Today I am joined by a writer that I am proud to call a friend. She has paid a visit to my blog in the past, and it is my honor to host her again today. A talented writer, loving mother, and trusted friend, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Ms. Jen Wylie
You and I chat quite frequently online, but for those not privy to our ‘inner circle’ can you tell everybody a little about yourself?
Hi Alex!, Great to be on your blog again J
I am a stay at home mom of two darling boys. I’ve been writing forever, but just got into publishing a few years ago. I am addicted to my computer and am usually on it writing, editing or doing some form of marketing (or playing on facebook LOL) I live in Ontario, Canada, and hate snow. I have an addiction to gummy bears and chocolate and hate mornings.
You have always been a reader, and you accredit this to your mother. Can you remember which book in particular it was that ignited your love of reading?
Mom started me out on Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books and I quickly became addicted and was reading everything written by here. Next she introduced me to Mercedes Lackey and I quickly got sucked into that world too. (I had the extreme honor of meeting her at the World Fantasy Convention this November- yes I had quite the fangirl moment. It was awesome!) Once I got hooked on fantasy I pretty much devoured anything I could get my hands on.
I always have a book in my bag whenever I go anywhere, are you the same?
I have the kindle app on my iPhone, which follows me everywhere. I read on it every day and still doubt I’ll ever get to all the books I have downloaded on it.
You are a writer and a mother, how do you balance the two.
Luckily my boys are both in school, however I seem to rarely actually write during that time, that’s when I do a lot of editing, promo work etc. When they get home from school evenings are rather hectic. Usually I write after they go to bed. The boys are really supportive and love to tell everyone their mom is an author J My oldest has read my Tales of Ever novella series and is constantly bugging me to write more of it. They both like to play on the computer and write their own little stories too J
When it comes to writing what is your standard process? Do you have a set word limit every day?
Haha… I try, I really do. However whenever I set goals like that they usually blow up in my face. When I get the story in my head, it comes out. I’m easily distracted, which rather sucks at times. When I am trying, I hope for 1k a day. Some days I don’t write at all, other days I’ll write 2-5k, I’ve even written 10k in a day once. Trying to force it usually just makes me frustrated.
Several writers I know actively work on multiple projects. Do you?
I have tried working on various writing projects in the past and found it very stressful. I try to stick to just one now. However I will often be editing one thing and writing another.
You have published novels, novellas and short stories. Do you have a favorite length to write?
I started out just writing novels, but then got sucked into shorts for a project and have found I really enjoy them. I have issues with ENDING a story, and I find writing shorts a good way to teach myself to just STOP.
You most recent release is a YA novel Broken Aro. Can you tell us a little about it?
Broken Aro is a fantasy with adventure and strong relationship elements. It’s a very emotional story with a lot of focus on friendship and family. Aro is a 15 year old girl, youngest of 8, with 7 older brothers. Her father was a Commander in the army, all of her brothers are soldiers. She planned to join the army herself and follow in their footsteps. Her dreams and life are destroyed when their city is attacked. She loses everything and is taken captive as a slave. Her journey begins on a slave ship, where she meets the others in her cell, all soldiers. One is a prince, another not human. As they plan to escape and fight to survive they form strong bonds, the soldiers becoming her new family. In this first book there are the beginnings of some romance, but it is not the main focus. The story is action packed and fast paced with some teary scenes as well. For those who like the fantasy element, there are fey, elves, were and dragons!
If you could pick one of the characters in Broken Aro to come to life, which would it be and why?
All of them would probably try to throttle me if they actually existed. I’m rarely kind to my characters and like to throw a lot of obstacles in their path. I think one of my favorites in this book is Kei. He is a shy and conflicted Fey but is quite badass when it comes to protecting Aro.
You are contracted to two different ‘indie’ publishers. Would you give up the extra level of freedom that this gives you in favor of a contract with one of the ‘mainstream’ names out there?
I love the freedom of the small presses. I’d have to do a lot of thinking if I was ever offered a contract with one of the larger publishers. I might consider it, just to get my name out there more. Having people hear about you and your work is one of the most difficult things for small authors.
Who have been the biggest influences on your writing?
I’ve been reading since I was very young, I’m rather addicted to it. I can’t really say any one author has influenced me. I’ve always had a love for fantasy and an overactive imagination.
Are you a big reader of craft books, by that I mean the writing craft. Books by the likes of James Scott Bell.
I’ve never read a single one. LOL I do a LOT of research online though, from marketing to editing, publishing, trends…anything to do with the craft of writing and publishing.
To make a jump back to your writing, you have co-authored two short story collections with fellow author Sean Hayden (who also happens to be your partner) what was that like as a process?
It was so much fun! We talk, text, chat, vid constantly so being in touch wasn’t a problem. We each wrote our own stories, but for some of them we picked a common theme and then had at it. It is wonderful to have someone to constantly push and encourage you get the story done though.
The Flashy Fiction books see you pen individual stories and combine them, but what about a single project? Do the two of you have plans to write something together in that sense?
We actually have a novel started that we are writing together. It’s only a few chapters so far. Unfortunately it got put on hold while we try to finish some other projects. I’m really looking forward to getting back into it!
As a parent myself, I will always encourage my children to follow their dreams rather than climb the corporate ladder and life in misery. How would you react if your children chose an artistic life over job security?
