Meet Author Jayme Phelps!

What inspired you to write this book? I really wanted a piece of pie from a specific restaurant and jokingly told my husband “I would give anything for a piece of that pie.” That made me wonder if I would really give anything in that moment and what other people might consider important enough to give their soul for.

What can we expect from you in the future? A lot more books! I didn’t realize how many story ideas I had until I wrote the first one, and now they really don’t stop.

Do you have any “side stories” about the characters? Yes!!! I am working on a sort of “spinoff” series that follows some of the character form the same universe. I’m super excited about it because the two series together form an origin sort of story.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Devil’s Intern? Well…Anna is a sort of bitter and spiteful character. She feels like she got the short end of the stick and wants to blame everyone except herself in the beginning. Stephan is her mentor and he wants Anna to do anything except what she’s doing. Silas, who is the Devil is only after one thing, souls. And Rachel is the friend that Anna didn’t want but ends up with anyway.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book? I’m fascinated with the idea of what people are willing to give in order to get what they want. The characters on the other had just developed as I needed them. It’s almost like my characters pop into the story fully formed and I just give them obstacles and see how they react.

Where did you come up with the names in the story? Truly I think that’s the worst part. Once I have a character they usually get a generic name and then once I know their personality I can give them something permanent.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Watching the characters come to life and make decisions that even I didn’t see coming. I feel like most of the time I’m just a conduit. I just write down the movie as it’s playing in my mind.

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick? Anna wants her life back, she wants to go back to the way things were and pretend that the world she’s in now is just a bad dream. Stephan wants as little to do with Anna as possible because he knows things that she does not and Rachel wants to take advantage of any situation that comes her way.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel? It’s just seemed logical for the direction of the novel.

Who designed your book covers? David Collins from DC cover creations.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I don’t think so. I feel like it ended up exactly how it was supposed to be.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? That writing a book is about a lot more than just putting words on a page. There’s an art to writing a novel that I think can only be learned from actually doing it.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead? Emma Stone or Isla Fischer

Anything specific you want to tell your readers? Thank you! I hope you enjoy reading my book as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s still crazy to me that people I don’t know personally are reading my story and enjoying it.

What is your favorite part of this book and why? Surprisingly the Devil, Silas, is my favorite part. He’s sensible and funnier than I expected him to be, especially for who he is. Even when he’s stern and serious he’s still fair and witty.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? They’re entirely from my imagination though I’m sure they have have characteristics from people I know in real life.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must read. My characters are definitely in control. I know where they will start and have a pretty good idea where they’ll end up, but they give the story life and direction. I just put the words on paper. I think that shows when you read the story, these characters are their own people, they’re as real as I am on this page. That’s what I love so much about them.

Have you written any other books that are not published? Yes, I have book two for this series written and it’s in the beta stage right now. I have also written book one of a series that runs parallel to this one that features some of the more minor characters from this series. 

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be? Cinnamon, because it’s spicy like my characters, their adventures, and the alcohol they drink.

What did you edit out of this book? Nothing. I write pretty concisely so if anything there have been additions, but I didn’t have to edit anything out.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why? No, because I talk to other writers on a regular basis and I find that most are more than willing to talk about writing because it’s something we’re all passionate about, so we can talk forever about anything to do with it.

Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know? Devil’s Intern was requested by multiple publishers after just it’s first draft. Also, I like to write during Nanowrimo because my friends and I challenge each other to see how many words we can write each day. Book 2 of this series was written in 3 weeks because I’m competitive and I wanted to reach my goal before my friends did.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors? Definitely Meghan Ciana Doidge, Rachel Caine, Kim Harrison, Genevieve Cogman, Cassandra Clare, Gina Lamanna, Shannon Mayer, Ransom Riggs, Mary Janice Davidson and Charlaine Harris

What book do you think everyone should read? If you want Urban Fantasy I would say Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic.

How long have you been writing? A little over a year.

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? They all come as I write. I like to think that I am a plotter because I like an outline, but truthfully most of it just comes out on the page, including the characters. They sort of just pop up as I need them, kind of like watching a movie unfold in my head.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book? Honestly, none. Not yet anyway. I think that new writers typically tend to write what they’re familiar with, so I didn’t really research for the first book. Though for book 2 I researched a few different places that my character had connections with before she died.

Do you see writing as a career? Not yet. I think mainly because I love my job. I’m a full-time educational sign language interpreter and this was just something I did on a whim. Though now that my book is being published and I have so many ideas for more stories I could see it quickly becoming a second career.

What do you think about the current publishing market? I think the current publishing market is interesting. I didn’t really know anything about writing books or publishing before 2020, so I’m still learning, but there’s so much more to the whole process than I ever would have thought.

I had no idea that there are multiple “paths to publishing.” I just thought that you had to query publishers or agents and you would get published or not. I think that it’s pretty cool to have so many different ways to publish a book. But for me personally, I didn’t want to self-publish because I wanted someone else to think that my work was worthy too. It’s weird how much I value that validation.

Crazy thing is that I pitched my book on Twitter just to see if someone would be interested in the idea the day after I finished the first draft. I had no idea that it would be something that people would want and get me a publishing deal. I think really, I just feel lucky that my book got picked up so quickly by a publisher. 

