About J. New:
British author J. New writes crime thrillers with a dark side, short stories and flash fiction with a twist. She draws on her interests in psychology, spirituality and the metaphysical to weave tales that explore the darker side of human nature.
It’s difficult to pigeonhole her writing into a particular genre; it’s a mix of crime, thriller, murder-mystery and suspense with a touch of the supernatural.
Her first novel, due out summer 2015, ‘A Poisoned Mind’ features protagonist Dr. Mary Gray, a criminal profiler and poisons expert with a secret past and an eerie gift. A child prodigy with an unhealthy upbringing, followed by an event in her twenties that would have catastrophic repercussions, Gray teeters on the brink of a mental breakdown whilst hunting a serial killer.
J. New’s writer influences include Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Clive Barker. But there is a lighter side to her reading matter and she is a fan of everything by Terry Pratchett, loving the characters of Death, Rincewind, and the witches in particular. Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman are also given plenty of room on her bookshelves.
A staunch supporter of Indie-authors she loves scouring bookstores, both physical and virtual for her next favourite writer. She currently lives with her partner and three rescue dogs, where she drinks too much coffee and is a slave to her keyboard.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always written and produced visual art; I have an almost visceral need to create. But my inspiration to continue comes from my readers and fans. There is nothing more fabulous for a writer, than getting correspondence saying how much a reader loved a particular book or short story, and then asking when the next one is due out. I’ve had numerous emails about the free short story on my website, The Yellow Cottage. It’s not a dark thriller, but it has a great twist, which is something I am known for. And I’ve had requests asking me to write a series, written in the same style and locale, which I am considering for the future. Without my readers buying my work, I wouldn’t be able to continue as a writer, so I make sure I write and produce the highest quality books possible, as my way of thanking them for supporting me.
I write the types of books I love to read and inspiration for writing can come from anywhere. With the world at your fingertips via the Internet, story ideas, characters and plots can come from the most obscure directions.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely a combination of outliner and pants; it depends on what I’m writing. For me, if it’s a larger work, which requires a more in-depth character, back-story and plot analysis, then I will map it out. If it’s a short or flash fiction then it’s more of a pants process. In the case of The Yellow Cottage, I woke one morning with the story complete in my head. That doesn’t happen often but it’s exciting when it does. With something like that I get down the words as quickly as possible, in a sort of free-writing process, so as not to lose the thread, and then go back an edit accordingly.
With my last collection Predator or Prey I used a combination of the two. It was important to me that the protagonists were as far removed from my own character as possible, so I needed to get inside the head of unsavoury characters, who were doing abominable things. This meant outlining plots, characters and desires first, and then getting it down. For that I used a good old-fashioned pencil and notebook, and then input into Scrivener. I use Scrivener for all my work, it’s by far the best tool available to a writer and I would recommend it to everyone. I’ve only just begun to explore its total capability, so as I learn new tricks it may be that my method of writing changes.
I also use Pinterest to pin images I come across that provide inspiration for the story, characters and place settings. It’s a great resource for promoting to fans and as a reminder to me, as a writer.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my muse in the main. I tend to know a lot about my characters thorough writing their back-stories, so I know how they are likely to react or speak in each scene. However my muse sometimes throws me a curve ball, which can be exhilarating as it brings exciting aspects to the story that I hadn’t thought about.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be prepared for hard work, and if you’re in it purely for the money then stop right now and do something else. A writer’s life is not an easy one, you need to be dedicated and almost single minded to make it work. It can be lonely, and success doesn’t come over-night for most authors. Lightening does strike, but it’s rare and not something you can rely on. That said; there has never been a more exciting time to become an Indie-author than now, so if you really want to become an writer, then embrace it with both hands, learn as much as you can from other authors, and produce the most professional work you can.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It was a matter of artistic control. I wanted to be able to have full input into all aspects of the process, and in order to do that I chose to self-publish. Contrary to what a lot of people think, being an Indie-Author is not synonymous with being an amateur. It’s about being a professional who chooses to keep control of their work, so they can provide the highest quality for their readers. It also is much faster to get your book into the market place and into the hands of your readers, which is a huge benefit. And of course the rights to my work remain with me. However should the right opportunity to publish traditionally come along, then I would be a fool not to consider it.
My advise to new authors would be to research the pros and cons of each route, and then decide for yourself which is the best for you. There are many authors who are using a hybrid approach; a combination of traditional and Indie publishing, so that is also something to consider.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future of book publishing is a truly exciting one for Indie-authors, particularly if we look back at how much it has changed in recent years. The future of e-books is now assured, and in the short term, I would expect that area to be making up around 50% of the market, if not more. I think the caliber of the work has also improved considerably. The discerning reader no longer wants the amateur and low quality works that flooded the market at the start, and are more apt to follow those authors that produce quality work. This is good news for Indies who are already using professional services, and that is what the traditional publishing houses have brought to the industry, they know how to make a printed book look fantastic. But I also think that the traditional publishers can learn from self-publishers, particularly in the way they market and provide access to the books for the readers.
I also see Indies collaborating more on projects in the future, providing better products and better value for readers. Those writing in the same genre are no longer in competition with each other, that is the legacy from the traditional publishers and bricks and mortar stores, where your book was vying for attention among others on a shelf, with a time limit. Now, at a click of a button, a book can be in a virtual store within minutes and it will stay there. People are reading more than ever before, because it’s so accessible. If they like a particular genre then they will pick up several books by different authors, because e-books are great value for money.
The youth of today are the readers of the future and they’ve been brought up with technology. They can buy and read books at the press of a button, on the go. On their phone, tablet, e-reader or computer and technology will only improve. But I’d like to think that the future of the printed word, the small independent bookshops and libraries, that are so important to communities will continue, that they will be able to adapt and change according to the industry. After all, there’s nothing quite like holding a newly printed book in your hand, especially if it’s your own.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Crime, Murder/Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Urban-Thriller, Short Stories, Twisted Tales, Flash Fiction.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print