Saturday, March 14, 2020

Inside the Mind: J E Nice

Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guest today is J E Nice, the author behind Beginnings and Becoming.


Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Jenny I enjoyed reading The Erica Murray Mysteries 1 & 2. Were Erica and Jess inspired by anyone?
Jenny:  Thank you! Yes, in a roundabout sort of way. The majority of my characters come from random thoughts and build over time but in this case Erica was inspired by my mum, her attempt at skepticism and the fact that she’s been doing our family tree. She found her mum’s old diary and it made me want to write a series that had a strong matriarchal family theme.
My mum’s middle name is Erica and her mother, my grandmother, was Minnie, which inspired Minerva, Erica’s grandmother.
Jess, on the other hand, came to me in a dream. One wonderful night that played out her whole story in Beginnings. So, I guess you could say that in some ways, Erica is my mum, Jess is me and Minerva is my grandmother! But of course, they took on their own lives and diverted away from us.
Lily:  That's awesome! I love how they each represent you and two important people in your life in their own ways. What made you decide to write paranormal mysteries?

Jenny:  I’ve always loved paranormal mysteries. Your readers might not be aware of Jonathan Creek, which is one of my favourite TV shows, it’s a BBC series starring Alan Davis. He’s a conjurer’s assistant, basically the genius coming up with all the tricks, and then he gets roped into solving real life mysteries, usually in mansions belonging to very rich people in the countryside.
There’s always a logical explanation.
I also love watching Ghost Adventures and Supernatural and mixing the vibes from all of those shows. That’s sort of where the Erica Murray Mysteries came from.
Lily:  That's brilliant. Supernatural is one of my favorite shows, and I don't think I've seen the other two. What was the highlight of writing these?
Jenny:  There have been lots of little highlights. Having the dream about Jess, Ruby and Marshall was the first, as it filled the gaping best friend hole in the story. Then the moment Minerva brought up Alfie. That wasn’t in the plan and was completely unexpected, but I’m very grateful for it. In fact, Minerva has a habit of going off plan. It’s always a delight, if not a little frustrating.
Becoming is set in my local woods and it was hard to keep up with all the strange goings-on while I was writing it. Just as I finished Becoming, a tree came crashing down for no apparent reason. I walk my dog there most days, so it was lovely to walk through and see the trees in a different light.
Lily: I've heard characters can sometimes take the story somewhere new. I love that Minerva was determined to blaze her own trail. Is there a third book in the works?
Jenny:  There is! It’s called Belonging. It should be available later on in 2020. There should also be a fourth book, and I’m hoping the series will continue beyond that, but we’ll see how it goes.
Lily:  I can't wait to read them! Now we’d like to talk about you as a writer. How long have you been writing?
Jenny:  I’ve been writing my whole life. My mum used to make up stories for me when I was a baby. When I was old enough I would join in, and we would make little books together, she’d write the story down and I’d ‘illustrate’ it. Then, as soon as I started learning to spell, I started writing and I’ve never really stopped. I’ve been writing fantasy since my teens and I’m now in my mid-thirties.
Lily:  That's wonderful! I think its sweet that you started with your mom even before you could write. When did you first consider yourself an author?
Jenny: That’s a tough question! One of my friends at school used to call me Author Girl! But I didn’t consider myself an author then. I think when my first book was published in 2016, that was when I first started thinking of myself as an author. Before then writing was always something I did and was known for, but being an author was something I would become one day.
Lily:  Love the nickname. It seems to fit well with your love of writing. Do you do any research for your books? If so, what’s your favorite method?
Jenny:  Oh yes! It depends on the book, which I think is the beauty of writing fantasy where your own world rules apply. Obviously, the Erica Murray Mysteries are different in that they’re set in our world. If I need to know something specific then Google and social media are the first things I go to. If I have more time, then I enjoy reading books around the topic. I’m currently reading about witch trials and women pirates, for two different books.
The fun thing about the Erica Murray Mysteries is that they’re loosely based in my city of Bristol, which means I can go visit certain places for research. In Becoming, the team sit in the café at the cemetery and eat brownies. The cemetery is based on Arnos Vale Cemetery, which is an amazing place, so obviously I had to do the research, visit and eat their brownies. It’s a hard life sometimes.
Lily:  Ok, I would LOVE to visit a café in a cemetery! Let’s finish up with some fun questions and get inside your mind. What Disney villain would you want to spend the day with?
Jenny: This is a tough one, there are so many good villains. I would say Hades, because he makes me laugh and I’m a sucker for a funny character.
Lily:  Hades is definitely one of my favorites, ever since I first saw the Hercules movie. What’s the longest time span you could go without your phone?
Jenny:  Ha! I’m actually not too bad at staying off my phone, as long as I’m distracted by friends or the TV.
Lily:  You're better than I am. I almost live on my phone. Would you describe yourself as more of an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist?
Jenny:  Definitely an optimist. An optimistic worry-wort, if that’s possible. Which it is. Because I am one.
Lily:  Hehe I think I fall more into the realist category most days. What movie never gets old no matter how many times you’ve seen it?
Jenny:  This is another tough one because I love movies. Ghostbusters, Serenity, Stand By Me, Labryinth, Jurassic Park, the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Some Like It Hot. There are so many.
Lily:  I can definitely get behind a few of those! I don't think I've watched Stand by Me or Some Like It Hot yet, I'll have to add them to my to watch list. Would you rather have super sensitive taste or super sensitive hearing?
Jenny:  Oh, wow, neither! Probably super sensitive taste. It’ll make all the chocolate cake I eat taste even better. I would hope.
Lily:  As someone with an unusually sensitive palette, I can confirm it makes chocolate cake taste better! If peanut butter wasn’t called peanut butter, what would it be called?
Jenny:  Peanut cream! Which sounds like something you’d put on a rash.
Lily:  Ok I might've just spit out my water. Good thing this laptop is designed to withstand spills. That'd be a great rash remedy. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Jenny:  I’m most active on Instagram, I practically live there and mostly talk about writing, books, my dog and cake. I’m also sometimes on Facebook and you can find my books on my website. I also have Amazon, Amazon UK and Smashwords author pages. You can find all my books available on Amazon through my author pages.

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