Welcome, Paty. Great to have you here. Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?
Wife, mother, clerk in a stationary store, freelance reporter, 4-H program assistant.
I’m a full time writer with sort of a day job. We have 350 acres. Where we currently live, there is 70 acres in grass hay and we raise cattle. The other 280(where we want to move to) we have 60 acres of alfalfa hay growing. They are three hours apart. In the winter my chores consist of breaking ice on water troughs and feeding the cows and horses. In the spring irrigation starts up, summer in on the haying crew, fall we calve. So while it’s not a typical 8-5 job, I do have a “day” job besides my full time writing.
Definitely a demanding workload. Tell us about your current WIP.
This is three-fold. I have two ongoing series started. The first is the Isabella Mumphrey Adventures. Secrets of a Mayan Moon and Secrets of an Aztec Temple. These are action adventure romance books with Isabella Mumphrey, a genius doctor of anthropology who uses her wit and her “survival vest” to get her out of tough situations when she runs into drug trafficking, artifact thieves and drug lords while digging for the information she needs to write a thesis that will keep her funding for her project to link the North American natives with the Central American natives. Having a hot Latin DEA agent helping her not only helps her find her goals it also heats up her life.
The second series is the Shandra Higheagle mysteries. The first book is written and with my critique partners. This is a mystery series with a pottery artist who lives near a ski resort in remote Central Idaho. She is half Nez Perce Indian and was raised without knowing that half of her heritage except for one summer she spent with her paternal grandmother on the reservation. After her grandmother’s death, Shandra becomes involved in proving her friend didn’t kill another gallery owner and while digging up information her grandmother comes to her in dreams sharing wisdom and visions that help her and handsome county detective solve the murder.
What I am currently writing is the first of a trilogy of historical western romances that are an offshoot of my popular Halsey Brothers Series. Jeremy Duncan is the younger brother of the heroine in the first Halsey book, Marshal in Petticoats. He went to Alaska seeking gold in 1893 and five years later is making his money with a pack train that takes gold seekers over White Pass. When a wealthy young woman offers him enough to money to finally fulfill his dream, he agrees to take her over the pass and ends up helping her search for her brother. The heir to the family business that needs to come home.
Wow! That’s a diverse portfolio. How does your family feel about your writing career?
I’ve been fortunate that my husband learned early on that I’m not happy if I’m not writing and there were times when the kids were growing that I wouldn’t get to write for days and he’d tell me to get to writing because I was getting grouchy. If momma’s not happy, ain’t no one happy. 😉 My oldest daughter is my final proof reader and my other daughter has designed all my self-published covers and helps me with designing ads and promo material. My dad buys my books and leaves them in waiting rooms and hands them out to bank tellers. My younger brother and his family come to a lot of my book signings and support me in other ways.
Great to have such wonderful family support. How has your experience with self-publishing been?
Self-publishing was scary! I’m a person who, while I’m self-motivated, I like having someone giving me guidance. Luckily there are lots of awesome loops for self-published authors to join and learn the ups and downs and ins and outs of self-publishing.
I enjoy the ability to have control over the cover, the back cover blurb and the whole process of producing the book. When I first started getting my rights back from previously published books, I dipped my toes in the water and found I liked getting more for my books while keeping the prices low so readers could afford to purchase more than one in a month if they were on a budget.
The first six months of self-publishing I was making four times the money off of books that were priced way below the publishers price. I was excited. All last year my sales doubled every month. Then last October they started dwindling and have been ever since. I believe it is the glut of free books that has put sales at a low. But even having low sales, I’m making more than I did with my publisher.
I’ve heard that from writers before. What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
My advice to others who want to self-publish is if it’s your first book you shouldn’t publish it until it has been through 5-6 other authors/writers and one editor. You want your first introduction to readers to be your best effort not just something you wrote in a month and slapped up thinking it’s the next best seller. There is more to writing a book than putting a story down. There is craft. Each genre has its own nuances, and there is grammar and POV(point of view). Is there a good plot, subplot, no saggy middle. There is so much that goes into a book to make it good, that you need to have more sets of eyes than your own read it and make sure it’s your best work.
Then you need to get connected to self-publishing loops and learn the ins and outs of the different venues where you can put your book up for sale and then you need to decide how you’re going to format for the different venues. Pay someone or do it yourself. And once you do get the book up, sit your fanny back down in the chair and write the next book. It takes a backlist of books to help pay the bills. One will not do it. And if it’s a book reader’s like they will want more.
I agree about the loops. I’ve benefited greatly from them. Do you have critique partners? How did your critique group form?
I have four critique partners. I met my first and longest CP when I entered a contest and she was a judge. She helped me understand what I was doing wrong and when I sent her an email thanking her, she asked if I wanted to critique with her and a budding friendship began. The next CP I edited while with a small press and when I left the press I asked if she wanted to be a CP and she agreed. The other two are writers I met at my RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter meeting. The way it works is we don’t all critique each other. I send my books back and for with each of them and they send their work to me when they need something critiqued. We don’t all critique each other.
Interesting. How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
I do tend to see people and think, oh that would make a great trait for a character or I like the looks of that person and they will end up in my book. Not exactly like them but I will take features and characteristics and put them on a made up character.
Give us an elevator pitch for your book.
The latest Isabella Mumphrey, Secrets of an Aztec Temple, it’s: Revenge isn’t always sweet.
Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
Yes, I do have a view! When my husband and I designed and built this house I said I wanted a writing loft and that’s what I got. My desk faces out to the three huge picture windows that frame the Cascade Mountains. The Three Sisters, Black Butte, and Mt. Jefferson can be seen when there aren’t any clouds rolling over them from the west.
I have two eight foot tall by four foot wide book cases that hold mostly research and reference books. And I have a glass case that houses a doll my fashion design daughter had to make for a college class. The clothing on the three foot high doll is an 1880’s bustle dress.
My mouth is watering! What do you have planned for the future?
The future consists of putting out more Isabella Mumphrey adventures, more in the Shandra Higheagle mystery series and a historical western now and then to keep my western readers happy. And while doing all this I hope we get moved to our Eastern Oregon property so I’m not running back and forth so much!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Paty.
Award winning author Paty Jager ranches with her husband of thirty-four years raising hay, cattle, kids, and grand kids. Her first book was published in 2006 and since then she has published seventeen novels. She enjoys riding horses, playing with her grand kids, judging 4-H contests and fairs, and outdoor activities. To learn more about her books and her life you can visit her website.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog; www.patyjager.blogspot.com her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager and twitter; @patyjag.
Secrets of a Mayan Moon blurb:
What happens when a brilliant anthropologist is lured to the jungle to be used as a human sacrifice?
Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.
DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.
Western Duets-Volume One
Western Duets is a novella with two historical western romance short stories.
Tossed together in the underbelly of a ship, strangers Finn Callaghan and Prudence Hawthorne must learn to trust one another in order to escape, but their freedom may be short lived once Finn discovers Prudence’s brother wants her dead.
Last Stand for Love
U.S. Marshal Chas Brown agreed to be Sarah’s proxy husband in order for her to keep her dead husband’s ranch. Little did Chas know, he’d lose his heart in the process.