Welcome to my very first interview! A big thank you to author JC Emery who took the time to do the interview, now let’s get to know her.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I didn’t always want to be a writer, but I think I always have been one. My big dream as a kid was to be a criminal defense attorney, and then a judge. My dream flip-flopped time and time again but when I finally got to university I decided to stick with law. Then I worked for lawyers and decided there was no way in hell I was going to be one.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Maybe a year or two ago. I’ve always written but never considered myself a writer. It wasn’t until I was on my way to finishing my first book that I felt comfortable calling myself a writer.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I had never planned on publishing my first book. I thought Anomaly would be my first published piece. I shopped my book to a few agents but quickly decided I’d rather do it my way and that meant going indie. It was six months from when I decided to publish it and three months from when I decided to do it myself that it was released (and I should have taken longer on it.)
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I work part-time as a legal assistant and full-time as a college student. My job mainly consists of the review, approval, and completion of contracts between my company and our clients.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Anomaly (The Birthright Series #1). Anomaly is vampires with heart, a touch of humor, and a whole lot of sass.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It depends on the project and how bad my ADHD is kicking my butt. Anomaly took three years. My first book, Marital Bitch, took exactly one year. Whereas Anomaly has gone through a million rewrites, Marital Bitch was churned out and cleaned up and what was published is much of what was originally written. I had an idea for Marital Bitch and churned out the first five chapters in three days. My *goal* is to write the first draft of my next book in the next six weeks. We’ll see how well that works out.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m simultaneously writing for two series right now-- The Birthright Series (new adult urban fantasy) and the Men with Badges line (contemporary romance). I have a very big project spreadsheet with over forty-five books ideas on it ranging from horror to young adult to literary fiction. Who knows what I’ll write when I finish these two series.
What genre would you place your books into?
The Birthright Series is strictly urban fantasy and new adult because it follows one set of characters. Men with Badges has new characters, a new city, and a new feel for every book. The tieing factor is that the hero carries a badge. The first book was a comedy, the second is more of a suspense. No clue what the third book will be.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always had a strange fascination with vampires. I love to explore the history a creature can have when they’ve been alive for so long, and the concept of immortality. Just thinking about living so long that you see your family members wither and pass on, and especially doing so while being alone. It sounds agonizing and tragic. I love that aspect of it. As for the romance, well, that was a surprise. I never expected to write romance, not ever.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Just like a mother loves her children all equally, she loves them differently. I think the character I’ve fought hardest for is Eliza (Anomaly) because figuring out her story and how to tell it was the most difficult. I fell in love with her character and just KNEW no matter how trying it was, I had to tell her story.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve written off and on my entire life but it wasn’t until late 2009 when I started really writing and haven’t stopped since. I thought up Eliza’s character and told a friend about the story. She loved the idea and pushed me to write it. Since then I’ve dabbled with a bunch of stories, most half-written. I think I kept on trying to write just to get Eliza’s story out and somehow I ended up being a writer.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I’m so spastic, I can’t keep a schedule to save my own skin. I do have a playlist for each of my books (some songs make it to all playlists somehow) if I’m having trouble getting into the zone. It also helps if I have a fresh Starbucks, but that’s really just a comfort thing. Starbucks helps with everything.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I used to. By now I know darn well where I failed with my first book and I’m working on fixing some of the things I can with the first book (editing) and hired a professional editor for my second book. I can only read about my stupid mistakes so many times before I give up and just watch the review count and see if there are any new positive reviews. I always welcome constructive criticism but there’s no use in beating myself up over the things I can’t change.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I hate working without a title, but sometimes I just have to. Anomaly didn’t get its title until I was on the third version whereas Marital Bitch had its title before I even wrote the first chapter. If the title comes to me first, great. Otherwise I just write and figure it out later.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
So far I’ve used all real cities-- Boston and New Orleans. Both have a distinctive feel. Boston has a strong Irish heritage, especially South Boston. I spent a lot of time learning about the place and the people while writing Marital Bitch to make it feel authentic. Writing about New Orleans was much harder even though I lived there for a few years. I also let the setting and the character’s history determine their name. Eliza Beth Landry just sounds like it belongs in New Orleans to me (and Landry is a popular Louisiana surname.) I made sure to give most of my characters names which are typical to the region-- Landry, Hebert, Rousseau, Guilliot, and Brignac...
