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This morning my guest is J.S. Wayne, who, in addition to writing horror, urban fantasy, and erotic romance, has established a charity for child abuse victims called Writing Out Child Abuse.
Welcome to Susana’s Morning Room, J.S.! What inspired you to start writing?
Writing to me is like breathing. I’ve been trying to do it as long as I remember. I didn’t really get serious about it until I was seventeen, and it took me fifteen years to write something that was worth putting out in the public eye. Now consider that three years later I look back at my first novel and see how far I’ve come in terms of craft and know-how. I wonder where I’ll be in thirty!
What advice would you give writers just starting out?
The word “aspire” and all its variants need to come out of your vocabulary. If you put your ass in the chair and do the work, you’re a writer. Think of a guitar player introducing herself to a record exec: If she says “I’m an aspiring guitar player,” she might as well be saying “I’m a wannabe.” Why put that handicap on yourself?
However, note the corollary to this rule. If I had a nickel for every person who’s told me they wanted to write a novel, but, and, furthermore, and thus, and so, I would be in a much better financial position than I am now! Do the work and don’t be ashamed of it!
If you’re past this point and you’ve got a manuscript, check your publishing houses carefully. Look at hipiers.com, AbsoluteWrite.com’s forums, and ask around with other authors who have published at the places you’re considering. Don’t ever take the publisher’s word for it, and if they won’t negotiate on contracts, don’t give them a second glance. You’re offering them a product from which they can profit; don’t ever forget that. If they won’t bend on terms, there are plenty of other houses that will. Look at EPIC.org’s Red Flag list for publisher contracts for warning signs that you’re not dealing with an author-friendly house. When you see one, don’t ignore it!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. At all. If I don’t produce, I don’t get paid, simple as that. Artistes have time to nurse neuroses; genre authors with deadlines and bills to pay don’t. At absolute worst, I give myself a day off, away from the computer, writing, email, and any other possible distractions, but if I need longer than that to figure out why a story isn’t working, I put it off to the side and work on something else until my way forward becomes clear.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
LOL! This is a chickens vs. eggs thing to me. I need to have a plot for the characters to get involved in, but without a character who has something to lose or gain through the plot, there’s no point. I find my best plots and characters grow organically together. It’s not uncommon for me to start with a general character idea, maybe not even a name, and figure it out as the story progresses. That way the character grows into the story, and the story shapes itself to enfold the character.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
My latest release was “The Chapel,” for the Cleis anthology Seductress: Erotic Tales of Immortal Desire. This story is probably one of my favorites to date. I’m well-known for liking stories and subject matter that walk the crumbling edge of taboo. What could be more taboo than a succubus seducing a priest in his own chapel? And, of course, because Cleis saw fit to publish my work, I couldn’t be prouder of it just on that basis alone!
Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?
I’m always working on several things, but my big project of the moment is the second Writing Out Child Abuse anthology. I’m really proud of this project, because I found some wonderful new authors: A.D. Wayy, Paula Acton, and A.R. Von all banded together to contribute their talents to this anthology. Additionally, Nata Romeo, an award-winning children’s book cover artist, created an exquisite cover for this work. I’m in the final editing stages now, and I plan to send the book on around the first of April for final review by the publisher. The title’s still to be determined, but the title is going to reflect the cover art, which features an angel.
Since I’m thinking about it, though, I just submitted a ten-thousand-word short to Changeling Press called “Even Groomsmen Get The Blues.” This is a departure from the norm for me, because it’s not a paranormal story. Even so, it was a fun story to write, and it features one of the hottest scenes I’ve ever written! I also sent off an academic paper entitled “The Ultimate Transgression: Male Erotic Romance Authors” to the Journal of Popular Romance Studies. Getting published in the premier academic journal for modern romantic fiction studies would be an immense coup for an undergraduate, so I’m crossing my fingers about this one.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Every author I’ve ever read has given me something valuable to add to my toolkit. Some have shown me the value of excellent writing; some are case studies in what not to do. My top three favorite authors are Jim Butcher, Dean Koontz, and Mercedes Lackey, all of whom I regard as masters of their craft and excellent storytellers in their own right. I’ve tried to use the best of their style to inform my own voice and style, without risking outright plagiarism.
What is your work schedule like when writing?
