Jael will be awarding an eCopy of Ladder to the Red Star to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I think the one character trait that has helped me most as a writer is simple doggedness. Once I get started on a project I don’t quit until it’s as perfect as I can make it. The first and biggest obstacle that will keep an aspiring writer from becoming a published author is simply not finishing what they start.
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? I chose science fiction romance as my genre right away, and then conceived my story to work within the structure of the genre. It’s like setting out to write a sonnet instead of free form poetry—I wanted to use a specific form that was best suited to my skills and ideas. Plus, you know, hunks and space ships.
3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? Ice Red is based on the classic tale of Snow White, so I had a very specific framework already mapped out for me from the beginning. Some of the details changed significantly as I went along, but my major plot points were all set before I started writing.
4. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? I try to make the fears my characters face specific to them as individuals, but in another way I want them to have universal resonance so that any reader can sympathize with their feelings. For example, in Ice Red, Bianca the heroine is afraid of rejection, while Cesare the hero is afraid of failure. These are basic human fears, but each character has them because of their particular personality traits and histories—i.e. Bianca is shy and feels abandoned by her family, and Cesare is an outgoing natural leader who has let people down in the past. It’s a delicate balance between the distinctive and the archetypal, and it doesn’t leave much space for exploring my own psyche, I’m afraid.
5. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? The trick that helps me get things done is making ‘to do’ lists. I get out a ballpoint and a sticky note and write down each task, making sure to throw in a couple of super easy ones, like ‘empty the garbage’. Then, I get started crossing them off. There’s little more satisfying and inspiring than the act of crossing a task off a list.
6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? In Ice Red, Bianca is a genius level engineer who can program computers and drive robots as easily as breathing. In the climactic scene she has to hack into a space station’s computer programs in order to rescue Cesare and put a stop to her stepmother’s plans to take over planet Mars. If it were me instead of Bianca in this position, Cesare would no doubt die horribly and Mars would fall under the iron hand of the evil queen, because I have next to zero computer knowhow. Although I write science fiction, I am hopeless with real life technology. I regard my DVD player with awe and dread.
7. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. My favorite place to write is my local coffeehouse. Not surprisingly, the comfort food I can’t do without is coffee.
8. Writing inspirations? Some of my best writing inspirations are the smarter action and fantasy movies, like the Bourne films and Lord of the Rings, among others. As I watch I consider how I would approach the characters, settings and themes and tinker around with how this or that could be better or worse. I owe a lot of the way I structured Ice Red to the movies, especially my action scenes.
9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? So I walk up to Kresley Cole as she’s having a beignet at Café Du Monde, and I ask her, “Wanna go on a pub crawl next Mardi Gras?”
10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. My annoying writer habit is talking to myself. There’s just no better way to get dialog right than to speak it aloud in a character’s voice and listen for natural rhythm and diction. But it does make people want to force-feed me lithium. Ah well, we all must suffer for our art, mustn’t we?
Ice Red by Jael Wye
Mirror, mirror, full of stars,
Who will claim the throne of Mars?
The princess: Engineer Bianca Ross, heir to a megacorporation and the Mars elevator, needs to acquire a mine on the surface to secure her place in the company. All that stands in her way is the mine’s charming owner, Cesare Chan.
The evil stepmother: Victoria Ross is plotting to gain control of Mars. She plans to assassinate Bianca and seduce Cesare to further her goals, and Bianca’s trip is the perfect opportunity.
The charming prince: Cesare shouldn’t get involved. Bianca’s visit could reveal the escaped slaves he’s hiding at his mine, but he can’t ignore a damsel in distress–especially one as beautiful as Bianca.
Alone, neither would stand a chance against Victoria. But together, they could rewrite a tale that’s meant to end with Bianca’s blood.
Time to begin the charm offensive. “How could I forget?” he said. “You were my damsel in distress. Standing on a balcony, no less. A bloke couldn’t ask for a more dramatic introduction. Though we didn’t get around to exchanging names, did we?”
“Well, M’Chan, I am grateful…” She trailed off, as if she didn’t quite know what to say next.
Cesare said thoughtfully, “But I think my heroic actions deserve a more substantial reward than I got. Buying you a drink was nice first installment, but it’s not quite enough.”
She blinked. “Reward?”
“Ay. In return for saving your travelpac, I want you to call me Cesare.”
She looked at him for a moment, her chin tilted up, brows slightly raised. He suddenly had the uncomfortable feeling that she was studying him as if he were an amoeba crawling around on a petri dish. Right, so maybe the charm offensive needs some retooling.
Then again, maybe not. Icy as her expression was, her delicate ivory skin was blooming with heat along her throat and her fine cheekbones.
“Cesare,” she finally said, imbuing the two syllables of his name with a sense of how utterly unimpressive she found him. For some reason Cesare found himself smiling wider.
“Is there something you would like to discuss with me?”
“Ay, Bianca,” he said, reining in his smile. “In fact, I’ve wanted to introduce myself to you, ever since you started trying to take over my company.”
Her expression didn’t waver. “Your company? I believe you mean your father’s company.”
He shook his head slowly. “No, Bianca. My company. No matter what the legal documents say, RedIce is mine.”
Jael Wye grew up on the American Great Plains, went to school in the Midwest, and now lives in beautiful New England with her family and her enormous collection of houseplants. For more of Jael’s unique blend of futurism and fairy tale, don’t miss her ongoing series Once Upon A Red World.
Website — http://www.jaelwye.net
Twitter — @jaelwye