J. M. Gregoire
VAH: So, who is your biggest fan?
JMG: That’s a seriously tough call. I am lucky to have my own standing army of super-supportive family and friends cheering me on through the journey of being a writer. The dedication in The Devil You Know took me FOREVER to write. I was a hot mess, writing through a curtain of streaming tears by the time I was done. Publishing is a tough industry to be an indie in, and I can say I have never once felt alone. I am so frikkin lucky to have all the people I do supporting me. I could never possibly say thank you enough for everything they have given me. To have the people you care about supporting you in something you devote yourself to is a pretty incredible feeling. Art, in any form, is about putting yourself out there, as naked as you could possibly get, in front of the whole world. To know that I have this LEGION of people who have my back, and who will stand there beside me, hand-in-hand, the whole way…..ugh, I just don’t have words. If you all are reading this (and you know who you are), thank you and I ain’t got nothin’ but love for ya’! Shout out to my minions!!!!! REPRESENT!!!!!!
VAH: What about who is your favorite author?
JMG: If I had to pick just one, it would be Stephen King. My love of horror and thrillers all started with him.
When I was 11 or 12 years old, my school held what they called a “read-in” – we spent one school week just reading. You could bring blankets, and pillows, and you could chill in PJ’s for the day, and the whole point was just to read. Get ubercomfy and read. My mom was a huge Stephen King nut when I was growing up, and she was in a SK Book of the Month club type thing in which she got a new hardcover of his every month. She had the hardcover, uncut version of The Stand (if you’ve ever seen this book, you know it’s a BEHEMOTH of a book), and in a flight of optimistic fancy, I decided I wanted to read it. I started reading very young and had burned through my entire library so my mom said “go for it.”
The first day of the read-in comes around, and I go to school toting my mom’s copy of The Stand. All was just peachy until my teacher saw what I was reading. She sent me to the principal’s office and called my mom at work. When they told her what I was reading, she just said “Yeah, and where do you think she got it?!” They gave me the book back, and I went back to my blankets and read for a week. Of course, I didn’t even come CLOSE to finishing it but that day was the start of my love for him.
He’s the one author I probably wouldn’t be able to speak to if I were to meet him. I have a serious inferiority complex with this man. I would like to be as good as him one day, but I will be perfectly happy settling for the title of #1 Fangirl for the rest of my life. He’s just a master in the field of writing, and a teency bit of a god in my eyes. LOL A total rock star. I have this big wooden cabinet at home with glass doors on the front of it. Inside is my Stephen King/Anne Rice collection of hardcovers. Those are the prized possessions in my library. He’s the King of horror and she’s the Queen of vamp fiction.
VAH: What does your typical writing day include?
JMG: Coffee. Lots and LOTS of coffee. LOL! I don’t really get full writing days. I am either at work during the day or I have my kids with me on the weekends. It does happen once in a great while, but it is a rarity. On the momentous occasions when I do get a writing day to myself, There are two directions my day can go:
Direction #1) I drag myself out of bed and go get some coffee. Take a hot shower to wake up a bit. Throw on some footie pajamas (Yes, I am 34 years old and I still wear footie pajamas – black ones with Jack Skellington all over them. What of it? Growing up is for the birds.) and wrap myself in one of the 50 different fleece throw blankets I have kicking around my house. Then I plant myself in front of the desk, open up the laptop, and start writing.
There is this epic battle that happens approximately every 40 minutes or so between the angel on my left shoulder telling me to keep writing and the devil on my right shoulder saying she bets there are some uberhot pictures of Ian Somerhalder on Pinterest that I NEED to see. This battle will go on all day and who wins is in direct correlation to how much coffee I have ingested.
For my lunch break (if I remember to take one), I get myself some grub and probably watch an episode of Doctor Who (sooooo addicted). Each episode is about 45-46 minutes long without commercials. At the 20 minute mark, I start psyching myself up to get back to writing. If I don’t do that, I will realize 4 episodes later that I haven’t gotten CRAP for writing done.
