Kindle Author Interview: Paty Jager

Paty Jager, author of Marshal in Petticoats, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Marshal in Petticoats?

PATY JAGER: Marshal in Petticoats is a flirtatious romp through the gold country in NE Oregon in the 1880s. Darcy Duncan dresses like a young man to travel about with her younger brother looking for a place to call home. When she accidentally shoots a bank robber, she's made marshal of a town as accident prone as herself. Having been on her own for five years, she doesn't take orders well especially from a corrupt mayor. Her curiosity and bungling gets her mixed up with bank robbers, and endeared to a drifter looking for a man who happens to be one of the bank robbers. Gil Halsey came to Galena looking for the heir to a ranch. Instead he finds a woman , dressed like a boy, who  sets his blood on fire and reunites him with his estranged family.

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

PATY JAGER: My characters come about differently for each book. In Marshal in Petticoats, I started out trying to write a humorous book after having taken a workshop on writing humor. The three step punch wasn't coming, but the heroine was showing her clumsiness, so I made her accident prone and then I had to give her a good reason to take the marshal job. I gave her a younger brother who was growing and in need of new clothes and three meals. With her as a marshal, I had to make the hero, Gil, someone new to town who could possibly be an outlaw. This made conflict and when he discovers she's a woman and not a young man, he becomes a confidante though she still isn't sure of his motives for being in town. By giving her a background where she's had to scrap to make ends meet, it gives her a hardened look on life and resilience. Gil, is running from a past, so he doesn't divulge much of anything, which makes him fair game for her curiosity to latch on to.

In answer to the second part of the questions—I try to differentiate my characters by their pasts, backgrounds and how they speak.

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

PATY JAGER: My ideal reader is someone who likes character driven stories, with action, and sensual love scenes with a smidgen of humor mixed in.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

PATY JAGER: My journey as a writer, in that I was paid, started when my children were small. I wrote a short children's story that was published in a parenting magazine, then I wrote freelance human interest stories for the local newspapers, and ten years after joining RWA (Romance Writers of America) I sold my first book, Marshal in Petticoats, to a small ebook and POD publisher. I now have nine books that were published through the small press.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

PATY JAGER: I start with what I call stewing and brewing. I get an idea for a book before I've finished writing the one I'm on, and I start piecing together the idea and the characters in my head. Then when I finish whichever book I'm writing, I start researching for the next book while I continue to stew and brew and write down all the things I've come up with so far. Once I know the hero and heroine well, have the beginning of the book identified, and know the ending, plus a turning point or two in the middle, I start writing. When I get 6-8 chapters into the story, I start sending them to my critique partners. When the book is written  I go back through for editing and revisions using my CP's comments and then it's ready for my editor if it's going that direction or to agents, or in the case that I've now started self-publishing it would get one more once over and then go up on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

PATY JAGER: The authors that can stay focused and true to the books they want to write and sell.

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

PATY JAGER: I've read many books that moved me, changed my way of thinking, or flat out entertained me. But I don't think there's been one that I wished I'd written. I just want a book of mine to be read and word of mouth to spread the book around. So, I guess it would be one of Amanda Hocking's books.

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

PATY JAGER: I blog on my own blog three times a week., I guest blog on four other blogs once a month that are genre specific, I guest blog on other authors' and review sites' several times a month, I've purchased bookmarks, I guest on blog talk radio shows, attend and set up book signings, have interviews on my local TV station, wrote a month long diary for the Nationwide magazine, Farm & Ranch, belong to several reader online loops, teach workshops online and in person, and I have a monthly website contest on my website

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

PATY JAGER: When I heard about the high sales of self published books through Kindle and realized I could make more from a sale on Kindle selling my book for less than the small press, it was a no brainer to try my hand here.  If the reader can get my book for a reasonable cost, and I can get a more for that book, then I'm all for helping out the reader and myself.

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

PATY JAGER: If you are a first time author make sure your book has been through several critique partners or beta readers to make sure there are no holes in your plot and your characters ring true, then if you aren't good at editing, get a professional. Nothing throws a reader out of a book faster than bad editing or faulty plots and characters. Then when your book is sparkling, get a cover made if you aren't good at graphic design.

But really, I found my experience with a small press the most beneficial thing I could have done for my career. I learned so much from their hands-on approach to their authors that I feel comfortable going self-pubbed.

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


Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay, award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently farm 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Paty Jager is a member of RWA, EPIC, and COWG. Wild Rose Press has published eight of her books with Spirit of the Lake to release in May 2011. Perfectly Good Nanny, won the 2008 EPPIE for Best Contemporary Romance.  She edited for an e-publisher for four and a half years and teaches workshops at conferences, writers meetings, and online.

Visit her website and read her blog.

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