A very talented author generously agreed to take time
out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions with me. Letís
It seems like you have been writing your whole life, when did
you get published for the first time and how did you feel?
Many, many years ago, I had a short
story published in a local newspaper, and I won fifty dollars worth
of books at a local bookstore. Mostly, I remember being excited
about the free books! But, if you mean my first novel published,
that would be Haven, which is now at Samhain. What I remember most
about that sale is the speed of it. Samhain Publishing had been
open for a few months and I must have hit the editor at the right
moment, because I got offered a contract the same day I sent in my
full. (She had already read my partial.) I was so stunned that it
took me the entire weekend to believe it. I thought it had been a
Give us a little insight into the mind and life of Jorrie
Uh, goodness, not sure what to say! I
live in Canada, with my husband and two kids. I spend my life
trying to find time to read and write, sometimes more successfully
than others. I love getting outside on my bike or just walking, or
in the winter, skiing. Iím addicted to the internet. I like
watching soccer, Lost and Bourne movies.
When you are writing do your stories come to you all at once,
or slowly page by page?
When I start a story, I usually have an
opening scene that hooks me into the characters and their story.
From there I want to know what will happen next. I am very much a
panster, not a plotter. That said, I always have a pretty good idea
of how the book will end and what the emotional arcs of the hero,
heroine, and relationship will be. Though these ideas can sometimes
be wrong, I am writing towards the ending.
You write in several genres. Do you have a favorite and if so,
what is it and why is it your favorite?
To date, paranormal romance is my
favorite genre to write in, particularly shapeshifters namely The
Strength of the Pack and The Strength of the Wolf. I have a cat
shifter idea set in that same world, too. That said, I wrote a
series of three novellas with a psychic hero which I loved writing.
(Beautiful Monster is written under my pen name, Joely Skye, and it
is a m/m romance. Also, incidentally, set in the same world.) What
I love about paranormal romance is that you can take a basically
contemporary setting and play with it. I, also, am fascinated by
memory loss, which is prominent in both The Strength of the Wolf and
Speaking of favorites, tell us a few of yoursÖfoods, authors,
music, books, season, holidays, or any others.
Favorites. Letís see. When it comes to
authors, that would be Laura Kinsale (I think she is a genius),
Suzanne Brockman (I adore her voice), and Jennifer Crusie (really
funny). The series that has had the biggest impact on me would be
Dorothy Dunnettís Lymond Chronicles which Iíve read twice.
Fantastic series, though not for the faint of heart. Huge scope,
fantastic historical detail, absolutely compelling story.
Music-- I love U2, Capercaillie, Kate
Bush (I know, Iím dating myself), George Winston, and Coldplay.
I love ALL seasons, as I love the
change of seasons. Autumn may be my favorite with its crisp, fresh
weather and its gorgeous colors. But, I also love the heat of
summer and white winter days.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Donít compare yourself to others, and, I
know this is clichť, but just persevere. Also, write for the
writing itself. That doesnít have to be the only reason you write,
but if the writing isnít giving you joy , you need to step back and
ask yourself why youíre doing this.
If you could bring one of your characters to lifeÖwho would it
be and why?
I know my characters are in my head, but
they feel to me like they have separate lives! Lives that actually
wouldnít intersect with my real life. I canít actually imagine
Do your friends and family read your books? What do they
think? Are they your biggest supporters?
My husband is very supportive. He reads
many, but not all my books. It depends a bit on what I let him
How would you spend a perfect day?
By myself, doing some writing and
reading, while also getting outside to walk or run or bike or ski.
I love my family, but I adore getting alone time where I donít have
to look after anyone.
Do you lock yourself away when writing or can you write
I canít write just anywhere. I need
some personal space and some quiet. I find it VERY distracting to
have people around me when Iím writing. It distracts me and I make
very poor progress. So, I do try to lock myself away.
How long does it generally take you to write a book from start
I am a slow writer, especially by
todayís standards. When writing the first draft, the story comes to
me slowly and I have to write rolling first drafts. That is, I get
to say, Chapter three, and then revise before continuing on. And
when the books is complete I revise, revise, and revise again. Iím
a bit like the tortoise, Iím afraid. A 60K book takes me ten
months, allowing for some down time so I can come back to the
manuscript with fresh eyes. Iíd like to speed up a little, but when
I push myself to write too fast, I not only lose the joy, I also
lose the story as it gets derailed because, in my impatience, Iíve
pushed the story in the wrong direction.
Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and how is the best way
to contact you?
I LOVE hearing from readers! Itís my
biggest thrill. I have a blog at
http://jorriespencer.wordpress.com/ and my
Do you ever suffer from writerís block and how do you handle
I donít really suffer from writerís
block, no. Sometimes, I need to take a break from writing and fill
the well with reading or even other activities. But, Iím a
plodding-type writer who, though not fast, writes pretty regularly.
I wouldnít say day-in day-out, but month-in-month-out certainly.
Have you lived in Canada your whole life and can you ever see
yourself living anywhere else?
Canada is my home, but I have lived
elsewhere, in England and the US. Iím most at home in Canada, but
who knows where we might land up in the future.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
As I mentioned above, I write under the
name Joely Skye, too. I chose to have two names because my first
books seemed so entirely different: a dark paranormal m/m romance (Joely
Skye) and a sweet contemporary m/f romance (Jorrie Spencer). I
didnít think thereíd be much crossover appeal and I thought branding
would serve my readers best. Now, however, Iím writing darkish
werewolf romances under both names!
Thanks so much, Gracie. Let me know
if thereís anything else youíd like from me.