J.E. Taylor Interview

How many books do you currently have in publication or in the process of publication?

Four in the process of publication right now and ironically, the latest one to sell is also the first one to be released. Go figure.

Dark Reckoning, a paranormal suspense novel, will be released on July 5, 2010 which just happens to be my birthday so I’m thinking that’s got to be a good omen. In Dark Reckoning a sadistic killer stalks the secluded college town of Brooksfield, New Hampshire. With bodies piling up and rumors of the murders being part of sacrificial hazing rituals, the FBI plants Special Agent Steve Williams in a fraternity and his investigation takes a ninety degree turn into the bizarre when he’s introduced to Jennifer, a clairvoyant co-ed who swears the killer isn’t human.

Survival Games is scheduled for Release on July 19, 2010 and this is the first in the Games Trilogy, an erotic suspense series that’s sure to take the readers on a wild ride.

Here's a quote from Manic Readers:

"This book had it all, and even though I started off not knowing if I would truly like the content, I was blown away by how honest, true, emotional, and frightening it really was. J.E. Taylor has spun a story that is sure to catch reader’s attention and hold it until the last page. If you are looking for a story that will keep you on the edge, make your toes curl from the eroticism, and make you feel love and sorrow, then I would highly suggest Survival Games. I can’t wait to read the other two books in what is to be a wonderful trilogy. Bravo Ms. Taylor!"

Mind Games, the second in the Games Trilogy is scheduled for release on November 29, 2010, and End Game, the final in the trilogy comes out on Valentine’s Day next year (February 14, 2010).

Book blurbs and the first chapters of these books can be found on my website: www.JETaylor75.com

What can readers expect to get from these books?

The Games trilogy is an epic, erotic love story about fate and redemption intertwined in a paranormal suspense wrapper. The review by Manic Readers hit it on the nail and I was so thrilled with what the reviewer said regarding Survival Games. It’s everything a writer wants to hear about the reader’s experience.

Dark Reckoning is a twist between paranormal suspense and horror. It walks the line and while Ty, my main character in the Games Trilogy is my dark angel, Steve Williams is my white knight. He’s an undercover FBI agent with an acute sense of right and wrong. However, he doesn’t always play by the book and more often than not finds himself at odds with his boss.

Why should they buy your books as opposed to everything else that's out there?

All my books have a strong supernatural aspect that intertwines with the thriller roots, so I believe that gives them a unique twist in relation to the other books on the shelf.

For instance, in Dark Reckoning, Steve is presented with a few situations that test his beliefs and he has to come to terms with the existence of the paranormal, which for him is a giant leap into the unknown. This journey is just as important as the other aspects of the story. Kind of like Criminal Minds meets the X-files. Can you imagine Hotchner facing off with a fiery demon from hell?

What publishing houses did you go through and what was your experience like with them?

Because of the content, Survival Games was a hard sell to the mainstream publishers and it took me a while to find the right fit. Based on the premise and the content, I thought this was a prime candidate for self publishing. Fortunately, I found eXcessica, a publisher that doesn’t shy away from some of the more violent aspects of the book like so many of the e-romance publishers.

My experience with eXcessica has been so positive, that when they announced their spin off into the non-erotic realm with FIDO Publishing, I decided that was the place to go with Dark Reckoning. I recently took on manuscript formatting and content editing with eXcessica in order to learn the ins and outs of the independent publishing business and also have taken on a content editor role at FIDO as well. I’m learning the ropes and it really is a true partnership. While there isn’t the traditional structure of advances with either of these avenues, the payout rate on royalties is much more advantageous. With the e-book climate of late, I think I can do just as well from this platform than I could from the big publishing houses.

On your Facebook page it says that you are a paranormal suspense writer, what drew you to this genre?

I’m an adrenaline junkie. I admit it and anyone that’s ever driven with me can attest to that. ;) Anything that gets my pulse going is golden, so it’s only logical that this is where my writing tends to head. Horror and thrillers have been the pinnacle of my reading for years. If the writing is good enough to elicit emotional responses, fear, sorrow, laughter, I eat it up.

I’m also fascinated with the paranormal and always have been, so having my characters blessed with some unique power makes life more interesting. It doesn’t always answer the questions or give them ultimate advantage because, after all, they’re human and let’s face it; from time to time human emotions tend to override logic and common sense.

What kind of characters/scenarios can we expect to find in your short stories?

