A visit with Jen Talty

Two adirondack chairs on a deck  at sunset

Two adirondack chairs on a deck at sunset

How did you get started writing?

I was a young mother with three kids and one summer, while at the lake, I must have read ten romantic suspense novels less than a month. One book in particular hooked me into the idea of writing. That was Hello Darkness by Sandra Brown. So, while sitting in the front yard, while my children played and fished, I took pen and paper and wrote my first novel, which is titled: In Two Weeks and is currently, free on all platforms. Just saying.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I love the mix of romance and suspense. I’m fascinated by the darker side of human nature so I enjoy exploring that with my antagonists. But I’m a sucker for a happy ending.

Tell us about your current series.

The third book in the NY State Trooper Series titled Deadly Secrets is being released 18 July 2016. This is Reese’s story. He was a secondary character in Dark Water. A lot of readers wanted to know more about him, and the hinted suspense behind his backstory along with a developing relationship between him another secondary character, Patty. Deadly Secrets is all about lies and betrayal of the past, and how they can haunt or present and future unless dealt with head on. It’s a story about letting go of the pains of the past and opening your heart to the future.

What move best describes your life?  Why?

You mean movie? I’m going to stick with that because I haven’t moved in 30 years. Geez, this is a hard one since I watch a ton of movies and in general my life has been pretty mundane. But as I sit here I can’t think of a single one. I suppose an comedy about family life or hockey since I spent 20 something years raising hockey players and traveling with them between 2 counties and five states.

What inspired your latest book?

Deadly Secrets, book two in the NY State Trooper Series (18 July release), was actually birthed from Dark Water, the second book in the same series. I had two secondary characters and thought, what if they got together? It was interesting because while writing Dark Water, I had no clue as to anything about the backstory of Reese McGinn, other than he was not the kind of guy to stay in any one place for more than three years. I thought, what would happen if a baby were involved? Would he stay?

What is your favorite part of writing?

Rewriting. I’m not a fan of draft writing and I tend to write in dialogue first, so there is no descriptions, or sense of where my characters are or what they are doing. I always try to put that in as I go, but it doesn’t work out. So I puke out the dialogue and then go back and layer in and for that’s where the magic happens because that’s where every one comes alive.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Draft writing and then final copy edits.

What is your next project and when will it be released?

Next Project is tentatively titled The Accused, book 4 in the NY State Trooper series and it will be released this fall.

What is your typical day like?

Since I also am the technical person for Cool Gus Publishing, I often wake up early, write for a couple of hours, then get what I need to for my authors at Cool Gus and then go back to the writing. Actually, there is no typical day. But I do try to write every day.

How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you?

Not enough. I promote my authors more than I promote myself. I’m working reader engagement.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

Excellent, but that’s two fold. A few years back, when I first co-created Cool Gus Publishing with Bob Mayer, not only did we find huge success with his back list, but Dark Water hit #10 on Nook and the other books were selling really well. But I was going through some personal changes and didn’t write for about four years, so things slowed down for me personally, but my authors at Cool Gus are doing very well. Now that I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, things personally are starting to pick up.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

Life. Television. Other books. Movies. In the shower…

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

Its hard work, and it takes building a readership. There are very few overnight successes, even with Traditional publishing. Perseverance often trumps talent. There is no one magic bullet. What works for me, or for Bob Mayer, might not work for someone else.

Do you have critique partners?

I used to. Now I use beta readers once the draft is done. Other authors and a few fans. I’m always open to feed back.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

My favorite food is Salmon. Dessert? Wine!

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

No one person ends up in my book. But I do take attributes from people I meet. I see someone with a certain, habit I think is interesting, it might show up. Like my husband cracks his knuckles and it drives me nuts. Travis in Jane Doe’s Return cracks his knuckles. Doug from my current work in progress tentatively titled The Accused is based on a book from a Historical Romance I read. Just his looks. His personality is a meld of people along with being true to his characters motivations, goals, and conflicts. So, essentially not really.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

Women. And I have no idea, why.

Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?

Both. I’ve had two agents. I’ve been with a publisher that went bankrupt. But over all, I wouldn’t change anything.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

What if a secret about your past came back and tried to kill you.

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like?

I have an office in my home. I’d send a picture, but its currently under remodel. Getting new carpet and painting the walls. It’s a first floor office with a nice window over looking the street. A big u-shaped deks and I work on two 27 inch monitors. I’m tech nut.

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

From Deadly Secrets: Reese McGinn. His strength is he’s honorable. Which is also his weakness. This is part of his character growth. He learns that being honorable isn’t always the right thing to do for all parties involved. He learns that he hid behind being noble and honorable, instead of being true and loyal.

Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

From Deadly Secrets: Patty Harmon. She was hard to write. Probably because she’s so different from myself. I’d say her strongest attribute is her ability to bounce back from diversity. But that closed her off from seeing other people as who they really are.

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

I love Romantic Suspense. But also have a fascination for Science Fiction, particularly aliens. I also like fantasy. Loved the Divergent series and currently hooked on the Wave series.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

I don’t have a preference, but I think it’s important to read in your own genre.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?

Nope. I love the darker side of human nature and tried to write it because I’m often so fascinated by my antagonists that I wrote a couple of horror/thriller books, but I don’t think they are publishable, yet. Working on that.

What do you have planned for the future?

I have five more books planned in the NY State Trooper Series, which will take me to a series based on correctional officers…maybe.

How far do you plan ahead?

I always have a 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year business plan and adjust accordingly.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Never quit.

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I had a million different dreams. An actress. A dancer. Choreographer. Hairdresser. Business Owner. Hacker. Teacher. Cop. Lawyer. Politician. Never a writer, but its fitting I became one since I was interested in everything!

Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization?  Which one?  Have the helped you with your writing?  How?

RWA and ITW. RWA helped with learning the business and Craft. So did ITW. They both helped to meet other authors and network. I met Bob Mayer at a conference and we then created Cool Gus Publishing. I think conferences are very important.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 

 Deadly Secrets is all about keeping secrets and how even when we think we are protecting the ones we love, they can rise up and cause havoc in our lives. Its all about learning to forgive, and move forward with the here and now. Its about a woman learning to open her heart and risk being hurt and a man learning that his life doesn’t have to be ruled by the past.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 

Never quit! Keep honing your craft. Set you goals, and work toward them. This isn’t an easy business and not everyone will succeed. But you don’t know if can if you don’t work for it.

jen1A Bit about Jen

Jen Talty is an award-winning author of Romantic Suspense. Dark Water hit #10 in Barnes and Noble and her books have been in the top 50 on Amazon. Jennifer grew up in Rochester, New York. She recently retired from being a full-time hockey mom as her children hung up their skates. She and her husband still live in Rochester while her children travel globe. Jen is the co-founder of Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer. Jen does all the cover art, book trailers, eBook Conversions, and also works as a developmental editor.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *