Kindle Author Interview: J.E. Taylor

J.E. Taylor, author of Hunting Season, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Hunting Season?

J.E. TAYLOR: Hunting Season is the follow up to Vengeance and stars my favorite rogue FBI agent—Steve Williams—and also has my favorite rehabilitated criminal—Ty Aris. I had an absolute ball blending both my series (Games series and Steve Williams series) into this one kick-ass book.

Here’s the official blurb:

When Kyle Winslow escapes from custody and targets everyone Special Agent Steve Williams cares about, a turn of fate brings Steve face to face with Ty Aris—a criminal mastermind topping the FBI’s most wanted list. Torn between justice and vengeance, Steve must make a decision. Join alliances with Ty, or arrest him and lose his best chance to catch the bastard who destroyed his family.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

J.E. TAYLOR: By throwing an exorbitant amount of shit in their direction and seeing how they react. No two characters act the same when faced with adversity. Their personalities flourish in my mind, whether it’s a sharp sense of sarcasm, or an iron will that can’t be broken by physical abuse, or an innocence in a child, the personal differences come naturally once I build a mental profile. The characters have certainly surprised me at times and over the years, as anyone writing a series can attest, they tend to come alive and become a part of you.

Now if only that would include some of their supernatural gifts … I’m still waiting for THAT to manifest.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

J.E. TAYLOR: Someone who likes a thrill ride. Adrenaline junkies do well with my books.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

J.E. TAYLOR: Crazy. In the beginning I was crazy stupid. I didn’t know what a query letter was, so my first couple batches that I sent out were completely wrong. Looking back—they were cringe-worthy. I should have taken the time to do a little research into the business and connect with some more established writers. The bottom line, I burned through the top agents on my “I want” list before I was ready. That not only included the query faux pas, it also included a group of manuscripts that was a raw shell of what they should have been.

When I was finally educated and had some decent writing courses under my belt, I went through the query go round again. I got some requests and comments back, but they all ultimately ended with a no. The content was too risky or while the agent liked the story—they didn’t love it.

Enter Smashwords (I know—this is a Kindle interview, but…). In contemplation of self publishing, I started looking into what was needed and in that bout of research, I decided to look at who the popular publishers were. That’s where I found eXcessica—and my first publishing contract. I found a home for my most controversial story—Survival Games, which deals with kidnapping and underground porn & snuff.

eXcessica allowed me to grow as a writer and I got involved with the inner workings of an e-publisher, becoming one of their primary e-book formatters, which in turn granted me the knowledge of being able to fly solo.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

J.E. TAYLOR: Just write. I have no formal process. Just a chair, a lap desk and my laptop along with some good music and the starting gun which only goes off once the day job is over and the kids activities have ended.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

J.E. TAYLOR: I have a great deal of authors that inspire me these days for various reasons. The most recent of which is Amanda Hocking. It is an inspiration seeing someone succeed in such a grand way. Sara Gruen is another one that has had such soaring success—and I hope the movie Water for Elephants gets as much attention and accolades as the book has. Go Sara Go!

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

J.E. TAYLOR: The Stand by Stephen King.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

J.E. TAYLOR: My major promotion base is in the social networking space—facebook, twitter, goodreads, myspace, youtube and a few others. I’ve also solicited reviews and purchased spots on certain tour stops and participated in give-aways. I have my own blog that’s gaining popularity and I’ve gotten involved in the kindle groups. I’m still flushing out what works for me and what doesn’t, so for now—I’m wildly all over the place.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

J.E. TAYLOR: Kindles are cool and who doesn’t want to sit with the cool kids?

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

J.E. TAYLOR: Edit. Get a strong editor or critique partner that will rip apart your book, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses in your prose. Then revise and have that mean ol’ critique partner review again. Round and round until your partner gives it the nod. You do not want to publish something that hasn’t been vetted and crafted and your absolute best.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


J.E. Taylor is a writer, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order. She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked: “Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?” From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and now her writing resume includes six+ published novels along with several short stories on the virtual shelves including a few within eXcessica anthologies. Ms. Taylor also moonlights as an Assistant Editor of Allegory, an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and lends a hand in formatting manuscripts for eXcessica as well as offering her services judging writing contests for various RWA chapters. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine.

Visit her website, read her blog, find her on facebook, and follow her on twitter.

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