Urban Fantasy author Jaye Wells began her writing life at eight, but it took her another two decades for Jaye to hit her stride. Trading her career as a magazine editor and freelance writer for her own reality and the world of fiction, Jaye allowed her overactive imagination and life-long fascination with the arcane to create the Sabina Kane urban fantasy series. The series is a blend of dark themes, grave stakes and wicked humor. The latest release in the series, GREEN EYED DEMON, is on shelves in February 2011. I recently caught up with Jaye to discuss more about her books and writing process.
When did you publish your first book?
My debut novel was RED-HEADED STEPCHILD and it was published in April of 2009. That was the first book in my Sabina Kane series. Since then, I’ve also published THE MAGE IN BLACK and, now, GREEN-EYED DEMON, as well as a couple of anthology stories set in Sabina’s world.
What made you decide to write in the Urban Fantasy genre?
I love the multi-disciplinary approach to storytelling in Urban Fantasy. Many of my plots revolves around mystery or thriller story lines, but I also get to add in world building, humor and romance to keep things fresh. I also enjoy being able to really explore one character’s journey over several books.
Tell us a little something about the heroine.
Sabina Kane is half-vampire and half-mage in a world where mixing between the two races is forbidden. She’s also an outcast because not a lot of people want to hang out with a professional assassin. She’s broken and hard to love sometimes, but you also end up rooting for her because she’s doing the best she can with what she was given.
You do a substantial amount of research for your novels and that must require a great deal of organization. Are there are any tricks you do to keep all that information readily available?
I keep a notebook next to my computer. It’s divided into sections for each race in Sabina’s world and other subject like history of the world and major story arcs. I refer to it all the time when I’m creating new characters or trying to keep up with one of the dozen or so story arcs braiding through the series. It’s a lifesaver.
Are you a plotter who lays out everything in detail as you write or a pantser who lets the story unfold on its own?
I’m a hybrid of the two–a plantster. In the beginning, I write the scenes I see very clearly. They appear out of order, but usually end up being the heart of the story. Once I have those ten or twelve scenes, I go back and plot out the book on a story board. That basically involves me writing down a one sentence goal on a note card for each chapter and turning point and laying them out on a poster board divided into three horizontal rows (one for each act). Then I go back from the beginning of the manuscript and fill in blanks and smooth out transitions. It’s a bit of a messy process, but it’s what works for me.
Where is your story set and does that influence the plotlines and characters in your stories?
Green-Eyed Demon is set in New Orleans. When you’re working is a locale with such a strong personality as NOLA, it’s impossible for it to not become a character in the book. But as far as actual characters and plotlines, yes, definitely the city influenced those choices too. I made a special trip to the Big Easy while I was writing GED and many of the settings I visited ended up dictating the plot development and characters who showed up. If I could, I’d set every book I wrote in New Orleans. I just love it there.
What writers have influenced your novel or writing style?
Anne Rice and Christopher Moore are two huge influences in the paranormal fiction realm. But since my work is such a hybrid, I can’t not mention Janet Evanovich, Michael Chabon and David Sedaris. I have huge creative crushes on all of them.
What are you working on now and what will readers have to look forward to in the future?
I’m working on book five in the Sabina Kane series, as yet unnamed. This should be the final installment in Sabina’s saga, so I’m preparing to pitch a new urban fantasy series this summer. It’s an exciting and somewhat bittersweet time. It’s so hard to say goodbye to these characters.
Thanks so much to Jaye for taking the time to share your insights. For more information you can visit Jaye at www.jayewells.com or visit her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jaye-Wells/102288221088. You can also catch up with @JayeWells on Twitter.