Wednesday, July 20, 2011


BIO: Born in Amarillo, Texas, J.S. Wayne has lived, worked, or traveled in approximately two thirds of the North American continent and has amassed a resume that could kindly be described as “eclectic.” He currently resides in the Texas Panhandle with his wife; Munchkin, a terrier puppy who believes socks are a threat to national security; and the newest addition to his mad little family, a border terrier/schnauzer mix puppy named Thor. In his laughably sparse spare time, he enjoys reading, scary movies, strategy games, and collecting obsolete weapons.

The Interview:

GRACIE: I’m excited to have you here at The G-Spot, J.S.! Please tell us a little about yourself (or a lot :) and how and when you got into writing?

J.S.: Hi, Gracie! It’s wonderful to be here today!

The first thing my readers should know about me is, I like to be unconventional. If someone puts up a “Keep Off The Grass” sign, and I see it, someone’s lawn’s likely to get trampled. It’s an odd thing, and this literally just occurred to me, but one way or another, all of my stories are about love, one way or the other. I’m a big fan of love, in all its expressions and incarnations, and I like to study it, try to figure it out, so that I can explain it to myself and thence, it is hoped, to my readers.

I got into writing early. My mother taught me to read starting around age three, and from there, I was a total information sponge. So it was kind of inevitable that sooner or later, I’d start trying to craft my own stories. My first several attempts were predictably terrible, but I learned a lot.

It wasn’t until I turned thirty and realized I had a manuscript with a lot of potential just lying around on my hard drive that I really got serious about my writing. I’ve come a long way in three years, and I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in another three!

GRACIE: I can’t wait either! Now, is there any one thing or person in your life that inspired your writing? Any one thing or person that influenced the genre in which you write?

J.S.: My mom got me started when I was eleven. She caught me reading a book that was definitely NOT age-appropriate. She could’ve cleaned my clock, and by all rights probably should have. But instead, she asked me what I thought about it. I told her, with all the considerable wisdom and experience of my eleven years, that I thought it was crap and that I could do better. She laughed, tousled my hair, and told me to do it.

Well, you show me an eleven-year-old boy who’ll turn down a dare like that, and I’ll show you a kid who goes hungry a lot at lunchtime. It took me twenty years to do it, and I’m still working on it, but I think I’m getting there.

As to what I write, there’s so much inspiration out there. A simple conversation between two people at a convenience store can breed a wealth of plot bunnies if you’re paying attention. But my favorite plot device is, and always has been, the supernatural. Anything from banshees to werewolves is fair game. (I’m not big on zombies, personally. How many different ways can you write a shambling, mindless corpse? And zombie romance? Urgh.)

GRACIE: I have to admit I don’t get the zombie romance craze either. So, when did you get “The Call” and what was your first published work?

J.S.: The Call came with a short story that I wrote as a one-off, kind of “cute” story for a writing contest. It wound up splitting first prize with a yarn about a mermaid. A few people pestered me about publishing it, and I said, “There is no way in Hell that anyone’s going to buy this. A free read? Okay. But as something people are actually going to buy? You need to up your dosage.” But, as the pressure mounted to quit screwing around and get serious about my writing, I decided to take a chance. So I sent off the story and a query to Noble Romance Publishing. They picked up the story on February 1st, 2011, and it was subsequently published on April 18th. The story was “Angels Would Fall,” and since then, it’s spawned a sequel, a novel, and a work-in-progress novel! More on this later.

GRACIE: What do you know now about writing and the publishing industry that you wish you’d known before you started?

J.S.: *Laughs.* Ah, youthful arrogance. (I say with a healthy dose of sarcasm, considering this was only a year and a half ago.) I had read all the literature, perused all the writing sites, and absorbed every single shred of information I could get. But the biggest thing that I’ve learned: It doesn’t matter how much you THINK you know about the publishing industry. Until you’ve actually been published, had to write and edit on a deadline, tried to juggle your family life, the Evil Day Job (emphasis on EVIL, in my case), and the other demands of modern life, you don’t know. You can get some great advice, but there is absolutely no substitute for experience. And once you’ve done it, you’ll look back and go, wow, I didn’t know CRAP!
Short answer? Everything!

GRACIE: Please give us a little story behind the story and what inspired your novel, SHADOWPHOENIX: REQUIEM.

J.S.: Requiem started off as something very different than what it ultimately became. I started it when I was seventeen, inspired by “anti-heroes” like the Crow and some of the darker iterations of Batman. After fifteen drafts, half a dozen name changes, and a couple of major paradigm shifts in the story, I finally called it done and self-published it.

The basic theme hasn’t changed, though: How far will you go to protect the ones you love? What happens if you can’t protect them? Where is the line between justice and revenge, and are the two concepts mutually exclusive?

