Cassie and Amy have had the pleasure of reading and loving all of Jay’s books. They have both met her in person and absolutely love her! She is great with connecting with her fan-base and writes like a machine! She has released eight full length novels and one part of a serial in just over two years.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. Big no. I actually only started reading at the beginning of 2013. I wanted something to do while I was up nursing my baby so I decided to read. About six months later, I thought I’d give writing a shot. I wrote my debut novel “More Than This” and would upload to a free website (fictionpress.com). After the response it had on that site, I decided to send out 100 ARCs on Goodreads. I created the file June 14th. Finished writing the book June 30th and had it up on Amazon July 12th. So in six months I had started reading, started writing, and published my first book. I was never one of those people who enjoyed reading, especially at school level when it was really forced on me. I barely passed year 12 English because… well… partying was more fun? That sounds so bad, but it’s the truth. So writing came from reading and the rest, as they say, is history.
Are you a full time writer? If so, what did you do in your “previous life?”
I am a full time writer. Before that I was a full time mom for 3 years, and before that I used to work in IT. I worked at a few places but my last one was at JB HIFI (kind of like Australia’s version of Best Buy). I ran the IT department (sales) and was 3IC there. If those people knew what I was doing now, they wouldn’t believe it. lol.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Pay attention to everyone and everything. And, don’t be an asshole. Nobody likes an asshole.
Do you work on one storyline at a time or do you have multiple storylines in the pipeline?
I generally work on one at a time. Sometimes other voices get to me and I really have to get it out so I’ll write a chapter or so, but normally I try to focus on one and only one. Generally, when I finish a book, I’ll start on a couple others and see what I’m feeling the most. If I’m not feeling anything, I write random stories or scenes, just so I don’t lose touch with writing. I write a lot of cheesy YA scenes, and even Erotica (haha) that will never go into publication. In saying that, Boy Toy Chronicles was written over one week because I was really just feeling it— It was never supposed to be published. But I sent it to my assistant and BFF and she said I HAD to and not to change anything. After that, I sent it to a couple author friends and they said the same thing… so there’s a random book in my portfolio about a frat house full of male escorts and Batman. BATMAN!!
Let’s play favorites! Who is your favorite character you’ve written?
JOSH WARDEN. He’s so unique and I really loved writing his relationship with his son and everything that he feels. I think, at the time I wrote it, it was kind of an outlet for me… a way for me to heal and deal with some of my own issues. It’s definitely one that hits very close to home for me.
Have you experienced any of your stories personally?
There’s a little bit of me in every single story, either with plot or characters, but I’m not going to say what.
What are your biggest distractions?
Facebook. And kids. And Mr. McLean. And kids. And kids and McLean laughing in the house (my office is in the yard) and me wanting to join them. And Facebook. More Facebook. McLean sending me pictures of kids laughing on Facebook.
What is your least favorite part of the writing or publishing process?
Self-promotion (puke). Marketing. And then knowing people are actually reading my work. Some days I’ll check my sales and I’ve done well and it makes me pukey knowing a lot of people are reading my words. PUKE PUKE PUKE.
Do you find it difficult, or challenging to write from the male POV?
I LOVE THE FUCKING MALE POV. Wait. Can I swear? You can edit that out if you want. I find the male POV a lot easier to write than female. I feel a lot less restricted when I write the male pov because they can get away with saying and doing a lot. (Romance readers are a lot more forgiving when it comes to the heros). If the hero punches a guy for looking at his girl, it’s hot. If the heroine says something bad about another girl, it’s slut-shaming. tsk tsk.
What activities do you enjoy outside of writing?
I drown myself in books while mine are being edited. I read a book or two a day. I watch really bad reality TV and I also like to play with my boys. They’re both non-school age at the moment so I try to get the most out of them while I can. It’s a huge perk when it comes to working from home and working my own hours. The writing normally happens at night once they’re down if McLean doesn’t “need” me (snort).
Do you have a favorite author or book?
Colleen Hoover is my favorite author. Slammed is my favorite book, tied with The Sea of Tranquility.
