Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Deborah Jay, @DeborahJay2

Hello everyone! This month I’m thrilled to bring you an amazing speculative fiction author, Deborah Jay. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

Today is my birthday! Interviewing Deborah was great fun. I hope you’ll all join us for cake – it’s gluten free! Grab a slice and some coffee or tea (flowers optional). <3

Please meet my guest, Deborah Jay:

Author, Deborah Jay

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. 

Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

THE PRINCE’S MAN (#1 The Five Kingdoms), winner of a UK Arts Council award, and an Amazon Top 100 Hot New Release, is her debut novel.

Book #2 THE PRINCE’S SON and book #3 THE PRINCE’S PROTEGEE are also now available.

Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the first in a projected 5 book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES, and a stand alone short story SPRITE NIGHT is now available.

Deborah has also published a multi-author SFF anthology THE WORLD AND THE STARS, which includes her SF story, PERFECT FIT. 

She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published under the name Debby Lush.

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our discussion.

Thanks, Deborah. I’m glad to learn more about you and your writing. So, tell us more about the genre you write in. What makes it so special?

I write various types of speculative fiction, which covers a wide range of sub genres, including all varieties of fantasy and science fiction. It’s both the most challenging, and the most liberating of genres to work in, and I’m not one to back down from a challenge!

If you are a spec fic reader, I’m sure you’ve come across books that enthral you, that suck you in, and that, despite all their weirdness, feel real. You’ve probably also tried some that left you scratching your head, and wondering what on earth (or elsewhere!) was going on.

If you aren’t a reader who analyses books, you might not realise the most likely difference is in how successful the writer has been at world building.

World building is a huge task: unless you’re writing in a contemporary setting, you have to create the nuts and bolts of the world and its civilisations from scratch. Geography, weather, flora and fauna, societies, including details like farming, law, economy, and magic systems to name but a few things. And they need to be convincing, logical and consistent, which requires the creation of a ‘bible’ for each world, so you don’t make bloopers by forgetting any of the rules of your individual world. Even in contemporary settings, you need to set the rules of magic/paranormal activity, and stick to them.

On the other hand, once you’ve done it, you can use the same stuff over and over, especially if, like me, you write in series. My fascination has always been for writing about people – people with problems, people with psychological hang ups, people trying to come to terms with themselves. And in a world where I get to make up everything, from the politics to the food they eat, I can explore human nature to the extreme, pitting them against events and environments beyond anything available in the real world.

I find the scope of the genre intoxicating. Yes, it’s a challenge and requires meticulous record-keeping, but I love it for the breadth of possibility and the satisfaction of being totally in charge of my own creation.

Did I mention yet? I’m a bit of an obsessive control freak…   

No, not you! I do want to know your thoughts on writing a book series. Isn’t it more challenging?

Yes, and no.

Writing in a world you’ve already created, and working with characters whose backgrounds, personalities and quirks make them so real for you, you can hold a conversation with them about any topic, means half your work is done before you even start the next book in a series.

On the other hand, some challenges are greater. With each book, not only do you have to maintain total accuracy with what went before, not only in terms of names, physical characteristics, geography, social mores, and the like, you need to take into account the journey each character completed by the end of the previous book. For example, if your heroine grew from being a young, cocky, know-it-all, into a considerate and responsible adult in book 1, she might maintain traces of her original self, but she won’t have magically reverted by the start of book 2, so she begins the second volume in a different place.

Then you have plot threads to keep in order. While (hopefully) you ended book 1 on a climax (I can’t abide cliff hangers; I feel they cheat the reader), you will also have dangling threads of plot left over, just as in real life, where things don’t ever neatly wrap up all at the same time. These threads need continuing, and expanding over the course of not only book 2, but however many books you intend to write in the series. I have an overall arc for trilogies 1, 2 and 3 already worked out. Okay, trilogy 1 has now expanded to 4 books instead of 3, but the arc remains.

And the final, huge challenge of a series, is to raise the stakes with every instalment. Each book should top the last.

That’s some challenge!

I’ll say! Great information, too. Deborah, how long on average does it take you to write a book? And, do you have a day job other then being a writer? Do you like that job?

