushing) thank you!
The seemingly never-ending action scenes are actually the result of me being an avid reader. I love being sucked into a story from page one and not surfacing until I hit the end. The stories that I connect the strongest with are those where I join the main character right at that moment when their whole world is being turned upside down. I want the same for my readers. I’m huge on character development and motivation, mainly because characters need to be human and that requires a complex personality. You throw a strong-willed person into chaos, force them to make spur of the moment decisions without all the necessary information, and then they have to live with consequences. That’s not always easy or comfortable. It’s like the game Jenga, where you think your base of blocks is solid, but the higher you go the shakier that base gets. Eventually you look back and realize you might have screwed up from the get go.
I’m not sure my thought process is actually a process per se, at least not in the beginning. When I started out with SHADOW’S EDGE, the first in the Kyn series, I wrote by the seat of my pants. I knew who Raine McCord was and what drove her, and then I just started chucking things at her and away we went. By the time I hit HUNTED BY THE PAST, the first in the PSY-IV Teams, there was no more MacGyvering it together with a wish and a prayer. Because I love reading series, I tend to write in series. This means before you sit down with page one, I need to know my world and my characters’ place in it. Those two elements are crucial for every story and tend to have a symbiotic relationship, just like our real lives do with us.
7) The action packed stories with a bit of romance on the side, make for a great recipe. Are we going to see more of The Kyn Kronicles and the PSY-IV series, and what else do you have planned for the future?
Oh heck yes, you are. TOUCHED BY FATE, the second of the PSY-iV Teams just hit shelves in May. The third, MARKED BY OBSESSION, is currently with my editor, so we’re aiming for a late 2016 release date. My plan is to have a book for each team member, so with Cyn and Kayden in HUNTED, Risia and Tag in TOUCHED, and Wolf’s story in MARKED, Bishop’s story will follow, along with the rest of the team.
As for the Kyn, I’ll be working with Cheveyo and Talia as I start on book 5 in August, with the goal to have it and book 6 out in 2017 to finish this particular story arc. While it may tie up Raine and Gavin’s adventures, it’s not the end of the Kyn world by any means. Even though I don’t have access to a crystal ball, I do have plans (rubbing hands together) for a second series in the Kyn world, but we shall see how things go.
And because two series are not enough, I just finished a new project that I’m hoping to find a home for some time this year, so fingers crossed and stay tuned, I promise to keep you in the loop.
Oh, if you’re looking for a fun read, I’m doing an Urban Fantasy Western called CONJURING MISERY with a couple of awesome writers, Camille Douglass and Dave Benneman, with a chapter going up every couple of weeks on my website. Feel free to join our campfire for that one!
Uncaged follow-up: Like a moth to a flame.....
8) What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
First and foremost, like any other author out there, I can not say “Thank you” enough to express how very grateful I am that readers take a chance on following me into my worlds. Writers write their stories to get the voices out of their heads and some of us worry no one else will find our worlds as exciting or intriguing as we do, so when a reader joins us then continues to return, we are humbled, and flattered, and for me, honored.
I’m pretty easy to find, I have a web abode at www.jamigray.com. It’s well-furnished with a blog, all my books (including the first chapters just to whet your appetite), and other nifty items like a list of all the author interviews I’ve done, including Kevin Hearne, Jennifer Estep, Elle Kennedy, Kallypso Masters, Seanan McGuire, and many, many more.
If you’re over on Facebook, you can catch me at my author page (https://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter) or my normal page, where I tend to be puttering about (https://www.facebook.com/jamigray.author).
To read the excerpt of Touched by Fate and the reviews of Jami Gray's books, please see the issue below: