JC ANDRIJESKI: I EVEN WRITE WHEN I’M ON VACATION FOR THE MOST PART
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
JC Andrijeski’s stories were part of anthologies, fiction magazines and many others. Her Allie’s War Episodes became a big hit with many positive reviews. JC is writing fantasy, sci-fi and romance. Let’s hear from our next feature author more about her novels.
– What is your book The Morph: The Gate Shifter Series: Book One about?
– THE MORPH features Dakota Reyes, a twenty-something private eye who specializes in “hard-to-prosecute” cases, who finds herself in a dark alley one night, about to end up dead at the hands of a budding serial killer…when a lost, shape-shifting alien named Nihkil rescues her, and inadvertently takes her home with him. The problem is, Nik’s home is in a different dimension, and Dakota has no clue how to get back to Seattle, or Earth, or even her own time period. And it kind of goes from there…
– How you decide to write the story?
– Honestly, the whole writing process in terms of story generation is so mysterious to me. I thought I was going to be writing something sort of different, a kind of space opera / portal fantasy thing…and it ended up being more of a paranormal romance with a strong thread of detective fiction, especially in the second book, where Dakota returns to Earth with Nik and starts solving crimes with him. The new book, CRASH MORPH, which came out on Friday, October 24th, is closer to the Dresden Files than most science fiction…but I tend to write from more of an intuitive place than a logical one, so the characters often steer the ship more than I do once I get going on something.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– This one had a fair bit of world-building I needed to work out, as well as an unusual hero who isn’t human, and who doesn’t wholly think like one, either. So getting into Nik’s head could occasionally be an interesting challenge, but he’s grown into a super interesting character for me to write, and one who weirdly “fits” with Dakota even though on the surface they’re pretty different people. They both have strong cores of integrity and their own internal code of morality, though, and once Dakota really sees that in Nik, she grows to respect him a lot, and eventually love him, too. I have to say, too, that in general, I love the writing process, so even the challenges are kind of fun for me. I like trying new things and seeing what I can get away with in terms of storyline and structure and whatever else.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– I think Dakota is in some ways a person I would LIKE to be, not someone I actually am…although I draw a ton from others I’ve known in my life, and who I’ve admired for being strong, highly principled people who do the right thing even at huge personal cost to themselves. Dakota is kind of an extreme version of that, in that she’s made it her job to go after people who are pretty danged scary as a matter of justice. As a P.I., she specializes in cases that the cops can’t prosecute for some reason, especially those involving harm to girls or women, since it’s a particular passion to her. So in the beginning of THE MORPH, she’s trying to get a conviction that will stick on a guy she has learned is a full-fledged serial killer, who has a lot of friends in powerful places and so always manages to get off scott-free. The cops know her, of course, because of what she does, and she has a kind of partnership / alliance with them on one level, but they’re also wary of her, too, because she doesn’t play by the rules and will go after someone even when she probably shouldn’t.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– That varies so much from story to story, it’s almost hard to have a definitive answer. I’m always planning at least six months to a year out. I’ve had novels that have been written in a month and one that took close to 10 years, so it’s really hard to nail down an absolute for that kind of thing. Sometimes you have this great idea you just aren’t ready to execute. You need to grow as a writer or you need to let the idea percolate and grow in your subconscious somewhere. Sometimes you have to do a lot of work on backstory for the characters and the world and other times it just flows, seemingly out of nowhere. The actual publishing process, meaning editing, rewrites, beta reading, ARCs and so on generally takes a few months, but sometimes that can happen a lot faster, too, depending on the book. Sorry, that’s kind of a non-answer answer…but for me, it really is highly variable.
– Give us some insight about your most successful Allie’s War’s series?
– The ALLIE’S WAR series is a hard one to pin down for me. It started in my head about 20 years ago, when I dreamed about one of the main characters, Revik, and him being lost in this kind of hell of being born “the chosen one” of his time, and how that pretty much guaranteed that people would exploit him and abuse him and try to take that power from him. Allie grew out of that, almost as his opposite…meaning the one who manages to make the “chosen one” thing work for her, and who sidesteps the worst of those abuses, in large part due to Revik’s help. I can’t help but love their story, as well as the epic nature of that series and its world. My academic background is in difference and race studies, and “Other-izing” of various kinds, so I suppose it makes sense where I would create an alternate history world populated with a whole other species living side by side with humans. The whole development of that series was so organic though, and continues to be. New characters come up and new love stories and past issues…it’s such a vast world for my mind and imagination to play in, it’s kind of like Disneyland for a writer like me.
