Long and Short Reviews welcomes Sara Jay, whose newest novella The Book Collector is out. Leave a comment on this interview, and you might win a free copy!
Sara is currently working on a novel, Hard as a Rock, to be released this summer. This will be her longest work to date and she told me she’s completely in love with her gargoyle hero, Basalt.
“It’s a love story thousands of years in the making between him and a faery called Canna. It has plenty of tragedy courtesy of a Greek god, but it also has a happily ever after ending,” she assured me.
Sara enjoys word plays when it comes to her titles.
“Hard as a Rock is an AC/DC song that I love,” she explained, “and Nobody Rides for Free is pretty self-explanatory! The Boon Collector is a twist on The Bone Collector. Not all of my titles are like this, but I do have others in store, too.”
When Sara was little, her grandmother was her best friend and started writing books together when Sara was four—tiny things filled with pictures that Sara drew of animals that talked. She hasn’t really ever stopped writing since then. Her first full story in elementary school was about a war between Barbie and GI Joe. She’s had poems, short stories, blog posts and articles published online and offline since she was 13, and Changeling Press published her first novella, Nobody Rides for Free, last year.
For Sara, good characters are the most important thing—if she doesn’t get hooked on a character, she won’t finish the story.
“The worst thing an author can do to me is to give me boring, superficial or otherwise unlikeable characters,” she said. “At least one has to be incredibly interesting. I can forgive you for killing off someone I love–I am a big tragedy fan–but not for boring me to pieces.”
Her own characters pretty much develop themselves, she told me.
“I get a scenario in my head–a faery meets three bikers in the desert, for example–and I sit down to write it and they pretty much tell me their story. It might take a day for a first draft, or it might take weeks. I do take some time with my naming characters, though. Sometimes I give a character pages of dialogue before I find out his or her name, or I actively search for the perfect name.”
Some of her favorite authors include Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, JK Rowling, Amy Tan, and Suzanne Collins.
“Right now I am plowing through Jim Butcher’s Dresden books like they’re a drug,” she admitted. “I am in love with this world and wish I could slow down to enjoy it, but I just can’t.”
When she was younger, she was heavily influenced by Christopher Pike and still is to this day.
“He really gave me something better to read than the recommend book lists I was provided by teachers at my ‘appropriate’ reading level,” she told me.
I asked Sara to describe her writing space for us.
“I have a wonderful office filled with things I love–from South Park, Strawberry Shortcake and Wizard of Oz figures to posters of The Hunger Games. I have a dreamboard, several desks, an altar, and tons of creative instruments and art supplies…and yet I often write in the floor of the living room once everyone is asleep. I think adding carpet to my office would make a huge difference! I have to have my feet level with my waist. I keep a tall footrest under my desk, but writing on the floor at a tiny table or chair is even better. I don’t like my legs to dangle. And I like to write on a sugar high. I’ll write 4,000 words in a single night if I’m on a sugar high. Yeah, they’ll have to be heavily edited later, but they’ll be on paper!”
She writes for work every night from 8 pm to 4 am, except for the days when her husband is off work. She also often work all day Saturday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday, depending on the week. She might write a few pages throughout the week on her fiction, but Sunday nights she tries to get a full night of writing in. During the day, she’s busy homeschooling her daughter.
“Getting to that page every day is the hardest part of writing for me,” she told me. “My life is full of full time work, homeschooling, volunteering and participating in several organizations and clubs, so it’s often hard enough just to schedule in sleep. I’m bad at procrastinating, have a full plate and my own blood pressure resents it all sometimes–so yeah, definitely just sticking to my schedule.”
“What do you like to do when you are not writing?” I asked.
“My strongest asset as a writer is my vast array of interests. I think if you want to write, you should be an intensely curious person. I ask why almost as much as my seven-year-old does, and you better believe that I schedule field trips as much for me as for her! All of this stuff goes into my writing sooner or later. I like to explore, travel, create or experience art, play with my daughter, date my husband–and read. I could read sunup to sundown and be one happy camper.”
The name Sara Jay is a pseudonym she uses for her erotic writing—it’s formed by using her own first name and her middle initial spelled out.
“I write many other genres that have not been published yet, so I felt like I should use a pen name for my erotic fiction,” she explained.
“How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?”
“If you want to turn someone on, you have to turn yourself on. It’s just like any other genre: to scare someone, scare yourself! To make people cry, you must cry. So I know that if my writing is turning me on–and it does; my husband and I even read it aloud to one another!–it will turn other people on, too.”
Finally, I asked her, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”
“Just write! Get to that page every day. Promise yourself you’ll write for at least ten minutes or for one paragraph, then it will escalate from there. And don’t give up. One company’s rejection letter (or dozens of companies’ letters!) is another’s acceptance letter. Trust me; it happens every few months at my house!”
About the Author:
Sara Jay is a supernatural erotic romance writer from Missouri. An award-winning poet and full-time freelance writer, she loves Marvel comics, fantasy lit and homeschooling her daughter. Sara has also taught children in Spain, managed a restaurant, served as the editor and producer of a popular youth activism website, and been published in several books both on and offline. She runs the local 4H and homeschool groups and is active with her daughter in several other programs. Sara is married to her high school sweetheart and has four shapeshifting cats.
Timid Tisha Sanderson never had much luck in love or life. When a smoking hot demon, Bane, comes to collect a debt from her ex-lover and decides to make her pay up instead, her life suddenly becomes more interesting.
Tisha finds herself on both the giving and receiving ends of torture in Hell as she attempts to escape Bane. As the lines between pleasure and pain blur, Tisha begins to connect with long-forgotten parts of herself. Her completion of the final dark deed grants her freedom.
The question is, does she still want it?