Niteblade Interview with Jami Gray

Jami Gray is the author of the urban fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles. The second book in the series will be released later this week. Read on to get to know her and the Kyn better.

 

When did you start writing?

On paper or in my head? The first time I decided to create my own character and re-write an existing story line was right after watching George Lucas’s Star Wars at a drive-in theater.  At the time, it was a double feature with, I think, Cars—and not the Pixar one either. I wasn’t a big fan of Princess Leia, Luke was okay, but man did I dig Han Solo.   I felt he needed a stronger partner so I came up with a female bounty hunter who could fight better than Luke and didn’t need rescuing like Leia.  Sometime around junior high I started putting the voices running through my head on to paper.  To this day, I truly believe that writing is what keeps me from having to model a white jacket with buckles.

 

Have you always written urban fantasy?

Nope…the very first story I ever started was back when I was thirteen.  It was a young adult fantasy, similar to Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series.   I have over two hundred handwritten pages tucked away that will never see the light of day.  Okay, I take that back. I dragged it out to share with my critique group, the 7 Evil Dwarves, during one of our annual retreats, and we all had a good laugh over it.  I tried my hand at romance, but couldn’t really dig into it.  When I finally realized that Urban Fantasy was an actual genre, I was thrilled.  For years I loved Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, Lloyd Alexander, and Piers Anthony, so my stories tended to fall along the lines of “What if there was magic in the real world? What would that be like?” Voilà, I arrived at Urban Fantasy!

 

Your series, The Kyn Kronicles, feature Raine McCord as the main character. How many books are currently planned for the series?

I have a possibility of six to eight books planned for the series because I have always seen Raine’s story having a solid beginning-middle-end story arc. However, I’m finding that some of the secondary characters are piping up and demanding their own spotlight.

 

I’m currently working on the third book, Shadow’s Moon, which actually focuses on Xander Cade and Warrick Vidis, who you meet in Shadow’s Edge. You get to see more of them in Shadow’s Soul in June and they just wouldn’t leave me alone, so they are ending up with their own story.  Never fear, Raine will be stopping in!

 

Book four will go back to Raine and Gavin.  After Shadow’s Soul, I felt Raine deserved a bit of a break, so when Xander stepped up, I took her up on her offer!

 

The Kyn world is chalk full of really intriguing characters so occasional spin-offs maybe be lurking in the wings.

 

 

Can you tell us who the Kyn are?

The Kyn are a conglomerate of all the magical races divided into four Houses: the Fey, the Lycans, the Magi (witches and wizards), and the Amanusa (demons).  They’ve existed since the very beginning and are the realities behind mortal stories of magic.  As humanity moved into science and reasoning, the Kyn drifted into the background, content to stay in the shadows.  Yet as things go, you can’t stay hidden forever and mortal governments became aware of their existence during the two World Wars.  Hard to hide when your homelands are being torn apart.  So, although the general human population hasn’t a clue, the powers that be do and they are more than happy to use and abuse that knowledge.  For the Kyn, keeping their existence as quiet as possible is key, but they still feel an obligation to keep both mortals and Kyn safe from the monsters-both human and Kyn.  Now as the world becomes smaller due to technology and information sharing, the veil of secrecy is slowly being eroded.

 

Shadow's EdgeThe first book, Shadow’s Edge, was released last year. What was your favorite part about writing it?

The best part of writing this book was getting to know Raine, those around her and the world she lived in.  I’ve heard it from various writers, but never understood until it happened to me, but sometimes the writer has an end point in mind, but the characters take them in a completely different direction.  Raine did that for me, numerous times.  One of the most enjoyable things about writing is that I’m discovering the story as I go and it’s never boring!

 

Raine works for Taliesin Security as part of an elite team. Did you do any research on weapons or combat techniques to inform your writing of the action scenes?

