Welcome to the two hundred and twenty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with author and blog tour co-ordinator Jaidis Shaw. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Jaidis. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Jaidis: My name is Jaidis Shaw and I am based in South Carolina. Growing up I loved reading and wanted to create stories of my own. I finally got serious about my writing and began work on my first book when I was eighteen. Everything was going well until I was diagnosed with Epilepsy a year later. While taking my Biology exam during college, I began having a Grand Mal seizure every few minutes for the next six hours. As you can imagine I was changed after that and was forced to put my writing on hold while I learned to re-form sentences and the like. Now that I’m 25 years old, I have resumed my writing and hope to share my stories with those willing to read them.
Morgen: I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will be. I read and write primarily short stories and although I have written some novels, shorts will always be my first love. What genre do you generally write?
Jaidis: I haven’t settled on a single genre as I enjoy challenging myself by writing in genres I’m not familiar with. Each story that I have had accepted for publication has been in a different genre so far.
Morgen: Same as me really. I write pretty much anything other than science-fiction although the only piece of sci-fi in my short story anthology eBook was a reviewer’s favourite so maybe I should try more. Maybe you’ll settle on a genre you like but variety can keep writing fresh. What have you had published to-date? Do you have a favourite of your books or characters?
Jaidis: I’m new to the published world but we all have to start somewhere I suppose. My first short story that is published appears in the Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II anthology. I also have a Suspense story that is being published in the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales anthology. Both anthologies are from Wicked East Press.
Out of my stories that have been accepted, I enjoyed writing about Molly Kenway. You will be able to meet her when the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales anthology comes out. Although I do have a character in the book that I am working on that is rapidly becoming a favourite of mine.
Morgen: I love the creation process and it’s like making new friends every time. What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Jaidis: Being accepted is still a thrill since I’m so new to being published. My first short story, The Tower, was accepted in May 2011 into the Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II Anthology and I am still thrilled about it.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Jaidis: I’ve only submitted two short stories so far so I haven’t had any rejections yet but I know there will be many in my future.
Morgen: I found the second one worse than the first, especially as there wasn’t an acceptance in between. At least if you’re prepared for them that’s half the battle. It’s just finding the right thing for the right person and it sounds like you’re doing everything right so far. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Jaidis: I try and do as much marketing as I can, such as taking part in interviews like this. I think it is really important for authors today to connect with their readers in several ways to help get the word out. I try and utilize social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to reach potential readers and friends. My goal is to market myself as a ‘brand’ so that when I have my first book published, I have a following to go on.
Morgen: I was doing it that way round too, and my eBooks are still young (about 6 weeks) with many more to come so I know how you feel… I’m certainly excited. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Jaidis: I am currently working on a Western themed short story with minor Steampunk elements at the request of a good author friend of mine.
Morgen: The western genre seems to be coming back into the spotlight (although I know western novelist and interviewee Jack Martin would say that it’s never been away) and steampunk seems really popular. Do you manage to write every day?
Jaidis: I do not get time to write daily, although I would love to. I just have to fit my writing in whenever possible.
Morgen: I’m sure almost everyone reading this will relate to that. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Jaidis: My stories usually start with a random idea and then I take time to outline everything. Once I have all the details worked out, I turn to the computer to piece it together.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Jaidis: Editing is extremely important in writing today and so I do edit my work several times before submitting. I also have a few beta readers that I use to spot anything I may have missed because nobody likes reading a poorly written story. Even as my writing forms, I’ll still be editing like mad.
Morgen: It’s very good to be thorough. The down side of eBooks is the amount of poorly-written work out there but I maintain that the good writing will be reflected in the reviews, an author can only have so many friends. Do you have to do much research?
Jaidis: I have had to do some research for one of the stories that I had accepted. The main character is a criminal profiler and so I had to do some research to make it believable since I don’t know anything personally about that topic.
Morgen: I usually feel that research is a necessary evil (although the internet makes life easier) but that sounds like the kind of research that would be less painful. Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc., do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Jaidis: When I first started writing I had to have quiet to be able to think. That quickly changed with my four-year-old daughter playing in the background. Now I try to have a little music on to help balance all the noise out to a tolerable work environment.
Morgen: Oh dear. I just have a dog which is obviously much quieter (other than the occasional squeaky toy) but can be still as distracting. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Jaidis: I prefer to write first person as it is so much easier for me. I have branched out and started using third person as well because there are some stories that just can’t effectively convey what I want using first person. The last time I tried second person point of view was in college so it has been awhile.
Morgen: Again, a good variety. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Jaidis: My favourite aspect of my writing would be to take a character from my mind and make them come to life on paper. It’s great to have a creative outlet to share my stories with others.
Morgen: Me too, I can’t think of anything better.
Jaidis: My least favourite is that I wish that I could have more time to myself to write. Being a stay-at-home mom and working from home as well seriously affects the amount of time I have to dedicate to my writing. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to write more full-time.
Morgen: I’m going freelance at Christmas and am part-excited, part-nervous but am nearly 20 years older than you (although only writing for the last six years on and off) so you have plenty of time. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Jaidis: I wish I had some insightful wisdom that I can pass on but I’m all so new to being a published author myself. I would have to say just to keep at it and if becoming a published author is what you want then make it happen. Only you can stand in your own way.
Morgen: Absolutely. It just takes passion. Well, and hard work but the former will inspire the latter. What do you like to read?
Jaidis: I love reading almost any book. Sometimes I want a sappy romance, other times I love the thrill and suspense of a mystery or horror story. It really just depends on my mood.
Morgen: Ah ha, that’s why you write allsorts. I say I write everything but sci-fi but I read crime and humour / chick-lit and that’s what I tend to write. I’m sure reading inspires writing. Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Jaidis: I am the Book Tour Coordinator for Nurture Your Books™ so I spend my days helping other authors promote their work. I love helping out fellow authors when I can and so I also feature authors on my own blog, Juniper Grove.
Morgen: You do, and you’ve sent Wayne Zurl my way (thank you for that!). What do you do when you’re not writing?
Jaidis: All writing, reading and promoting set aside, I love working on craft projects. It is nice to do things that allow creativity that doesn’t involve outlining and character sketches. Plus my daughter loves crafting as well so it gives us something to do together.
Morgen: Maybe she’ll follow you in your writing too. Ooh, and you could write children’s books. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Jaidis: My Blog: Juniper Grove http://junipergrove.net
My Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jaidis-Shaw/208652099174548
Nurture Your Books™ NING: http://nurtureyourbooks.ning.com/profile/JaidisShaw
Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II on Amazon.com.
Morgen: Thank you so much Jaidis, and I look forward to your other authors coming my way.
Update August 2012: Since this interview, Jaidis Shaw has released her debut YA paranormal novel Destiny Awaits and had a short story, Blind Justice, appear in the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales from Wicked East Press. Updates (and one of my book giveaways ) can be found on the Juniper Grove blog at JuniperGrove.net.
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