Pretty heavy mental lifting for a seventeen-year-old, but I never claimed to be normal. It started off as a way to explain the concept of justice as defined by law and the apparent dichotomy between the law and “true” justice. I believe there are some crimes so horrifying that the criminal is completely irredeemable, but I also believe that there is a universal balance that will always demand a reckoning. Maybe not today. Maybe not in ten years. But sooner or later, the guilty always pay for what they’ve done. If I didn’t believe that, I probably wouldn’t sleep as well as I do!

GRACIE: In trying to live a “normal” life with his human wife, what do you think is vampire Markus Latimore’s Achilles’ heel and how do you go about stomping it?

J.S.: The biggest and most obvious problem is that Markus has to ingest a certain amount of blood every day. Clearly, keeping Robyn from discovering that his dietary requirements aren’t limited to Mexican food is a constant strain. The less overt but more sinister problem is that if the Vampire Council learns that Robyn has discovered Mark’s secret, they’re both dead.

I got around the blood problem by giving Mark the ability to subsist off rat blood. Since rat blood is very similar to human, it serves the purpose, but it’s kind of like a human living on nothing but oatmeal. If you’ve never had anything else, you won’t miss it, but if Mark tastes human blood, well, if you’ve been living on oatmeal and just discovered cheeseburgers, Quaker Oats probably aren’t going to do it for you anymore.

And since Mark usually eats his “breakfast” while Robyn’s in the shower, the odds of him getting caught are very slim. He’s gotten fairly cagey about disposing of the evidence, but he lives in constant fear that Robyn will learn the one secret about him he doesn’t dare reveal.

GRACIE: Aside from dark paranormal elements, characters in flux and the erotic romance genre, your novel and short stories so far also seem to share a common focus of duty and redemption. What do you find appealing about these author themes and why?

J.S.: I think the biggest appeal for me is the idea that my characters’ moral compasses don’t always point to “true” north by society’s lights. The duties that my characters assume are not duties that are thrust upon them by someone else; they choose to take up their mantles. They make their own rules, their own codes of ethical conduct, and once they do, they follow them. MOST of the time. That’s where some of my best internal conflicts come from in my stories, I think. When you bend or break your own rule either because of circumstances or convenience, where do you draw your lines?

GRACIE: Of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

J.S.: “Angels Would Fall” is probably my favorite story overall to date. And it’s because I think I wrote one of the coolest endings I’ll ever pen in it. This is Moradiel, the Soulbearer, speaking to Ariel, his human lover:

“. . .It is no tragedy, love. For this, for you, I will take damnation and shed no tear for what I’ve left behind.”

This may seem a little egocentric, but I actually had tears in my eyes when I wrote that. What person wouldn’t love to have someone show that level of devotion to them? When I write something that makes me feel that profoundly, it tells me that I’m doing something right. If you’re a writer, you know that feeling that only comes when you’ve truly written something magical.

GRACIE: I know this is like asking a father which is his favorite child, but which of your characters is your favorite and why?

J.S.: My favorite still has to be Markus Latimore. He’s kind of a weird cross between avenging angel and wounded human. Sure, he’s got some cool abilities and talents, but he’s also, in a lot of ways, the most “human” character I’ve ever created. The choices he makes and the consequences of his decisions haunt him to an almost crippling degree, and they drive him to sometimes extreme lengths to atone for his own, often-undeserved guilt. He’s capable of being tender in one moment, lethal the next, but once he commits himself to a course of action, the only thing that will stop him is the one rule he absolutely will not break: He will NEVER harm an innocent knowingly.

GRACIE: What about your characters makes them unique?

J.S.: I think all of my main characters are complex, conflicted individuals. I don’t like cardboard cutouts or Mary Sues. No matter how much personal power any of my characters may wield, they also have a dark side. I can’t relate to a character like Superman as readily as I can, say, the Crow. Which probably says a lot about me, not all of it entirely flattering, but once you understand that, you can more readily understand how my characters are drawn.

GRACIE: Gotta love those complex, conflicted characters! What is your favorite aspect of the writing process? Your least favorite?

J.S.: My favorite aspect is crafting a story that I know, down to the smallest fiber of my being, that people will want to read. It’s gratifying to sit down and write 8600 words in one sitting, read it over, and go, “DAMN I’m good!”

My least favorite part is the fact that writing, at its heart, consists of a LOT of waiting. Waiting for the muse to feel like inspiring you. Waiting for the yea or nay on the manuscript. Waiting for the contract. Waiting for the edits. Waiting for release day. Waiting to hear if you’ve covered your advance yet. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I’m good at it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

GRACIE: Are you a pantser or do you outline?

J.S.: It depends on the story, to be honest. When I wrote Wail, my paranormal horror novel, I was a total outline Nazi. “Ze outline sez zat you vill be here at zis time doing zis! FOCUS!” But then I wrote Angels Cry from no outline whatsoever. I had a list of major points I wanted to hit, and it almost wrote itself. (I vacillate a lot.)