My work schedule tends to resemble disorganized chaos married to the aftermath of a nuclear detonation to the untrained eye. It’s actually a very complicated algorithmic work scheme cooked up by a NASA burnout to make me look like a mad genius (you’ll have to trust me on this one).
Honestly, my schedule varies to take into account the rest of my life, which is busy at the best of times and only getting more so. My college schedule encompasses one one-hour day, two ten-hour days, one eight-hour day, and one five-hour day. Add to this my day job writing blogs, study time, attempts to maintain a semblance of a social life so I don’t go into a full-on Smeagol fugue, and sleep, and that doesn’t leave much time. Even so, I manage to get things done. My weekends are actually my most productive working times, but I can sometimes manage to slip some writing in around other things.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Wow…there were so many things! When I was five I wanted to be a paleontologist. When I was fourteen, I wanted to be an Air Force officer. (Thanks to my eyes, pilot school was completely out of the question.) At various times I wanted to be a comic-book illustrator (can’t draw), a rockstar (can’t play anything but the radio), and an actor (*snickers* that’s likely to happen). But my first love is and always has been writing, so I can honestly say I’ve got my dream job!
What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?
I love Mexican food, especially chimichangas and tacos, cheesecake, and chicken fried steak. I can’t eat fish because I’m allergic, and I don’t much care for most veggies because of the texture. You give me steak, potatoes, green beans, and cheesecake, and I’m a thoroughly happy man!
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
My dear friend Kierce Sevren actually came up with a great phrase to explain what I am: “part-timer.” I like to write more organically than a pure plotter, but I need a little more structure than a flat-out pantser, too. I like to establish signposts and checkpoints my characters HAVE to reach, but how they get there is often the most surprising and fun part of the story!
What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
At 34, I decided to go back to college for my degree in creative writing. This is a strange feeling, being in an environment where more than half of the incoming class was just getting out of diapers when I graduated high school. Even so, I have a lot of fun with the people I hang around with. It’s nice to be in a position to help some budding writers recognize their potential and show them some of the pitfalls and problems I ran into on my journey, in hopes of helping these folks avoid them. Strange as it seems sometimes to realize I’m in college at my age, looking around, I think I’m right where I should be right now.
Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?
Jim Butcher is probably my biggest hero at this stage of my career. I had the opportunity to talk to him on a live online chat in August of 2011, and was genuinely surprised to find out (from him) that there are days he doesn’t really want to write about Harry Dresden. This shouldn’t have come as a shock, but there it is: even our heroes are only human, and it gave me even more respect for him to have him state it so baldly. One day, I’d love to buy him a drink. If we can find a reasonable facsimile of Mac’s dark (look it up), so much the better!
What would we find under your bed?
Hebbedebbah…hmm… The less said about what’s under my bed, the better. If I don’t talk, no one can rat me out to the authorities! 🙂
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most likely want to go?
I’d love to go to Northern Ireland and visit County Donegal, specifically Malin Head. I had to do a great deal of research on the area for my paranormal suspense novel Wail, and I fell in love with the area. My perfect summer vacation would be spending my days touring the Ballyshannon Highway and my nights drinking Guinness in the local pubs. If my lover was with me, that would be even better! Listening to the rain on the roof and cocking my ears for the distant echoes of wardrums, pipes, and the shrieking cry of a bean’sidhe…perfect!
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
My favorite quote is from, of course, Jim Butcher. He wrote this in Fool Moon: “It isn’t enough to stand up and fight darkness. You’ve got to stand apart from it, too. You’ve got to be different from it.” I really like this quote because it speaks to all the reasons I started Writing Out Child Abuse and all the reasons it matters to me. I believe in magick…and helping an innocent who may not have any other place to go if someone doesn’t is about as magickal as it gets to me.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
I write horror, urban fantasy, and erotic romance. For the most part, I’m sticking with erotic romance, because there’s so much chance for overlap and I get to add hot sex and a satisfying romance to the mix! It’s hard to go wrong with something that’s got so much going for it, and if it ain’t broke, I don’t aim to fix it.
What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
Being on the New York Times Bestseller List wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all! Seriously, though, I just want to keep creating good stories that people will want to read and doing what I do best. If I manage that, I think I’ll be doing pretty damn well.
Thanks so much for letting me swing by today! I’m offering any e-book from my backlist, except for A Light In The Darkness and Seductress, to a commenter. I’ll keep it open all weekend and announce the winner at 5 p.m. Mountain time on Sunday night!
