Welcome back to the conclusion of our chat with Jay Noel, talking about his first steampunk book, Dragonfly Warrior.
Read part one here.
Airship Ambassador: If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
Jay Noel: I’m an artist, so I’d probably be a painter or sculptor. I love creating things, and art is such a great way to express myself.
AA: What do you do to keep a balance between book, art, and tour life, and the rest of your life?
JN: It’s a constant struggle. My day job is very demanding, and I have to travel all the time. I’m a road warrior, logging 3000 miles in my car per MONTH. But it does allow for lots of quiet time for me to dream up stories. My tour schedule is very limited, as I do want to see my family on the weekends, and I usually write when everyone is asleep. Wow. No wonder I’m exhausted!
AA: Wow, that is a really busy schedule and I can see how much effort if would be to keep a balance in paying the bills and feeding your soul. Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
JN: Yes! I’ve been a blogger since 2005, and it’s been great being able to connect with other writers through my blog. I’m also working on a young adult paranormal thriller with another writer that I’ve never met in person. Technology is awesome.
AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?
JN: I used to be a total “panster” with my writing. I pretty much just started typing whatever came to mind and got all my words down. But it just got so darn time consuming. Taking my manuscript apart, putting it back together again, fixing all of the structural issues…there was just so much to fix. So I decided to follow the 7 Point Story Structure System and I use Scrivener (for Mac) to keep things straight. It’s slashed the amount of time it takes me to produce a decent 100K draft by about 18 months.
AA: How is your city for writing? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc
JN: I think so. I’m smack dab in the middle of the country, and it seems all the really BIG conventions and writing conferences are on either coast. So I have to make the most of my opportunities to market my work to as many people as I can.
AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?
JN: I’m a medical sales rep, and like I said, I’m on the road a lot. And it’s draining work. My job is highly competitive, so I have to win and “be on” all the time. Often, I just don’t have the energy to write or edit, so I have to make sure to be as efficient as I can.
AA: Do people outside the regular reading, steampunk, and convention communities recognize you for Dragonfly Warrior? What kind of reactions have you received?
JN: It’s quite strange, but I’ve had romance writers enjoy my work. I say it’s strange because this first book doesn’t have an ounce of romance in it. Readers will have to wait for my second book for that. I really am pretty green, and I’m relatively new to this whole marketing thing. For me, once the steampunk community embraces me, that will be my biggest achievement.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests and topics fill your time?
JN: With all the stuff I do, there’s really not a whole lot of time leftover for other stuff. I do love playing tennis. I played in high school and did Division I in college. So I’m a competitive person by nature. But these days, if I have even just a few minutes to myself, I try to read as much as I can.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of in some way?
JN: I’m a member of the local science fiction group here in St. Louis. I grew up watching Doctor Who on the local public TV station, so of course I love me some Old School Doctor Who. Yes, I love the new stuff too, but you never forget your FIRST Doctor. And for me, that was Jon Pertwee.
I’m also a big fan of Blake’s 7, Voltron, Star Wars, and Firefly. So yeah, I’m a big geek.
AA: Excellent – gotta love the British science fiction shows. I’m a big Doctor Who fan, myself. How do those interests influence your work?
JN: I think they all quench my thirst for action and adventure in a faraway land. For me, reading and writing is an escape from reality.
AA: Who are the people you admire, or who have influenced you, possibly even being a role model?
JN: Other than H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, I would say that my other influences include Shakespeare, young adult novelists Robert Cormier and S.E. Hinton, and Stephen King. King’s book On Writing was a HUGE influence on me with the actual craft of writing. It made me really look at writing as a skill, and it was something I had to work on to improve.
AA: Three quick random questions – what is your favorite cookie, gem stone, and TV show?
JN: I gave up cookies, but when I ate them, I loved a hot chocolate chip cookie. Although I never met a cookie I didn’t love. Gem stone would have to be amythest. They’re just so pretty. TV show is easily Doctor Who. But I do miss Firefly. Like many fans, I’m still bitter about Firefly being cancelled.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
JN: Like I said, I’ve been blogging for a long time, going on 9 years this August, so please visit me at jaynoel.com. I’d love to connect with you!
Thanks for joining us, Jay!
Get your copy of Dragonfly Warrior today, and keep up to date with Jay on his website.