Direction #2) Wake up at 4am with a brilliant story idea, start drinking coffee, and start writing. After I have lost count of the number of times I have refilled my coffee and screamed at my computer at least twice due to a plot turn I wasn’t expecting or planning on, I look up and realize it is past 10pm and I have NO CLUE where the day went.
When I write, I either have to talk myself into it or hang on for dear life while it happens to me. It’s two very different extremes.
VAH: Thoughts on the writing community – what writing or author organizations do you belong to and where online do you frequent for community, online conversing, networking or commiserating? Do you have some favorite online sites?
JMG: It’s all about Facebook and Twitter for me. I have tried connecting with other authors on different sites and it just hasn’t worked for me. Reddit looked promising but their site design SUCKS. They need something that refreshes instead of a static forum platform. It’s great if you sit there pressing F5 every 3 minutes. LOL! I also tried connecting with writers on Goodreads, but there’s just too much salesmanship on there.
On Facebook and Twitter, I have connected with so many great authors. It works out really well for me. I have a very active Facebook fan page where I like to spend a lot of my time talking with readers, picking their brains on everything from books to music to movies to hot boys. LOL We have fun chatting it up on my fan page.
There are also a TON of indie author “support” groups on Facebook. Forewarning: A lot of the have 1000 – 2000 members and it’s just book link spam all day long. No one says anything except “buy my book”. However, there are a lot of good groups on there. You just have to ask around to find the right ones.
Twitter is where I do my nerd stalking and also where I connect with a lot of bloggers and authors. My Twitter account is run by me personally, and I use it for both my book blog and me as an author. My tweets are just me and whatever posts automatically from all my blogs (I have several). I have made lots of great blogger connections on there and TONS of great author connections!
The nerd stalking is all about my own nerdy obsessions. There are some people on this planet that I find brilliant and I love to admire them from afar. “Afar” being on Twitter, 140 characters at a time.
Some of my favorite peeps to follow are:
@Nerdist – Chris Hardwick from Nerdist Industries, The Talking Dead, The Nerdist Podcast
@ThatKevinSmith – Kevin Smith – I IDOLIZE THIS MAN AS AN ARTIST. Writer, Director, Actor, Podcaster (Hollywood Babble-On, Plus One, and Fatman on Batman are my favorites!)
@wnbamerica – World Book Night (everyone should totally get involved!!!)
@NathanFillion – Nathan Fillion BECAUSE HE’S AMAZING!!!
@TorBooks – Tor Books is one of my favorite publishers of good dark urban fantasy
I am not a part of any author organizations. Not that I have anything against them, I think I am just not ready to add another something to my plate at the moment. LOL!
VAH: Traditional or independent publishing? Or a little of both? What choices have you made and why did you go the way you have?
JMG: That’s a tough question. It totally depends on who you are as a person. I would LOVE to have the man power of a marketing team behind me, but that’s the only reason I would want to get in bed with a publisher. I love being indie. It’s freedom and I genuinely love that.
That being said, if a publisher came to me tomorrow and said “sell me your series for $1,000,000,” I can’t say I wouldn’t take it, but it would be some long hard thinking before I made that decision.
I think both are equals in the world of publishing as far as validity goes. I think things are much easier as a traditionally published author, but the sacrifice most trads have to make is in artistic control and that means a LOT to me.
VAH: What is your best bit of advice to save another writer some anxiety or heartache?
JMG: Anxiety – Don’t self-impose deadlines. There’s no reason for it. Take your time and do it right.
Heartache – If you are unable to develop a thick skin, and some people aren’t able to do that, it’s probably a good idea to just not read reviews of your book, good or bad. Just forget about them and focus on writing. You may read a hundred stellar reviews, and all it takes is one real craptastic review to put you in a month-long bad mood. It’s not worth it. It’s discouraging and makes focusing on moving forward that much more difficult.
J.M. Gregoire was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA, and despite her abhorrence for any season that dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and her two cats. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books eventually morphed into a love of writing them. She is currently working on the Demon Legacy series, and has a spin off series, the Killer Instinct series, coming soon.