Jaime Reed was making fun of me within the first few minutes of us meeting on Twitter, so I knew we’d get along well. She’s a fellow client of Kathleen Ortiz, and today is the day her incredible debut novel LIVING VIOLET comes out. Pretty exciting stuff. Jaime was nice enough to do this interview with me. I hope you enjoy it, and make sure to pick up a copy of LIVING VIOLET!
First, tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m a YA author from Virginia. My debut book LIVING VIOLET comes out Dec. 27th and it’s the first installment in a three-book series called The Cambion Chronicles. I have the most boring life ever! I just hang out with friends, talk trash about movies, and draw storyboards and other computer design. Writing is my escape from the mundane, my Narnia.
Have you stopped trying to correct people when they spell your name “Jamie”?
Yep. It’s a losing battle and I’d rather save my breath for something else, like apologizing to people whose names I misspell. I’m not alone, so that’s cool.
When did you start writing and has publishing a book always been a goal?
At first, it was just a hobby, but when I was starting to get the hang of things and completing whole manuscripts, I decided to pitch them. The first series I finished didn’t go so well, so I started LIVING VIOLET as a distraction. Who knew this would be the book that went somewhere?
How does it feel to have your debut novel LIVING VIOLET come out?
Scary. I’m equally terrified of success as I am of failure. I’m trying not to think about it and focus on my writing. It’s the only thing keeping me from a panic attack.
When you set out to write LIVING VIOLET, did you know it was going to be about Cambions, or were there other options you played with?
I wasn’t sure what to call them at first. I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing, vampires, angels, werewolves, mermaids, ect. I’ve seen that. I wanted to add something new to the table, something not so set in its own canon. I’ve had a vampire fetish since high school, but the thrill is gone for me, I’m afraid. Their lore still fascinated me, and a bit of it leaked through in this story in another avenue, by tapping into its source.
Samara, the main character, is a bit of a firecracker, for lack of a better word. How much of your own personality do you think snuck into her?
Her humor is similar to mine, but her attitude and strength is something else altogether. I’m a complete wuss, and there are a few things I wouldn’t do in the story. Okay, a lot of things I wouldn’t do. Samara is a combination of several friends and family members. She has the “only child” thing going on that reflects a few of my friends, the way she talks, the way she is around adults and her interaction with her parents.
Samara isn’t quite a stereotypical female lead. You did an excellent job making her feel like a real-life girl. She doesn’t have a perfect body or perfect hair, yet these things add to her believability. What was the thought process behind giving her those physical traits?
Samara is biracial and most biracial girls I know have curly hair. It’s pretty typical. She’s average height and a little plump, but other than that, I try not to get into too much detail. Every girl at that age has a body part issue. I think it’s a universal thing. But Samara doesn’t obsess over it for pages on end. She knows what she is and knows what she’s not, and moves on.
Sweet treats, such as candy bars, cookies and donuts play a heavy role in the book. What’s your favorite treat, and what do you recommend for people to eat while reading LIVING VIOLET?
I’m an ice cream girl, through and through. So if you’re into that sort of thing, them by all means, bon appetite. But for reading the story I recommend cookies and brownies, definitely.
Do you write free-hand or on the computer?
Both. Depends on my mood, the weather, the temperature in the room, my horoscope. But for the most part I write it out. I have a stack of notebooks full of stories I’ve done. Too bad I can’t read my own handwriting.
Do you have a certain schedule for writing?
Write, sleep, write, read, write, work, eat, work out, write, hang out with friends, write. Yup that sums it up. It’s become an obsession, really. I squeeze it in whenever I can. But like most things, I do my best work at night. *wink*
Once you have your general idea, do you outline extensively or just write as you go?
I have a basic idea and just run with it. It usually starts out with a situation, a “what if?” question. Then the character peeks through and then the story tells itself according to the decisions of the characters. So basically, I’m following their lead and write down what happens.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?
I write with music, the louder and faster the better. When I edit, it has to be ABSOLUTE SILENCE. Don’t call me or knock on my door, or else prepare to get cussed out.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Write. Read. And write some more. Be prepared. Before you submit the first manuscript have another story, or at the very least the outline of another story on standby. Rejection is bound to happen, so you need a plan B. Just in case.
And finally, and probably most importantly, your favorite superhero?
Batman. He doesn’t have special powers, just cool gadgets and combat training. I could totally do that, or at least work my way toward that. He’s got daddy issues and a cool hang out. I can relate. I even have blueprints for the construction of my very own secret lair. Just so you know.
Another vote for Batman! Jaime definitely has good taste in superheroes. She’s also a fantastic writer, and I know you’re going to love LIVING VIOLET. Thanks so much to Jaime for taking the time to do the interview.