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Interview with Author Jaye Frances

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Hello Jaye, thank you again for the opportunity to interview you. My first question has to do with your work at the NUSA SUN magazine. You are a featured columnist there; what do you cover in your articles?

I’ve been contributing to the NUSA SUN magazine since it was launched nearly two and a half years ago. The magazine is published monthly in Florida and distributed internationally, partnering with other publications in the UK. It’s been a rewarding experience—allowing me to share inspiring stories based on real-life experiences of people I’ve known and met.

A half-dozen of my articles from the NUSA SUN can be found on my website, and I’ll be releasing a collection of my favorite stories from the magazine in the near future, tentatively titled, Straight From The Heart.

You have a book which is the first in a series called The Kure. Can you tell us a bit more about this series and if you have an idea already of how many books you plan to do?

The Kure began life as a novella, originally to be included in a collection of similar genre short stories. But as I began to combine characters, setting, and circumstances, the story became much more compelling, giving birth to The Kure series.

There are currently three books planned, however, the main characters, John and Sarah, have been grumbling about a fourth. They are quite a persistent pair.

From reading your bio, it sounds as though you have always had your own opinions and have been rather independent. How do you think being open-minded has helped you in your chosen profession?

Since my life’s destination has been the result of rebellion, I often wonder what might have become of me if I had been raised in a hippie commune, surrounded by free spirits and wandering gypsies. Perhaps instead of paranormal/occult fiction and romance, I’d be writing annual reports for a Fortune 500 company.

I’m fortunate to be blessed with an overdose of indulgent curiosity that’s directly hard-wired to an obsessive imagination. I find a story in nearly everything: I’ll watch a flock of birds take roost on an overhead telephone line, and wonder if they’re drones from some backwoods military offshoot, or perhaps the watchful eyes from a mothership looming behind a lightning-fired thunderhead; I’ll sift through clothing at the local Goodwill, imagining I’ll find a secret note or letter tucked in a pocket of designer jeans, a handwritten litany of love that will never be expressed or shared, perhaps breaking a heart or ending a life; I pick up a tomato at the local farmer’s market, and wonder if it’s been tainted with alien spores, it’s seeds ready to impregnate me with a cuddly six-eyed beast that I’ll wind up raising in my basement. By imagining a single situation—a scene that is touching, scary, or humorous—I ask myself what might happen next. And what happened before? In this way, my stories evolve in a more or less natural way—both forward and back.

You also enjoy cooking. Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share with our readers perhaps?

One of my passions is cooking, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than looking through my cabinets and pantry to gather an assortment of items from which to create the perfect meal. Rather than following a specific recipe or precisely measuring each ingredient, I prefer to “feel” my way through an entree or dish, personalizing it with a little creativity and imagination. I’m told I come by this trait honestly, inheriting it from the previous three generations of women in my family.

I have many favorite recipes, but the one that I absolutely love preparing (and eating!) also happens to be my husband’s most requested dish—Pasta. So here it is—feel free to tailor it to your own tastes, keeping in mind that the next time I make it, I’ll be doing the same.

Pick your favorite type of pasta noodle (linguini, angel hair, rigatoni, ziti) and boil in a pan of water with a tablespoon (give or take) of virgin olive oil. My favorite is penne, but I also have a special place in my heart for good old-fashioned thin spaghetti.

Cut up some fresh veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, onion—whatever’s lurking in your fresh storage bin) and sauté with chopped garlic in virgin olive oil until heated through but still a little crisp. Add a little oregano or basil while cooking.

If you want to include protein, you can add some chicken or shrimp. Cut into small pieces and, in a separate pan, sauté in fresh garlic with virgin olive oil, adding spices at will.

I usually prepare a white cheese sauce with some, or all, or the following ingredients: Slice or shave some romano, parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta cheese—combine in a blender and grind until you have small/fine pieces. In a medium-size pan, heat milk or cream, adding butter, olive oil and salt, and stir in the cheeses until you have a creamy consistency. Add spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, pepper) and water or more milk until you have the consistency you prefer. (Sorry I can’t be more specific with quantities, but it all depends on what’s in the fridge and how it develops.)

Okay, time to throw it together! Drain and rinse the pasta. Put a serving on the plates and pour a little bit of sauce on top. Mix the veggies with the meat or fish, and spoon a good portion on the noodles. Add more sauce, and sprinkle with some grated mozzarella (or parmesan, whichever is your favorite). Then serve with a piece of toasty garlic bread and a smile!

