Gretchen, can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have been writing and telling stories since I was very, very little. I didn’t think seriously about writing and publishing my stories until I was in college. But this was before the Kindle and all that, so I sent out query letters to agents and publishers and no one was interested in publishing my work. Then in 2013 a friend of mine, who published his book independently via Kindle publishing, told me about Kindle publishing and how easy it had been for him and after weeks and months of talking about this I finally published Lady of the Dead.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Something quirky about me, oh man, one of the funnier ones is that I volunteered in different positions, at haunted houses for about 10 or 11 years in my late teens and early 20s. I love working at haunted houses. I was the casting director for a while and it was so much fun. I love it so much! It was such a large part of my life for those years. The quirky bit, the really funny part, is that one of the haunted houses the group I worked with was, is actually where I met my husband. It took 2 or 3 years before we started dating. When we started dating we spent that whole season dating in secret, which looking back, was pretty entertaining. I was the casting director and he was the pirate captain for the ghostly pirate ship.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Halloween loving, world creating, kook
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer around the time I was working on my fifth or sixth book. My first three books were across three different series and I had them mostly, if not all, written by the time I got around to publishing them. My fourth book I wrote from scratch and my fifth one I think had a few thousand words in it when I settled down to publish it. Once I published those two books I proved to myself that I wasn’t a one book wonder, could write across multiple genres: at that point I had paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and wholesome romance. I considered myself a writer because it wasn’t just books I already had finished that I was publishing. I was writing them expressly to publish them and I remember thinking that I wasn’t a writer when someone called me one and then one day after or during the fifth book that mentality changed. It was a really gradual process for me.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Oh man, I switch between the Saint with Val Kilmer, Ghostbusters one and two, Brotherhood of the Wolf which is a French film that takes place in 1700s rural France, and Bride and Prejudice which is a Bollywood/British hybrid of Pride and Prejudice. Those are my tried-and-true favorite movies and they jockey for first place depending on what mood I’m in.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I think it’s a tie between the Jas Bond series, I think Jas would make a really good TV show. As well as the Anthony Hollownton series, a homicide detective who gets an un-Orthodox introduction, via a murderer, into the supernatural world. I could definitely see Tony being made into movies but I would be super excited if any of my books got made into TV shows or movies
What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration for this book is a little funny. I wanted to write a supernatural book about my husband and his job. My husband is a retail manager and our Rottweiler goes with him to work. The stories he comes home and tells me are hilarious and ridiculous and sometimes you think he’s making it up even though I know for a fact he’s not. So I wanted to have a very self-deprecating, version of my husband, a store owner that I could throw into a paranormal world and see what happened. Jas bond definitely moved away from that initial caricature of my husband once I was really writing the first book but my husband was definitely the inspiration for this story. When I read it to him he tells me that the Rottweiler Bailey is a much better representation of our Rottweiler then Jas is of him.
What can we expect from you in the future?
All the things! I’m just kidding, I do an author podcast titled Exceptionally Average Authors Explain it All, with an author friend of mine Stevie Ray Causey. In that podcast we talk about how I jump from project to project really easily and struggle with setting goals and sticking to them. But you’ll definitely see the second season of our podcast, we’re currently at the midseason break. I am also releasing the first four books of the Jas Bond series between now and the end of July. Right now I’m thinking there are eight books in the series total and I’m hoping to have all of those out by the end of the year. I am also hoping to have some other books out this year but I’m not sure what other titles there will be or what genre, it will all depend on what I can fit around Jas Bond’s schedule.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I do not have any publishable side stories about the characters right now. That could change later, but as of right now I don’t. I do however know things like how Jas started working with Sven, I have that whole scene played out in my head. Or why Jas broke up with his fiancée and the story behind that. But I don’t think any of those side stories will end up getting published, they might be in some small capacity in one of the main series, but as of right now no publishable side stories.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in this book?
Sure, there are a cast of characters in the Jas Bond world. There’s Jas who is a magic-less son of a witch who owns a magical antiques store. His mother owned it before him and his grandmother before her and they are both witches so running the store was a lot easier for them than it is him. He has a rambunctious young Rottweiler named Bailey who is very opinionated and what she wants and when she wants it. He has a best friend Blake who is a werewolf, paranormal police detective who Bailey likes more than Jas. There is also Sven who is a dwarf that works at the antique shop he works in the back fixing objects that come into the shop that are broken. Though his name is Sven he is actually Scottish and very old but we don’t know his exact age. There is also Violetta who is Jas’s ex-fiancé. She is a very powerful witch and a very free spirit, she travels a lot she’s very no-nonsense she and Jas are on very good terms and are still friends even though sometimes they bicker a little bit and there’s a little bit of stress between them from time to time.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoy writing Snark so anytime someone was snarky I enjoyed it. I enjoy writing Sven a lot because he wants no part of what’s happening in about three quarters of the stories and sometimes he just gets dragged in reluctantly and I really love that. I also really love writing Bailey the Rottweiler. I personally love my Rottweiler. She’s fantastic! She’s a great dog. I can’t say enough weirdly adoring things about her. So giving the Rottweiler in the story personality was a big thing for me and anytime Bailey is doing something that displays that personality I’m usually enjoying myself immensely writing that personality into the book.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
The main character in this book Jas Bond owns a magical antiques store. There’s all kinds of magical objects in it and it’s the business his mother owned and his grandmother before that. He was basically raised to take over the store. So he is doing what’s basically expected of him even though he himself does not possess any magical abilities like his mother and grandmother do. What makes him tick as he is just trying to live his life as best he can while being supernatural world adjacent. He doesn’t have a lot of ambition to do anything else. He’s good at his job. He has a comfortable life and that is enough for him. He just wants to maintain his current level of lifestyle and what happens over the course of the stories ends up making that increasingly difficult.
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