Monday, February 01, 2010
Interview with Jayne Ann Krentz
Jayne Ann Krentz
Jayne Ann Krentz, is the author of a string of New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ uses three different pen names for each of her three "worlds". As JAYNE ANN KRENTZ (her married name) she writes contemporary romantic-suspense. She uses AMANDA QUICK for her novels of historical romantic-suspense. JAYNE CASTLE (her birth name) is reserved these days for her stories of futuristic/paranormal romantic-suspense.
"I am often asked why I use a variety of pen names," she says. "The answer is that this way readers always know which of my three worlds they will be entering when they pick up one of my books."
In addition to her fiction writing, she is the editor of, and a contributor to, a non-fiction essay collection, DANGEROUS MEN AND ADVENTUROUS WOMEN: ROMANCE WRITERS ON THE APPEAL OF THE ROMANCE published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her commitment to her chosen genre has been strong from the very beginning of her career. Each year at the annual convention of the Romance Writers of America she participates in a special day-long workshop for librarians and speaks on the importance of the romance genre.
"The romance genre is the only genre where readers are guaranteed novels that place the heroine at the heart of the story," Jayne says. "These are books that celebrate women's heroic virtues and values: courage, honor, determination and a belief in the healing power of love."
She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries. She is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.
FIRED UP (Jayne Ann Krentz)
Book One of the Dreamlight Trilogy
An Arcane Society Novel - Book #7
Hardcover - 352 pages (January 2010)
Putnam; ISBN-10: 0399155961
The New York Times—bestselling author presents her latest Arcane Society novel and introduces the first book in the Dreamlight Trilogy—the story of a curse that spans generations, and the love that can heal it. . .
More than three centuries ago, Nicholas Winters irrevocably altered his genetic makeup in an obsession fueled competition with alchemist and Arcane Society founder Sylvester Jones. Driven to control their psychic abilities, each man's decision has reverberated throughout the family line, rewarding some with powers beyond their wildest dreams, and cursing others to a life filled with madness and hallucinations.
Jack Winters, descendant of Nicholas, has been experiencing nightmares and blackouts—just the beginning, he believes—of the manifestation of the Winters family curse. The legend says that he must find the Burning Lamp or risk turning into a monster. But he can't do it alone; he needs the help of a woman with the gift to read the lamp's dreamlight.
Jack is convinced that private investigator Chloe Harper is that woman. Her talents for finding objects and accessing dream energy are what will save him, but their sudden and powerful sexual pull threatens to overwhelm them both. Danger surrounds them, and it doesn't take long for Chloe to pick up the trail of the missing lamp. And as they draw closer to the lamp, the raw power that dwells within it threatens to sweep them into a hurricane of psychic force.
Who doesn’t know Jayne Ann Krentz, no matter the pseudonym she uses. We love her as Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick and as Jayne Castle. I am thrilled beyond belief to bring you my interview with Jayne. You know how long winded I am. But this time (and no she didn’t tell me I had to keep the interview brief) I kept things brief for two reasons. I have been given permission by Mrs. Krentz to repost an article that touched me, gave me hope and has inspired me to continue in this writing career no matter what is thrown at me. I’m sure it’s had the same effect on countless writers. That’s why I wanted the chance to reach more people with her personal triumph.
Secondly, I’m aware that she’s extremely busy. You have no idea how many questions I wrote down to ask. Some were just plain nosey. LOL. Okay enough of my thoughts. If you haven’t skipped down already I’m ending my diatribe. I give you now one of the greatest writers of all times. Jayne Anne Krentz
Dyanne: Jayne, welcome and thank you for agreeing to visit my small corner of the reading world. Now that you're at a comfortable place in your career and futuristic paranormals are readily accepted would you ever consider attempting to bring, Crystal Flame, Sweet Starfire and Shield's Lady, back for another chance with readers?
JAK: Funny you should ask! As it happens, all three books are, indeed, being reissued this spring. Sweet Starfire is already available in stores. We'll see how readers react this time around.
Dyanne: Fantastic. I’m wishing you all the best. I’m thinking this time the stars are properly aligned for the reissue of the books. I've read comments from readers who've read, Crystal Flame, Sweet Starfire and Shield's Lady and loved them. Even though your first paranormals slowed your career for a moment, are they still the books of your heart? Are the books still available?
JAK: I answered part of this above. Regarding the "books of my heart" thing, I was never hung up one way or the other on the futuristic elements, what always intrigued me was the psychic stuff. For me, adding that element to a story brings a whole new dimension to the relationship. Since I can now do that as much as I want in my Arcane Society novels I'm a happy camper.
Dyanne: I am pulling for you for several different reasons. Some of it is simply because I’ve always admired you. The other reason is because I have a psychic trilogy. I keep hearing no one is buying stories about psychics. Like you I love anything having to do with the psychic world. I’m sending all good psychic vibes for the success of your books.
You said that you can't give writing and publishing advice but I think you just did both very nicely. Perseverance is the one common thread that I believe ALL authors share. During the down times in your career what did you do to persevere? Did you ever seriously want to give up the voices?
