Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
CC: How do you write?
JN: Wow, this is a surprisingly complicated question to answer for one that sounds so simple.
Firstly, I write on a laptop. I can’t write by hand at all – I think my handwriting muscles atrophied back in the 1990s sometime!
I write in Scrivener because I like the layout and some of the tools it offers compared to Word.
In terms of actually getting the words on the page, I have to be really strict with myself. I’m incredibly good at procrastinating and incredibly bad at focusing… So I use all sorts of productivity methods to help me actually get my books written. I time myself and write in sprints (usually 25 minute sprints with 5 minute breaks, using the Pomodoro Timer app which helps me enormously). I also usually sprint with friends. A bit of competition helps to motivate me. If I see the other people’s word counts racketing up it makes me try harder.
The other things that helps me focus are apps that block access to certain sites when I’m supposed to be working. I love social media but it’s a terrible time suck. I often used to waste hours before I even got started on writing my words for the day. So now I use the Freedom app, combined with Hey Focus (one app wasn’t enough for me – I’m that bad!) and between those apps I’m locked out of all the fun places on the Internet every morning until 11:30. This has made a big difference for me.
CC: Do you write alone or with others?
JN: I write alone in that I have never collaborated with another author (yet). But I write with others in that I sprint with friends. I also have two alpha readers who read my stories while they are still works in progress. They read a chapter or two at a time and give me immediate feedback. I’m an instant gratification person and I need that external encouragement and reassurance. My alpha readers tell me that the story is okay (or if it’s not, they tell me why so I can fix it), and let me bounce ideas off them if I get stuck. I wouldn’t be without them!
CC: Are you a plotter, or a pantser or a combo of both?
JN: I guess I’m a combination of the two. It’s not fair to say that I don’t do any planning, but I tend to get in a terrible muddle with my planning and my stories rarely stay on track. Basically I have the instincts of a planner, but I suck at it—which causes me a lot of stress—but I’m learning to work with my limitations and trust my slightly chaotic process. It hasn’t failed me yet.
CC: Have you self-published, or would you consider self-publishing?
JN: Yes, absolutely. I’ve self-published nine books and four short stories now. I also have five books with Dreamspinner Press and several audiobooks with them too. I have huge respect for Dreamspinner and would happily recommend them to anyone, but self-publishing has a lot of advantages and it suits me better. It’s very much a personal decision for any author and might not be the right choice for everyone, but for me the pros of self-pubbing outweigh the cons.
CC: What do you like about being a featured author at GRL?
JN: I don’t know yet because I’m a GRL virgin, but I’m really excited about coming to Kansas City this year for my first GRL. It’s going to be wonderful to meet readers and other authors in person, who until now I’ve only connected with online. Two of my oldest/best writer friends are going to be there (Posy Roberts and N.R. Walker) and I haven’t met either of them in the flesh before, so it’s going to be awesome to get to hug them for real 🙂
My most recent release came out on June 22nd. It’s the third in a college/university series called the Housemates Series and all three stories can be read as standalones.
Getting experience with the guy next door seems like a great idea—until the lines blur.
Dev, a geeky first year physics student, has zero sexual experience and he’s determined to change that ASAP. After a bad time in halls of residence, he’s starting the summer term with different housemates and a new plan of action.
Ewan lives in the house next door to Dev. He’s young, free and single, and isn’t looking to change that anytime soon. When awkward circumstances throw them together, Ewan offers to help Dev out in the bedroom in return for maths tutoring, and Dev jumps at the chance.
They work their way through Dev’s sex-to-do list, but what starts as a perfect no-strings arrangement gets more complicated as their feelings for each other begin to grow. If they’re going to turn their lessons in lovemaking into something more permanent, they need to work out how they feel about each other—before they get to the end of Dev’s list.
Come back next week and check out Wade Kelly’s unique interview and the cover reveal of her newest book.