Author Spotlight: Joleene Naylor

joleene-naylorToday’s author spotlight is with Joleene Naylor. This is one of a series of author interviews we’ll be providing here on the Creative Writing Career blog. So if you want to learn about an awesome author, read on!

Joleene Naylor is the author of the glitter-less Amaranthine series, a world where vampires aren’t for children. As a compliment to the novel series, she has also written several short stories, including the Vampire Morsels collection, and the Amaranthine Handbook.

 

Who are you and why do we care?
I’m one of a million plus indie authors who writes vampire fiction. Except, my Amaranthine series isn’t for teenagers.My vampires don’t drive a Prius, they’re not vegetarian, and they happily kill both humans and vampires alike – even the good guys. A reviewer once commented that they didn’t find my good guy “good enough” and that made me happy, because no one is the proverbial white knight good guy that movies and novels sometimes portray, just as no one is ever evil for the sake of being evil. The best “good guy” has darkness lurking behind his eyes, and the best villain thinks he’s righteous. If you agree, and like a dose of violence and romance with your vampires, then you might like what I have to offer. You can always start with the free stories first.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the reason I keep writing. Without them I’d have probably gotten bored and moved on to something else by now, but their passion for the Amaranthine world keeps me passionate. That’s why I try to keep my books as cheap as I can, and write lots of freebies for them because, without them, the Amaranthine universe would not exist.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Masque of the Vampire is the eighth book in the Amaranthine series. As a final assignment, Jorick is sent to provide security for an exclusive two week long vampire party. Inspired by the British whodunnit, Katelina and Jorick are surrounded by mysteries. Her best friend Sarah, supposedly murdered, is seemingly back from the dead. A phantom stalker hovers outside their door while they sleep, A pair of creepy twins pick her brain whenever they get a chance, and old enemies circle too close. As the Amaranthine series ramps towards its conclusion, things get bloody and violent.
What are you working on?
Goddess of Night, book 9, will be released in 2017. In the meantime I’m working on Tales from the Executioners (a short story collection; this time about Executioners [The vampire police]. You can get them for free here at Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/10308. ) and on Patrick, an Amaranthine prequel.
Do you think your vampire novels are ridiculous?
It’s a series about undead people who walk, talk and drink blood. Of course it’s a little ridiculous! By their very nature ALL speculative fiction books are a little out there, this is why you must suspend belief to an extent. However I have tried to add a splash of reality in the form of consequences. The heroine runs away with the vampire hero into the sunset and… and she loses her job. And her family thinks she was kidnapped. And she’s not paying her rent so she loses her apartment, etc. etc. Of course there’s reality one ignores. Being nearly killed, for instance, is sure to leave a person traumatized, but how many pages of quivering jelly-like traumatized heroine does a reader want to slog through before they’re bored?
You have some strange character names. How do you pronounce them?
Since books are text based rather than verbal, I’m not going to say that my way is the “right” way, but here is the way that *I* pronounce a few of them:

Jorick – Joor (as in door) – ick or Joor-rick. (the real pronunciation of this is Jo-rick. I know because I found a guy on myspace who had this name and asked him, but it was too late. Joor-ick was already firmly implanted in my brain.)
Katelina – Kate – lean – uh
Oren – Or-en (as in wren)
Torina – Tore -ee-nuh
Velnya – Vel-nyuh
Kai – k-eye (as in eye)
Arowenia – Air-o-ween-yuh
Verchiel – Vur (as in burn) – chi (as in Chia) – el
Micha – My-kuh (as opposed to the Paranormal Activity pronunciation)
Anya – On-yuh
Senya – Sen (as in Yen) – yuh
Jorge – Hor-hay
Sadihra – Suh-deer-uh
Ume – OO-may (Or I sometimes call her OO-mee)
Samael – Sa -may-el
Eileifr – It’s an authentic norse name, and I can’t pronounce this one. No audio books for me.

