Trainspotting Reads: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Jayel: I believe that writing chooses the writer, rather than the other way around. For me, there was never any deliberate decision to be a writer. I have always been a writer, keeping journals, writing short bits for friends’ role play character profiles, and stories for game websites. The first story of the Ancient Mirrors series began as a short introductory story for a friend’s website. About 90 pages in, I realize it was a ‘book’ – and Dragon Queen was born. It would be impossible for me not to write, even if no one ever read my work. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.
TR: Where do you derive your influences from?
Jayel: I was a very lucky little girl. My grandmother was a storyteller with a firm belief in the faery faith. So, I was raised on Celt Irish folklore. All of my work has a touch of Celtic magick rooted in its foundation. I also discover characters wandering our woods, drifting in the fog, or eating breakfast in a local café. I have copious character journals, filled with all sorts of likely suspects for future tales.
TR: Do you have a favorite place to write?
Jayel: *chuckling* I have three. One is my office. It overlooks the woods and the sea, and its walls are covered in character portraits, maps and setting images. Another is my local book store, Gold Beach Books. I spend two or three mornings a week there, surrounded by the great masters of fantasy and science fiction. Just being there is inspirational. Then, there is my local library. You’ll find be there among the stacks that hold books on the mythos, magick, medieval history and ancient religions several times a month.
TR: Do you have a favorite character?
Jayel: My favorite character in the Ancient Mirrors Tales series is Cwen of Aaradan. I have watched her grow from an embittered, alienated daughter incapable of love, to selfless savior and loyal friend. She delights and amazes me. It’s been a pleasure to know her.
TR: The art for the Ancient Mirrors series is very vivid, Did you describe in great detail to the artist?
Jayel: I’ve been fortunate to have two extremely intuitive artists, Michele-lee Phelan (Ancient Mirrors series art) and Mates Laurentiu (Ever’neath series art). I do provide detailed descriptions and together, the artist and I select professional models for each character portrait. It’s really cool to have someone see Cwen’s portrait at a book signing and say, “That’s just how I pictured her when I read the book.” The character portraits are one of the most popular ‘giveaways’ on my websites.
TR: Are you a big fan of happy endings? Bitter-Sweet?(My Favorite) or just plain out tear jerkers?
Jayel: Who can resist a happy ending? They leave us feeling all warm and fuzzy. I enjoy a ‘happily ever after’ occasionally, provided the characters have struggled to earn it. Stories with bittersweet endings tend to linger with me far longer than those with ‘Disney’ endings. And, I am much more likely to reread the bittersweet tales.
I’ve never been one for tear jerkers, unless they were non-fiction. I read for research and entertainment. Real life history often ends tragically, and leaves me teary eyed. For entertainment, I lean toward the fantastic adventure, where characters must overcome tremendous odds and deal with personal demons – as well as the real ones – to find happiness.
TR: Was it hard to say "good bye" to the Ancient Mirrors Series?
Jayel: Speaking of bittersweet - it’s been a divided torment. On one hand, I’ve been paling around with the AM characters for almost five years. They’re old friends, comfortable and well known. On the flipside, I’ve had the characters of six upcoming Ever’neath novels screaming to be written, and I am enjoying the new world experiences as I develop a kinship with the Ever’neath characters.
TR: If Quondam was being made into a film, who would you cast in each role?
Jayel: Ahhhh, I’ve been asked this one a lot lately. I do know that if I were casting Yavie the Dragon Queen, I would choose Angelina Jolie. She has the same presence and natural physical strength, and the timeless beauty and maturity that I see in Yavie. Beyond that, I don’t know; so I guess I would have to defer to the professionals for casting. *laughing* Let’s face it, if a studio offered to make Quondam into a film I would be thrilled, and more than happy to let them have the creative limelight.
TR: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you are doing?
Jayel: I’ve just completed the first book of the Ever’neath series, and am currently at work on the second. The new stories take place in the sky cities of the Empyrean Sidhe (pronounced ‘shee’) and the world below called Ever’neath. The common thread throughout the series is the search for the Haelo-Qua (HALO kwa) – a being capable of voicing the images in the fabled Book of Silence, a great treasure believed to grant limitless power to those who possess it, and can control its singer.
The story is great fun to write. I hope it will be as much fun to read. As with the Ancient Mirrors series, maps, and a glossary with phonetic spellings for those who want to know how I pronounce it, will be in every book.
TR: If you could say one thing to your fans, what would it be?
Jayel: Thank you. It is you, the readers, who truly give the work life. Every time a book is read, it’s resurrected, given new meaning with each reader’s discovery. The best part of writing is meeting my readers, whether it’s an email through the Ancient Mirrors website, a comment on a blog, or in person at a book event. I cherish every contact. My favorite part of the morning is answering fan mail. So please, don’t ever stop chatting me up.