And sometimes I just have to look through a baby name book for something that fits.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Eliza had her name before I really knew who she was. Sometimes a character comes to me so fully formed I search for a name to fit them. In my upcoming third novel (second in the Men with Badges line), my heroine is Shelby Brignac. I knew from the beginning that she’s reckless and a little naive. I also knew that she isn’t afraid to take risks and she’s a doer not a thinker. Her name came from the fact that she was conceived in a Shelby Mustang (the name was her dad’s idea.) So in this way I had a character and I knew I wanted her named after a car, then I just had to figure out which car she would be named after.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Yes and no. Eliza was originally very timid and shy. She was the wallflower and let herself get bossed around. She was also sixteen. I struggled with her for so long because once a character is a certain way, that’s it. That’s who they are. But then I moved her to college and could see her as a woman who was finally growing into her own skin. It’s really just learning more about the characters along the way rather than deciding on things. Some characters decide to be a certain way and they give me no choice but to let them be.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I’m not one for preaching, so I wouldn’t say there’s a moral but I think there are messages I want to convey. In Marital Bitch I’ve caught some flack for Colleen being upset about not being married by thirty-five and her family’s role in creating that feeling. But that’s not my viewpoint, that’s hers. My message there was more so that it’s okay to not have it all and to still be happy. In Anomaly, Eliza loses her older sister and it breaks her heart. That was tough to write because I can’t even imagine losing my sister (though she’s younger). If there’s a message there it’s to never take the time you have with those you love for granted. But again, I’m not into preaching so they’re more like themes than anything.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I love the idea of real books but hate reading them. I love my Nook and don’t have to deal with breaking spines and getting comfortable. Plus, I can travel MUCH lighter for vacations now.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
The Witching Hour (Book 1 in The Lives of the Mayfair Witches) by Anne Rice. It’s a really long book (like 1,200 pages) but it’s SO good. I’ve reread passages but haven’t made the commitment to reread it in its entirety. Rice tells the tale in such a way that even if you’ve never been to either San Francisco or New Orleans that you feel like you have. When I visited New Orleans for the first time I walked along the same path that a character did and there really were cracks in the pavement where Rice wrote about them. I swear I fell in love with that city before I even got there and it was a big part of the reason I chose a school there as well.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Books transfer to moves as well as can be expected. Off the top of my head the worst screen adaptation in recent memory is Twilight (the films got progressively worse as they went) and the best is The Hunger Games. My absolute favorite adaptation is A Time to Kill. There’s a scene with Samuel L. Jackson in a closet in the courthouse and Amazing Grace is playing. That scene was moving in the book, but so much more powerful in the film. It makes me cry. Every. Single. Time.
Your favorite food is?
Despite my very vocal adoration of cupcakes, my favorite food is chicken caesar salad. I eat it all the time.
Your favorite singer/group is?
Dang, I don’t know. Right now I’m seriously into AC/DC. A few months back it was The Band Perry. I’ve always loved Metallica. I think if I had to pick one band it would be Rancid.
Your favorite color is?
Purple. Or pink. But likely purple.
Your favorite Author is?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite bottle of nail polish. I love so many authors I can’t choose! Right now I’m really digging Kristen Ashley, Chloe Neill, and Jamie McGuire. I’ll always have a thing for JD Salinger. He’s a longtime favorite.
About the Author:
As a child, JC was fascinated by things that went bump in the night. As they say, some things never change. Now, as an adult, she divides her time between the sexy law men, mythical creatures, and kick-ass heroines that live inside her head and pursuing her bachelor's degree in English. As it is for most writers, finding balance is a challenge. JC is a San Francisco Bay Area native, but has also called both Texas and Louisiana home. These days she rocks her flip flops year round in Northern California and can't imagine a climate more beautiful.
With the support and encouragement of her parents and sister, JC set out to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up. Most days, the jury is still out; however the thing that stuck with her no matter what she pursued was her love of the written word.
JC writes adult, new adult, and young adult fiction. She dabbles in many different genres including science fiction, horror, chick lit, and murder mysteries, yet she is most enthralled by supernatural stories-- and everything has at least a splash of romance.