JAYE L. KNIGHT is a homeschool-graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God's love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
To learn more about Jaye and her work, visit her website, www.jayelknight.com.
Jaye is visiting us today for a fun interview . . . and don't miss your chance at the end of this post to win an ebook copy of her new release, Resistance!
Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
Jaye: Tea! I’m a total tea addict. English Breakfast Tea is my favorite . . . with plenty of French Vanilla creamer and sugar, of course. I drink a cup of tea pretty much every morning, and by cup, I mean a giant 2-cup mug most of the time.
I’m quite introverted, so I’m really quiet unless you know me well and get me going on one of my fandoms or something I’m passionate about. Though I spend more time inside with my writing than I probably should, I’m an outdoorsy person. I love summertime and everything that comes with it. I always jump at the chance to go hiking or kayaking. Or flea markets! I love antiques and have a rapidly growing collection of oil lamps, so I’d visit flea markets every week if there were enough around. It probably wouldn’t be good for my finances though. I’m very creative, and besides all the work I put into publishing, I also run a small Etsy shop where I make and sell jewelry specifically for fellow authors as well as pieces inspired by my books. I love history and am pretty old-fashioned, but also have a modern style. It’s an interesting blend of country girl with subtle hints of rocker and Bohemian mixed with it. I like being different and unique. I’m a big fan of music too. Especially Skillet, Building 429, Aaron Shust, and Ashes Remain. They’re my favorite bands. Oh yeah, and I’m a hardcore Green Bay Packers fan.
What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?
Jaye: I was eight-years-old when I first started writing. I credit my mom for that. She’s been a writer since her early teens. I used to see her collecting old magazine photos for character inspiration, and I guess it sparked something in me that wanted to do it too. Once I started, there was no going back. I first decided I wanted to be an author when I was about fourteen or fifteen, shortly after I discovered The Lord of the Rings. I published my first book with a self-publishing company just after I graduated about seven years ago. A year after that, I discovered CreateSpace, and used what I learned from my first book to publish on my own. Since then, I’ve set up my own little indie publishing company, Living Sword Publishing, and plan to continue using it for my own books and any my mom might publish in the future.
Jaye: My very first novel was The PirateDaughter’s Promise, which is the first of a four book YA historical series. I started it when I was fifteen, and published it under the pen name Molly Evangeline. It was certainly a learning experience. I really had no idea what I was doing, but everyone has to start somewhere. I learned a lot in those first few years of publishing. Then, a year ago, I changed my pen name to Jaye L. Knight. It was a great way to take what I had learned and get a fresh start to do things more professionally.
Resistance is not your first fantasy novel, is it? I would love to hear about your first fantasy series!
Jaye: No, I’ve been writing fantasy for over ten years now. Ever since I watched The Fellowship of the Ring movie, I’ve fallen in love with the genre. In the months after seeing it and reading through the books, I started what was supposed to be a five book fantasy series, though I only completed three. It was so silly and cliché. Basically, real-world girl ends up in a fantasy world. But it was simply for my enjoyment as well as my cousins who I read it to whenever we got together.
Later on, once I started publishing my pirate books, I got the urge to rewrite the series. I eliminated the real-world girl, changed the fantasy world a bit, added some new characters, and developed an entirely new plot for the third book. It became my Makilien Trilogy. It took a lot of work, but it was fun to see it come together when it was such a big part of my teen years. I still had a lot to learn when I wrote it, but it’s all part of my author journey.
Now do tell us about Resistance. How long have you been developing the ideas for this series? Did the first book present any unusual challenges?
Jaye: Resistance is the first book of Ilyon Chronicles, which will contain six books total. For being such a big series, I actually haven’t been developing it for all that long—just over three years. Sometimes you need a while to let an idea simmer, but this one took hold of me and demanded to be written now. I actually started writing Resistance the day after the first seed of inspiration hit me. I was reading DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul, and one of the scenes started me thinking on half-blooded characters. I’d already done that in Makilien, but I’d never written about half-bloods who were looked down on by society. It was that tiny little thought that inspired my main character, Jace. The rest grew (very rapidly) around him.
I think the biggest challenge for me was getting the emotions right. There are a lot of difficult issues and some very broken characters in Resistance. Jace is the most tortured individual I’ve ever written about, and while I knew him inside and out from very early on, it’s not easy getting what’s in your head down on paper. There were also things about the book that were constantly developing and changing. I wasn’t only working on this one book, but figuring out the rest of the series at the same time (I’m definitely more of a pantser). So there would be times when I’d think of something I wanted to do in a later book, but would have to go back and make sure it worked with book one. Plus, there were pivotal characters, like my main girl’s twin brother, who didn’t even come into being until I was almost half done with the book, which meant I had to go back and add them in. Things like that were definitely a challenge, but at the same time, it was incredibly exciting to see how it all came together.
Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?
