Hey all, I wanted to bring something a little different today. Earlier this year in February I reviewed the series Solis Invicti by Josie Jaffrey and fell in love with her books. Above I have included picture links to all her current books available for free on kindle unlimited. So be sure to check them out.
Josie was very kind and accepted my offer for an interview. The Gilded King is on my to be read. I am super excited.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2017 that I started thinking I’d like to write as a career. At that point I’d already self-published three books, but it was more of a hobby than anything else. It’s only been in the past year that I’ve applied myself to it in a more determined way.
For more on how and why I started writing full time, you can check out this YouTube video: WritingVlog #3 | Ancient History
How long does it take you to write a book?
About three months, although I’ve always got a decent idea of the plot before I start the actual writing. When you self-publish like I do, the most important thing is to keep producing more books. That’s what keeps you afloat, and keeps readers engaged, so at the moment I’m aiming to release three or four books a year.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Well,as you can probably imagine, it’s quite busy! I now write practically full-time(although I’m a company director as well, which takes up some of my time). I split my year into quarters and dedicate each quarter to a new book. About 8-10 weeks goes into producing a draft, and the rest into editing. In practical terms, that means for a 100,000-word novel (which most of mine are) I’m writing 2,500 words a day, five days a week, for 8 weeks. That takes up most of my working day (about 6-8 hours), and the rest of my time goes into all the other business of self-publishing (formatting, emails with my cover designer and book bloggers, advertising, social media, YouTube videos, research, interviews like this etc.). I usually end up working about 12-14 hours a day. I try to take one day off a week, but that rarely actually happens. That’s obviously not sustainable long term, but at the moment I’m trying to make the most of my workaholic impulses while I still can!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure whether you mean the quirk in my writing process or the quirk of my writing itself.
In terms of process, I’m a writing binger. I like to sit and write solidly for 8 hours, with no interruptions. I’m not someone who dips in an out of a story -I Find it easier to be fully immersed.
In terms of my writing, I think there are two things that characterise my authorial voice: one, I like poetic but concise descriptions; and two, all of my stories are about imbalances of power, control and manipulation, both in political situations or in the context of relationships.
How did you come up with the characters?
I usually start with relationships and work backwards from there. That is to say, I rarely come up with one character at a time. Instead, I think of a relationship dynamic I’d really like to include in the novel (whether friendship, a rivalry or a romance), then work out how I need to form the characters on either side of it in order to make that dynamic as crunchy and satisfying as possible.
The creation of the characters for the Solis Invicti series was a little different,because they’d been evolving in my head for a long time before I finally started writing A Bargain in Silver. For more on that, you can check out this YouTube video: BookExtras | Solis Invicti Origins
How do books get published?
My books are all self-published, so at the moment I do everything myself, with the assistance of a cover artist and beta readers. That requires some significant feats of organisation on my part, particularly when I’m publishing so much so quickly. To anyone who is thinking of starting self-publishing, I’d say this: start small, and give yourself time to work out how all the various self-publishing platforms work. Don’t try to publish four books a year right from the start.
My aim is to be a hybrid author eventually, self-publishing my Silver books and placing my more commercial work with traditional publishers. I’m currently scouting around for an agent for my latest manuscript, a YA thriller, so watch this space for updates on that.
Jericho Writers have some really helpful resources for those starting out in traditional or self-publishing. For more info, check out this YouTube video: Writing Vlog#4 | Jericho Writers
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My ideas usually come in the same way that my characters do: I think of a situation I want to create, then build a setting and basic plot around it. Once I’ve dropped the characters into that setting, the details of the plot often present themselves naturally because I just wind up my characters and watch them go. That’s a very simplistic way of describing it, but I find that if I try to let myself be guided by the characters rather than forcing them into-particular actions, I end up with a story that feels more satisfying.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
A Bargain in Silver was the first full novel I completed, when I was 30. I honestly don’t think age matters at all with authors, the important thing is your practical writing experience. The more you write, the better you get, so a twenty-year-old who’s written five novels is likely to be writing much better work than a sixty-year-old who’s never finished a novel. Life experience does count for something, but the thing that is most likely to improve your writing craft is actually practising it, and finishing what you start.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read a lot. I used to row, but a knee injury scuppered my training and I still haven’t got back into it. At the moment I have a smaller ambition: make it to the gym!
What does your family think of your writing?
Most of them are very supportive, although a little bewildered by my fascination with vampires. The first thing I hear at family gatherings is, ‘I liked the latest book, but you really must write something that isn’t vampires.’ And whilst I do have some non-vampire stories in the works, vampires are an addiction I’m never going to quit!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much practice improves your writing. My first book was pretty difficult to finish, and sometimes felt like a monolith towering over me. Looking back now,I don’t think it’s my best work. These days I knock out a few books a year and it feels easier simply because I know I can do it, because I’ve done it before.The most important lesson I’ve taken from that is that persistence pays off.The hardest thing is getting started, but once you’ve got that first accomplishment under your belt, you stop doubting yourself so much. That’s very liberating.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I’m writing my eighth novel at the moment, and I have six currently published. I think my favourite of them all is probably The Gilded King, the first book in the Sovereign series. I’d been desperate to write it for about a year before I finally got started on it, and I’m really pleased by how it came out.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I mainly chat with readers on social media, usually Twitter and Facebook. Readers send me their book reviews and pictures of their pets (which I love – please send me pictures of your pets!), and we chat about bookish stuff. The question I’m asked most frequently is when the next book is coming out, so I’ll answer that now: February 2019!
Anyone who’d like to keep up to date with my writing can join my Readers’ Club here: www.josiejaffrey.com/subscribe
I also have an active Facebook Group you can join here: https://www.facebook.com/947769802008236/posts/1868892939895913/
And I answer questions from readers every week on my Sunday writing vlog. Just tweet me @JosieJaffrey using the hashtag #AskJosieJaffrey
Do you like to create books for adults?
I like writing for ages 14 and up, so a mixture of Young Adult and Adult. Writing YA is great because the YA voice really resonates with me, but I often want to write stories that are just a bit too adult to sit in the YA category. A lot of what I write is quite dark, and while YA readers are generally comfortable with moderate horror and violence, there are limits to what is suitable for that audience.
I also find it rewarding to mix it up. My first four books were Adult, and I’ve written four YA books in a row now, so I’ll be returning to Adult novels in 2019.
What do you think makes a good story?
I could give a million pointless rules for a good story, but really the only criterion is that it makes you want to keep turning the pages, for whatever reason. That’s all there is to it.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I honestly had no idea. The only thing I knew was that I never wanted to drive, I just wanted to ride everywhere on horseback. That might have worked if I had been living in 1840, but the practicalities of living in the English countryside in 2001 necessitated a driving licence.
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