Author interview 156 – J.E. Taylor


Jane E. Taylor (J.E. Taylor)

J.E. Taylor is a USA Today bestselling author, a publisher, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife, a business analyst, and a Supernatural fangirl, not necessarily in that order. 

She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked:

“Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?”

From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back.

In addition to being co-owner of Novel Concept Publishing, Ms. Taylor also moonlights as a Senior Editor of Allegory E-zine, an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. She is also one of the hosts of the popular podcast Spilling Ink.

She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine.

Sign up for her newsletter for early previews of her upcoming books, release announcements, and special opportunities for free swag!

Everyone thought monsters were things of pure fantasy.
We were so very, very wrong.

The end of life as we knew it didn’t come with a nuclear blast of light. It didn’t come with the deadly impact of a hurdling asteroid. No. It came in a wave of illness that swept the world with fear.

With all the humans in quarantine, quiet settled over the planet for months. Beasts hidden away for millennia ventured out of their buried caverns to investigate the sudden stillness.

Leviathans, serpent kings, and dragons came forth from the bowels of the Earth, and they saw no reason to go back to their sleep after the humans tried to reemerge.

The season of the dragon began with fire and fury and would end with a new world order. One in which these giant terrorists held all the power.

Every military institution across the globe was rendered to dust by these intelligent creatures. And then came their demands: humanity’s complete surrender and servitude.

Being a slave is not in my DNA and yet I have been called upon to negotiate a peace treaty with these monsters.

The only problem is every fiber of my being opposes their terms.

If I blow this mission, the human race won’t be given another chance.

Romelia:   WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?

J.E. Taylor:   Finding a balance between writing and the rest of my life. I work full time (9-5 M-F) and now that my family is grown and raising their own little people, I need to find more time with my husband rather than having my face stuck in the computer for hours every evening. So, for me, balancing those creative streaks so they don’t overrule everything is the most difficult part.

Romelia:   DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?

J.E. Taylor:   Yes. My husband has been amazing letting me squander my time for writing. And my father is my biggest fan. My son and I co-wrote a trilogy when he was in middle school and has found the love for writing his own stories. I could not do this without their support. Especially my husband who has done more than his fair share of the housework for the last fourteen years.

Romelia:   IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

J.E. Taylor:   Take more creative writing and editing courses in high school and college. Learn grammar rules inside and out and of course, understand the proper usage of commas.  I’m woefully comma deficient, even now that I’m aware of it. It’s like a bad superpower. But I guess that is better than instituting the Shatner comma. 😊

Romelia:   HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?

J.E. Taylor:   On average from the first word to the final edited copy – three months for a 60,000-word novel. If it is a novella or short story, it is usually a month or two tops.

Romelia:   DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?

J.E. Taylor:   No. Not in the traditional sense, especially if you are disciplined enough to write a little every day. Even if it is a single sentence. However, I do believe writers get stuck and need to let the story percolate for a few days in order to work out the scene. Personally, I combat this by having more than one work in progress going at a time.  That way if I get stuck on one, I just switch to the other and that seems to keep the creative juices flowing. I did have a dry writing spell earlier this year after getting covid. That was quite frustrating, but my brain wasn’t functioning properly and by the time I was done with the day job, there was nothing left to put into a story. That lasted about a month. I also find when I finish a trilogy or a series, that I have a mourning period where nothing really seems to stir in my head for stories. That is when I pick up books to read.

Romelia:   AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?

J.E. Taylor:   When they have completed a story. That is the hardest part about writing. You can start a million stories, but the key to being a true writer is follow-through. Finishing that first draft.

Romelia:   WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?

J.E. Taylor:   A writer is someone who completes a story. An author is someone who takes the risk and publishes that story for public consumption. It takes a bit of bravery to put yourself out there. And you have to have thick enough skin to deal with the criticism. The truth of the matter is you will not please everyone. Ever.

Romelia:   HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?

J.E. Taylor:   A well-crafted review, whether good or bad, can be a learning tool. If there are several reviews with the same theme, that may mean you need to revisit the story and possibly fix a plot hole you were not aware of and your Beta readers or editor did not catch either. The key is to look for themes not individual reviews. As an Author, you must develop thick skin otherwise some of the scathing reviews will impact the joy of creating a story. Don’t let the negative nelly’s destroy your creativity!

Romelia:   WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?

J.E. Taylor:   Getting off social media and writing. I could dive down that rabbit hole for hours on end, but that doesn’t get the story written. And with my limited time to focus and give to storytelling, I have to be very aware of the time suck.

Romelia:   HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?

J.E. Taylor:   I have been writing stories since I was in Grade School.  I stopped when I got married – I had to focus on work and life in general and had zero idea of how to structure my writing muse and balance the rest of my life with it. I still have issues with that, but I picked it back up fourteen years ago when I was bitching about my day job and my daughter asked if I could do anything, what would it be. Easy answer. Write a book and get it published. Then she asked why don’t I. I didn’t have an answer and my husband agreed. He really didn’t know what that meant when he convinced me to go for it. Even now, I know he gets a little put out at times, but that’s where finding balance is imperative, especially if you hope to have a successful partnership with another human being.

Romelia:   WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?

J.E. Taylor:   Butt in chair and finish that first draft. Don’t try to make it perfect the first time around, just finish it and then go into the editing frenzy.

Romelia:   WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?