It runs the gambit. A lot of the stories were initially crafted through the monthly Backspace short story contests so the focus changes from story to story based on the parameters set forth by the writers there. I’ve got horror, romance, science fiction, fantasy, YA, true crime with a twist and middle grade in all different situations. It depends on the story parameters. Really. I also have three erotic shorts coming up in 2011 and 2012 for eXcessica anthologies, and each one of those is different.

I’ve posted Nightmares and Grayson House, two shorts that fall into the horror realm on my website - both these have been published in online e-zines. As of May 1st, I will be adding Armageddon to that grouping as it will now be in Allegory’s archives.

On May 1st you will be able to read my short story Abyss under the staff submissions at Allegory. It’s about a teenager who gets stuck in a storm off the coast of Maine.

What is your work like as an assistant editor with Allegory Ezine?

I love this part of my writing life. I enjoy reading the submissions and making recommendations of what goes forward and what doesn’t. I read close to a hundred stories every submission period and ascertain which ones go to the editor’s desk for final consideration. I’m one of six assistant and associate editors that review the submissions. Then the editor goes through those we send to him and pares it down to the final eight. The last couple editions, I’ve helped him trim the list down to the final group and that is tough. We look for a balance between the genres and the best in those factions and sometimes have to pass on something phenomenal because we already filled that angle.

When declining a story, I try not to do just a cookie cutter rejection letter. I try to say why, for me, the story didn’t work. That’s hard. And yes, I’ve had situations where the rejection letter is more generic because I just can’t articulate the reason or reasons I’m passing.

My advice to those who want to submit shorts anywhere, make sure you vet it with impartial parties, like a writers group or a creative writing teacher. Not friends and family. They won’t give you an honest critique that can help you improve and then you’ll be hitting a wall with submissions and not really understand why. I’ve seen a lot of stories that weren’t quite ready and would have benefited from an experienced set of eyes.

Do you have any tales of strange submissions?

Nothing that stands out, sorry. Plus, no offense, but if there was a strange situation that I encountered from an editing standpoint or a story I read that didn’t make the grade, I wouldn’t share that in the public forum.

It’s not right. We are talking about people’s dreams and it’s already bad enough that I have to reject folks, which feels a little like dream crushing at times, but to air someone’s faux pas in public, no thank you.

But on the personal front - the strangest situation I ever encountered was being accepted as a client by a dead agent. The entire chronicles of that as well as the subsequent uncovering of the same bogus agent operating under yet another alias is on my blog. It’s also linked to a December 2009 Writer’s Beware Blog Post.

I gave Writer’s Beware the heads up after my first experience and then kept a running dialog with the second experience and shot it to Writer’s Beware. I didn’t catch the third bogus agent - probably because they stayed very, very far away from me. But it was a hoot to find out my blogs were linked with the story.

And I have to say, busting that scam felt wonderful.

Is writing a full time occupation for you or are you paying the bills in some other fashion (like the rest of us)?

I’m a business analyst in a big insurance company. My forte is broker/dealer operations. What exactly does a business analyst do? Breaking it down to the most basic form, we are translators. We take what the business wants and needs and transcribe this so that the technical folks can make it happen.

I work on multi-million dollar projects and most of the time I run around like a chicken with my head cut off. That sucks up 40-50 hours a week. I also have a family and am the primary chauffeur for the kid’s activities. My other half takes the morning shift - getting the kids to school and then heads to his office job and I get out in time to get them off the bus, it’s a nice balance.

I started seriously writing in February of 2007 and to date have hammered out 8 full novels and about 20 short stories. I also have three partial novels in the works as well. So I guess you could say I don’t sleep much. Lately I’ve put my focus less into writing and more into editing and polishing but once I get done with cleaning up the remaining four books in my drawer, I’ll get back to finishing those three partials and onto all the other ideas swarming in my head.

Anything else that we should know about you?

I keep a picture of my dream house on my refrigerator as motivation. It’s in the town of York Maine and it’s only 3.5 million dollars. It hasn’t sold since it was built, almost like it’s waiting for me to buy it.

I’ve got a degree in communications - concentration in television and radio broadcasting and my first job out of college was at the FOX affiliate in Hartford. I used to take the dirty words and scenes out of movies.

I’ve got a healthy sense of humor - although some would better describe it as warped.

And I’m only 4’10” tall. A vertically challenged dynamo. :)

Walter, thank you so much for the opportunity to visit your blog. Happy Writing!

Thank you!  Readers can learn more about J.E. Taylor at her webpage!

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