Today I’m fortunate to present Jay Shaw, author of The Space Colonel’s Woman.
Hi Jay, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi Jason, thanks for having me. I’m a New Zealand author, a mum of two teens, and a lover of books. I’m an incurable romantic who stays up early and sleeps in late, writes in bed, loves both action and romance movies, survives on a diet of M&Ms, bottled water, and steak with mushroom sauce. I have a passion for tall, dark-haired, military men in thigh holsters and combat boots, photography, baking, thunderstorms, bootleg jeans, and boots. My ultimate guest list for a dinner party would include: Queen Elizabeth I, Leonardo Da Vinci, JJ Abrams, Patty Jenkins, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jason Momoa, Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Obama, and Carrie Fisher.
How long have you been writing?
Five years now, though it wasn’t until last year that I published my first novel Wolfhaven – a paranormal action romance set in a world of feuding wolf-shifter packs.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been in love with the written word and the power it has to transport you to another world. It’s limitless, and the idea that with the turn of a page you can escape whatever life is throwing at you – even if it’s only for an hour or three – is intoxicating in the best way.
Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?
I have two current projects.
Limelight and Longing is the first of four movie star romance novellas in which Jenna Long meets actor Jacob Starr at a convention. The attraction is immediate and scorching, but neither is in a position to act upon it. It seems their connection will forever be chalked up to missed opportunity and fantasy. Until, eighteen months later when…
The Shifting Tide is the third full-length novel in the Dragonus Chronicles – my science fiction action romance series which hails the adventures, trials and tribulations, losses and loves of Brigadier General Mark Holden, Julia Holden, their family, and the inhabitants of Dragonus Galaxy. It follows on from The Space Colonel’s Woman, and The Hunted.
What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?
I prefer a mix of genres in my books, because I tend to get easily bored as both writer and reader. A story which has both action and romance within its pages has my full attention, be it on Earth, or set in another realm, universe, or dimension. I love the freedom of science fiction, the way my imagination has free rein to explore the endless possibilities.
What authors influenced you?
Wilbur Smith – his ability to plunge his readers into majestic sweeping vistas, while making us believe in the courage and determination of his characters.
Clive Cussler – all hail to his power of description, for his sexy rugged heroes and their taste for adventure, who allow readers to join the treasure hunt.
Diana Gabaldon – for proving a book doesn’t have to be just one genre.
Anna Hackett – at the top of my one-click-to-buy list. She writes action romance and sci-fi romance with such enviable skill and her characters live with you long after the story is finished.
What are you currently reading?
Diffraction – by Jess Anastasi
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! If you haven’t already you need to read her Atrophy series.
Do you write every day? A few days per week?
Yes, every day. The quality, however, isn’t always the best. But then you can edit a bad page, unlike a blank one. I keep pen and paper beside my bed and immediately on waking I’m writing. You know that space between sleeping and waking where all those fantastic perfect ideas and visualizations live? I can’t always decipher what I’ve scribbled, but it’s better to have it down than to forget forever.
Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?
No. I listen to music while I’m editing. I don’t find it influences how I write, but after I’m finished I’ll notice the lyrics either reflect my story, or add extra depth; almost as if they’re the soundtrack.
How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?
I love that our writing grows with our experiences. I’ve tightened it up. There are less ‘ly’ words, though I’m still fighting to eradicate ‘had’ and ‘that’, lol. I think the more we get to know our characters and the worlds they inhabit, the better we get at telling their story and crafting their journey. It becomes our journey as writers and I think that’s the most obvious when starting a series from the beginning. You travel with not only the characters but the author as well. And I think by the time you reach the end, you’re part of an enduring friendship.
How do you create the covers for your books?
I have a mental vision of what I want the covers to look like. Then I send a tonne of stock images to my designer and hope like hell she can translate them into gorgeousness using her artistic genius. Choosing a designer is the hard part. I recommend Googling and checking out their portfolios until you find someone who mirrors your own creativity, then having a chat to see if you’ll work well together.
Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?