(Hint: I always make enough for leftovers. Combine ingredients as above and put in a freezer-proof container. And yes, it always tastes better the second time. )

When you travel to tropical environments, which ones are your favorites and where are some places you have been?

The majority of my vacations over the last twenty years have been to the Caribbean, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was looking for my favorite island. I found it in St. Martin. Although the scenery, beaches, and weather are second to none, it’s the people who won me over. The island is half-Dutch and half-French, and the residents are some of the friendliest on the planet. For me there’s no better place to rest and recharge. In fact, a large part of The Kure was written there. My favorite spots on the island are Baie Rouge beach and Orient Bay, both on the French side.

It seems you are quite a shoe shopper. Do you think this is really only a female trait or do you think that men can be just as bad when it comes to shoes?

I’d have to speculate that it’s most likely a singularly female trait—no doubt the result of some quirky twist in our DNA. My husband had long given up trying to understand the relationship between shoes and female chromosomes, until one day I explained the compulsion as part of an inseparable trifecta—a love for shoes, an insatiable desire for chocolate, and the ability to flawlessly apply make-up while driving. He’s never asked me about it since.

I love the fact that your series is set in the 1860s. Being a great lover of history, it always makes me happy to see authors take that leap and go back in time rather than forward. What was the inspiration for writing your series around this time period?

One of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked to date is how I developed the concept for The Kure series. First, I wanted to write a love story that fit into the paranormal romance genre—but with a twist. Rather than immediately plunging the reader into an unnatural world populated with the genre-requisite vampires, werewolves, and other genetic misfits, I wanted the setting and characters to be of more conventional origins, and based on some degree of historical accuracy—in other words, a story that could have actually happened.

Setting the story in 1868 Kentucky gave me the opportunity to draw from a large documented undercurrent of sorcery and witchcraft, which in turn, offered a glimpse into the mindset of an alternative minority— the same group of people who would have believed in demonic-based healing. This provided a fertile backdrop to discretely introduce the influence of druidic warlocks and the practice of red magic, a theme that will have an expanded impact on the characters and their actions in the next book in the series, The Karetakers.

Do you allow your spouse to critique your work?

I’m extremely lucky (and grateful) to have a talented and resourceful husband who not only supports my career, but also plays a very active part in its success. I value and trust his objective and honest opinions. And equally important, he calms me back to sleep when I wake up screaming from nightmares after spending the day working on a particularly frightening or gruesome scene.

I know you can't tell us exactly what “The Kure” is in your books, but if you had to use just one word as a hint, what would it be?

Before I answer this one, I hope you’ll indulge me in unveiling some background. Although it was my intent to keep the specifics of The Kure a secret, I’m afraid the cat is out of the bag. This was one of those most-often-asked questions from so many readers who wanted to know more about the inspiration, influences, and origin of the ancient manuscript of healing—The Kure—and the ritual taken from its pages.

From the beginning, my goal in writing The Kure was to open a long-locked door, hoping to provide a revealing look inside a huge room filled with superstition and ignorance. I wanted the ritual and the spells associated with curing John’s malady to be portrayed as accurately as possible. Bottom line, the ritual’s source and relevance—albeit a dark one—has a very real place in history, with derivations contained in satanic texts used by practitioners of the occult.

So, just one word? Hmmmm…I’d probably say sinister, or evil. No wait, what I meant to say was dark-hearted. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

Is there any advice you'd like to share with other authors?

Allow your imagination to take you to places that are uncomfortable, unsettling, or rarely visited. It is from those unexplored and often disturbing realms that the most incredible tales are born— and they’re just waiting to be written.

Author Bio:

Jaye Frances is the author of the new paranormal/occult romance The Kure, the first novel in The Kure series. Her next release, scheduled for March 2012, is titled The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age story about a young man forced to choose between alignment with his peer group and protecting his new love interest. She is also a featured columnist for the NUSA SUN magazine. Jaye was born in the Midwest and grew up surrounded by traditional values and conservative attitudes (which she quickly discarded). She readily admits that her life’s destination has been the result of an open mind and a curiosity about all things irreverent. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, traveling to all places tropical and “beachy” and taking pictures—lots of pictures—many of which find their way to her website. Jaye lives on the central gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, four cameras, and several hundred pairs of shoes.


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