Hot as Hell
She’s beautiful. She’s enchanting. She’s your fondest dream and, the morning after, your worst nightmare. She’s sweet and sublimely submissive. She’s powerful and fully in charge. She promises safety but danger lurks in her eyes.
A succubus is a sexual vampire, a shape-shifting temptress who steals the life force from her victim—but what a way to go! Some say she visits her victims in their dreams; others say she seduces them in the flesh. In Seductress, award-winning editor D. L. King has crafted a singularly sexy and mysterious compilation that will have you lying in bed all night wondering who might visit. You’ll enjoy threesomes and moresomes in Evan Mora’s fiendish “Star-Crossed,” which casts Romeo and Juliet as the undead cruising for pretty young lovers through the centuries. “Be careful what you wish for” comes true in Angela Caperton’s tale when “The Sorcerer’s Catch” has the allure of a dominatrix demon lover. We journey down to Hell in Kannan Feng’s enticing story of the Queen of Lust, who captures her most desired prey in “Before a Fall.” Supernaturally sensual and utterly captivating, the fantasy lovers in Seductress will whisk you where you’ve never been before.
With stories by Aurelia T. Evans, Kaysee Renee Robichaud, Elizabeth Brooks, Michael M. Jones, Kannan Feng, V. K. Foxe, Evan Mora, Sasha Bukova, Jay Lawrence, Anya Richards, Nan Andrews, NJ Streitberger, Angela Caperton, J. S. Wayne, Mina Murray, Giselle Renarde, Robin Tiergarten, Cynthia Rayne, Jean Roberta, Elizabeth Thorne and Kate Dominic.
A Light In The Darkness
In A Light in the Darkness, the inaugural anthology from the authors of WOCA, a dark world awaits you. Spanning centuries of time, encircling the globe, and running the gamut from eerie historical fiction to gritty urban fantasy to page-scorching erotic romance, these authors unflinchingly dissect the horror of child abuse in all its forms. These authors have taken great pains to ensure the innocent are assured justice and the guilty pay for their crimes in the unique fantasy worlds they have created. Sadly, in real life, this is not always the case.
This book contains scenes of graphic violence and honest depictions of child abuse. Readers who may find such material unduly disturbing, objectionable, or “triggering” are strongly advised not to read it. Some of the newest and hottest names in fiction have lent their talents to this collection, including Gillian Colbert, Amber Green, R. Renee Vickers, Eric Keys, Phoebe Valois, and J.S. Wayne. All of these authors are united by one core belief, and with this collection, they seek to turn their talents to a greater good.
One hundred percent of all proceeds from this collection are being donated directly to Writing Out Child Abuse. These proceeds will then be dispersed to charities whose sole aim is to help survivors of child abuse all over the globe. To learn more about WOCA or their fund-raising activities, or to get involved yourself, visit http://wix.com/writingoutchildabuse/intro.
About the Author
Born in Amarillo, Texas, J.S. Wayne has lived, worked, or traveled in approximately two thirds of the North American continent and has amassed a resume that could kindly be described as “eclectic.” He currently resides in Cedar City, UT, where he attends Southern Utah University as an undergraduate studying creative writing. In his laughably sparse spare time, he enjoys reading, scary movies, strategy games, and collecting obsolete weapons. He is currently hard at work on a number of both fiction and nonfiction projects and building his nonprofit anti-child-abuse initiative Writing Out Child Abuse.
His currently available projects include Shadowphoenix: Requiem; “Angels Would Fall,” “Angel Of The Morning,” “Espiritu Sancti” as part of the Red Roses and Shattered Glass anthology of dark erotica, Angels Cry, “Ancient Magic” as part of the Timeless Desire anthology, “Dead MEANS Dead” for the Lesbians Vs. Zombies series, “The Chapel” for the anthology Seductress: Tales of Immortal Desire from Cleis Press, “A Hope In Hell” for A Light In The Darkness, the inaugural charity anthology for Writing Out Child Abuse, and the paranormal horror novel Wail.
With the exception of Shadowphoenix: Requiem, “The Chapel,” Wail, and A Light In The Darkness, all of these stories and novels are currently available from Noble Romance Publishing.
Contact J.S. at:
or on Twitter @jswayne702