New author Jess Buffett is a wife and mum of two living in Australia. She had originally started out working in Child Care but after injuring herself she was able to find a new passion. ManLove. Jess loves writing about two men falling in love, and when she isn’t attached to her laptop you can find her glued to the next episode of White Collar or Spartacus.
Q: In The Kayan’s Mage, although Jake was ostensibly the alpha partner in the relationship, Sawyer was by no means a typical beta mate! How important to you was it to capture this sense of equality between the two heroes? What relationship dynamics are you interested in exploring in future books in the series?
A: I wanted to make a point of breaking stereotypes—that bigger doesn’t mean stronger and smaller doesn’t mean weak. I like that while Jake wants to take care of his mate, Sawyer is more than capable of standing on his own two feet. Jake is a character where, as the leader of his Clan, he is used to getting what he wants. How suitable is it that the one thing he really has to work for is his mate.
Which is probably something you will see a lot in this series. The men who stand in positions of power are going to have to work for their mates and prove they deserve them. All my characters will have weak spots. My goal is to make their mates the yin to their yang.
Q: Sawyer and his brother Riley, besides being powerful Mages, are often downright funny! In a genre that is often so serious, what role do you think humor can play in paranormal romance? Do you prefer a funny hero in your own life?
A: I think humor helps break up a story that can easily become serious. Paranormal romance can be so out there and so far removed from reality that I think it helps bring a bit of real world into the story, making it more believable. My characters aren’t just part of an overall story, they are the story.
Q: With references to The Wizard of Oz, Stars Wars, and Battlestar Galatica, pop culture turns up frequently in The Kayan’s Mage. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Are there any books, shows, movies, or comics that are particularly important to you as a writer?
A: I honestly get inspiration from everywhere—books, shows, movies. That’s why I mention them. It’s that age-old thing of “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But for writers it’s usually around thirty thousand to fifty thousand words.
Q: The end of The Kayan’s Mage contains a teaser for the next book, involving Riley and a certain sexy vampire. Are there any hints you can give us about the romantic pairings in future books?
A: There will be some characters that pop up from the past and they’ll tie in with Jake’s Clan. One thing about this series is that not everything or everyone is as they seem, so that should make for some interesting pairings. But everyone will eventually get an HEA. There will be two Alpha males who come together, so be prepared for fireworks when that happens.
Q: What do you do to relax or get the creative juices flowing when you are struggling to meet your writing goals or deadlines?
A: My biggest problem is usually finding the downtime to do it in. Writing is my thing away from the real world, I guess you could say. But when I do get stuck, and really want or need to get it done, I sometimes play with another story or I’ll read a book. Whichever one works. If neither is helping I’ll sit down and watch White Collar or Spartacus. Seeing Matt Bomer or Dan Feuerriegel and Pana Hema Taylor shirtless is always inspiring.
Q: Tell us about your writing routine.
A: Routine? Ummm…to say I have a routine would be stretching it. I’ll sit down and write a plot outline (I already have the next few books in the Hunter Clan series mapped out). But I never seem to be able to stick to them. I know my overall background story that ties the series together, but each couple’s story is very much in the moment. I write when I can, and I always make sure I finish up the night at the end of a chapter. If that chapter isn’t done, I don’t go to bed. I just up the caffeine intake. Apart from that, I just write what comes to me, occasionally checking to see if what I wrote matches up with what I put down in my plot outline and relying heavily on spell check because I’m too into the moment to worry about that.
Q: What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
A: Having to watch someone I love most in this world pass away right in front of me. To this day I have never been so scared or lost. When a person who is supposed to protect you is taken like that, it’s hard to imagine the rest of your life without them.
Q: What qualities do you think are important for the hero in a romance? Are there types of men you prefer to write about?
A: Hero to me always equals strength, but for me that could mean either heart, mind, or body. And they can’t be perfect because no one is. A hero needs to have flaws, has to have made mistakes to be able to understand and want to help people.
Q: When you start a series, do you plan all the books and heroes out beforehand or do you make them up as you go along?
A: I have a basic outline for my books. I definitely have a continuing back story that will slowly be revealed. As for my characters, well…they just usually end up doing their own thing in the end. They all have little voices of their own, and as long as my boys are happy then I’m happy.
I’ve started writing book three of Hunter Clan, and already one of the characters has taken a completely different direction than I had planned for him, and I love it. I can’t wait to see what else they have in store.
Q: Even in today’s world, men who are romantically involved with each other can face discrimination, violence, and bullying. What are some conflicts your heroes have faced, and how did they overcome these obstacles?
A: Some of my characters have been through hell. Whether they have been kidnapped, beaten or abused by an enemy, or had to fight for everything they have. At the beginning of The Kayan’s Mage you get a look at some of the typical violence that gay men are confronted with. It’s the idea that just because a man loves another man must mean he is weak or inferior and that other people then have the right to lash out. Fear is a heavy motivator for some people and it makes them do horrible things. And it can quickly turn discrimination and bullying into violence.
Family means a lot in this series. Family can mean blood or those you have chosen to let into your life, but either way, with that support my characters survive because they aren’t alone. Acceptance is their key, and it’s something I try to have in my books.