Interview with Jay Mountney

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always loved writing. I have stories whirling around my brain, and enjoy sharing them with other people. I know from social media that my friends, at least, like my stories, so it seems worthwhile to share them more widely. That feeling of connection, when the story from my mind resonates with a reader, is the greatest joy.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on two things. I'm half way through volume 4 of The Skilled Investigators. I'm also trying (with the help of my wonderful editor) to organise the material for volume 2 of Living Fae. I'm also considering a couple of short stories that were originally published in online zines. I have the rights back, so it's a question of reformatting and designing the covers.
Who are your favorite authors?
Tolkien, Tad Williams, Terry Pratchett, Anthony Trollope, Georgette Heyer, G.R.R.Martin, Seanan McGuire, Tanya Huff.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read avidly. I think writers need to spend as much time reading as they do writing. I spend time with my family. I travel between UK and Portugal and managing two houses takes a lot of time.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually by recommendation from friends. Then once I have found and like an author I will see what else they have written.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a fairy story written as a play for my mother's Brownie troop. I was five at the time and too young to be a Brownie, but as author I was allowed to be in the cast.
What is your writing process?
The outline or basic plot arc rolls through my mind like a film. I interview the main members of the 'cast' to find out more about them. I research things like names and locations. Then I plunge into the story, retelling the 'film' and dealing with details as they arise. I usually have more than one book in progress at a time, so if I can't get the next section of a story straight in my head I just turn to another work. My brain normally organises everything so that when I return, I can forge ahead. I always re-read the last chapter I wrote before starting a new one. I use grammar and spell check features before I close my work so that proof reading in the end won't be quite as onerous. I work from A to Z; I can't write sections that are not in sequence because that would interfere with the 'film' quality of the experience.
How do you approach cover design?
I love photography so I am always on the lookout for shots that might make good covers. I personally dislike covers with people on them, because I enjoy imagining the characters, not having someone else's idea thrust upon me. I note covers that I like and consider what makes them attractive. I have graphics programs and I play with effects, text, etc. until I am satisfied. I find the process of working on a cover quite relaxing. The final cover should be one I will always enjoy looking at.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read in various different genres. I enjoy fantasy, crime, history, m/m romance, and non-fiction (especially history) most. When any two or more of the fiction genres I have just mentioned appear in one book I am delighted. I read and admire short stories but they are not my favourite format. I dislike most horror. Comedy, for me, has to be subtle and have an extra agenda, such as the political and social satire in the Discworld novels.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle. I love it because I can take an entire library of books with me when I travel. I can also treat myself to new books without having to worry about storage.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the Northumberland coast, then went to a boarding school in the Lake District. While I was at school my family moved to rural North Yorkshire. I think the varied countryside of the three areas gave me an appreciation of the details that make places different and made me consider how to describe the locations of my stories so that they would 'live' for my readers. I was also very aware of the various folk tales and legends in these localities and have incorporated some of these into my work.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I answered some letter from a child addressed to the fairies at the bottom of the garden. In the course of that correspondence, I expanded my fae world. Then I joined an online role play community where I developed the character of my fae narrator further. He turned out to be quite adult and not by any means a garden fairy. I kept an online journal for him and that provided most of the material for my latest book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like to control everything: rate of progress, cover, pricing, style and grammar, length. There seemd to be too many restrictions involved in submitting to an outside publisher. In addition, modern pubishing houses do not give the kind of benefits to most of their authors that they used to provide, in terms of marketing, editing, etc. I do use an editor, and some beta readers, but I feel able, as an indie author, to present my work the way I want to, when I want to.
Published 2017-04-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Growing Up Fae
Series: Living Fae. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 83,160. Language: British English. Published: April 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
A fairy journal narrating the saga of a fae group in Cheshire, UK. The diarist, Harlequin, shares his experiences, love affairs and family crises.
The Crown
Series: The Skilled Investigators. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,430. Language: British English. Published: January 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Coming of age
Book 3 of The Skilled Investigators. Genef must follow the trail of the missing crown to The Ice Country, accompanied by Scratch, her dragon, and Rath, her mentor. Can they find the crown, solve murders and kidnappings, survive the bitter cold and return safely to Lonis and Fel? A perfect mid-winter read with snow, icicles and chills galore!
The Market
Series: The Skilled Investigators. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 61,430. Language: British English. Published: February 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
Book 2 of The Skilled Investigators. Genef, having solved her first case as an investigator, is sent on an overseas mission by the king. Her brother and her dragon accompany her but there are crimes and conspiracies that endanger both Fel and Scratch. Can Genef solve the mysteries and get everyone safely back to Lonis?
The Scroll
Series: The Skilled Investigators. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 80,550. Language: British English. Published: April 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
Volume 1 of The Skilled Investigators, a fantasy detective series.
Three Legends
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 4,920. Language: British English. Published: November 25, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
A retelling of a Northumbrian legend, a look at how legends are born, and a modern legend based around a popular saying. Three very short stories that explore legends with a focus on m/m romance.
Lord of Shalott
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,560. Language: British English. Published: November 25, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
What if Tennyson's Lady of Shalott was in fact a lord? An m/m retelling of the legend with a very different outcome.
Silkskin and the Forest Dwellers
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 18,050. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
An m/m retelling of a fairy tale in which the princess is a prince and the setting is a fantasy version of mediaeval Africa.