About Deborah Jay:
Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find the time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook.
She has a dream of a day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.
A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in a trilogy and winner of a UK Arts Board award, is available from most ebook retailers. Her eco-Urban Fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, (first in a projected 5 book series) is the tale of a Scottish water sprite trying to live as a human, and is currently available on Amazon.
What inspires you to write?
Inspiration is the wrong word for me – I have a wildly overactive imagination that simply demands an outlet.
If I’m not writing, I’m daydreaming, and I really love to share my stories with other people.
Tell us about your writing process.
My process is evolving all the time. I began as an out-and-out pantser, starting with an idea and running with it; by far the most fun as I get to watch the story unfold for the first time, just like a reader.
Unfortunately (for me) these days, as I’m writing series and handling multiple on-going plot strands, I have to do at least an outline before I set off, otherwise it would become so tangled and mired with tangential plots and dead end ideas that editing it into some form of readable book would be too time consuming.
At this time, I outline on post-it notes stuck on a big board, just putting down major plot points and character arcs, and once I have a firm starting point, I set off. The ending is a little more fluid in terms of detail, although I do know roughly where I’m going.
Character sketches are my latest distraction; I know a fair bit about my main characters before I start, but sometimes one of my minor characters suddenly decides to transmute into a major player, and then I have to sit down and detail their back story before I can continue – essential if they are to interact with plausible motivations.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I overhear all their conversations and try to faithfully record them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read, read and read. Identify what makes for you a gripping read, in terms of structure, character, dialogue and pacing.
Then write, write and write. You need to exercise your writing skills for them to improve.
Finally, learn to edit – develop a thick skin and take constructive criticism; it’s there to help you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have non-fiction books published with a traditional publishing house, and for the type of book I write (on horse training) with lots of photographs and illustrations, that’s still the only practical route.
My first novel (Epic Fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN) was agented, and did the rounds of the US publishers but failed to sell. Now I’m glad it didn’t. I’ve learned that unless you are a big name, no publisher is going to spend more than a few cents on marketing, so as I’ve had to do all my own marketing for the equestrian books, I was already experienced when I self-published that novel that failed to sell. And it paid off, shifting 1500 copies in the first 3 months.
I’d still advise new authors to explore their options; one size does not fit all.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
That the traditional houses will continue to shrink and amalgamate, but probably not vanish altogether. At least, not for a good few years.
The booming indie publishing world will need to find some, as yet, un-thought of, way to assess quality. Perhaps the outlets, Amazon, Apple etc. will step in on this, or maybe we will have to find a way ourselves. Poorly written, poorly edited books can repel readers, and we can’t afford to lose our customers.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Epic fantasy, Urban fantasy, Equestrian non-fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print