May the Fourth be with all of us today!
Especially with our guest author from the other side of the sea, Pippa Jay.
Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?
Thanks for having me! I’m a stay-at-home mum with three little monsters, firmly lodged in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with my husband of 19 years. I’m far too addicted to my high-caffeine coffee, still dream of being a Jedi and having my own X-wing, and spend my days goofing off to an alternate universe in my head.
I started studying a university course in Creative Writing back in 2010, but had only passed the introductory level when I got my first publishing contract. Since then I haven’t had the time to go back and complete it! Maybe one day… I’d say I learnt a lot of useful techniques from the course, but I don’t believe it’s essential to have that kind of academic standing to write a good book.
Tell us about your most recent publication?
Keir – a science fiction romance – is my first full-length novel.
Outcast. Cursed. Dying. Is Keir beyond redemption?
For Keirlan de Corizi–the legendary ‘Blue Demon’ of Adalucien–death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand.
But Quin has secrets of her own. She’s spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends’ counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius.
When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin’s home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again?
WARNING: Contains sweet romance, some violence and plenty of adventure.
What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?
Keir started out as a dream which led to a short story that ended up dumped in a drawer. Five years later and suffering from a deep sense of losing my identity and total frustration, it grew into a novel, inspired by my favourite band – The Rasmus. At its heart, Keir’s story is about exclusion–of how society rejects anyone outside the norm. But at its heart there’s a glimmer of hope for those exiled–that love can see beyond the surface and lift even the darkest existence back into the light.
On research – I looked up quite a few things. But the most disturbing thing to research was the process of drowning.
How would you best describe your books?
Science fiction with a romantic soul.
What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
To write – scifi, without a doubt. To read? I go through phases but always in speculative fiction. Right now I’m reading a lot of science fiction romance.
What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?
I’d like to write bigger and better. I’m already writing the stories I’d love to read, but I feel there’s scope to improve and do it all on a grander scale.
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Getting the idea down, or that magical phrase that expresses your thoughts, is fantastic. What I don’t like is the days those words won’t come, or are so poor that you have to scrub them. I never really thought about being an author-the idea kind of crept in. I’ve just always written, but after I finished Keir I looked at it and thought “well, what shall I do with this now?” That’s when I started to think about publication.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
I still take part in a writing forum set up for and by some of my fellow students from the Creative Writing course. Everyone there is really supportive as a group. I also recently joined Critique Circle, originally just to crit a friend’s work, but after putting a piece of my own up there I’ve found the feedback to be incredibly helpful.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
My favourite band is The Rasmus, but I listen to a lot of different tracks while I write. Generally they give a feel to the pieces overall, but sometimes a lyric will trigger a story idea too. The bands are all a mixture of rock, light metal and pop.
How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?
Originally I subbed to agents in the UK, but there aren’t many who’ll even consider speculative fiction. A friend and fellow author in the US encouraged me to sub to the States instead, and helped me find publishers in the relevant genre. I made a list of my top three, submitted, and Lyrical Press Inc offered me a contract.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
The fact that I not only managed to finish it, but where it’s taken me to. The whole experience, from writing to getting feedback, and then the path to publication, has been a blast. It’s had its downs, but mostly it’s been ups, and the people I’ve met along the way have made it one of the most fabulous experiences in my life.
What are you writing now?
I have a YA scifi novella that I’m trying to get the final tweaks done on. I have someone looking at the sequel to Keir at the moment, and another sfr novella that needs a small amount of work before I can submit it. Also, and oddly, I had an idea for an urban fantasy. It isn’t something I read a lot of and certainly not something I’d ever have said I would write, but I always obey the muse.
What would you like to tell readers?
Please let me know what you like and what you don’t. I know I can’t please everyone, but if there’s elements that are/aren’t working, I’d like to hear.