10 Questions for author Joleene Naylor. Check out her website, Visit her blog, Find her on Facebook, Follow her on Facebook, or Find her on Goodreads.
Hi Jo! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as a writer? How did you get into writing?
Thanks so much for having me, I’m honored to be here. How did I get into writing? My mother was an artist and writer, so I just fell into it from birth. Though it wasn’t until I gave it up and then came back to it in 2004 that I realized I actually enjoyed it.
You've published five books in the "Amaranthine" series, the latest of which is Heart of the Raven. Can you tell us about your series?
I’m going to cheat and use my series synopsis. Pulled into a world of darkness, Katelina’s fate becomes intertwined with that of Jorick, a dark, enigmatic vampire. To stay by his side, she must navigate fields of intrigue, terror and bloodshed as they are drawn from one vampire war to another. Dreams of peace seem elusive, and complications abound in the form of mysterious vampires, old relics, and an ancient master. Join Katelina and Jorick in a world where vampires don’t sparkle and night is eternal.
Basically it’s vampire romance that tries very hard to not be vampire romance.
What was the inspiration behind your series?
I’m not sure I was inspired, exactly. I needed something to write for NaNoWriMo and Jorick was a character from an RP I was writing in at the time (though he had a different name) so I just went with it. I still have no idea where it is ultimately going to go.
Of the books you've published, do you have a favorite? What about a favorite character? Favorite scene?
I always like the newest one the best because I think it’s the most exciting, and the best written. Of course, that changes with the next book. But, Ties of Blood sticks out to me for some reason.
One thing my series has is plenty of characters, but Verchiel and Micah are a couple of my favorites because I can’t control what they do. Maeko is a new favorite because she’s so interesting. I’d like to spend more time with her.
A favorite scene… hmmm. Right now I am really digging the conversation between Inanna and Malick in Munich.
“Leave now and do no more harm.”
Malick laughed. “You have not warmed since our last meeting, Inanna. It’s no wonder. To hide in the earth while others live. It is nothing more than waking death. How can you be any warmer than the dead?” He stepped forward, his eyes alight. “Join me and be what you once were. Do you remember so many millennia ago when men sang your name? It could be that way again! There’s no need for us to hide, we could be gods!”
“You were never a god, only a greedy child. Those days are gone, as are those people. Modern man does not welcome gods, but topples them. Go now and repent in quiet, before it is too late for you.”
Do you consider yourself primarily a paranormal fiction author, or do you plan to write in other genres?
This is a question with a lot of answers. I’ve written lots of stories in other genres. Right now you can read a selection of horror, sci-fi, comedic, fairytale and contemporary short stories on my website (at http://JoleeneNaylor.com) Though I think they will be taken down because I’m planning a site redesign that focuses more on my books. I’m also working on a funny vampire parody, a paranormal-ish YA, and a partner and I have started an angel romance. Whether any will ever be finished remains to be seen, though.
There’s often a problem crossing genres, though. JK Rowling is known for Harry Potter and, though people bought her newest book, the real, number one complaint was that “it wasn’t Harry Potter.” Fans don’t want to see you flex your literary muscles or prove your versatility, they want their favorite characters. That’s why I wrote The Vampire Morsels short stories, and why I plan to keep writing other short stories on the side; it’s still a part of the universe, but I can play around a lot. If I do jump ship, though, it would be fantasy.
In your opinion, how important is cover art?
As a cover artist I should say it’s the most important thing but, truthfully, it isn’t. I think the cover needs to look good enough that people don’t laugh at it or think “holy crap! Did a kindergartener do that?” and I think it should be a cover that when you see it, it makes you feel a rush of “Yes! This is MY book!” but past that you need to worry more about writing a good book and editing. Your goal is to make people buy the book because it has your name on it (think Stephen King or the aforementioned JK Rowling), not because it has pretty pictures. Look at the Sookie Stackhouse series if you need proof (The titles are hard to read, the art looks juvenile, and they make very poor thumbnails – all things any cover guru would use to “poo-poo” a self published book. )
Do you prefer paper books or e-books? What's your opinion on the future of bookstores?
I think bookstores are in trouble because paper books are SO expensive. The last time I went to Barnes & Noble (and it’s been a couple of years) all the “new releases” in the front three rows had crappy covers and were 20$ or more – for paperback. Call me cheap, but I can’t afford 20$ for a single paperback (I’m a writer, after all, I don’t make real money – ha ha! A little writer’s humor there.) Especially not when I can get an ebook for $.99 and not have to use the gas to drive the forty-five minutes or more to the store.
What's your favorite part about writing? Brainstorming? Weaving words? Cover art?
Writing the conversations, because I don’t really write those, the characters do, and I get to kind of put my feet up and let them go. The rest of the time they make me do the work, though.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why? What would you do with them?
What's your life like outside of writing?
Pretty boring, really. Or I think it is. Other people have been known to say it’s chaotic and makes very little sense, but I think it makes a lot more sense than it used. I almost never find myself somewhere and think “What am I doing here?” anymore and that’s an improvement in itself.
Heart of Raven is available on Amazon.