This week is dedicated to the amazing Zelly Jordan and her debut sexy romance Fractured, the first installment of her Unbreakable series. I would like to thank her for the belief she bestowed on me and my blog–she is a great writer and a delightful person, and I truly wish her the best regarding her writing process and career.
Q: Dear Zelly, thanks for being part of Ink&Papercuts. Why did you start writing in the first place? Have you ever used online platforms to get your writing across like wattpad.
A: Hi, Augustine, Thank you for inviting me. I began writing for a number of reasons. At the time, I was dealing with a health situation that had dramatically changed my life – I was forced to shut down my business because of constant pain and as a result I became very house-bound. I began writing as a way of staying sane and because I wasn’t happy with the direction a television show I was watching was going in; it felt wrong so I “fixed” it. I wrote what I would have preferred to see.
Eventually, I let some online friends see what I’d been writing and everything started from there. I posted it on a fan-fiction platform and as more and more people began reading my chapters, I gathered a small following. Out of the blue, around six months later, I was contacted by a Self-Publishing company and to this day I don’t know how they found me. I had to take the chapters down and rewrite it into an original story and that took a long time. It was only after I’d started this process that I began hearing of sites such as Wattpad. Just the other day I heard about something called Smashwords. Through you, in fact!
I’m very much a newbie in this business – all the things I’ve learnt to do online, other than tweeting, have all been learnt AFTER I was approached to self-publish. By the seat of my pants, it felt like at the time! I had to teach myself how to set up a blog and an author page on Facebook; how to do computer things I’d never even heard of and all manner of tricks. So it’s been a real learning curve for me – it still is but it’s enormously fun.
Q: On a similar note, how has technology expanded the publishing process for writers? Was your writing experience influenced by the tremendous audience the Internet openly offers?
A: Actually, I wouldn’t say it was influenced by the Internets large audience at all in the beginning because I’d begun writing purely for personal reasons. Living with a painful, worsening condition, my livelihood taken away from me, I was literally going mad being stuck at home. Writing was cathartic for me. Plus, I had decided to keep a long held promise to myself. As a young girl, I’d always said that one day I’d try writing but I kept putting it aside with the excuse that I was too busy. Well, now I wasn’t too busy. Now I had loads of time and I needed the therapeutic release it gave me.
I would say, however, that once I’d started and people began not only reading my stuff but actually liking it, even loving it, from far off places around the whole world – that was a complete shock and such an eye opener. I was thrilled to my bones to have people from every corner of the world contact me, leaving reviews and words of encouragement. I loved it ! It was so validating, so amazingly exciting to think I’d given someone enjoyment with my words. That’s when I realised how powerful the Internet can be….how inclusive and unifying. It totally blew my mind that people in Iceland were reading my stuff. Iceland! Imagine that!! They have under four hundred thousand people in the whole country and five of them were reading my story! A-mazing.
I’ve only just begun my writing career but how lucky am I to have this digital resource available? It must have been incredibly difficult pre-Internet days to get your work out there in front of people, let alone thousands of them. But in this era, with all the many and varied resources available to a writer, the opportunities and options are endless. The pathways to becoming published are so much more accessible for the average person nowadays and that means many more wonderful stories and authors to discover. A huge win for us all.
Q: You are the author of Fractured, the first installment of the Unbreakable series. Which are the appropriate words to describe your novel?
A: Appropriate? Sexy-schmexy. Intriguing. Puzzling. Funny. Hot. Thought-provoking. Passionate. Sad. Frustrating. Hopeful. Mysterious. Unputdownable – yes, that’s a “real” word…..you’ll find it in the Zelly dictionary.
Q: You are the author of a romance book with an Alpha male as its main character. Have you ever received negative criticism for placing him at the centre of your narrative, as well as for focusing on machismo and animalistic male power?
A: No, thankfully I haven’t received any criticism over Kellan being an alpha male. At least not yet and hopefully not ever because then it would mean the reader has missed the point of who and what he is. There’s literally millions of books with a central alpha male character and the romance genre thrives on these types of characters. With Kellan, he isn’t macho and animalistic in the way that most people would find to be cliched and rather unattractive. He’s macho and animalistic because that is who he is. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the word macho and wouldn’t ever use it to describe Kellan. He’s a man who is animalistic because he’s a beast – an animal. That’s his nature. He’s not just human, he’s something “other” and the dual parts of him are powerful and vulnerable at the same time. Also, in this story, it isn’t only the male protagonist who is powerful. It includes a female character who isn’t “strong” because of her profession but because she’s resilient and smart, fiesty and brave. She’s no damsel in distress. She’s sexy and courageous. She can kick butt. She’s a natural counterpart to Kellan and he’s just beginning to discover that.
Q: Why did you choose to narrate your story through a male point of view? Is it indeed difficult for authors to narrate the plot by adopting the perspective a different sex and/or gender offers?
A: I chose the male perspective because that’s the voice that spoke to me first in my mind. The idea of an human transforming into a beast was fascinating to me – the mental strength it would take to control the duality of him – the struggle of it – was very appealing. I wondered what his thought process must be like; how his emotions must fluctuate between human and animal.
I can’t speak of how other authors find writing in the opposite gender, whether they find it difficult or easy. I can only say that, for myself I found it a very natural process to think the way my hero thinks. He has lots of “me” in him, oddly. I’ve written from the female POV and while it wasn’t anymore difficult than the male POV, it was decidedly different! I don’t know if that means my brain is more masculine or not, or if I’m just strange……
Q: Despite the romantic plot, your novel is packed with action and mystery. Which is the best strategy to incorporate all three in a piece of written fiction?