Ever think you have a great idea for a book, only to find out someone released the same storyline already?
Nope. There are a lot of similarities in some books but never the same storyline. I’ve got one that I’ve written 12,000 words for which is very unique.
Have you ever had writer’s block and how do you work through it?
Ha. For about a month after I release I have writer’s block. The best way i’ve worked through it is to set a goal of 1,000 words a day. It doesn’t have to be what I’m working on. It doesn’t have to do with anything. I just write random scenes. Most of the time, I’ll write letters from one character to another (I love writing letters) and normally it helps to get me back into things.
Do you ever find yourself jumping up from the dinner to table to jot down a scene that just ran through your head?
All the damn time. McLean hates it. Especially when he’s telling something and I have to stop him so I can write it down or take a voice note. He especially hates it when i make a random gasping sound or squeal and run away to find my phone which is always on silent. I make a rule to leave my computers in the office when I’m in the house so I’m not tempted to just start writing in the middle of dinner and so I can focus on family time.
What does your writing workspace look like?
You don’t want to know. It’s bad. Really bad.
Sharing your work with the public has to be scary. How do you respond to negative reviews?
By not reading them? No. I don’t read them until i’ve released something else and can emotionally handle it. A lot of negative reviews are great! I actually enjoy them. I think the constructive ones are amazing. I can’t tell you how much I believe I owe the progression of my writing on negative reviews…. but… there are some out there that aim to hurt, and they do. But, that’s something you have to learn to cope with when you put your words out there. There’s not a lot you can do about those ones. Some people just thrive on it, and they take your book as if it were personally written for their tastes. It took me a long time to realize that those kind of reviews/people thrive on the enjoyment they get out of writing those reviews… and if it means it makes them happy, who the hell am I to take that away from them?
Do you have any visuals for your characters from any of your books?
Some. Strange as it sounds, I don’t like to get too visual. I think it’s really important for people to make up their own characters in their heads. That’s why most of my covers (that I control) don’t have full faces. They cut off at the eyes. The only promotion I’ve done with full faces is for More Than Enough and that’s only because the guy I’m using is a complete and utter fox.
Can you tell us what you are working on next?
I have no idea. I work off two monitors and as I write this, one screen shows this document and the other has four files open: Redemptive (Combative #2), Kick Push 2, Boy Toy Chronicles Vol. 2 and a secret project I’m working on… I plan on reading what I’ve done for redemptive tonight and I’ll see what comes of it.
What is in your purse right now?
Ha! This is going to sound so strange but I don’t carry a purse generally. I don’t leave the house a lot because of my social anxiety and when I do, I always have McLean. He carries his wallet which has everything we need and I carry my phone. But when we go on family outings I have a huge purse with a change of underwear and pants for my youngest, baby wipes, a few toys, ipads, kindle, paperback book of some sort, wallet, random chocolates or treats for the boys, fruit, mints, 50 pens and a notebook, crumbs, backup chargers, cables, water bottles, headphones, and probably some important documents from five years ago that I was supposed to mail.
Do you have a favorite scene or book of your own?
Oh that’s tough! I don’t think so. There are probably my favorite scenes in every book where I can remember the exact moment I wrote it. There’s a good chunk in More Than Forever that I wrote in bed (before I had an office) and I spent the majority of the day typing through my tears. One of my favorite scenes I’ve written is the start of Redemptive because I think it’s memorable and my BFF always tells me to go back to that if I feel like my writing is lacking. Yeah. I think there are distinct scenes in every book that I definitely feel, but none that’s on overwhelming “favorite”.
More About Jay
Jay is an avid reader, writer, and most of all,
procrastinator. When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found
running after her two little boys, or devouring some tacky reality TV show.She writes what she loves to read, which are
books that can make her laugh, make her smile, make her hurt, and make her
For publishing rights (Foreign & Domestic)
Film, or television, please contact her agent, Erica Spellman-Silverman, at
Trident Media Group.
Read Jay McLean
More Than Series
Where the Road Takes Me Series
Boy Toy Chronicles
Connect with Jay