This month's Hidden Diamond is a fellow Soul Mate author and a Golden Heart Finalist who can always be counted on for an interesting discussion, Jaycee Jarvis. I share her love of fantasy and romance and am intrigued by how she's put the two together for her Hands of Destin series.
The latest installment of the series, Deadly Courtship, released in May through Soul Mate Publishing. The series follows a group of magically gifted friends, as they fight corruption in their government posts and find love along the way. In Deadly Courtship, Madi, a member of the elite guard in the tropical town of Trimble, finds her loyalties tested in unexpected ways when her former lover is accused of murder.
Today, Jaycee shares her thoughts on the emotional experiences her readers are looking for, her writing process, and her answer to the eternal debate of astronauts versus cavemen.
Creating Emotional Experience
I really want to thank Jennifer for having me on her blog today! I’m passionate about reading and writing, so it is a real treat to be able to go on at length about my favorite subjects.
I once heard fiction writing described as the art of creating an emotional experience with the reader. That really resonated with me, and my watchword as a writer is to authentically craft the experience my readers crave.
I think one of the important purposes of genre labels is to help readers figure out what emotion to expect. Want to be frightened? Horror is there for you. Looking for a laugh? Many bookstores have a humor section. Now good books are not completely one note and will mix different emotions into the story to keep it interesting. Still there is an emotional theme or tone to most novels, and genre plays a role in cluing the reader into the tone before they pick up the book. Because I write across genres, straddling both fantasy and romance, I’m hyper-aware of those reader expectations.
Fantasy stories promise wonder and surprise, with problems and solutions far removed from our mundane world. Readers pick up a fantasy novel to be transported, to experience new possibilities. Romance, on the other hand, is all about the feels. Readers want to intimately know and understand the characters in a romance novel, and of course romance has the all important happy ending.
Authors who don’t write romance sometimes have the mistaken impression that delivering an HEA (happily ever after) somehow makes romance easier to write. After all, you already know the ending. But in some ways the promise that everything will turn out right in the end can be extremely challenging to deliver. Readers also want an interesting story, which means obstacles and conflict are a must, and then those problems have to be satisfyingly resolved. And what exactly constitutes a satisfactory resolution can be a matter of personal taste.
I’ve had beta readers complain because the villain didn’t meet a bloody enough end in my book. Because part of a happy ending includes a comeuppance for the bad guys, especially in fantasy. And I took their critique to heart, which strengthened the story at the same time.
As both a reader and a writer I enjoy the opportunity epilogues give to show the characters in the future, beyond the drama and whirlwind of the story. When I’m writing the capstone to my own novels, I always hope the reader will savor the proof that my characters have found their bliss and will live happily ever after.
- Jaycee Jarvis
Author Interview with Jaycee Jarvis
What is the wildest thing you've done to research a book?
I have a tendency to go down deep internet rabbit holes exploring obscure bits of history or ancient tech, but I don’t know if it’s exactly wild and crazy. I’m also a big gleaner, where everything I experience has the possibility of ending up in my books. I didn’t take a trip to Costa Rica strictly to research my books, but you can bet those humid hikes through the natural wonder of a rainforest found their way into my books set in a magical jungle kingdom.
What is your writing process?
I’m a pantser with aspirations to be a plotter. I think it would be much more efficient to plan my stories out in advance, and cut down on rewrites, but somehow my creative mind doesn’t work like that. My stories tend to surprise me in wonderful ways, and never stick to the plan. The revision processes is where I really get into the meat of the story, since I have to draft to discover what the story is actually about.
What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
I was a reader long before I was a writer and it is still my go-to leisure activity. I love getting lost in the worlds that other writers create, and usually find myself inspired to get back to my own stories.
Who is your favourite fictional crush?
I will always have a soft spot for the man in black aka Wesley from the Princess Bride. I imprinted on that movie as a teen.
And in the spirit of the ongoing Joss Whedon debate, who would win: astronauts or cavemen?
Astronauts for sure, and I don’t think they’d even need the technological advantage. Their germs alone would wipe out the cavemen.
Thank you, Jaycee, for being one of my Hidden Diamonds! And if you'd like your own copies of Jaycee's books or to follow her on social media, you can find her here.
And if you'd like to spend a little more time on this website, you can check out my latest release, a steampunk romance created specially for Romancing the Capital, A Star To Steer Her By.
Or you can check out last month's Hidden Diamond, Olivia Dade and her contemporary romance series, There's Something About Marysburg.