What is your writing process?
Like the doctor, my time is timey-wimey. I imagine a good “scene” – in my head it’s either animated anime style or else a live action movie – then I write whatever filler I need in order to get from scene A to scene B, then I backtrack to make that filler make sense with whatever I ended up with.Then I repeat until the book is done, backtracking often to edit or add in scenes necessary for those “exciting bits” to work or make sense.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the south west corner of Iowa in a tiny pocket of unreality; a place that time literally had not caught up to (and still has not). Everything was a little slower, a little smaller, and a little quieter. Farmers with withered sun tanned skin woke up at five in the morning and had coffee in the small cafe at seven. Carhart and coveralls were the fashion, the county fair was one of the big events of summer and the volunteer fire department still had dances in the street. I dreamed of escaping to a metropolitan area that was “like TV”, but moving doesn’t matter. Those kind of places aren’t only around you, but in you, and you can’t run from what’s inside. It oozes out in my writing; in my settings and my descriptions. There is nothing creepier to me than a dark field of corn or an abandoned barn. The backdrops of my books are small towns, slowly dying, with grass choked parking lots and rain striped motels. My monsters lurk in the woods and live in the abandoned farm house. They drive down old highways and shop in the local chain stores. And why not? There’s a subtle beauty in the Midwest; in old gray barns and rusted windmills. I only hope I can capture it.
Describe your desk
I grew up writing in notebooks. My favorite place to write was on my balcony; I would shimmy through the window and sit out there in all kinds of weather, my radio propped just inside (the cord only reached so far). With my desktop computer I was chained to a desk – unless I wanted to hand write everything out, then retype it – and then my desktop died. Now I use my laptop and my desk is anywhere I happen to be; the park, the patio table (where I am now), the kitchen, the living room, even my bed dotted with purring cats. Is it organized? Do I have a fancy writer’s bulletin board? How about all those dictionaries and writers’ books? Nope. I have a laptop, google, and an imagination, and I like that better. The view is certainly nicer.
Where does your imagination come from?
I have to credit my bad eye sight. When I’m walking the dog in the semi-twilight I see all sorts of terrifying and macabre things; gargoyles on the light poles, abandoned babies in the park, dead bodies on the side of the road. Of course, when I get closer I can plainly see that it’s only a beat up transformer with a bit of tree branch caught in it, or a squashed bag in the park, or a person randomly laying on the ground next to the road (okay, I admit, I didn’t check. He might have been dead). This does beg the question, though: do I see macabre things because I have a scary imagination, or do I have a scary imagination because I see macabre things?
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I’d like to say vacationing in the Bahamas, but who gets to do that? I create book covers for fellow authors and do other publishing related things. I also blog and maintain a website. But that’s all boring stuff. What I really love to do is pet cats, bake new recipes, watch anime, take photos and engage in my various doll hobbies off and on. I’d like to find time to make it back to paper dolls again.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The splendor of the universe; the beauty of the natural world and the magic of.. eh, who am I kidding? It’s the undeniably crushing work load. Wait, that sounded bad, though it’s true. What makes me leave the warm comfiness of my bed is the long to-do list that I know I can’t possibly finish today. That and the dog whining to go out. It’s all sunshine and miracles in this house. Ha ha!

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Her book blurb for Heart of the Raven

A myth with the power to destroy the world…

Katelina has barely recovered from the chaos of Malick’s revolt, yet she and Jorick must go to Munich to testify before the True Council. To make matters worse, they’re assigned an entourage that includes Verchiel, a vampire Katelina never wants to see again.

Her hatred is forgotten when Malick and his henchmen penetrate the stronghold in Munich. Instead of returning home, Jorick leads them on a quest to reclaim the Heart of the Raven. Said to be the disembodied heart of Lilith, the relic may be more reality than myth, and if it falls into the wrong hands it could have disastrous consequences for the world. Can they reach its hiding place before Malick?

The fifth installment of the Amaranthine series sees Jorick and Katelina draw closer as they surround themselves with old allies and new friends to outwit the machinations of the ancient master. Katelina will have to draw on her inner strength if she wants to survive because there’s no room for the fainthearted in a world where darkness is eternal and the night tastes like blood.

Though part of a series, Heart of the Raven can stand alone

Find more about Joleene at:
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