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre? Ummm yes!!! I have been a reader my entire life, in fact I read at least 2 books a month and my favorite genre is the one I write in, Urban Fantasy.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? Both. I think that there’s something to be said about the emotion that music evokes and when I’m listening to music I find myself writing full scenes based solely on how the song made me feel. However, most of the time I write in silence because I need my fingers to keep up with my thoughts as the story flows. 

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? Well, right now I’m writing one at a time, though I do have two series that I’m working on, both of them part of the same universe.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? Hmmmm, that’s a tough question. I guess I would say Harry Potter. Mainly because it has really impacted so many people on such a broad scale from all different age levels. It’s one of those books I think will sort of transcend time.

Pen or type writer or computer? Computer all the way. I am very technologically connected and really my hand can’t keep up with my brain if I’m physically putting pen to paper. I also like the convenience of a laptop with all of it’s awesome word processing and editing software because I can work on things in multiple different places, whether it’s at my desk or on my phone.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book. A favorite character in general would have to be Jade from the Dowser series, I think I just felt like she’s really relatable and she has her own cupcake bakery for crying out loud. I mean I feel that on a whole other level. If you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you that my favorite cake is a cupcake, because it’s your very own personal slice of heaven that you don’t have to share. Plus I was a cake decorator for a lot of years so I relate to that too.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision? Well, I have some serious imposter syndrome because even though my book is being published, I don’t really think of myself as an author. I just have stories to tell, and I think it’s the right decision to share any kind of creativity that might bring other people joy.

A day in the life of the author? It definitely varies. Right now I’m sort of between projects as my first book launches and my second book is in the beta stage. So, I would say, I spend a lot of time on putting together book teasers and posts, Then I spend time on social media doing “marketing”, and finally I work on editing or new projects like the outline for book 3.

Advice you would give new authors? Write a full draft as quickly as possible. I know that it’s tempting to want to edit as you go but a lot of times that leads to more editing than actual writing, so finish the first draft and then edit. Also put your work out there. It’s scary and not everyone is going to like it, but it’s truly the best way to get better.

Describe your writing style. I have no idea! Again. I’m still really new to this whole writing thing so it’s hard to say. I know that I prefer to write first person, because I love to experience a story through the eyes of the character. Plus, I like the idea of not knowing everything. With first person the reader only knows what the character knows, and a lot of times, that’s not a whole lot.

What makes a good story? For me as a reader I would say the ability to pull me in and make me forget that I’m not actually the character. I love to feel what each character feels and live their life with them. I love series for that reason and it’s always heartbreaking for me when the series ends and there are no more adventures to follow.

What are they currently reading? Right now I’m reading Magic Julep, book 7 in the Magic and Mixology series by Gina Lamanna. But, I’m also listening to Midlife Fairy Hunter By Shannon Mayer.

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I definitely start my stories with an outline. I think that it makes the process go faster.  Though I don’t give it a lot of details, I know where the story starts and I have a good idea of how it will end, so I like to just put down the big events in the order I see them happening. Then I connect the dots so to speak, moving from on event to the next using as many chapter as it takes to get there.

I think that one common trap for aspiring writers is to never finish a full draft or to keep doing the same thing again and again even if it’s not working. Some people need an outline but don’t use on and some people don’t need one but put one together and try to force themselves to follow it anyway. I think that it’s important to remember that you will always find something that needs to be edited, but if you never finish the book then you can’t publish it, and it’s important to remember that it’s okay to try something different.

What is your writing Kryptonite? My own negative self-talk. It’s hard to get past that sometimes, and I have to be wary of falling into the trap of putting myself down until I can’t write at all.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? I try to be original; I think. Really, I just write what I would want to read and hope that others will want to read it too.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Just because you’ve read a ton of books, doesn’t mean you know how to write a book. There’s an art to writing and it takes practice and knowledge to get it right. There are definitely people that are more natural writers than others, but it still takes time and hard work. So don’t give up.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? I think it’s getting their mannerisms or speech patterns right. It’s hard to describe some things clearly because they’re not natural for me, like how a guy would speak to a woman vs another man, or their facial expressions.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? It takes me around 2-3 days to outline a book and then 3-4 weeks to write a first draft of the story. Then I use another week to do content edits and spelling and grammar checks before I send it out to beta readers for their initial thoughts.

Do you believe in writer’s block? I guess it depends on the person. Though I don’t believe in writers block for me. But that’s only because I learned quickly what would cause me to be blocked. Personally, if I come to a point where I can’t go any further I know that it’s because I forced a character to do something that they wouldn’t actually do and then I come up against a wall.

Because I let my characters take control of their story, they become a sort of living entity and I get to live sort of vicariously through them. So, if the story flow stops suddenly, or I can’t see the next scene in my mind, then I have to go back and figure out where it was that I stepped in as the writer. From there I let the character take the reins again and make that decision organically. That always seems to fix it for me. That’s why my outlines are sort of vague, I don’t want to get so caught up in what I want my characters to do that I end up having to backtrack a hundred time.

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