I did.  I kept waiting for the Men in Black to come knocking on my door due to my internet searches, especially on the weapons front.  For me, it’s important to have the right tools for your intended outcome.  On the fighting scenes, my research was much more hands on.  My sons and I had been taking various forms of martial arts through-out the years, and when I was writing the final draft of Shadow’s Edge, I was fully immersed in Krav Maga.  I loved it! Plus my instructor (ex-military, lifelong martial arts expert) was fabulous.  My questions never seemed to throw him.  I could ask him specific ways in which a knife could be used to kill if your intended victim was taller than you, if you were grabbed from behind, if you found yourself on your back on the ground, all of it, he was great.  He was a great resource for how military groups operated as well.  Plus he’d even partner with me as we re-enacted fight scenes a step at a time so I knew exactly what Raine would be seeing/feeling/experiencing.  There’s nothing like a real life demo to get you heart rate skyrocketing.  As far as I know he never made an anonymous phone call to the authorities about his demented student.

 

Although the Kyn tend to use claws, magic, and sharp edged weapons since guns tend not to be reliable around them, they aren’t out of the picture yet.  This is my year to hit the shooting range to start checking out the wide world of firearms.

 

Shadow’s Soul is set for release on June 23rd. Are the stakes any higher for Raine this time around? Shadow's Soul

Oh yes, because what good’s a continuing story line if you don’t challenge your characters? Raine faces multiple challenges in Shadow’s Soul—a bigger, badder villain, some startling emotional revelations about herself and Gavin, only to begin realizing that the threat she thought she was facing, is a bit more daunting than she expected.   My fictional worlds tend to mirror reality in that life is never neat.  Instead life will throw you various challenges, then sit back and watch you clamor clumsily through them.  Sometimes it will cut you a break so you can enjoy it, before doing it all over again, with more oomph.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by, Jami. Is there anything else you’d like to share with Niteblade’s readers?

Just a huge “THANK YOU!” for having me here today and to your readers for being willing to take chances on new authors, readers have no idea how big of a role they play for writers.  Let me share.  A little while back I hit that wall that pops up every now and then.  You know it, it’s that one that likes to smack you around and mock you for thinking that following your passion was a “good idea”.  I was getting my butt handed to me by the aforementioned wall, when out of the blue, I received the best text from a reader.  She was so sweet and so excited about the pending release date of Shadow’s Soul.  And right behind her was another awesome reader who took time out of her very busy life to thank me for writing my book.  Seriously? She was thanking me? I was humbled.  She was the one who deserved the thanks. Readers are the greatest peeps out there, and so I don’t miss a chance to thank them for all their support.  So, yeah—thank you!

 

Information about Jami Gray
Growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater.  Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where  she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab.  Writing is what saves her sanity.

5 Responses to “Niteblade Interview with Jami Gray”

  • Jami Gray says:

    Thank you so much for having me, Niteblade. It was a blast to do this interview and I hope readers enjoy the series. If you do like Shadow’s Edge, feel free to continue on with Raine and Gavin in Shadow’s Soul, coming out on June 23rd from Black Opal Books, Amazon, aRE, Smashwords, and B&N for Nook!

  • Zrinka says:

    Great interview, Jami, as always enjoyed reading it. Going off to kindle store and loading your book(s) for my big trip.

    Good luck.

  • Loved the interview Jami. I like finding out how others began their writing journey, thanks for sharing. I also had two boys who were very avid star wars fans. My son swears he named my grandson for his irish heritage but who was he kidding, his name is Lucan, and his first outfit had my son’s picture on it with the caption, Luke, I am your father. It was too funny.
    I will be inline for your book on the 23rd because I enjoy your writing.
    Good luck on your sales.
    Lynda

  • Another great post, Jami. Raine’s world sounds fascinating. Shadows’ Edge already has its spot in line on my Kindle and I’ll get Shadow’s Soul this week. I hope to get a lot of reading done this summer, our group has such good books out.

    Good luck,

  • Jami Gray says:

    Thanks so much for coming over guys! You’re awesome!

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Unless otherwise stated all books reviewed here were received free of charge from their author or publisher. This, of course, does not affect the content of our reviews.