I would encourage them to keep up with their art, but of course you do need to pay the bills. I’ll always be there to support them in whatever they do and give advice as asked. It is their life and they’ll live it as they choose. Trying to force something on children never seems to work anyways LOL
What do you do to unwind? How does Jen Wylie relax once the kids are in bed and the writing is done?
Well, the writing is never done. 😀 Every now and then I hunker into bed and have a reading binge. Other than that my only relaxing times are when I go and visit Sean, though we are usually running around like crazy, I don’t get a lot of ‘work’ done then.
Thanks so very much for having me! ~hugs and rainbows~
Below Jen has kindly given me a teaser of Aro, and what can I say other than… you need to read this!
Her eyes opened to darkness.
She wasn’t surprised. When bad things happened and you finally opened your eyes it was always dark wasn’t it? Because otherwise when you woke up you wouldn’t be scared, not right away, not until you remembered. Yet in darkness nothing else could be seen but the memories of what had happened, it didn’t matter if you opened your eyes or kept them squeezed closed.
She closed her eyes again, not against the memories, but the sudden tears and choking sobs. Still, she tried to notremember, but her head hurt. All of her hurt, but her head hurt the worst. She’d been hit by something, very hard. She had no trouble remembering the pain. She remembered falling to the ground, her brothers screaming her name over the insane loudness of the fighting and everything fading to nothing as darkness claimed her.
She sucked in a deep breath. The fighting. Yes, the city had been attacked. The walls had been breached. There had been fighting in the streets. She had been fighting. Her brothers had been trying to get her out. They had been so close. Had they?
She shifted and froze, terror creeping up her throat and choking her at the same time until nothing but a strangled gurgle came out.
They had not.
She knew because she felt the cold metal shackles around each wrist, felt the weight of the chain between them. The same fetters bound her ankles. Dirty straw prickled her cheek and the other smells of her surroundings overcame her. They overwhelmed her and made her gag. The rank scents of piss, shit and vomit almost covered the stale reek of sweat and the tang of salt.
She’d thought her head had just been spinning, but no, everything moved, lurching and swaying. She was at sea.
At sea in chains meant only one thing. The rumors had been true. The Gelanians had allied with the Franuan Slavers. Beneath the combined attack, Kingsport had fallen and the Frans had taken their cut, citizens to sell as slaves. She was a slave.
Well that sucks.
The idea terrified her, and left her cold and shaking. Squeezing her eyes closed, she fought to push away the horrifying images suddenly assaulting her. Breathing slowly helped a little. The shaking stopped and finally she could breathe again.
She opened her eyes, straining them against the darkness. Had night fallen? Could that be why it was so dark?Her eyes slowly adjusted until she could make out vague shapes; the bars of the cell in the ships hold and darker shapes of people sitting before her in the small cell.
She concentrated, squinting her eyes and counting. Six others shared the cell. Her brothers? “Paul?” The creak of the ship and the murmurs, curses, and sobs of the other captives in the hold almost drowned out her small voice.
“Boy’s awake,” one of the shapes said. Definitely not one of her brothers.
She stiffened. They’d called her boy. Even after all she’d been through, it was quite a blow to her self-esteem. She frowned in confusion for a moment, until she remembered. Her brothers had dressed her in their old clothes, old bits of armor that sort of fit. They’d even hacked off her long hair…
She cursed them under her breath again for that. Then she almost smiled, remembering Sammy’s face when he’d done it. Her brothers were such morons. They always had been. Yet they’d been stuck with raising her, and what did they know of girls? Her mother had died when she was four, and losing her hadn’t been easy on any of them.
Father had been a regiment Commander and away a lot. They’d all managed to take care of her somehow, the younger of her brothers watching over her until eventually they’d all joined the army. But she’d been twelve by the time the youngest of them had enlisted. She’d been able to take care of the house while they served their time on the border. They didn’t worry about her much. The army wives had helped, keeping an eye on her for them.
However, father had died two years ago at Demet’s Pass. It had been hard, losing him. Harder than when mother had died because she hadn’t been old enough then to know what it meant. Not seeing him at the head of their big old table, with his gentle smile, had been tough on all of them. It still was. It had been harder this past spring when her brothers had all ridden out again. Because death had become something real, she knew they might not come back.
She was fifteen now. Not really a child anymore. So she had faked a smile and waved goodbye to them all when really fear had made her want to scream instead. They had all come home, but with an enemy army at their heels. They’d been afraid then, afraid for her. They knew things she didn’t, things like what would happen to a young girl if the city fell. However, she wasn’t a woman yet, not in appearance at any rate. Tall and gangly with no figure whatsoever. No wonder she could pass for a boy.
The man who had spoken before broke her thoughts. She must have been hit in the head hard for her mind to wander back into the past. She managed to croak an incoherent sound indicating she’d heard him.
“You alive over there?”
“Yes,” she lied and waited. No one else spoke. No one came rushing to her side. Panic quickened her breath as fear sped her heart. Her brothers weren’t here. If they had been they’d have harassed everyone to find out where she was. At least… they weren’t on this boat. Unfortunately, the slavers had a whole fleet. They must be on another boat. She had to believe that. She closed her eyes tightly again. Yes, they’d been placed on another boat.
Because if they weren’t then they were all dead.
If you thought that was good, come back tomorrow when I will have an even longer extract from Aro for you all to enjoy.
Jen Wylie resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her two boys, Australian shepherd and a disagreeable amount of wildlife. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.
Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.
Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories.
My website: www.jenniferwylie.ca
My blog: http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wylie/151266004895266
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jen-Wylie/e/B004HQ9XD8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1