I grew up with such influences as Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, MacGyver, Battlestar Galactica, Romancing the Stone, Wonder Woman, and Tour of Duty. Then along came Stargate Atlantis, Jupiter Ascending, and The Dresden Files. Everyday heroes standing up for what is right against intimidating odds, finding great love and fighting to keep hold of that love while their world around them heaped danger and adventure on them. An environment where they can prove themselves, can grow and learn who they are inside, and use that knowledge to gain victories. Without struggle there is no strength, without strength there can be no triumph.
Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?
All my books are available from:
Where can we find you online?
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Jay-Shaw/e/B01CXLFUMG
What is your favorite book and why?
To write: is always the one I’m working on because I’m immersed in those characters and their story.
To read: is a much harder choice and I’d never be able to narrow it down to just one. Here’s my top five:
Valhalla Rising – by Clive Cussler
The Burning Shore – by Wilbur Smith
Pillars of the Earth – by Ken Follett
Voyager – by Diana Gabaldon
Plus anything by Anna Hackett, Jess Anatassi, Veronica Scott, and Sarah Madison.
Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?
“Black Wing eight, clear and headed for uploaded coordinates.” She radioed while staring out the canopy at a squall of vibrant cobalt, lime, and fuchsia clouds, and the blink of golden stars, smeared across the vast ink-black ocean of uninhabited space. Julia understood the concept of a nebula, but to see one in reality; sheer brilliance and scale dwarfing anything that dared to challenge it, was awe-inspiring.
“Acknowledged, Black Wing eight.” Major Walker, Second Helmsman for Columbus, answered in her ear. “Initiate Flight Evasion Sequence one, under Subsection A.”
Julia accessed the menu on her display, loaded a program similar to the flight simulator Stephen and Lieutenant Colonel Dawson created for Phoenix City’s glider training program.
“Initiating Flight Evasion Sequence one, confirmed.” A red AIA icon waited at the base of her display while the F490’s radar matrix registered the outer rim of the Solaris asteroid belt with soft pings and a rash of white dots.
“Black Wing eight, you’re cleared for commencement. Black Wings four, seven, and twelve you’re on a sixty-second staggered start. Confirm.”
“Copy, Columbus Flight, Black Wing eight commencing simulation. Wings out.” Halo and the other pilots radioed their confirmations in her ear as Julia accelerated her AIA through the Heaven’s Arch.
It was breathtaking. Black Wing eight cut through the soaring cotton-candy clouds like a samurai sword through the finest silk. Julia’s wrist didn’t ache as it had after her teaser flight with Halo, proving Black Wing eight was born for space. The inertial regulators didn’t compensate for all the Gs as they cut swathes through Solaris’ luminescent layers of gas and dust, but the push-pull on her body sure added to the thrill. Static scratched in her ear, making Julia wince as Black Wing eight plunged from auroras of bright color into the midnight chaos and lightning storms of the asteroid zone.
Despite the lack of telepathic communication between her and her craft, Julia was lost to the addictive power and graceful beauty of a CobraF490 in her natural element. The two of them flew together in a symbiotic union of style and speed; an osmosis of motion. Black Wing eight translated Julia’s subtle stick-twitches into breakneck swoops, spiral-dives, arcs, and last minute wing-tip turns around, over, and between, the stately avalanche of colossal planetoids.
Lightning struck from on high in lethal stabs, one-two-three, and Julia gasped; blinked through the livewire echo on her retinas, to haul Black Wing eight into a vertical climb. Her display bleeping with virtual panic as rock debris the size of houses and aircraft carriers cascaded through their previous position, down into the abyss beyond. Bright gold stars streaked by as the excess Gs held her into the seat. Adrenalin licked cool and addictive over every inch of her skin, kick-started her heart and sent it racing. She whooped in delight; thighs tensing to contain the surge of heat pooling low in her belly. Only one other thing ever made her this hot, this primed. And stuck in his office, half a system away, her General was totally missing out. Julia crowed on a bubble of pleasure as she rolled before executing a smooth forty-degree sweep between two massive asteroids and streaking toward the co-ordinates where Columbus waited with her time score.
The Shifting Tide – Dragonus Chronicles III, Jay Shaw
Any parting words for writers?
Write what you want to read.
Pay for a professional cover.
For every story there is someone somewhere waiting to read and love it.
Go with your gut. If it feels wrong it usually is.
Enjoy the ride.