Jaye: This is usually a very hard question, and I have many, many characters I adore in Resistance, bit I can easily narrow it down to Jace. He’s the heart of the series and my favorite character I’ve ever written about. I can relate to his brokenness, and it’s really easy to get inside his head and experience his emotions. In a lot of ways, he’s like the more intense male version of me. I think we react to our struggles and surroundings in similar ways.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Jaye: Movies and TV shows are probably my biggest source of inspiration. I do get a lot of inspiration from reading, but visual inspiration seems to get my imagination flowing the best. Music is another huge source. Epic, trailer-type music is the best. I love artists like Audiomachine and Future World Music. Some of my best scenes have developed while I’ve been listening to such music. It’s also the first place I turn when I need a renewal. If I’m just not that excited about a character or scene, I’ll pull up the playlist I’ve created for the book. I almost always have a theme song chosen for my main characters. Brainstorming while listening to their songs really helps.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Jaye: I actually like rewriting and editing the best. It can be really hard to get the story written. And while there are certainly scenes I have a blast writing, it’s perfecting what’s already written that is my favorite. It’s so much easier for me to get the story where I want it when I know the whole book is already written. I don’t like blank pages. My first drafts are usually just awful, but my goal is always to get the words on the page and worry about that later.
What are you actively writing right now?
Jaye: I just finished book four of Ilyon Chronicles and am now getting into book five. It’s hard to believe I’ve made it this far and that I only have one book left after this. It will be very interesting to see how the story goes once I really get into it. The plot isn’t as large scale as the first four were. It’s more of a personal story, but I like that. I think I need a break from large scale anyway.
Would you share a short snippet from Resistance?
Jaye: Sure! Here’s a bit from chapter one that sets the entire series in motion.
Forcing aside his nerves, Rayad maintained a casual pace toward the northern outskirts of Troas, one of the largest cities this far south. It lay just north enough to avoid nighttime attacks by the monstrous cave drakes inhabiting the Krell Mountains on Arcacia’s southern shores.
Beyond the outer buildings, he spotted the forest, but first he had to pass through the open meadow scattered with tents and wagons. Heavy, barred wagons mostly—gladiator wagons—all gathered for the games. Many stood empty, but a few contained men with faces and eyes either void or glaring their cold hatred. Rayad diverted his gaze and focused on the road, but he ground his teeth. What was happening to this world? Oh, for the days long past when the inhabitants of Ilyon had served and worshipped their true Lord—millenniums ago, before the ryriks had led the revolt against their Creator and changed how everything was created to be.
The road meandered its way toward the trees, urging Rayad to ride faster. He glanced over his shoulder, just to be sure no one followed, and tried to shrug off the clinging claws of paranoia. A raised voice drifted through the air, and he whipped his head around.
“…worthless creature…teach you to defy me…do as you’re told…”
Rayad snorted and shot a glance at the stallion beside him. Probably another troublesome beast of burden. He rode past a tent and found the source of the shouting—a stout man dressed in flamboyant red linen and an ill-fitting leather doublet. The man raised a horsewhip, spitting out a string of curses, and brought it hissing down—not upon some hapless animal, but on another man kneeling in front of him with one arm chained to a stake. Rayad’s gut wrenched. It was the same young gladiator he’d seen in the arena. He pulled Aros to a halt.
The man beat the gladiator without mercy. Rayad cringed at every stinging impact, but the young man made no sound and barely flinched. Infuriated, the man with the whip took him by the hair and yanked his head up. Blood dripped from the gladiator’s chin.
“How many times do I have to tell you? You could be a sensation. You please the crowd, do you understand?”
To punctuate these words, he backhanded the gladiator across the chin. In a defiant move, the young man tried to rise, but he received a solid fist to the ribs and sank back to his knees, where the man with the whip proceeded to beat him again.
Rayad squeezed Aros’s reins, and the leather dug into his palm. Common sense told him to move on, that he could do nothing, yet every bone in his body willed him to act.
“Excuse me,” he called out before the man could strike again.
The man with the whip spun around, his face flushed nearly purple. Rayad slid off his horse and marched up to him. Another massive hulk of a man stood nearby next to a wagon with the faded and peeling red words Jasper’s Gladiators painted along the side.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Rayad demanded of the man with the whip.
His flaccid face knotted in an ugly scowl. “None of your business. He’s my slave.”
Rayad planted his fists on his hips and glared down at the man who stood a few inches shorter. “Slave or not, no man should be treated in such a manner.”
Jasper let out a cruel bark of laughter. “He’s no man.”
He reached for the gladiator’s hair again and yanked it up on the side. Rayad’s breath snagged halfway up his throat. The young slave’s ear came to a noticeable point.
Sneering, Jasper shoved the gladiator’s head away as if he were the most disgusting thing in Ilyon. “He’s half ryrik.”
The mixed blood slave looked up, and his sea-blue eyes almost glowed behind the strands of hair that fell in his face. His gaze locked with Rayad’s. Defiance and danger flashed in the cold, diamond-hard light, but deeper writhed the shadows of a tortured soul.
Thank you, Jaye, for sharing with us today! It's exciting to learn of your work and your publishing adventures.
What do you think, imps? Ready to dive into some exciting fantasy? You can grab Resistance right away and, while waiting for book 2 to release, snatch up Jaye's other fantasy work written as Molly Evangeline. Lots of great reading to last you a while!
Jaye is generously offering an ebook giveaway for Resistance, so be certain to enter your name. And don't miss this opportunity to chat with Jaye about her writing, reading, jewelry-making . . . whatever you like! a Rafflecopter giveaway