Jami Gray is the author of the urban fantasy series The Kyn Kronicles. The first two books are Shadow’s Edge (pictured left) and Shadow’s Soul. She was kind enough to take the time to answer my Blogger Book Fair Mini-Interview questions – take a look!
Also, one commenter on this post will be selected to receive a free PDF copy of Shadow’s Edge!
Brandon Luffman: To start things off, tell us a little about yourself.
Jami Gray: Let me see if I can expand beyond the ‘I was born, grew up, and here I am’ status. I hit the world on an Air force base on the southeast coast and within twelve months had moved to the Northwest, where I remained until age six. Then it was southward bound to drier climes. I bounced around the Southwest until age twelve when I became the fifth eldest in a very, very large family (think double digits for kid amount). After graduating high school, I did the college thing for so long friends and family thought I’d be a professional student. I’ll admit there were days when I thought the same thing. In my late twenties I married by best bud from high school after we reconnected. We tried living back in the Northwest but it was way too damp so we ended back down in the desert where we now live with our two boys and a lab who doubles as a mini-pony. Yes, I do have a job that pays the bills on top of writing, but lucky for me, it’s a position that allows me to telecommute.
BL: What do you write? Why do you write?
JG: Urban Fantasy with romantic elements containing a darker edge. I grew up on stories of magic in everyday life. For the longest time I really believed my freckles were directly related to the brownies who were sneaking in kisses while I slept. I grew up on Disney stories, and then moved on to Star Trek and other sci-fi books. I hit high school and started sneaking my mom’s romance novels out of the house (sorry, mom!) to help supplement my book habit in-between the fantasy and murder-mysteries I was able to snag from the school library. I headed out into the big bad world at 18, and as I stumbled through the maze of life, I discovered my characters were suddenly becoming harder to hurt (emotionally and physically). I’m sure a therapist would have a field day with this, but needless to say my reading needs changed as well. I started hunting down books where the heroine didn’t always need the hero to ride to her rescue. Sometimes it was more satisfying if she rumbled up to his rescue on her Harley.
BL: What’s your latest release?
JG: Shadow’s Soul, the second book in the Kyn Kronicles series. It hit the shelves in June 2012. Here’s the blurb:
Some nightmares are born of love…
Raine McCord has no problem taking down the monsters of the world, it’s one of the reasons she’s so good at her job. So playing bodyguard to Cheveyo, head Magi of the Northwest, as he consults with the Southwest Kyn should be an easy assignment. Unfortunately, simple task turns into a nightmare when Cheveyo is kidnapped and Raine is left for dead by one of the Kyn’s most feared beings, a Soul Stealer.
The Stealer’s attack leaves lasting wounds, undermining Raine’s confidence as a warrior and damaging her unruly magic. Her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand. Compelled to face the emotions raging between them, they must embrace not only their stormy relationship but their evolving magic to escape the twisted threads of murder and betrayal to find Cheveyo.
As Raine and Gavin come together and begin to unravel the complex web of secrets and hidden vendettas haunting the Southwest Kyn, they discover unsettling new truths that threaten their very existence.
BL: Do you have a process when you write? What do you do to make it all come together?
JG: I try and write everyday. Until recently, that was a mere vague goal, then I survived and completed NaNo this year, so now I have an actual word count that I try to hit each day—1800-2000. For the longest time I believed that making writing a normal routine would crush my Muse into little pieces, instead I found she was a hell of a lot stronger with definite goals to attain. I have a general idea of my story, but I let my characters choose their own paths, which makes for some very interesting twists.
BL: What about the editing and revision stage? What’s your process there?
JG: I’m actually in the midst of this right now with my third book. Once I finish the first draft, I set it aside for a couple of weeks so I can breathe. Then I go back, start at the beginning and read through it like any other reader, except I’m armed with pens. Once I’m done tearing it apart, I throw it on the electronic operating table and begin repairing the damage I’ve uncovered. Then it’s off to the publisher’s editors, who send it back bloody and bruised.
BL: What’s something not related to writing that no one knows about you?
JG: Hard to believe, but I tend to be a bit introverted. I stand by that, even if some friends disagree. Here’s the thing, I am much more comfortable staying at home or in the background and watching others. I find it intriguing to people watch, but once I’m comfortable around a group, I’ll start to peek out of my corner or from around my very social hubby.
BL: What’s something about you that you want everyone to know?
JG: Let’s skip this one, because what’s life without a little mystery!
BL: When you get an idea for a new story, what do you do with it?
JG: I live with it. I roll it around in my head, throw everything including the kitchen sink at it, just to see the results. I twist it, turn it, until I’ve knocked all the rough edges of the idea, leaving a sparkly jewel to play with. I research my history/fables/myths/characters until they’re as real to me as the world we live in. Then I sit down and sketch out the basic structure of the story. Once I know my main character, their wants/needs/motivations, then I sit down and start writing.
BL: Who is your ideal reader? Describe who you feel your books are directed at.
JG: Ideal reader and audience? Anyone who enjoys strong characters, twisty plots and action. If you enjoy characters who understand that there’s a difference between surviving and being a survivor and have no problems walking in the grayer areas of life, you should enjoy my books.
BL: How did you decide to take up writing as a serious pursuit?
JG: Writing has always been a part of my life, whether or not anyone ever saw it. I was writing my first novel in high school. It will, of course, never see the light of day, but I keep it around because it’s my first creation. All through college friends/family/colleagues all reminded me how you could never earn enough money to support a family with writing. So I listened and found work that would pay my bills. However, whenever I could I would still put pen to paper (or click away at a computer). It wasn’t until after my sons were born that I decided to make my dream a reality. I hooked up with my critique group, The 7 Evil Dwarves, and with their support I began to submit my babies to the publishing world. In 2011 Black Opal Books picked up my first novel, Shadow’s Edge and I was hooked.
BL: What’s next for you and your work? What’s your next project?
JG: I just finished the third book in the series and hope it will hit shelves sometime this year (2013). I have a second series floating around that I really want to explore. The goal is to have the first book done by August, then we’ll see which way my Muse wanders—continue with the second book or go back to Raine for book four in the Kyn Kronicles.
About Jami Gray
Growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors: History, English, and Theater. Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.
Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab. Writing is what saves her sanity.
Her books can be purchased at: www.jamigray.com/books/