June Author Spotlight — KATE JONES!!!!
Every month I like to expand our reading horizons by introducing my readers to new, or new-to-you, authors and their intriguing, amazing books. Whether they write romance, fantasy, paranormal romance, thrillers of any kind, cozy mysteries…doesn’t matter. We all need new avenues of literature to pursue. For example, even with a TBR pile the size of the Grand Canyon, I sometimes yearn to go outside my usual genre box and play in the other genres’ sand boxes. So whether your main subject aligns with the featured author or not, you can be assured I will only bring you the best of the best across all genres.
With all that said…please let me introduce the lovely, the wonderful, the amazing.fantasy author..
You can find her latest book, Shadows of Darkness, at http://geni.us/PnBoK
- First things first, please give us a brief introduction to yourself, not just the writer but “you.”
I’m a 57 year old mum and grandma (gulp – where have the years gone lol) and from the UK, although originally born in Singapore. My home county is North Yorkshire (with rolling hills, sheep, lots of pheasants and not a lot else,) but I now live in South Lincolnshire (with not a hill to be seen, very few sheep and lots of arable fields). The only thing that could have dragged me away from my beloved Yorkshire was…love (isn’t it always). I own two cats – one ginger ninja called Olaf (yes, as in Frozen) and his slightly better behaved brother, Sheldon (as in Big Bang Theory). Those names alone should give you a feel for the range of programmes/films I watch on the few occasions I can be dragged away from my laptop. I also have two horses (one big dressage mare and a teeny tiny shetland who is her companion and is Houdini reincarnated).
I have retired from the 9-5 (that was the deal if I was going to leave Yorkshire) and can now focus on my writing.
- What genre do you prefer to write and why?
Fantasy – I’ve always read as a means of escaping from the humdrum reality of life and fantasy is the furthest you can get from normal as it comes (unless you are a character in my series – just saying lol)
3. Do you have a small or large circle of author friends? How do they help you become a better writer?
Small – I am coached/mentored by a USA/NYT best-selling author who has been instrumental in how I am developing and improving as a writer. I have a brilliant editor who is also an author; a UK based author who helps with questions that I feel are too dumb to post anywhere on social media, and I am currently looking for an author buddy/critique partner in the UK who writes in the same genre and is at about the same stage of their writing career as me. And I have an awesome friend who is an eagle-eyed beta reader and my biggest fan.
4. If you’ve already published, how did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
First book as an author in my own right was so bad that I signed up to work with an author coach, totally re-wrote it, started to learn how to write books that keep readers dying for more; had a professional cover done and employed a professional editor. Basically – decided to do it properly and not just treat it as a hobby.
5. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Author coach/mentor, professional editor and cover designer.
6. Who are your favorite authors and how did they influence you as a writer?
If I’m honest, I don’t really have favourites – I either like an author or I don’t. Many I read in the past and enjoyed (eg Melanie Rawns) now feel a little dated so I guess my tastes move with the times a little. I must add that, now I understand the ‘theory’ of how to write a ‘page turner of a book’ I do tend to analyse the way a book is a written and ask myself questions around what I enjoy, why, how has the author written a particular page or chapter that has kept me wanting to read more and I guess all that learning has to influence how I write to some extent.
7. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Into the Happy Glade by Trevor Dudley-Smith. It was very much a precursor to Watership Down in its concept and is now out of print and impossible to get hold of a copy at a reasonable price. It was the first book my father bought for me as it was one he had read and enjoyed as a child as well.
8. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/logo/avatar/spirit animal?
A unicorn with rainbow wings and sparkly fairy dust farts (I did say I was a fantasy writer!!!!)
9. Do you base characters off people you know If so, do you let them know before they read the novel?
Not really – although I did give one of my nastier characters the name of one of my “why the hell did you ever go there” ex boyfriends and then killed him off in a particularly violent and nasty ending. I have to say, it felt very good….
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
None although I have a couple of outline plots for books that are a totally different genre. Not sure if they will ever be written but if they are, I will do so under a pen name.
