Q&A with Author JE McDonald
Q: When did you first begin writing stories?
I’ve always been creating stories in my head. Being the youngest of five children, it was just a great way to deal with being ignored half the time LOL. As for writing with the intent to publish, that started about ten years ago, after the birth of my first child. I wanted to see if anyone else was interested in reading the strange people I thought up, joined writing groups, researched publishers and agents, and published my first book in 2020.
Q: What was the name of your first book?
My first published book is called Ghost of a Gamble, published by City Owl Press, a paranormal romance between a ghost hunter and a skeptic. But the first manuscript I wrote to completion (that is not published and I’m not sure it ever will be) was called Blueshift, a sci-fi romance set in Earth’s far future where two factions of people war over our solar system’s resources. I still have a soft spot for that story and maybe someday I’ll dust it off and give it a rewrite.
Q: How did you get into the paranormal romance fiction genre?
Good question! So, I started out writing sci-fi romance, but when I began querying, agents liked my work but ultimately said the market wasn’t there for those types of books. Hence the trunking of the manuscript! Then I moved onto writing romantic suspense. I think at that point it was just more about making my writing stronger, so I didn’t have a lot of interest in those books either. It was while I was researching interesting jobs that I stumbled across an idea about ghost hunters at a paranormal investigation company. I’ve always loved reading paranormal romance, but that was the first time I’d considered writing it, and in a way it was joining the two types of books I’d already written: sci-fi romance and romantic suspense. I created the city of Wickwood where strange things happen to ordinary people, and the Wickwood Chronicles is still an ongoing series.
Q: Who was your favorite author when you were younger?
My first deep dive into reading an author obsessively was Julie Garwood. I’ve literally read all her books and will read all her new ones. I was probably twelve when I started and told my mother I skipped the sex scenes so, she’d let me read them. (Spoiler alert! I did not skip the sex scenes.) After that, I read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s whole library and I guess that makes a lot of sense because she was my introduction to paranormal romance.
Q: How would you describe your writing style in three words?
Energetic, punchy, and humorous.
Q: How many books have you published so far?
I’ve published three books in the Wickwood Chronicles series (with a prequel novella coming out April 19th!) and one book in my Goldenlach Ridge Shifters trilogy, Captive Wilderness.
Q: What inspired you to write your latest release, Captive Wilderness?
I was up in northern Saskatchewan where my husband grew up and sitting by the lakeside on a beach. The area is beautifully rugged and peaceful. Planes were flying overhead because of forest fires in the area, and I remember thinking, “What would a person do if they were dropped in the middle of nowhere up here without a clue as to where they were?” That was the first seed, and at the time I’d also had shifters on the brain. The two thoughts collided and the plot of two kidnapped sisters, one who escapes their abductors and one who doesn’t, was born.
Q: What future projects are you currently working on that you can share with us, readers?
I’m just finishing up the second book of the Goldenlach Ridge Shifters trilogy, Caged Fury, and about to hand that in to my editor. It will release in October of this year. And I also have everything laid out to take the leap into the first draft of the third and final book in that series.
Q: Do you outline your stories or do you just dive into writing them?
I used to be a pantser, where I just needed to know the beginning and the ending and then I was raring to go. But since being picked up by a publisher, I need to make better use of my time instead of rewriting large chunks that don’t work. (It still happens, just a lot less!) Now, I consider myself a planster. I have a solid outline of each scene, but still have enough wiggle room to make sure the creativity flows while I write.
Q: What is your go to beverage when working on a new book?
Coffee. With a side of coffee.
Q: What is the writing and publishing process like for you?
Right now, I write daily, and it takes me about 4-5 months to make a draft suitable to send to my editor. And depending on her schedule, my book is usually published within 6-8 months from that point. I’d say on average, from the time I start plotting out an idea to the time it’s published is about a year.
Q: For aspiring writers in your genre, what advice would you give to them?
Read everything you can. To truly understand a genre and be competitive, you need to read in that genre. The publishing industry is ever-changing and you need to stay on top of that.
Also, don’t stop writing. If you stop then you’re sure to fail.
Q: Tell us about your main characters in Captive Wilderness.
Brooke is the one who gets abducted then escapes when her sister pushes her out of an airplane with a parachute on. She’s a bobcat shifter who is party girl, and enjoys a carefree lifestyle, but when she’s alone in the wilderness, she pulls on her resilience and core-strength to survive.
Luckily, she comes across Kane, a grizzly shifter who has chosen to live in self-exile to keep others safe from him. He has no control over his animal when he shifts so he refuses to shift, but high emotions make that hard for him. But he’s also an alpha-mallow, that tough guy with a gooey center, and when Brooke needs him, he is absolutely there for her in the best possible ways, even with danger sniffing at their heels.
Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?
I’m everywhere! Here are my links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JEMcDonaldAuthor
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J-E-McDonald/e/B08BXD1R2P/ref=aufs_dp_fta_dsk
J.E. McDonald was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, The Land of the Living
Skies. As a child, she was either searching the clouds for identifiable shapes, or star-gazing way
past her bedtime. She’s an anti-morning person who wakes up at 5am to write. Needless to say,
coffee is a morning requirement. She cut her teeth watching Star Trek, James Bond movies, and
reading the Harlequin novels her mother left in the bathroom—which resulted in an extremely
skewed sense of sex education by age eleven. All of these factors contribute to her love of
writing paranormal romance with humor, mystery, and lots of spice. J.E. resides in Saskatchewan
with her husband and three daughters.