Interview Questions for Jory Strong:

Jory Welcome to my blog. It’s a pleasure to have you here.
Jory: Thanks for inviting me. This is my very first guest appearance, so a new experience for me.

Wendy:You have two upcoming releases, DRAGON MATE and GHOSTLAND, can you tell us in your own words about each release?

JS: Well, first I’d point out that they are two very different kinds of writing. Ghostland is a new direction for me. It’s a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy romance with erotic elements as opposed to Dragon Mate, which is straight erotic romance.

Dragon Mate was meant to be a novella, following on the heels of Supernatural Bonds: Drui Claiming, but Kirill and Jazzlyn wouldn’t let me stop writing at the 30,000 word cutoff for novella  Kirll is a dragon male who intends to go to the human realm, collect the mate he knows is meant for him (Jazzlyn), then bring her straight back home. Unfortunately for him, it’s not going to be that easy. Jazzlyn is searching for her disappeared cousin and he has no choice but to stay among humans and help her.

In Ghostland, Aisling is taken from her home and forced to go to Oakland to perform a shaman’s service on behalf of an important man. In the course of doing it she summons Zurael, who she thinks is a demon (he’s actually a Djinn). He intends to kill her for calling and commanding him, but ends up needing to protect her instead as they both try to accomplish tasks they’ve agreed to undertake. There are powerful forces at work behind the scenes and larger goals, including the return of the Djinn and the reclaiming of Earth. Unknown to Aisling and Zurael, they are meant to play a part in preparing for the upcoming war between supernatural beings.

WK:What is your favorite thing about writing and publishing?

JS:It depends on the project. Some of them I absolutely love the pre-planning stage, plotting, developing story worlds. For others, inspiration strikes and it’s the writing itself I love.

WK:What is your least favorite or most hated thing about writing and publishing?

JS: The waiting—1st, from time of story submission until I hear from my editor (Sue-Ellen Gower at EC/Cindy Hwang at Berkley) on whether or not she likes it. 2nd, from time of final editing to release date. And 3rd, from release date (or when ARCs go out) until I start getting feedback from readers. It’s agonizing.

WK:Do you see a difference in sales with your ebooks vs your print version of books? Which sells more?

JS:The jury is out with respect to Ghostland, since this is my first Berkley release. I have to say, I’m totally thrilled it’s releasing in electronic format on April 7, the same day as it’s out in print. Berkley seems to have embraced electronic publishing. As far as my erotic romance works with Ellora’s Cave go, e-books sell best by a wide margin, which makes sense. EC is an electronic publishing house. That’s where their emphasis is and I don’t see it changing.

WK:Do you think ebooks get more support and respect now than they did in the years past?

JS:Absolutely. Economic conditions are forcing the big print publishing houses to reevaluate their business model. There is too much waste in the current one, with so many books ending up disposed of with their covers stripped and returned for credit. Profits are lean compared to electronic books. And more and more readers want and are asking for e-books.

WK: Do you see a big future with ebooks?

JS:Definitely. I think the Kindle welcomed in the era of e-books. There will always be a place for print books, but in the future, I think e-books will move out ahead, especially as a generation that uses their phones for everything from texting to surfing the internet to reading and taking pictures becomes the primary reading market.

WK:Do you have an ebook reader you recommend over any other?

JS:As of a couple weeks ago when my parents surprised me with a gift, I’m now the happy owner of a Kindle 2. I love it! As far as other devices go, if I were to make a prediction, I’d say the choice is going to come down to a Kindle or a Sony Reader, either of them being a good one.

WK: Who would you say has influenced you the most in your life? In your writing?

JS:In my life, my parents. We’re very close. I never went through a teen period of rebellion. When I was growing up, they had high expectations, but they always let me make my own choices. As an adult, they’ve been supportive, even when I took up horseshoeing despite having a college education and being a CPA. Sometimes I think they enjoy my success as an author more than I do! They love reading book reviews and snippets from fan e-mails.

In my writing, I’d have to say, all the authors and books I’ve read.

WK:Who is your favorite author?

JS:This is a tough one. I’ve got quite a number of authors who are auto-buys for me. Nalini Singh when it comes to romance, Robert Crais and J.D. Robb when it comes to mystery/suspense, Wen Spencer when it comes to fantasy.

WK: What is your favorite book by another author? Of the books you’ve written?

JS:The books I seem to return to over and over again when I feel like rereading a story rather than picking something from my TBR pile are Wen Spencer’s Ukiah Oregon or Tinker series books, particularly Tinker, Tainted Trail, and Dog Warrior.

As far as my books go, it changes over time. Crime Tells: Calista’s Men was my favorite for ages. Now it’s probably a tie between The Angelini: Mystic’s Run and Carnival Tarot: Kiziah’s Reading. I think they’re the best I’ve written at Ellora’s Cave. The Berkley books are different. I can’t really compare them to my erotic romance works. Ghostland was so completely satisfying to write, plus it’s my NY debut, it will always hold a favored position, though Spider-Touched, which is out in August, is a very close second. Both of them pushed me to grow as a writer.

WK:What one thing would you change about your writing career?

JS:With respect to my career, I don’t think there’s anything I could change. All the years of writing, all the rejections and the stories that will never see the light of day were stepping stones to where I am now. I’d like to write faster without sacrificing quality, but I haven’t figured out a way to do it, so I just keep moving slowly and steadily along.

WK:What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

JS:Write and finish what you start. There’s no getting around it. You can attend conferences, take classes, and read “how to” books, but ultimately there are no short cuts allowing you to avoid the hard work it takes to get to the point of being publishable. You’ve got to write and finish the stories you’ve started. Until you get all the way to THE END, you can’t evaluate what you need to do in order to improve. Getting to the end is also what it takes to develop self-discipline. Inspiration only carries you so far, then it’s all about hunkering down and grinding through to get the first draft done.

WK: Do you feel readers need to read previous titles before reading your current books? If yes what previous titles should they read?

JS:They stand alone, though Dragon Mate is connected to Sophie’s Dragon (book 3 in the Supernatural Bonds series) and Drui Claiming (book 4). It’s not necessary, but I think readers might enjoy Dragon Mate more if they read the other two books (in order) first.

WK: What does the future hold for you?

JS: Hopefully more stories to tell, both with EC and Berkley! My fingers are crossed that Ghostland and Spider-Touched will resonate with readers and I’ll get to finish what I see as the overreaching arc of the series. I’ve already agreed to do a third book for Berkley and will start it as soon as my current project for EC is finished and in.

WK: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know or would like to talk about?

JS:I’m always curious about what makes a reader try a new author or a book by a familiar author who isn’t an auto-buy for them. How important are book reviews? Blog mentions? To start it off, I’ll say that most of the time, I discover new authors or buy from one I’ve read in the past because of reviews in Romantic Times, or from seeing the title on Amazon, generated by my purchase history.

Thank you Jory for visiting with us today!

*One lucky poster will be given their choice of a print or ebook that Jory has on hand. So be sure to leave your contact information or check back to see who won this awesome prize!*