Interview with Joleene Naylor

Published 2019-09-16.
Who are you and why do we care?
I'm one of a million plus indie authors who writes vampire fiction. Except, my Amaranthine series isn't for teenagers.My vampires don't drive a Prius, they're not vegetarian, and they happily kill both humans and vampires alike - even the good guys. A reviewer once commented that they didn't find my good guy "good enough" and that made me happy, because no one is the proverbial white knight good guy that movies and novels sometimes portray, just as no one is ever evil for the sake of being evil. The best "good guy" has darkness lurking behind his eyes, and the best villain thinks he's righteous. If you agree, and like a dose of violence and romance with your vampires, then you might like what I have to offer. You can always start with the free stories first.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the reason I keep writing. Without them I'd have probably gotten bored and moved on to something else by now, but their passion for the Amaranthine world keeps me passionate. That's why I try to keep my books as cheap as I can, and write lots of freebies, because, without them, the Amaranthine universe would not exist.
What are you working on right now?
The Amaranthine series has officially ended, but the Amaranthine Universe goes on. Right now I'm working on the Micah and Loren road trip stand alone, with an eye for a 2020 release. After that will be a trilogy featuring Oren's family, with the possibility of a Jorick stand alone, or a Verchiel/Jamie stand alone novel later.
Do you think your vampire novels are ridiculous?
It's a series about undead people who walk, talk and drink blood. Of course it's a little ridiculous! By their very nature ALL speculative fiction books are a little out there, this is why you must suspend belief to an extent. However I have tried to add a splash of reality in the form of consequences. The heroine runs away with the vampire hero into the sunset and... and she loses her job. And her family thinks she was kidnapped. And she's not paying her rent so she loses her apartment, etc. etc. Of course there's reality one ignores. Being nearly killed, for instance, is sure to leave a person traumatized, but how many pages of quivering jelly-like traumatized heroine does a reader want to slog through before they're bored?
You have some strange character names. How do you pronounce them?
Since books are text based rather than verbal, I'm not going to say that my way is the "right" way, but here is the way that *I* pronounce a few of them:

Jorick - Joor (as in door) - ick or Joor-rick. (the real pronunciation of this is Jo-rick. I know because I found a guy on myspace who had this name and asked him, but it was too late. Joor-ick was already firmly implanted in my brain.)
Katelina - Kate - lean - uh
Oren - Or-en (as in wren)
Torina - Tore -ee-nuh
Velnya - Vel-nyuh
Kai - k-eye (as in eye)
Arowenia - Air-o-ween-yuh
Verchiel - Vur (as in burn) - chi (as in Chia) - el
Micha - My-kuh (as opposed to the Paranormal Activity pronunciation)
Anya - On-yuh
Senya - Sen (as in Yen) - yuh
Jorge - Hor-hay
Sadihra - Suh-deer-uh
Ume - OO-may (Or I sometimes call her OO-mee)
Samael - Sa -may-el
Eileifr - It's an authentic norse name, and I can't pronounce this one. No audio books for me.
What is your writing process?
Like the doctor, my time is timey-wimey. I imagine a good "scene" - in my head it's either animated anime style or else a live action movie - then I write whatever filler I need in order to get from scene A to scene B, then I backtrack to make that filler make sense with whatever I ended up with.Then I repeat until the book is done, backtracking often to edit or add in scenes necessary for those "exciting bits" to work or make sense.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the south west corner of Iowa in a tiny pocket of unreality; a place that time literally had not caught up to (and still has not). Everything was a little slower, a little smaller, and a little quieter. Farmers with withered sun tanned skin woke up at five in the morning and had coffee in the small cafe at seven. Carhart and coveralls were the fashion, the county fair was one of the big events of summer and the volunteer fire department still had dances in the street. I dreamed of escaping to a metropolitan area that was "like TV", but moving doesn't matter. Those kind of places aren't only around you, but in you, and you can't run from what's inside. It oozes out in my writing; in my settings and my descriptions. There is nothing creepier to me than a dark field of corn or an abandoned barn. The backdrops of my books are small towns, slowly dying, with grass choked parking lots and rain striped motels. My monsters lurk in the woods and live in the abandoned farm house. They drive down old highways and shop in the local chain stores. And why not? There's a subtle beauty in the Midwest; in old gray barns and rusted windmills. I only hope I can capture it.
Describe your desk
I grew up writing in notebooks. My favorite place to write was on my balcony; I would shimmy through the window and sit out there in all kinds of weather, my radio propped just inside (the cord only reached so far). With my desktop computer I was chained to a desk - unless I wanted to hand write everything out, then retype it - and then my desktop died. Now I use my laptop and my desk is anywhere I happen to be; the park, the patio table (where I am now), the kitchen, the living room, even my bed dotted with purring cats. Is it organized? Do I have a fancy writer's bulletin board? How about all those dictionaries and writers' books? Nope. I have a laptop, google, and an imagination, and I like that better. The view is certainly nicer.
Where does your imagination come from?
I have to credit my bad eye sight. When I'm walking the dog in the semi-twilight I see all sorts of terrifying and macabre things; gargoyles on the light poles, abandoned babies in the park, dead bodies on the side of the road. Of course, when I get closer I can plainly see that it's only a beat up transformer with a bit of tree branch caught in it, or a squashed bag in the park, or a person randomly laying on the ground next to the road (okay, I admit, I didn't check. He might have been dead). This does beg the question, though: do I see macabre things because I have a scary imagination, or do I have a scary imagination because I see macabre things?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'd like to say vacationing in the Bahamas, but who gets to do that? I create book covers for fellow authors and do other publishing related things. I also blog and maintain a website. But that's all boring stuff. What I really love to do is play Pokemon Go and Love Nikki Dress up, pet cats, bake new recipes, watch anime, take photos and engage in my various doll hobbies off and on. I'd like to find time to make it back to paper dolls again.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The splendor of the universe; the beauty of the natural world and the magic of.. eh, who am I kidding? It's the undeniably crushing work load. Wait, that sounded bad, though it's true. What makes me leave the warm comfiness of my bed is the long to-do list that I know I can't possibly finish today. That and the dog whining to go out. It's all sunshine and miracles in this house. Ha ha!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
The middle Kindle. Not the paper white, not the fire (seriously, that's just a tablet in disguise), but the plain old e-ink kindle. I like things simple, and the kindle delivers. Unfortunately, I am not so enamored with Amazon, but that's a story for another day.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords makes it easy to distribute to various retailers. I admit, if they hadn't been distributing to Barnes and Noble I never would have - Amazon is hyped to all first time authors as the holy grail of publishing and sales - and I'd have really missed out because I sell more at Barnes and Noble (through Smashwords) than I do on Amazon. Smashwords also has the very useful formatting guide, and a far more personal feel to the whole process, so it's a more comfortable experience in my opinion.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of the books I read are by friends and fellow authors who I've either done covers for, run into in author groups, or have been recommended to me by other authors. I know. It's a sand-trap. Once you're sucked in, you're inundated. That might sound like a bad thing, but it's not. What's better than reading a book where you can actually shoot the author an email about the characters or plot and get a real reply? I seriously have hundreds of books on my Kindle. I doubt I'll ever make it through them all, but hey, it will give me something to do when I retire.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Latest books by This Author

