Her name is Jennifer…did you know?
Welcome to round 2 of JAY CROWNOVER’s author spotlight. I got to know Jay a little better over the past couple of weeks, and I’m glad I can say she’s totally down to earth and the hype around her book didn’t make her go all aloof or anything like that. She’s a funny woman and everything I had expected. Here’s what I could squeeze out of her in a brief interview:
Me: Okay, for a little warm up: Chocolate or vanilla? And in the form of ice cream or cake?
Jay: Neither…I like mixed. And best would be Vanilla cake with chocolate ice cream.
Me: Ah, she doesn’t leave anything out, that one, LOL. I found out, you’re pretty much my age, which we won’t give away now 😉 but tell us what you have been doing in your life before “Rule”.
Jay: What everyone else does I guess, went to school, graduated, got a great job, got laid off, went back to school, got another job…this one was not as great in terms of finance, though. I was married sometime in there and got divorced. I traveled some, collected some amazing friends, spent time with my really cool family, saw some killer shows and hung out with cute boys in bands. I built a rock-solid support system along the way. I didn’t change the world or really do anything remarkable but I have always tried to live a good life and do the most with what I have available at the time.
Me: And since?
Jay: I’m a lot busier. I have to find time to write, to do correspondence with folks that want to talk to me. I have to be on the internet a whole lot more. I’m getting pulled in a lot of directions which is new for me since I am kind of a control freak. I spend less time at my 9-5 job now and I’ve had to invest a lot more time and money into being an actual writer versus someone that just writes. I still haven’t changed the world but I will be the first to admit that what happened with RULE was remarkable.
Me: A 9-5 job? What do you do?
Jay: I run in a bar here in town and I typically work more like 11-9.
Me: Wow, that’s so cool. But knowing what you write about, I probably shouldn’t be surprised. What do you particularly like about working there?
Jay: I’m good at it. I don’t have to get up early. I make my own hours. Beer delivery guys are super cute and like to flirt. I have a group of really great kids I work with. I can drink for free when I want to.
Mostly I love the customers and their stories. Right now my regular clientele consists of a bunch of young guys and guys my age that just got out of the military and are back in school on the GI-bill. It’s amazing what some of them have seen and have been through at such a young age. It’s impressive. I admire them and the fact they are essentially starting their lives over after Uncle Sam got through with them. I ultimately love a good story so when you work in a bar there is never a shortage of that going around.
Me: Mmmh, I do envy you a little right now for the beer delivery guys, and then I can never resist a guy in uniform. Maybe I should drop in at some point and have a drink with the guys. 😉 However…do you think you will ultimately give up working in the bar to have more writing time in the future?
Jay: I guess it depends on what happens with Jet. I’ve been toying with the idea of what I’m ultimately going to do since RULE took off. I am a person that could drown in an ocean of ‘what-if’s’ given the chance so it’s hard for me to jump into something with an unknown success rate feet first.
Regardless I love to write and will do it on the side until I make a firm decision on what I want to be when I grow up.
Me: When you grow up you say? Is that going to happen anytime within the next 30 to 40 years or so? 😉
Jay: One can hope. I want to be old enough to know better and young enough not to care.
Me: I guess you never expected the hype you created with your debut novel. How do you deal with it? And what did your family say?
Jay: I take it with a grain of salt. I have a whole series of books I want to write about this crew and I try to keep in perspective that RULE was special and there is a possibility that maybe readers won’t embrace the rest of the guys the same way. Everything that happened with the first book was a gift and a surprise, so I want to keep realistic expectations.
My family is awesome. I didn’t really tell anyone what my plans with RULE were so I think they were surprised, not by the success because they love me and think I’m great, but I’ve been talking about writing a book for years and never did it. My mom understands the under-currents throughout RULE on a different level than other readers, my dad tells me I should have published a book a million years ago and reminds me about finding half finished, hand written manuscripts all over the house from when I was a teen, my Aunt wants to help me with my technical writing ability because frankly I suck at it, and my Gram wants to buy a Kindle to read it…OMG could you imagine me trying to explain a Jacobs-ladder or an Apa-piercing to my 84 year old grandma…Lol
Me: Holy shit, I’d really like to see that, LOL. I recently wrote my first adult book, which contains graphic sex, and I have yet to let my family read that… Yeah, I’m not exactly that up-front. Well, next question. On your Facebook page, I saw a dog. Want to tell us who he is? Are there more in your house?
