Jali always loved writing but she'd been fed the idea of the starving writer and didn't want to live in poverty. Hence she carved out a career as an Executive Assistant. Before that, she did lots of things, including the most interesting: freelancing as a body-painted mime artist at corporate events (yes really!) After marriage and motherhood, she decided it was time to pursue a career which would nourish her soul instead of just her bank account.
Jali writes novels featuring diverse characters which combine gritty realism with paranormal fantasy. She lives in London with her husband and daughters, works full-time, writes on the side and has a weird obsession with foraging for wild food.
What inspires you to write?
I'm a spiritual seeker. I'm fascinated by the paranormal and anything in our Universe which isn't yet understood and which hasn't yet been explained. So I write urban fantasy books which help me to provide theories and possible explanations for some of that unexplained stuff. My novels feature some of the larger philosophical questions about life. My World Breacher series, for example, grappled with the big question 'Is it possible for souls in Hell to be granted redemption?'
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Hands down Leigh Bardugo. She's the kind of writer I'd like to grow into being. I also love Philip Pullman and Annette Marie. I still have lots of authors I haven't yet read and am working my way through. I've only just started 'reading' Ilona Andrews – I'm actually listening to the first Kate Daniels novel while I work out and take my kids to the park. Multi-tasking is essential for me so I have time to write, work full time and also read and do all the other stuff life throws at me. I always read 2 books at a time – 1 audiobook while I do other stuff and 1 novel to read at bedtime.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'd love to be an outliner but actually I think I'm a plantser or combination between the two. I do character outlines in advance and a bit of research such as finding pictures of the type of architecture or landscape I need for certain scenes and pictures of the characters. Finding photos of the male love interest is great fun! I always do a meticulous outline using a combination of excel and Trello. I follow this outline for about two thirds of the book. The entire time I'm following this I'm in pain! I'm aware that it's not good, that there are things I don't like but I'm often not yet at the point that I know what is wrong with it. Once I get to about 50k words in, I usually have an epiphany about what things need changing or rethinking and I either pants the entire book again from the start or pants most of it. This second draft is the one that I eventually settle on, in terms of the plot. Then I obviously do several more continuity, grammar and style rewrites to get it as close to perfect as I can before sending it to beta readers for their comments.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
No. I know lots of writers say their characters become good friends but not me. I do miss my characters once I've finished a series. I get fond of them but that's not because I have actual conversations with them – I wish I did but I'm not one of those writers.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be disciplined with your word count targets even when you're not in the mood. Brandon Sanderson has an online lecture series (free on Youtube, listen to it, it's excellent) and he says often the days when he thought he had 'writer's block' and expected what he wrote would be terrible, when he read it back the next day, it wasn't so bad. I've found the same to be true of myself. Sometimes you think what you're writing is bad because you're in a low mood but your writing is not actually bad. Also, take the business side of writing just as seriously as the craft side of it. That is essential these days and it's unlikely you'll succeed unless you spend time on both.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I listened to indie podcasts for years before deciding to take the plunge as an indie author myself. For me it was a no-brainer. People are enticed by traditional publishing either because they want fame and awards or because they think they won't have to do any marketing. Neither of those things are true anymore. Very few traditionally published writers get famous and you still have to do your own marketing… except you're only making 8% (or less) of the profit of your books. As a self-published author you make 75% and there is such a thriving, supportive indie author community online that you won't be doing it alone, like you will as a traditionally published author. It might take a few years to get profitable and you have to be prepared for that but it's a business and it's similar in many businesses in that regard.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think more and more of the market share of the publishing industry will be taken up by self-published authors. More and more of the reading public will switch over to e-readers. Audio books will become a huge driver of sales in the future (they already do but that's going to grow more).
What genres do you write?: Dark Fantasy and Urban Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.