Friday, May 10, 2013

Interview with Jordanna East

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My upcoming prelude novella, Blood in the Past, introduces my Blood for Blood Series. Jillian Atford falls for an older man, a handsome Philadelphia cop, whose mystery is that he’s married—a reality Jillian refuses to accept. Lyla Kyle finds her mother dead on the floor from an apparent suicide. She blames her philandering father and wastes no time taking her revenge. Detective Jason Brighthouse Sr. is in the wrong place at the right time to attempt to save a colleague from his burning home. When neither of them make it out alive, his teenage son can only harp on their last argument. He shoots himself in the head… with his father’s gun. Basically, all of these actions have consequences—consequences that eventually cause their lives to intersect ten years later, which is when the main series takes place.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Actually, yes. The original opening scene to Blood in the Past involved Jillian’s roommate, Mel, getting mugged. Mel’s only role was to get mugged so that Jillian could meet one of the cops that arrived to take her statement. But I thought since she was in the entire opening scene, and a few others, she deserved a promotion of sorts. So, I changed the opening to have both girls mugged and I showed the contrast of their personalities and how they each handled the aftermath. Additionally, I had Jillian turn to Mel later on, following a crucial event (that I won’t ruin for everyone here). Jillian was a foster child. She has no family. The mugging brought her and Mel only slightly closer, but she’s all Jillian has.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I had every intention of going the traditional route…until I did some research. I knew what kind of person I am. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle sweating and bleeding into a manuscript and then handing it off to someone else to choose a cover, rearrange the content, and be in charge of the advertising and distribution. I want to be in charge of all of it, dammit! I’m a perfectionist, so I know I can do it. And what I can’t do, I’ll hire someone to do. Like my lovely cover, done by Kit Foster. Because I couldn’t navigate Photoshop if the air I breathed depended on it.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Extremely involved. Poor Kit Foster. We must have traded a dozen emails, fine tuning the tiniest of details. But I came to him with a basic idea and we worked to get the right face and the right font, etc. I’m very pleased with the result and would highly recommend Kit to anyone, as he was highly recommended to me.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Not a critique group, per se. But I did find and request the help of several beta readers, who were invaluable. Mostly I learned that I assume a lot. I assume that the reader knows things I know, has researched things I’ve researched, etc. And you know what happens when you assume… Let’s just say, I had a lot of scenes to add when they were done.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I’m sure if I had outlined the entire story at once, I wouldn’t have skipped important details! With Blood in the Past (and Blood in the Paint, the first full-length novel in the series, due out at the end of the year), I was clearly a “pantser.” This led me to a lot of heartache when revisions and subsequent drafts rolled around. Therefore, as exhilarating as it was to have characters do something unexpected as I was writing, I’m already outlining the second and third books in the series.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Oh my god, YES! I don’t think anyone should publish without an editor, unless maybe they themselves are an editor. I did a lot of research in this area as well, but in the end I went with someone recommended to me (obviously word of mouth carries a lot of weight with me), Red Adept Publishing. They are a small publishing company that offers a la carte services to self-publishers.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Blood in the Past will be available exclusively through Amazon’s KDP program for the first 90 days. After that, I’m confident I’ll expand distribution to all venues. It will, however, remain only in e-book form, as I plan to offer a special print edition of Blood in the Paint that includes Blood in the Past. Obviously that’s something that won’t happen until next year or so.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I love sports. Obsessed is probably a more accurate representation, actually. My husband and I are both sports nuts. We wear jerseys, watch games, go to games, etc. ESPN is the home page on our computer for heaven’s sake! In addition to pinstripes (Yankees), pigskin, and playoffs, I love art, cooking, and, of course, READING. (You can’t be a writer if you don’t read, right?)

What’s next for you?
Well, after Blood in the Past is released mid-June, I’m going to start revisions on the first draft of its follow-up, Blood in the Paint. I’m also going to split time between that and a serialized novel I’ve outlined (that’s right, outlined. See how I’ve learned?). It’s about a spate of murders within one of those fanatical religious cult. No idea when that will be ready for publication, but when it is, it will be released one segment at a time, every month or so.