Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Everyone shares where we’re born, and where we live, and who we live with. While that’s sometimes fun to know (I do live in a town famous for an unsolved ax murder), that doesn’t really say anything about us. We are all so much more than where we live, or who we’re married to – or we try to be. And yet, those things influence us in ways we may not notice. Having been raised in the Midwest, I have a sort of “Midwest” view of things. Stable. Down to earth. Practical. And that sensibility is reflected in my paranormal Amaranthine series. Though I have vampires fighting, lurking, and romancing in Shades of Gray, they do so with touches of reality. Katelina might run away with her vampire hero, but she leaves behind a mother who reports her missing to the police, a landlord who’s mad about the rent, and a mother who thinks she’s lost her mind. It’s impossible to completely ground all eight books in complete reality, because vampires aren’t real, but I try to press as much practicality into each story as I can.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Masque of the Vampire, to be released on April 1st 2016 and currently available for pre-order, takes the essence of the old British murder mystery and twists the crime. When a rich, old vampire throws a two-week long party, he invites a horde of important guests and demands security from the vampire’s government. However, a mysterious stalker, child serial killer, and secret room complicate things and lead to a paranormal who-done-it with a surprise ending.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I have a lucky M&M who helps me write when I get stuck. It’s a plastic M&M that fell off of a string of Christmas lights, complete with a cavity in his head where the light went. As a joke when I was stuck one time, my brother handed me the M&M (along with a comment that it had as many brains as me – we’re a tough love family) and told me to let the M&M write it. Though it was a joke, I suddenly had a brilliant idea that got me un-stuck. Since then, I keep my M&M friend in a bowl on the coffee table and when I’m stuck I’ll take him out and set him on the keyboard. It usually works.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have a lot of influences, from Poe, to V.C. Andrews, to Tricia Drammeh and CG Coppola. They’ve contributed to darkness, creepy vibes, action packed chapter endings, and pacing. All important things, but one influence I rarely mention is the influence of funny. Katelina’s sense of humor in the Amaranthine series is influenced heavily by Erma Bombeck, and a funny vampire story I am working on with co-author Jonathan Harvey (not a part of the Amaranthine series) is very Terry Pratchett inspired.
What are you working on now?
When Masque of the Vampire is released I plan to turn back to my Patrick novel. It’s a prequel to the Amaranthine series and shows how several events got put into motion. It’s a lot darker than the series, and doesn’t have a happy ending. I’m also writing a fantasy novel with a co-author, and a humorous vampire story with another co-author. We’re having a lot of fun.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
So many authors swear by social networks, but I prefer to use those as *social* networks. That doesn’t mean I haven’t sold books through them, but more importantly I’ve made friends. I think the best promotion is to promote books to people who are *looking* for books, not people looking to be social. I’ve had success with offering my series opener, Shades of Gray, for free and advertising it through email lists and on book deal sites.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Edit. Edit. Edit. Find someone who is not your friend to read it, then delete a bunch of it, edit, and edit some more. And when you think it’s done, reread it and edit it again. I’ve read so, so many indie (and traditional!) books that were ok, but could have been amazing with a round (or four) of editing. Seriously. Edit.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Funnily enough, the best advice I ever got was…edit. Yes. That’s how important it is. And the saddest thing is that even with five editors, and a bazillion edits myself, I still probably miss a typo – and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fix it as soon as you’re made aware of it, but it does mean you shouldn’t have a break down. Check Harry Potter sometime. Even it has typos.
What are you reading now?
I’m re-reading Bound by Love, the first book in DM Yate’s Dimidiums series, and then I get to read book two! Ahead of everyone else! Gwahahahahaha! Okay, not everyone, but, anyway, I’m looking forward to it.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Masque of the Vampire is book 8, and Goddess of Night will be book 9. After that I plan to take a hiatus from the series and publish a backstory book about the hero Jorick. From there we’ll see what the fans want: more standalone books, or more series, or maybe a new series in the same universe. I have a poll on my website about it at http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/polls.php.
What is your favorite book of all time?
That’s a hard question. There are too many good books for me to pick just one. I will pick a favorite universe though, and that would be J.R.R. Tokien’s Middle Earth. It has hot elves, it has slightly suspicious dwarves, dragons, orcs, things from nightmares balanced out with what are practically angels, not to mention it has a complex history, great cultures, and a bunch of languages. It’s the kind of universe I’d want to make, and it’s no wonder it took him a lifetime to achieve.