I do, and it’s a job I absolutely love, and would never consider giving up: I train dressage horses and riders for a living – how lucky am I?

When I was younger, I also rode professionally, competing horses for owners, Now, I just compete my own boys for fun – riding all manner of horses is a young person’s job, as even pro riders sometimes hit the deck, and I no longer bounce so well! I’m truly, incredibly lucky to be able to earn a living from my passion, and I’ve even reached the heady heights of competing Internationally, at Grand Prix, and have also been an official at two European Championships and the London Olympics.

Author, Deborah Jay

I work for myself, which means I set my own schedules, and I also write non-fiction books and articles on horse training, all of which keeps me very busy! As I get older, I’m less inclined to be enthusiastic about being outdoors in all weathers, so I’m looking on my fiction writing as a long-term investment. Because of my schedule, it takes me upward of a year to write a novel (they are epic fantasy, which means epic length), so I’m never going to be in the league of those writers who put out multiple books per year, but I will keep adding to my catalogue steadily. I love my writing, but it won’t ever be my only job.

Deborah Jay’s Books

It does provide me with one way of ‘writing what you know’, despite my books being fantasy: horses are a big part of my character’s lives, and you’ll find memorable horses with big personalities in my novels – much like the ones I work with on a daily basis!

I read and reviewed this book. Check out my review HERE.

How to contact Deborah Jay




Amazon author page:

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k luv u bye

Thanks for stopping by to meet Deborah Jay. You’re going to love her books. <3

About Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Novelist & Poet who loves writing paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical which may mean that she could be experiencing her second childhood—or not. That part of her life hasn’t been fully decided yet. A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing and storytelling. These days she resides in the fantasy realm of the Faery Writer where she writes the magical poetry and stories that the fairy nymphs whisper to her in her dreams. Colleen won the “Little and Laugh” Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community on November 2017, and in 2018, she won first place for the “Twisted Travel” category. Colleen lives in Arizona with her husband. When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband. She also loves gardening, reading, and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art. Learn more about Colleen on
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  1. Happy birthday, Colleen!

    Great interview. Also, I totally agree about cliffhangers.

  2. Thanks for the chat, Colleen, it was a blast! And the choice of questions you offer is mind blowing, it was such fun choosing which to answer.
    I’m off to work now – horses to ride, riders to train, and it’s a lovely sunny day today – I’ll be back later to chat with your readers 😀

  3. Happy birthday Colleen!
    Great interview with Deborah!

  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Colleen have a wonderful day. Great interview with Deborah Jay.

  5. Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Colleen. This was a fascinating interview. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. Great interview. You know I love the speculative genres. Have a great birthday.

  7. Brilliant interview, sis and thank you for the gluten free cake and tea. lovely. <3

  8. Fab to see Deb here today! So happy for you Deb! And Happy Happy Birthday Sister Colleen. <3 xoxo

  9. Wonderful conversation with Deborah. And hope you had a lovely fun filled birthday Colleen. Xxx

  10. Reblogged this on M J Mallon YA/Paranormal Author and commented:
    Find out more about Deborah Jay at Conversations with Collern

  11. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    In this week’s Conversation with Colleen Chesebro, fantasy author Deborah Jay shares the skills required to write a series and also about her wonderful job as a trainer of riders and horses for dressage. Interesting interview..

  12. Wonderful interview. I love the idea of setting up your writing home, away from everything (except horses). Loved this series, too.

  13. Happy birthday, Colleen! Hope you’re enjoying a love and laughter-filled day <3
    Enjoyed the interview, Deborah. Your career sounds wonderful!

  14. What a wonderful interview with Deborah Jay! It’s always great to meet someone new and take a look at their work. And, I can’t believe I missed your birthday, Colleen, So, Happy Belated!!! Hugs!

    • Thanks, Jan. Deborah writes some great fantasy. You would like her books. I’m still packing and purging. One more week and I’ll be done. They pick up our household goods on April 29th. We’re homeless for a couple of weeks and should move in the new house on May 16th. We’ll celebrate after this is all over with. LOL! <3

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