Jay: I have 3. A black lab—Charley, A boy Italian Greyhound—Duce (the one in the pic), A girl Italian Greyhound—Pistol
Me: I like the name Duce. It’s cool. Could be another addition to the dudes you write about. 😉 Where do you get the ideas for your characters’ names from anyway?
Jay: I like stuff that is one syllable and stuff that you wouldn’t hear every day…I dunno, as person saddled with a boring name, I like to shake it up.
Me: What kind of clothes did you like to wear at age ten? Twenty? Now?
Jay: I don’t remember 10. My mom has awesome sparkly, blingy style so I am sure I looked cute and glittery all the time. I had super long, red hair and permed bangs, though, which were epically bad.
I was pretty punk-rock at 20, so there were a lot of short plaid shirts, combat boots, really tight pants and band t-shirts. I had the requisite studded vest and leather jacket and I had a shaved head with little bangs that I changed colors all the time. Those pictures never fail to make anyone go “whoa!”
Now I tend toward jeans and a cute top with motorcycle boots or Vans. I like a good vintage dress with rockabilly flair and I have grown up clothes and shoes for work. My hair still changes a lot but that’s okay because otherwise the kids that work for me would get bored.
Me: Changing the hair is one thing we have in common, lass. 😉 When you have time to read, what genre are you drawn to?
Jay: I like a little bit of everything. I’m not a huge paranormal fan but if anything is done well I’ll give it a chance. I’m leery of anything that I feel was written too genre, you just have to connect the dots so that it fits in this category or that. That’s one of the reasons I’m so glad any Indie-author can publish on their own. Those books feel less regimented and freer to me.
Me: I totally know what you mean. That’s why I broke with my publisher and set a new course with my books. Speaking of books, name one book that you could read time and again?
Jay: Ritual Sin’s by Anne Stuart….it’s old but man is it good. Intense and weird and such a complicated story, in fact it’s almost hard to read. She was the first author I ever read that made a bad-boy actually BAD…not just like a caricature of what a bad boy should be.
Me: I haven’t heard of that book, but do you mean bad as in actually worse than Rule? 😉
Jay: I mean bad as in a bad person by circumstances and design but you end up in love with him anyway. He is way worse than Rule.
Me: Did you ever have a book boy crush? Who was it?
Jay: I like Ty McCabe from the Never Series by CM Stunich, I just finished Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder and I gotta say Colt had all the things I like in a book boyfriend as well.
Me: Cool, Falling Into You is next on my list, too. Now I actually can’t wait. I believe you’re getting lots and lots of fan mail. Are you answering them all?
Jay: I sure try. It’s fun because a lot of people think I’m a dude.
Me: They what?? I would never think that a dude would be able to write romance the way you did. At least, I haven’t come across anything alike from a man’s hand. 😉
Jay: It’s the name that confuses them, I think. Jay is short for Jennifer, by the way. I think what some folks will say to a guy is way different than from what they’ll say to a chick, so it’s always interesting. I figure if someone can take time out of their day to drop me a line, I sure as hell can squeeze in the time to say thank you.
Me: She tells me they are way over 40 emails a week, so this is really awesome of her, I think. What was the nicest thing a reader ever said about your book?
Jay: That after reading it, it made him want to get his junk pierced….yep best compliment ever.
I do love it when people write me and tell me they have lost a sibling or have struggled with family dynamics like I presented in RULE. I am always so touched when they let me know they can relate to something I created. If you can see yourself or part of your world reflected back at you from the pages of a book it makes the reading experience so much more powerful. At least I know it does for me.
Me: What was the worst thing a reader ever said about your book?
Jay: I guess that I shouldn’t use tattoos and body modification to signify growth and coming of age. They implied that it was like promoting body modification and trying to lure younger readers into thinking that it was okay. They said something about me trying to create a cult following of tattooed freaks.
Me: Wow, that’s gross.
Jay: It was just weird and off base. I don’t care if people who read my stuff are tattooed or not. I don’t suggest anyone ever do anything permanent to their body without serious consideration.
Me: But I do believe that, with or without intention, you might have started something there. After I read the book, I actually thought about getting my tongue pierced, or maybe a lip ring. I have a tattoo on my right leg, and several years back, I had a barbell through my bottom lip. It never healed thoroughly, so I had to take it out again, and since I hate pain, I never had it done again. Too bad. So yeah, your book does touch people in a different way.
Do bad reviews still hurt you?
Jay: They never hurt me. I was confused at first, because I didn’t understand how this book was being read by so many people. I say all the time it was whim but I don’t think people really understand how clueless I really was. I see all the stuff about editing and I have heard some people feel it drags in spots but I am of the mind ‘you can’t please all the people all the time’ with that.