A Different Time
Series: Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 8,950. Language: English. Published: January 29, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
It’s been two years since Lilith was defeated. Oren and Etsuko have settled down to raise the twins. Though Oren’s old fashioned sensibilities say it’s not official until they’re married, he’s painfully aware that the world – and women – have changed. Can he figure out how to pop the question in this “different time”, or will it be a disaster?
Tales of the Executioners, Volume Two
Series: Tales of the Executioners Collections. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off until May 31!) Words: 126,310. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Volume Two continues the stories of the Executioners, the vampires’ elite enforcers who uphold the Laws and administer punishment. Meet thirteen Executioners, hear their stories – from romance to heartbreak – and see through their eyes as Malick’s madness spirals out of control, leading to rebellion, betrayal, and death.
Tales of the Executioners, Volume One
Series: Tales of the Executioners Collections. Price: $2.99 $1.20 USD. (60% off until May 31!) Words: 132,080. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
Executioner is the name given to the vampires’ elite enforcers; those who uphold the Laws and administer punishment. In Volume One, meet some of those enforcers, learn their origin stories, feel their heartbreaks, their joys, travel with them on assignments, and see how The Guild came to be – but always, always, be wary of their master, Malick.
Migina: Just a Human (Tales of the Executioners)
Series: Tales of the Executioners; free shorts · Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 8,250. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Short story. Number twenty-two of Tales of the Executioners, stories about the elite vampire "police force". To protect themselves from one another in the citadel, the Executioners took on human slaves - or guard dogs,. Fifty years later, with no attacks, the vampires have decided to get rid of them. To protect the immortal's secrets, the law says the humans must be destroyed.
Tellith: Fire of Imagination (Tales of the Executioners)
Series: Tales of the Executioners; free shorts · Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 8,330. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Short story. Number twenty-one of the Tales of the Executioners, stories about the vampires elite "police force". Tellith is on vacation when he gets a call the the citadel is under attack! Is it the Hand of Death and his army? Will anyone survive? Can Tellith get back in time to do anything? And if he does, will he end up dead, too? It's a race cross country that he might just lose.
Mary: Chasing a Killer (Tales of the Executioners)
Series: Tales of the Executioners; free shorts · Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 6,930. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
Short story. Part of the Tales of the Executioners, stories about the vampire's elite "police force". Mary's spent ten months chasing a rogue vampire and finding clever ways to cover up his mass slayings - from fire to fake ax murder scenes. Finally, in a small town in Iowa, things are about to come to a head. She'll catch him this time - or else.
Honeymoon Havoc
Series: Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 8,240. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » Undead
The Amaranthine series may have ended, but Jorick and Katelina's life together is just beginning. Jorick is looking forward to the departure of their Japanese guests, so he can be alone with his new wife, when trouble shows up in the form of a redheaded Executioner and a vampiress who needs help. Will they ever find peace and quiet?
Kioko: On Equal Terms (Tales of the Executioners)
Series: Tales of the Executioners; free shorts · Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 9,430. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Short story. Contains Spoilers for Ashes of Deceit. Only an Executioner for two weeks, Kioko is assigned mid-job to drop everything and help Ark apprehend a vampire-human duo wanted for murder. But it's not just any duo: it's the legendary Hand of Death Jorick and his so-called human pet.
Krill: Dreadful Note of Preparation (Tales of the Executioners)
Series: Tales of the Executioners; free shorts · Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 8,450. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Short story. It's 1893 when Krill finds a threatening note in his room. Could it be a joke, perpetrated by his friend Hugh? After all, he's only a guard at the citadel. He doesn't have many enemies. Who could mean him harm?
Jorick: The Price of Freedom (Tales of the Executioners)
Series: Tales of the Executioners; free shorts · Amaranthine Freebies. Price: Free! Words: 12,400. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
short story. Jorick has served Malick for hundreds of years but, since marrying Velnya, he's wearied of his duty. With a final assignment to carry out, Jorick will finally be freed to live a life of quiet and peace - a life free from fighting and death. But what he finds when he gets home will shatter all of his dreams for the future and leave him hurtling down the road to revenge.
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