An Interview with Jorja Kish

JorjaJorja had to start a new phase in her life when her job of fourteen years came to a sudden end. The familiar was gone and the vastness of the unknown stretched to the horizon. So what did quirky Jorja do? She made a pot of coffee and decided enough was enough. It was time to take that leap of faith and do what she was meant to do, be an author.

Since she could hold a pencil in her hand, Jorja had too many stories in her head to keep count. But she knew one thing was for sure, she had to share each and every one of them with anyone who was willing to listen. Sometimes her wild ideas and strange worlds produced funny faces from her family and friends, but Jorja didn’t care. She found her passion, storytelling.

Q: It seems like there was a lot put into this universe, with creatures like the Pannihamin and she-cats showing up throughout. What was the process like creating some of these entirely otherworldly species?

A: I watch a lot of sci-fi shows and movies, so the strange and unusual are pretty much on my mind. The Pannihamin just popped into my head when I thought of a creature interacting with the locals in an innocent yet entirely lewd manner. And the she-cat was totally modeled on my brown tabby, Scooter. I watched her one day, eying something in the backyard before she pounced. And that sparked the sexy she-cat ready to pounce. I love creating new creatures that have a basis in what we can recognize, yet have a slight twist to keep them fresh.

Q: The story starts off 25 years prior to the lives of the main characters we come to know. When you sat down to start writing, did you begin with the Thane and Theolanen story line first and then branch off, or did you come around to it later on?

A: The original story didn’t have Thane and Theolanen in it at all. I sat on the manuscript for about nine months feeling that something was missing. So I added a new beginning with Thane and Theolanen, knowing that I needed a link with the past to the present. It sparked such a response in me that I rewrote the first few chapters as I fell deeper in love with the main characters. Adding Thane and Theolanen was the missing spark that I felt the story needed. I’m glad I listened to my instincts.

Q: Some of the most memorable moments of this story are the hilarious interactions between Kellan and the two heroes. He was the perfect comedic relief when times were getting tense. Can we expect to see more of his character as the series progresses?

A: Most definitely. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Kellan’s unique and witty personality. He has his own story that’s been keeping me busy.

Q: The idea of lycans with a science fiction twist is a refreshing take on the popular shape-shifter genre. With My Everything, we saw more sci-fi and less shape-shifter action. Will the sci-fi elements always hold precedence over this series, or can readers expect to discover more about the lycans and other shifters?

A: I think there will always be the undercurrent of sci-fi in this series. However, with each new story told in this series another layer of who and what the lycans and other shifters are will be revealed. There’s a whole Universe out there to explore, so the possibilities are endless and exciting.

Q: The change in scene from the planet Terra to the Black Star Rogue gave such a great peek into the vastness of the universe you’ve created. Can readers expect new destinations in future installments?

A: That is a resounding yes! That’s why I enjoy writing sci-fi hybrid genres. There are so many new destinations to create and add my own uniqueness to planets, starships, and aliens that it makes the whole process of writing each story fun. The challenge is to make these new destinations believable, yet dipping into the fantastic to give it flare and wonder.

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: A glass of fruity red or white wine helps me relax. Add a bubble bath and I’m in heaven. And maybe some chocolate, too. Also I have been known to become a couch potato and watch my favourite shows such as Supernatural,The Walking Dead, and Duck Dynasty. As to the creative juices, usually ideas pop into my head when I do the mundane, like washing dishes, vacuuming, even I dare say, jogging on the treadmill sparks ideas. If I have a block and can’t process a story line, I just pick another work in progress and write in that story for a while.

Q: Tell us about your writing routine.

A: I try to maintain a routine, but honestly, my writing muse is chaotic at best. My goal is to work in the mornings after two cups of coffee for 3-4 hours then a quick read through and spelling edits. I’ve learned that my mind isn’t linear and hops around a lot so the house has tons of notepads, sticky notes, and pens scattered everywhere. I write at different times during the day, but I try to get the bulk of it done in the morning when I’m fresh as a daisy.

Q: What person, record, and book would you take with you to a desert island?

A: Wow, this is a tough question to answer. For the record, I would have to say I would bring Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory. I love Linkin Park. James Rollins’s Subterranean would be the book I’d bring. Subterranean was the first book I bought of his and it hooked me from the start. I love his unique world building of the strange within our very real world. And the person I would bring would have to be Dwayne Johnson. He has a great smile, plays the ukulele, sings, is strong enough to help build shelter, and looks great in a tight T-shirt. And of course he could show me some wrestling moves.

Q: Tell us something we don’t know about you that might surprise us.

A: I have the bacon pancake ringtone from Adventure Time with Finn and Jake. It’s a catchy ringtone and I do watch the cartoon with my nieces.

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: Squeak got beat up and knocked down quite a bit, but he always managed to get back up and take another step forward. I wanted to create a universe that was more accepting of men loving men. Sure, there would be conflict, but I wanted the conflict to be based on things other than the discrimination of gay men. Love is wonderful, and I didn’t want the opinions of other people clouding the fact that we are all the same regardless of our bits and pieces. We should be able to love who we want, because love is pure, love is passionate, and love strengthens every one of us to be better people and better partners. I believe that is why Squeak and Tynan overcame the obstacles that were thrown their way.