A: The best strategy would be to just write it as you feel it. There’s no right or wrong way. My story is about a guy working on a clandestine mission who suddenly finds his world shifting. He’s a soldier, a man capable of killing so the story needed to show that aspect of him, meaning there needed to be some action, some intrigue. He’s also a paranormal creature and therefore that side of him needed to be shown too. When I wrote it, I didn’t purposely incorporate the romance with the action or vice versa. In my mind, the two aspects were entwined. It was simply Kellan’s story and like all stories, different things incorporate a person’s life and their individual character. No ones’ life is flat and smooth. Imagine how boring and stagnant that would be? No ones’ personality is monochrome and singular -we’re all nuanced. Our lives are tangled and layered. And if our lives have romance, action, mystery and comedy, then why wouldn’t books?
The other thing I would say is not to restrict yourself into writing just one genre – unless you want to. If you do, then that’s great! Go for it!! Otherwise – who says if it’s a romance that it can’t be action packed or mysterious? Or if it’s a mystery, why can’t there be some romantic elements too? I personally like my genres to be a little mixed. Others don’t and that’s okay too. Just write your story as you feel it. Some one out there will enjoy and appreciate your efforts.
Q: What next awaits Kellan and Charlie? What should we expect from the sequel? Also, when will it be published?
A: In the sequel which I hope to have published in the next couple of months, you’ll find that Kellan starts to put some pieces of his life together, bit by bit but as he does so, more questions arise and it challenges every thing he ever thought about himself. He finds his feelings for Charlotte strengthening but has to deal with his trust issues. He’s got quite the rough road ahead of him. And you’ll hopefully find more sexy schmexy times.
Q: Could you offer a piece of advice for all the people who try to publish and advertise their works by themselves? What should they expect from the self-publishing industry, and which is the best way to make the best out of it?
A: I’m a new author – one book published to date so I don’t know how valuable my advice would be. But if I can offer anything, it’ll be what I’m discovering myself – that there are many, many avenues and paths to becoming published and there is always more to learn. About everything! You don’t just write a book and then do nothing with it – there’s promotion, advertising, book signings, websites, blogging, promotion, book launches, research and have I mentioned promotion? There’s always more to learn and explore so you need to open yourself up to that. It’ll be a huge part of your life. Dedicate some time to it regularly. And structure your day so that you can both write, promote and live your normal life in that time frame. Otherwise you’ll find yourself having days where you do one thing all day and none of the others. I’ve had that experience several times already. Whilst I would love to spend all of my time writing and have the promotional side of things just magically done in the snap of a sparkly wand, that’s not going to happen. That simply the reality. Days where I’ve done nothing but promotion I find to be quite draining creatively but maybe that’s just me. Plus there is real life to live….jobs, bill paying, kids, family…etc. It can all fit into a day, you just need to balance it in a way that suits you. Now, if I had that sparkly magical wand, I can tell you one thing I’d use it for………you guessed it…..(insert any of these-: housework, laundry, healthy slim body, ooodles of cash to pay all my bills without a worry and endless cups of expresso coffee. Oh and a forever-good-hair day! Coz that’s important.)
Q: Do you think that contemporary romance novels have earned a bad name due to the incessant commercialisation of romance and sex? How should debut authors handle the genre in order for their work not to be listed as “light lit”?
A: I don’t think they have a bad name entirely and I don’t think it’s because of any incessant commercialisation of sex and love. If it was, then you wouldn’t have the high success rate of romance novels world wide. You wouldn’t have them made into highly successful movies over and over again, thousands of them, and you wouldn’t have tv shows dedicated to romance (such as the hugely popular Bachelor and Bachelorette series, for just one example).
People love seeing romance on their screens and they love reading about it too. It’s been an undeniably successful genre for decades. Gone with the Wind was essentially a romance. Many classics are romances. In my opinion, if the genre has any criticism it comes from what I call literary snobs – people who think that only books by crime and thriller writers, mysteries or Shakespeare and other long-dead authors are worthy; that somehow if one writes a romance, it’s beneath them to read such stuff. That it’s sub-par. And that infuriates me because it’s wrong. It takes just as much talent, creativity, effort, blood, sweat and tears to write a good romance as it does to write any other genre. It’s a pet peeve of mine actually that certain types of people look down on romance and sneer at it as “light lit”. What’s wrong with light lit? We need it as much as we need other types of literature. We can’t be reading tomes of heavy material like War and Peace only. Or dark evil horror only. We need the light to counteract the heavy. And vice versa. As a reader I’ll go from horror to romance to mystery and adventure. That’s the fun of reading….many different worlds.
Q: Should we expect more novels, short stories or even poems from you in the immediate future? Where can the fans of the blog reach out to you? Also, from which sites can they buy your novel?
A: Yes. Do expect more novels from me. There will be a minimum of two more books in the Unbreakable Series. Fractured is just Part One and there’s much more to tell. Other stories will follow. I’m just starting. I’ll still write the occasional fanfic and other short stories. As for poetry….highly doubtful as my poetic writing ability at this point is more like an Irish Limerick. But never say never, I suppose. Hopefully my stories are “poetic” enough in style and context for now.
People can find me on my blog zelly309.wordpress.com (now zellyjordan.com) where I will have all the latest news and info on my writing progress and you can subscribe to keep up to date with offers, giveaways and other fun stuff. I’m turning that blog into a full website over the next short while. My Facebook Authors page is zelly309writes and I’m on Twitter and Instagram as @zelly309, LinkedIn and Goodreads as Zelly Jordan.
I absolutely love hearing from my readers so come talk to me. Seriously – it’s a big thrill for me. And please don’t forget to leave reviews for my book on Amazon, Goodreads and Xlibris – it’s so incredibly important to every author. Thank you all so much and thank you especially Augustine.