Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blog Tour: Interview with Jaden Wilkes, Author of Like Falling

New Adult seems to be the name of the game lately on my blog (happily!), and I have another wonderful New Adult author to promote. Today Jaden Wilkes is stopping by to answer all of my questions about her books, her process, and her life. Her new book, Like Falling, is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and don't forget to add it on Goodreads. Be sure to add Jaden on Twitter, Goodreads, and follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Sarah Miller is known as a dreamer in her stifling Mennonite community, but she's hiding something from them all. A simple wish to avoid the strictly enforced life path expected of her...early marriage, babies, and work on the farm.

She wants more, so much more. Education, travel, love...sex...

A chance at university hundreds of miles away is too much to pass up, so she follows her best friend Naomi and decides to take her future into her own hands.

She had no idea this decision would change her in ways she never imagined, will the one person she falls in love with hold her back from everything she ever wanted?

***As with all my work, this novel is intended for those 18+. It is New Adult, but contains depictions of graphic sex, drug use and underage drinking.

****This is not a stand alone, it is a cliffhanger, the first of three books.

Author Bio: Jaden is the pen name of a girl living on the prettiest farm in BC. She shares her space with her husband, her children, and an Irish Wolfhound named Tiberius. She can now be found lurking in the dark corners of the internet looking for artful porn gifs, dirty poems and places to promo her work.


MV: You’ve worn a lot of different hats in your life. Archeologist, teacher, photographer, poet. What made you decide to turn writing into a career?

Jaden Wilkes: I suppose out of that list, I would only consider Archaeologist my career...teacher and photographer were only done for a couple of years each, and poet has always been a hobby, but a constant part of my life. Writer, well that remains to be seen if I end up calling it a career. I found myself back in a small town after our family made the decision to leave the city and buy a small farm. I have been obsessed with the homesteading movement for years and decided I needed to garden and can and raise our own food. I was at home at this point, and spending way too much time online on mommy boards. A close mommy board friend decided in February to write her novel, and I was inspired. I had always talked about writing a book, and started a few different ones, but never finished. I always imagined I would write a heavy handed post apocalyptic warning for all humankind...who knew my brain preferred to write erotic romance? I told myself I'd just be happy writing and publishing, and that would be it. As any writer knows, the moment you open the floodgates, the more characters and stories start showing up. I knew I couldn't stop at that one, and I had to keep going. So now, I suppose I'm hooked on being a writer! It's funny though, I still think of it as a hobby even thought it's consumed my life. I'm not sure when I'll allow myself to consider it a career.

MV: You published your first book, Reverse Cowgirl, in April of this year. A lot of authors say there is a bit of a learning curve with your first book. Did you find this to be the case? What did you do differently for your second book?

JW: It was a very steep learning curve, and I'm almost embarrassed by some of the literary faux pas I committed. I was so enthusiastic and sent my book off to a million and one blogs to review without even noticing if they reviewed my type of book. At first I was all about the "ZOMG buy my book" marketing, but that doesn't feel natural to me at all. With the second book I established more of marketing plan, and I approached blogs interested in New Adult spcifically. I also worked more on actually getting to know people on facebook and twitter instead of blasting them with my book all the time. At this point I always forget to mention my book, I've become the world's worst self promoter. I just figure if they like me on facebook, they'll find my books...and if they like my books, they'll find me on facebook. So yeah, buy my books or something.

MV: More and more authors are leaning towards indie publishing. What advice would you give them?

JW: It's much easier than you anticipate. There are a million and one services out there that want you to pay for formatting and converting and advertising, don't pay for that. Use your budget on polishing your work with editing and cover design. Also, find yourself a group of writers in a similar spot as you. There will be times you feel like throwing in the towel, or thing your work is pure crap, you need a safe place to vent or ask for opinions. Honest opinions. Not just your mom telling you that you're a superstar.

And ultimately, don't be afraid to push the button and publish. It's not the end of the world if your book isn't the next best thing the world has ever seen. As they say, onwards and upwards, keep moving and improving and doing what you're passionate about.

MV: What inspired you to write Like Falling?

JW: Sarah did. I was sitting on my back deck thinking about my own Mennonite family, we had just been visiting, and how strange it was that there is this entire group of people living in our world, but not completely in it. I started to imagine what it would be like to grow up in the community without feeling connected to it, and Sarah popped into my head. Mennonites vary greatly in their commitment to the religion, and each region seems to have different ideas of how to live a proper and righteous lifestyle. I called up my best friend who is also Mennonite and we started talking about the story, and how it was for her to go from living with severely fundamental parents to becoming her own person in the world. I have to say though, Sarah is not like my friend at all, she was not based on anyone I know, she ended up having a very strong voice of her own.

MV: You are a wife, a mother, and you live on a farm, which must take up a lot of your time. How do you balance your writing career now?  What can you tell us about your writing process? (Do you have a set time to write each day, or do you write when inspiration strikes?)

JW: I have an insanely busy life, sometimes I don't know how I manage it all. We are just opening up a bed and breakfast in our guest house, so the last year has been crazy planning and learning about managing a small business. Of course, twin teen aged boys and a toddler thrown into the mix means I have very little time for myself, let alone my writing. What I have found is that I work on the business end of things in the morning, social media, marketing, cover ideas, etc. Inspiration strikes all day, so I work in Google Drive on my iPhone and write sentences or ideas that pop into my head. The actual writing happens at night after everyone is in bed. I generally write from 9 to midnight and seem to get a fair amount done.

MV: Are you more of a pantser or a plotter when it comes to your books?

JW: I a panster who has an overall idea of the main story arc when I go in. At times though, the characters take me in directions I never saw coming. There was a point part way though Like Falling when I stopped writing for three days because Sarah was making an idiotic decision. I tried to force the story in a certain way, but kept getting dragged back, so her being deliberately obtuse is still in the book. *dramatic sigh* :)

MV: What was the last book you read?

JW: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Loved it! 

MV: What made you decide to write with a penname? How did you choose it?

JW: As my brain apparently likes writing dirty stuff, I decided to keep it separate from my real life business. I don't want people we encounter in the real world thinking of me any differently if they find out I write smut.

MV: Like Falling is the first of a trilogy. Any hints as to what is to come?

JW: Sarah's frustrating journey into herself will bring great satisfaction to those who wish to see her grow and blossom. Book one was about her being unleashed and feeling free for the first time in her life, books two and three will allow her to find the middle ground with all this new found freedom. That's all I can say. :D

MV: Do you have any other projects you are working on, or hope to be working on soon?

JW: I am working on a historical western romance where a BC ranching girl has to take on a role she's not sure she can handle. She meets a smoking hot cowboy from Texas with memories that haunt him. I am also working on a story about a really really dirty girl with a wild streak who secretly yearns to settle down and have the white picket fence in the suburbs. She doesn't quite know how to get there, until she meets the crazy hot punk of her dreams with secrets of his own.

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