11. What does success as a writer look like to you?
My partner will stop saying “Are you ever going to make any money from this writing lark?” and will boast to his friends that I earn way more than he does so he can become a kept man to make up for all these years of my being a kept woman.
12. What have you found to be the best way to market your books? What tricks of the trade can you share?
If I’m honest, this is the part of my craft as a writer that I am still learning but, from what I can see so far, having a big following of avid reader fans is by far and away the easiest way of making sales as you go forward in your writing career.
13. What kind of research do you do? Do you research before and/or during the writing process?
Google is my best friend and I use it before and during my writing process from everything to “what is the word to describe xxx” to “images of xxx” and a tonne of other stuff as I go along. Latest search was around names of types of armour.
14. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice or strictly as a business?
For me it’s almost an addiction. Before I started to write my books, I used to journal daily and that was very much a spiritual practice. But my goal is to become a successful published author so I have to treat elements of my writing as a business if I am going to avoid chucking lots of money down the drain. I have to spend my money where it’s going to give me the most benefit so, for example, professional editing and cover design are a non-negotiable – they have to happen.
15. Do you write any non-fiction?
Not really although my first foray into published writing was as an author in a non-fiction anthology called “Success Unlimited.”
16, What is your target audience and what made you choose that audience?
Young Adults from about age 14 (although my books are very adult readable as well). I wanted to be able to use writing as a means of teaching teenagers all these life lessons that I wish I could have taught my own children when they were teenagers but I hadn’t learned most of them myself at that time in their lives. The subconscious mind learns best through stories, so what better way of teaching than via an epic adventure that has a deeper meaning than “once upon a time and then they all lived happily ever after.”
17. How do you select the names of your characters?
Some just felt right for the characters, some are names from my past that I liked and others are researched. All of my books in this series have a link to mythology or beliefs from around the world, so I research that in detail and bring some of the names into my stories so that people who study those particular beliefs etc will go “aha, I see where this is coming from”. So, for example, Elohim and Moloch in Book 1 are from Hebrew (Elohim is another name for God and Moloch is often used for the devil). I have names from Roman, Japanese, Aborigine, Greek mythology (to name a few) in upcoming books and I am also trying to link fictional characters from our world to my fantasy world as well. In Book 2 I have a chapter with Captain Nemo and the Nautilus in but neither are the same as in the Jules Verne book. Nemo is a drunkard and the Nautilus really is a nautilus!!
18. What is the most difficult part of your writing process? How do you overcome that difficulty?
Writer’s doubt and imposter syndrome. I talk to my best friend who says that, if she loves my writing I have to be pretty damn good because she’s the world’s biggest critic when it comes to books (and yes, I love her to pieces but she would very quickly tell me if she thought anything I’ve written is rubbish)
19. If you could personally meet one of your characters, who would it be and why?
My MC Charley – she has been in my life for so long that she’s like a daughter to me.
20. Which character from your book(s) would be the most likely to be a writer?
None of them so far – they are all far too busy saving their world from Moloch but I do have a minor character who has a very small but super important role in the whole plot and she could be a writer (now there’s a thought for a sequel!!!)
21. What one thing would you want readers to take away from your stories? A lesson? Sense of peace? Thrill of adventure? Anything?
If you believe in yourself you can do anything you set your mind to; magic really does exist (the majority of us just don’t see it as magic, that’s all); relationships are tough and good friends are the best allies you can have in life.
22. Is there anything else you’d like to relay to the readers?
I think I’ve probably said enough already but my main message to anyone who wants to write is to just get out there and do it. Don’t write for money – write from the heart; learn your craft; develop a thick skin and invest as much as you possibly can in terms of money and time if you want to make a living from writing. It can be hard, lonely and frustrating but the rewards at the end when you finally hold a copy of your own work in your hand and can say “I did that”, are worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears. And when all else fails – I recommend chocolate and donuts, puppy smooches, baby laughs, video chats with friends, and sunshine as things that will make you smile and feel better.
You can easily stalk (I mean follow) Kate Jones at the following social media sites:
Until next time, friends! Enjoy your summer, pick up some more books to read, and fall into a far away world of fantasy!
Luv & virtual hugs!