GRACIE: If you weren’t a writer, what other profession would you have chosen to pursue?

J.S.: If my eyes were worth a damn, I’d’ve loved to be a fighter pilot. Too bad they don’t take guys who have to wear glasses. But that also requires college, since only officers are allowed to fly fifty-million-dollar war birds. Thirteen years of “education” was more than enough for an autodidact like me!

GRACIE: Who are some of your favorite authors and why? Name some of your favorite books and why they’re your favorites.

J.S.: Dean Koontz has been the top of my list for 22 years. He has a great gift for weaving together seemingly totally disparate threads of narrative and putting them all together in a way that makes perfect sense, but you’ll never see the twists coming. Lightning is my favorite ever book by him. Time traveling Nazis, a great action story, and a chance for love? How can you miss?

Jim Butcher’s the top of my charts right now, though. His Dresden Files series is a fast-moving magical cinema noir. Take Sam Spade and put him in a blender with Merlin. Add in a dash of Sam Witwicky (from Transformers) and a cast of mobsters, faeries, demons, spirits, vampires, and supernatural you name it.

I’ve also acquired a lot of new favorites whom I’m eagerly awaiting new releases from: K.B. Cutter, H.C. Brown, Margie Church, Elaina Lee, R. Renee Vickers, Shen Hart, and others. Each one of these authors has one thing in common: An ability to weave an incredible story with believable characters and amazing atmosphere. Many of these people I’m proud to call my friends, colleagues, and mentors, and every one of them deserves thanks I’ll never be able to adequately give them.

GRACIE: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

J.S.: Things move fast in my world, but as I’m writing this, I’ve just completed two short stories: “Dancing On Flames,” a male-male werewolf romance that holds the title of “Most Challenging Story I’ve Ever Attempted;” and “Make A Wish. . .” which is a lesbian supernatural erotica story. Angels Cry was picked up by Noble Romance and should be coming out in mid-August if nothing goes horribly wrong. I’m working on a fantasy erotic romance comedy entitled Once A Knight’s Enough that I’m pretty excited about. Think Monte Python meets Shrek meets Fractured Fairy Tales, with lots of sex in every conceivable ménage combination. That project kind of took over my desk, but I’ve also got Aquus, a novel about the new Sea God falling in love with a human woman; Sinner, a dark erotic romance featuring a succubus assassin and a cop; Angel of Death, the sequel to Angels Cry; and I’m trying very hard to carve out a little time to work on Requiescat, the second novel in the Shadowphoenix trilogy.
So as you can see, I’m not doing anything much! *Laughs*

GRACIE: Do you have a website and/or how can readers contact you?

J.S.: I actually have a fairly large Internet presence. I maintain a website at that is primarily devoted to my horror and urban fantasy writing. You can find me on Facebook (Author.JSWayne), on Twitter (@jswayne702), at my blog at, or you can just drop me an email. I love hearing from my readers, so don’t be shy! My email address is

GRACIE: Where and how can readers purchase and/or read samples of your work?

J.S.: Most of my current work is available through,, Barnes and Noble online, and Bookstrand. Shadowphoenix: Requiem can be purchased at For samples and excerpts of my work, or are your best bets.

GRACIE: What advice do you have for beginning writers?

J.S.: Believe in yourself. Don’t listen to the haters and the naysayers. You’re not going to start out as Hemingway or Shakespeare, so don’t even make the mistake of thinking you will. It’s okay; don’t let that discourage you either. Do what you can do to the best of your ability, and sooner or later, you WILL be where you want to be. If you can, find someone who’s been there and ask them to read your stuff. If you’re going to do that, LISTEN to what they tell you; they’ve been through the landmines and can get you through them as well. Writing’s a tough game, but it’s very rewarding if you do it right.

GRACIE: Anything else about yourself or your writing you’d like to share with your readers?

J.S.: I believe in magic. And magick. I have personally seen love elevate me to Heaven or drag me through Hell. Every time, I’ve become a stronger person. I try to bring that magic to my writing and pass it on. Love can be scary, even outright destructive. Love can heal or it can hurt. But love is always worth pursuing. There is always hope for a happily ever after, but you have to make it for yourself.

If one person can find hope or rekindle a dwindling spark of love because of my work, or if one person remembers the story I wrote after they’ve forgotten other stories entirely, then I’m a happy man.

Thank you for letting me come by and hang out, folks! I’ve enjoyed it. Come on by my places and see me!

GRACIE: J.S., thanks so much for taking time from your busy schedule to share yourself and your work with us at The G-Spot and giving us a little insight into your writing and the writing process! We’ll let you get back to writing those wonderful books you write! All the best!

1 comment:

J.S. Wayne said...

*Pops in, looks around, and smiles*
Anyone here but us chickens? :D