JAK: I considered quitting all the time. But here's the thing with writing: If you can quit, you probably will quit. If you can't quit then you just keep writing because you have no choice. Writing is an addiction; a compulsion. Quitting just isn't an option. Even if I never sold another book I'd keep writing.
Dyanne: Your answer to that question can never be repeated enough. At least once a week I give those, or similar words in pep talks to friends. Perhaps they’ll listen to you.
I won't ask which sub-genre that you write in is your favorite. But I will ask if there are future plans for yet another pseudonym?
JAK: No, please, no more pen names!!!!! I never set out to create three careers but that is what happened to me. I do not recommend that approach to the business, believe me.
Dyanne: (Smile) If I don’t ask you the next question my readers are going to think someone has taken over my body. (LOL) Can you give us your take on the current market?
JAK: The market is as unpredictable as ever. I think savvy booksellers, who are the ones on the front lines, are the people to ask about trends. For what it's worth, I've been hearing more and more about "steampunk romance" lately. Wikipedia has a pretty good definition of steampunk. In the past it has not been a romantic genre but I think that may be changing.
Dyanne: I am just now hearing about steampunk. As a former librarian are there any tips for writers on how to get their books into the library?
JAK: As for getting books into the library, librarians generally have to justify the purchase of a book and the most common way to do that is with reviews. Librarians who care about romance generally use PW and RT as review sources.
Dyanne: Jayne, I want to thank you once again for the interview and the opportunity to repost the article. Where can your fans reach you?
JAK: Thank you for inviting me here and best of luck to you in your writing! Readers can reach me at, http://www.jayneannkrentz.com/current.html
Dyanne: Without further ado, I bring you Jayne Ann Krentz on,
Surviving in the Writing Biz
When it comes to writing and getting published, I’m not the best person to ask for advice. I’ve shot myself (and my career) in the foot more times than I can count. I have, however, survived in this business so it struck me that the one subject I can speak to with some authority is reinventing yourself. Unfortunately, from the start of my career, I’ve had a lot of experience doing just that. Here are my handy tips for survival:
DON’T GET TOO FAR AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Trust me on this. I’ve been there and done that and it rarely goes well. Back at the beginning of my career I tried to do a futuristic/paranormal. That very first manuscript had all of the elements that I now work with freely: romance, suspense and a psychic twist. I can’t tell you how many rejection slips the manuscript garnered. They all had the same theme: “Really enjoyed the writing but unfortunately there’s no market for this kind of romance”.
Never one to learn from my mistakes, I tried more futuristic/paranormals again a few years later. By this time I had my Jayne Ann Krentz career up and running. But I killed it stone dead for a time when I finally succeeded in publishing those dang “books of my heart”: my futuristic/paranormals. Anyone remember Sweet Starfire, Crystal Flame and Shield’s Lady? Those are the books that did me in. Folks lined up around the block NOT to buy those books. My printruns crashed and burned.
With my Krentz career on life-support, I decided to retreat to a new pen name and a sub-genre I knew had an audience: Regency romance. That was when I fired up my Amanda Quick career.
The next time I tried the futuristic/paranormal genre I wised-up and did it under a name which had no bad printrun baggage attached to it: Jayne Castle (which just happens to be my birth name). This time it worked.
The takeaway lesson here is that it is very risky to be the first writer in a brand new fictional landscape. Editors look at the books and worry that there won’t be an audience. Readers look at the books and find the backdrops too strange and unfamiliar. It takes time and usually more than one author to create a new fictional landscape that a lot of readers will find comfortable. Today we are all at ease with alternate realities and futuristics that feature vampires, werewolves and the supernatural but it was not ever thus, believe me
KNOW YOUR CORE STORY: (and where it belongs!) My career has experienced several other harrowing near-death experiences but I’ll spare you the grisly details. What you probably want to know is how I survived.
The answer is that I followed one simple rule: Each time I found myself standing on the edge of the abyss, I went back to my core story and looked for a fictional landscape that could accommodate it.
Example: After my futuristic/paranormal career went off a high cliff I took a look at the basic story that I was trying to tell. I realized that if I stripped away the otherworldly settings, the exotic animals and the space ships what I had left was, essentially, a marriage-of-convenience plot. I realized right away that there was a natural home for such stories: Regency romance. That was the start of my Amanda Quick career.
The very best advice I can give you is to know and understand your core story. The themes, plot elements and the kinds of characters you love to work with will show up again and again in your books. They are the source of your power. There is usually more than one market for your core story but you may not realize that if you don’t recognize and comprehend the raw fuel that drives you.
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR SPECIAL WORLD: Yes, it took me a long time to publish the psychic and futuristic stories that I longed to do from the very start of my career but eventually I got where I wanted to be. I am now writing my books the way I have always wanted to write them.
I took a few detours before I reached my destination but I loved the journey at every stage because, when you get right down to it, regardless of the sub-genre in which I was working, I always found a way to tell my core story.