I tried to get it fixed up after that, and when that still wasn’t good enough I just figured the ship had sailed. I had to learn not to take it personally. People who are mad about the editing and grammar don’t know me and they can always get a refund. JET is going to a professional, expensive as heck editor, so all I can say about that is it won’t happen again.
If people don’t want to support what I’m about then that is okay, and if they want to give me a second chance to get JET out all perfect, then they are welcome to do that too.
Me: RULE is clearly a phenomenon, but I can totally relate to those readers who don’t like dealing with the lack of editing. Heck, it took me 5 weeks to make up my mind whether I wanted to give it a try or not. Now I’m like totally happy I did 😉 Was there an inspiration for Rule, someone you know from the bar maybe?
Jay: Rule has a lot of different parts of people in him. He isn’t based on any one person but his attitude and his emotional unavailability come straight from the first boyfriend I ever had when I was a teenager.
Me: Does that guy know about this? 😉
Jay: Probably…if you ask him he knows everything about everything.
Me: You’re agented now. The Corvisiero agency, I think, right? How and when did that happen?
Jay: Stacey found me the first week RULE was out. I had a couple different offers from some different agencies but she was honest about things, wasn’t scared of my big mouth, and I like that she doesn’t pull any punches. Plus she’s Canadian and I like when she says eh……
Me: Who’s the publisher of your choice? Will Rule be republished with one of them soon?
Jay: I have no preference in a publishing house, one that lets me do what I do and doesn’t try and put me on a leash would be my pick. The going thought is that Rule will be bought as part of a series if he gets picked up. He’s out there on the wings but I think everyone is kind of waiting to see if I can do it again with JET. Like I said hype is fleeting and success can be a short lived thing.
Me: What is the best choice you could have made?
Jay: In life…filing for divorce last year. For myself…hitting that publish button in Dec.
Me: If you could go out for lunch with one of your characters tonight, who would it be and what would be the first thing you’d tell them?
Jay: I love Cora. I mean I feel like if she was real we would be besties. She is fun to write, fun to read, she is just fun. She was only supposed to pop up in the first book for a second, but now she’s all over the place, and I have big plans for her later on. I guess I would tell her to keep an eye on all those boys; things are going to be pretty exciting around that shop for the next few years. I would let her know she doesn’t want to miss it 😉
Quick draw questions:
Best friend forever?
Jay: My mom and Settie
Hugs or kisses?
Jay: I like breakfast for dinner!!!!
Jay: Really? Uh yeah super tattooed for me and whoever else I happen to be getting naked with at the time!!!
Piercings in which places?
Jay: Anything that you can’t see when you’re dressed is always a nice surprise to find later on…wink wink
Favorite long drink?
Jay: I drink Bud Light and that is pretty much it for adult beverages…have been known to do shots of Crown but that never ends well or pretty.
Name of the book you’re currently reading?
Jay: Just finished Lover at Last by Ward… le sigh Quinn
Did you ever scream when you watched a horror movie?
Jay: I don’t watch horror movies. I like action, give me Bruce Willis any day.
If you could name a star, what name would it be?
Jay: I love the Drive By Truckers star…lol I heart DBT for short
Finish this line: Sex is best when…
Jay: …it makes me think I should remember this for a book
Me: That last one cracked me up! LOL
So, Jay, what are you plans for the rest of 2013?
Jay: Get JET edited and either sold or self-published by sometime this summer, start and hopefully finish ROME, decide what I’m going to do about my regular job, go shopping, take the bestie and my mom to Hawaii… I dunno I usually try and take it one day at a time. I’m really, really bad at living in the moment, at enjoying the here and now so I’m trying hard to just do that at this moment. I am very fortunate for the readers that get me, just honestly get me, and it is so touching and wonderful I don’t want to miss it.
Me: And finally, what is the one question you always want someone to ask you, but no one did yet? And what’s the answer going to be?
Jay: Which of the guys from your book do you like best and would be your type? Rowdy…readers will see more of him coming up, but he’s literally there just to be my dream guy…le swoon
Me: Okay, I think we spent quite some time with this little query and answer thing, and I know you want to get back to your notebook and just hammer away, LOL. So…thanks a bunch for coming, lass. I’m looking forward to having you over in a little while again, but then in form of one of your favorite characters’ voice.
Jay: These were really fun questions. I actually enjoyed answering them. Thanks again, Piper.
Guys, if you enjoyed this interview, or just want to tell Jay how fast and deep you fell in love with Rule (like we all did 😉 ) then you can find her here:
See you in a little bit!