– Who are you?
– Ha, there are just so many ways I could answer that. If you’re asking for the bare specs, I’m from California (south of San Francisco), I’m in my forties, unmarried, reasonably healthy. I’m about to move back to Asia, so my identity will change yet again, I suppose, at least in some respects. I’m a writer. I’m a sister and a daughter and an aunt with a wonderful family that’s really supportive. I was a business consultant in a past life for major corporations. I’ve also been an academic, with a Master’s Degree in political science, and I’ve worked as a journalist, a waitress, a photo printer, a bartender, a teacher and an academic researcher. I’ve also mucked stables, milked cows and worked as a stone mason. I’ve always been a big traveler, since my father was a commercial pilot, so I’ve lived and traveled to a lot of parts of the world, too, and still seem to have itchy feet. Again, not exactly sure what you’re going for here, so that’s probably enough from me on that.
– What are your writing habits?
– Pretty much every day. I say “pretty much” because I sometimes have full publishing/business/editing days now, too, but I don’t really take “time off” very often…hardly ever, to be honest. I even write when I’m on vacation for the most part, even if it’s only early in the morning and late at night if I’m with family or friends. Weekends are like any other working day for me, and I pretty much work 15 hours a day the majority of days. I’ve always had a good work ethic, so that’s part of it. Also, I’m writing full time now, and you really have to be a small business person as well as a writer when you’re doing it full time, which means a lot of work on both sides of that line. Again, that’s a lot easier to do when you a) love what you’re doing and b) have kind of an obsessive personality anyway.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– The second Gate Shifter book is coming out this week, so I’m excited about that. I’m working on an Allie’s War book right now, too, so also excited about that, too. Am I fully satisfied with the sales? Yes and no. I feel like I’m still growing a fan base, since my stuff is pretty cross-genre and that tends to take longer to find readers, but I’m really happy with how it’s progressing and the fans I have now. I love getting notes from people about characters and worlds I love…it’s beyond awesome. I really just want to be able to continue doing what I’m doing, like any writer. As long as I can do that, I’m happy.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– This stuff changes so fast, it’s hard to know what to say here, too, really. I think the key to being a writer/publisher these days is to be nimble on the business side, and to do what you can to learn ecommerce, which is what a lot of book selling is becoming these days. The people who seem to be doing really well are incredible business people as well as writers, and also seem to really “get” the internet and how selling products via the internet differs from selling via brick and mortar. Conversely, the people who seem to be doing less well are a bit too emotionally attached to having things work a certain way, or who are slow to change, or unwilling to learn new things for whatever reason. I think you have to have humility and always be open to being schooled by someone, no matter how new or old they are to the writing game. There are a lot of egos in writing, which makes sense but I don’t think it serves people in a lot of ways. Writers are like sharks…stop moving and you’re dead.
– Do you prefer to write a short story or a full novel?
– I am definitely a novelist. I love short stories and read a ton of them as a kid, but I tend to think not only in novels but in series, so not a lot of the stuff I write ends up being in a short format. I enjoy writing them when I have the right idea, but that only happens every so often.
– Where did you find your love for travel around the world?
– Have to blame dear old dad for that one. He was a commercial pilot, like I said, and he put the travel bug in me when I was really young, both by flying us places when we were little and also with camping, which he was really passionate about, along with my mom. The two of them drove me and my brother and sister pretty much all over the continental United States as well as big chunks of Canada and some jaunts into Mexico, too. I definitely credit my love of different places and people and cultures to them and their curiosity about the world.
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
– Are you going to buy a book at Powells when you go there today to meet your writer pal for coffee? No, you most definitely are not, since you are moving soon and cannot fit in ONE MORE BOOK, no matter what the devil on your shoulder tries to tell you. Definitely. No. More. Books. Probably.
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Take a look at her books
The Morph: The Gate Shifter Series: Book One
Crash Morph (The Gate Shifter Series Book 2)
Rook: Allie’s War Episodes 1-4 (Allie’s War Episode Collection)
I Am No One: A Quentin Black Mystery
The Image of My Own Death