Jaidis Shaw currently resides in South Carolina with her husband and two beautiful daughters. With a passion for reading, Jaidis can always be found surrounded by books and dreaming of new stories. She enjoys challenging herself by writing in different genres and currently has several projects in the works.
Jaidis also owns and operates Juniper Grove Book Solutions, voted Top Five for Best Promotional Firm, Site, or Resource in the 2014 Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll. In her spare time, Jaidis maintains her blog, Juniper Grove, and can found frolicking on various social media platforms. One of her main goals in life is to encourage her daughters to let their imaginations run wild.
Time to chat with Jaidis!
I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
I do! My first self-published book, a YA paranormal romance titled Destiny Awaits, was recently picked up by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and was just re-released on July 19th! I’m so excited and nervous at the same time. The book originally came out in 2012 so it has been around awhile, but it feels like I’m starting the whole process over again.
Is your recent book part of a series?
Yes, Destiny Awaits is part of a series, but it’s standalone. The series is titled Juniper Grove Chronicles and will feature a few volumes. The main characters from Destiny Awaits, Alayna and Jayden, will only make a brief appearance in volume two, whereas a minor character named Violet will be the focus of that one. All volumes take place in the same town, Juniper Grove.
What are the special challenges in writing a series?
This is a great question as it deals with my response above. I chose to go the route of a standalone series because I find it extremely hard to write a series where each book is a continuation of the story. I am currently working on a paranormal thriller that is a continuing series and I’m terrified to see if I am able to finish it.
What else have you written?
I started my writing career when I had a short story picked up by a small indie publisher. It was a retelling of Rapunzel that I titled The Tower. It appeared in the Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II by Wicked East Press.
My next adventure was being selected to take part in an anthology by the same publisher that is mentioned above. All authors that were selected to take part were given certain elements of a story to build around. I was given a topic that included my character either being deaf or blind, the climax of the story had to occur during a thunderstorm, and it had to be a suspense story. That’s all I had to go on and at first I was terrified, but after I worked out how I wanted the story to go, I was excited. I enjoyed the main character, Molly, and now that I have the rights to that story back, I have plans to expand on her story. The original story is titled Blind Justice and can be found in Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales.
I also wrote a western-themed short story to appear on the Railroad! blog while the storyline was on an intermission. My story, Pure Harvest, was written back in 2012 and the first time I dabbled in the western genre. I enjoyed writing it! You can check it out here if you’re interested.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Do you know how authors are always talking about how their muses changed the story, how they’re surprised at where the characters decided to go, or how their characters are talking to them? I’m so jealous of those authors! My characters don’t talk to me. All of my books start with an idea, usually occurring in a dream, and I outline from there. I know every major scene in my story, when it will take place, approximately what chapter it should appear, and so forth. If I stray from that path, I become lost and panic until I’m back on course.
Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?
With Destiny Awaits, yes I wrote it in order. I always start with an outline of the entire story so I know exactly where I should be heading and what should go into each chapter to keep the story moving. However, that changed with the book I’m currently working on because there was a particular scene that I found difficult to finish. I had worked myself into a corner and strayed from my outline and so I was lost. I skipped ahead and wrote the upcoming scene so I knew how it would play out and then was able to go back and fill in the gaps. Only time will tell if I’m able to skip ahead again or if I prefer to stick to outlines.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I have to do a little editing as I write because I’m always going back and reading over what I’ve done so far, especially if I’ve taken a break from the story for awhile. As I’m reading over it, I always find a few things to edit so I’ll fix them before I forget. After the whole story is complete, then I go back and do a deep edit.
Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?
There has only been one character that I didn’t particularly enjoy writing, and that’s Steve from my short story Blind Justice. You know those people who just make your skin crawl, even if you don’t know why? Or those that if you were to see walking toward you on a sidewalk, you’d cross the street just to create more space between you? That’s Steve.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
For Destiny Awaits I didn’t have to do any research for the actual storyline. The only research I did do, was that which was needed to actually publish the book. Even then it really wasn’t much as I contacted a friend of mine, who is also an author, and she talked me through the publishing process via the phone so that I did it right.
The paranormal thriller that I’m currently working on, The Stager, is different however. There are certain elements in it that I felt needed to be realistic and so I’ve had to seek out a couple of weapons experts so that the main character, Amelia, knows her stuff.
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?
I used to allow a select few to read my work as I was working on it because I was in need of opinions. As time has went on, and I saw the number of authors having their ideas ripped off grow, I decided that it may be better to wait until it is complete and published before allowing anyone to read it.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
Negative reviews are a part of every author’s life. If you publish a book, you will get a negative review. Period. You need to go into the process knowing that negative reviews are inevitable and also that there is nothing you can do about them. Don’t respond to the reviewer. Don’t post to your Facebook or Twitter about the terrible review you received and ask people to go dislike or down vote it. Definitely don’t call the reviewer out by name and trash talk them because you weren’t happy with their review. Everyone is allowed their opinion, good or bad. In almost all cases, responding negatively to a negative review will always be worse than the review itself. You want attention on your book for the story, not because of the temper tantrum you threw. If you get a review that gets under your skin, just be an adult and walk away. Let it go. If you’re proud of your work, that’s all that matters.
Do you have any special projects you’d like to share with us?
Yes! I’ve recently launched an exciting book review program. The JGBS Review Library strives to offer an ever-growing list of books that are seeking honest reviews. Readers simply browse the virtual library, request the book that interests them, and I send them an author-approved ebook — for FREE. After reviews (positive or negative) are posted to Amazon within six weeks, readers are eligible to download new books to review.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
I’m currently living in South Carolina. I was originally born in Anaheim, CA but we moved around a lot so I’ve also lived in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan (twice). Having to move around a lot of a child really took its toll and so I’m here in SC and I plan to stay here. No more moving for me.
Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?
Boats for sure! I love the water and being on the water.
What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?
I am currently pregnant so asking me this question is unfair. You should be ashamed, Lisette! However if you must know, and I’m totally blaming my unborn daughter for this, my favorite comfort food at the moment is chips and salsa. I’ve went through seven jars of salsa so far in this pregnancy.
As for my least favorite, that’s easy. I refuse to eat anything that swims so all things fishy are absolutely out of the question. Blecch!
If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Abso-freaking-lutely! Who in their right mind would pass that offer up? I’d totally use it to be a fly on the wall so that I could get some juicy details. It would also be great to just tease people and move things around a bit, make them a little crazy.
If you had a million dollars to give to charity, how would you allot the funds?
I’d split it three ways. I’d give part to the Epilepsy Foundation to help further their research on finding a cure for epilepsy. I have epilepsy so it’s a cause near and dear to my heart.
I’d give part to the Save the Manatee Club. Humans are quickly making these adorable mammals, which happen to be my favorite animal, disappear and we need to do what we can to bring them back from the brink of extinction and help to preserve their natural habitat.
The other part would be put into a fund that would be used to help various reading programs and libraries. It breaks my heart every time I hear kids, and even some adults, say that they don’t read and have no desire to do so. We don’t do enough to encourage our youths to read the written word and it only results in those youths growing into adults who are illiterate. I know people personally that don’t know how to read, or can’t read above an 8th grade level. That is absolutely unacceptable.
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
Just seeing my daughters happy and smiling is enough for me. Even when I’m having the worst day, all they have to do is start singing or dancing, talking to their imaginary friends, or reading a book, and it brightens my day immediately.
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