J.E. Taylor:   Emotional connection to the character. The reader has to care about what happens to them otherwise you won’t hook the reader. You need depth to your characters and scenes. Show all five senses if you can and make sure your character has visceral reactions to stimulation. Meaning they have physical reactions to causes. The jump when a loud bang happens or the shiver when a cold wind wraps around them. It brings the reader closer to the character. Show the reader rather than tell the reader your character is cold or shocked, or stunned or Happy. All emotions have physical cues, study them and lean on your learnings.

Romelia:   WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?

J.E. Taylor:   As a writer, it’s a balance between the two. Having characters that readers care about and having a plot that is interesting enough to hold their attention. I can’t place a higher weight on either.

But from a Story creation in my head – Most times, it’s the plot that develops and then I go from there. Although I have had characters develop quicker in my head than the story and they are relentless until I get their story out on paper.

Romelia:   HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?

J.E. Taylor:   Lately, covers seem to spawn stories in my head. And the characters seem to develop from there. I am a punster, so there is very little plotting in my world. That just seems to suck the energy of writing a story right out of me. So, it’s a meandering road of character development and plot that requires a few editing passes and some valued feedback from beta readers when I’m unsure the concept works. I have a couple that are worth their weight in gold and will tell me when something doesn’t work. They’ll also suggest things that might work and I run with their guidance.

Romelia:   WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?

J.E. Taylor:   After I wrote The End on my first story.

Romelia:   HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?

J.E. Taylor:   I have a reader group. I just started getting back into being more active, because I want to be more visible and those that interact with consistency are most definitely finding their tribe and creating success that way. As I did mention before, social media can also be a time suck and I try not to go down too many rabbit holes if I can help it.

Romelia:   WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?

J.E. Taylor:   Favorite is writing the story. Least favorite is the marketing side of the publishing world. I can tote other writer’s work with exuberance, but I’m not a stand on the box and scream about my wares kind of girl. That is the hardest part. The read my book side of it and I have not figured out the right mix quite yet.

Romelia:   WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?

J.E. Taylor:   Don’t. Unless you’ve got a degree in graphic design, or a mastery level in Photoshop, do not do it.

Romelia:   HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?

J.E. Taylor:   Fifty-nine plus two short story collections. I can’t truly pick a favorite. The ones I had the most fun writing were the ones that I did crossovers with my other stories. The first one of these I wrote was Hunting season which combined my first series, Games Thriller series, with my FBI thriller series. These characters have shown up in almost all my series where there are connections to angel blood (not the book I have by that name, but the actual concept of angel descendants).

Oddly enough, hunting season was also the book where the characters surprised me the most and I burst out crying because of something I wrote that I hadn’t intended to write.

Romelia:   WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?

J.E. Taylor:   It varies. But I find the hardest part is between exciting scenes. To keep the tension and keep the story rolling. Especially if I have already written a scene farther in the book timeline and need to bridge the gap. That to me Is the most difficult piece.

That and writing the blurb for the book – those are always difficult. Sometimes it is easier to write before the story is written when you just have the plot points in your head. But afterwards, I always get bogged down with too many details.

Romelia:   WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?

J.E. Taylor:   Action scenes, fight scenes, and the climax of the story when words flow like a wild river.

Romelia:   WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?

J.E. Taylor:   Most of my characters have a little of me in them in some way. At least that is what my husband tells me. So, I have a way of relating to all of them. Their wants, needs, desires all stem from inside my head, so there really isn’t any that I can’t relate to in some tiny way.

Romelia:   IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?

J.E. Taylor:   The third book in the Season of the Dragon series comes out on December 21st. After that I’m planning on a Prequel series about the birth of one of the main characters in the series. But that won’t be out until late next year and it takes place in the time before the Mayans and Aztecs ruled central America.

Romelia:   TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.

J.E. Taylor:   I’m stuck on this question, so I’ll tell a funny story about my second time out on a snowmobile instead. When we moved to New Hampshire in 2020, we also got snowmobiles. I was so excited to have my own ride and we did a short ride the first time and my hands got a little cramped. But the second time, my left hand got stuck in the same position for days. I couldn’t pull my fingers together or straighten them out. It’s the same thing that happens to cross riders when they hold the steering grips too tight or the grip isn’t wide enough. The funny part of this is to try putting shampoo in a hand where the fingers won’t close. It doesn’t quite work out the way you’d hope. I am hoping this year I don’t have a repeat. Sucks to have hands that don’t really work the way they are supposed to.

Romelia:   DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES. TELL US SOMETHING WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND SOMETHING YOU HATE ABOUT THE WORLD.

J.E. Taylor:   I write supernatural suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance books that capture your imagination in ways that terrify and tantalize at the same time.

I live at the base of the white mountains in New Hampshire and during the summer can be found on the shores of southern Maine.

As for something readers don’t know about me – I’m short – painfully short – and have to climb the grocery store shelves to get something from the top shelf.

I hate that people with differing opinions don’t take the time to understand the other point of view. They don’t have to agree, but to listen without trying to manipulate the other person to think the way they do. The healthy debate seems to be dead. And the result of it is a lot of animosity that is so very unnecessary.

Dragon Tempest (Universal Link): https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/ebdfdb02-b67b-11eb-a6db-7bae386cf59a

Available through: Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play

Contact info: JET75@JETaylor75.com

Website  https://JETaylor75.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JETaylor/

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JETReaderClub

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jtaylor8/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J-E-Taylor/e/B003FER8M6

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153969.J_E_Taylor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-e-taylor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JETaylor75

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jetaylor75/

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