An Interview with Jami Gray

Hey Cynthia,
Thanks so much for having me over! It’s lovely to have a conversation with another adult without having it end with the words, “Because I said so!”

I’m really glad you stopped by. I want to remind everyone to leave Jami a comment and be entered into her drawing for a $10 gift card.
Now on to the interview.

What is your typical day like? What is your writing routine like?

Very, very different than the “writer’s life” my younger self had created. Instead of inspiring natural landscapes of majestic mountains or idyllic, pristine beaches outside my window, there are stucco walls of my neighbors’ homes, rocks have replaced grass and sand, and those few trees who can survive the Arizona summer are trying desperately to grow on limited amounts of water. I share an office with my hubby and where as others may dream of the day they can retire, I dream of the day where I will have my own office…and it will be beautiful!
When I was younger, I was convinced that as a writer I could set my own schedule, spend time at quaint little cafes and write while indulging in my love of people watching and good teas. Reality is being the proud mom of two boys, the owner of a huge walking fur rug, and the more organized half of a happily married couple which translates into very little “me” time. Those pesky things like food, shelter, family medical insurance all come with a price tag labeled “the-job-that-pays-the bills”. However, I can’t complain too much, because for the last sixteen years I’ve been blessed with a telecommuting position with the same company. It’s been a huge boon.

With all of this, my day starts with a woof when my walking fur rug’s stomach demands food, dragging two boys out of bed and into clothes, pushing them down the stairs to get ready for school, herding them out the door so I can dash back upstairs for my endless rounds of meetings that, I swear, comprises the fourth level of hell. Then, before I know it, the boys are back home with questions that could not be asked of the teachers. Oh no, they must be directed to the parental units. Then the boys want food, the hubby wants attention and maybe by 9 pm, I may be able to take a breath. I learned years ago that if I want to write, I have to make the time. So I do. I’m a horrible mom who bails every week for one day, leaving everyone to fend on their own so I can get time away from all those things that will pull me away from your characters and your world. It has taken years to get over the guilt of putting my writing first even for that short of time, but it’s an essential part of nurturing my creative side. I’m a firm believer if parents make time to do something for themselves, they will actually be better parents/partners to their families. No matter how busy my week is, I know at the end of it, there will be at least 6-8 hours of nothing but me and my MacBook Air.

Summer messes up my writing routing and since the boys just started school again, I’m hoping to use my lunch hour to chip away at my writing. That way, even if it’s only a couple of sentences, I managed to make progress! Those sentences, they can add up fast.

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

Most difficult? Probably emotions. I have no problems delving into the darker aspects of human nature, but trying to capture an individual’s essence when they’re all balanced and not emotionally damaged, can actually be a challenge for me. I put my characters through a great deal so I can dig deeper into their psyche, because I know if I dig deep enough, I’ll find that little unbalance part of their personality, then I can exploit it.

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

It’s not so much people per se, as various aspects of their personality. I find I tend to note certain personality traits and incorporate those into my characters. I’ll take a couple of different traits, throw them in the bowl, add a few odd spices, let it spin in the creative blender for a bit, before pouring it out to discover what’s been created. I love people watching, and I bet most writers could indulge in the past time for hours on end. It’s so intriguing to see what triggers unique reactions.

Do you have critique partners?

Yes and we have named ourselves The 7 Evil Dwarves (, although we currently have eight of us in the group. We’re all Speculative Fiction writers and our ages range from early twenties to late sixties. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to put my stuff out there so my awesome editor could find me. I’m a huge proponent of critique groups—they’ll be the only people who’ll understand the madhouse that lives in your head.

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

I’m an avid reader and will devour any well written story so long as it sucks me into their world. I’ve read it all (and I’m not ashamed to admit it!). High fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance (from sweet to bodice rippers to erotica to paranormal), military thrillers, mysteries of all sorts, and my current favorite—Urban Fantasy. There are many conversations out there about writers reading what they write, and why you should or shouldn’t do it. For me, I enjoy reading in my genre, but I still mix in others, just to spice it up. It allows me to visit fantastic worlds others have created and discover new voices and perspectives.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

I spent two years getting rejection after rejection. The hardest part of the whole experience was how many times that elusive publishing goal was brushing against my fingertips only to disappear. I had so much great feedback from editors and agents, they loved my voice, they loved my world, they loved my characters…and then there was the “But…” There wasn’t enough sex, the idea of science experimenting on supernatural has been done, it was too dark, etc. Some reasons made me laugh, some confused me to no end, and there were some that I had to shake my head and move on. In the end, I learned to recognize that if more than one person had the same feedback, it needed to be fixed. If not, it may just be a personal thing—not everyone is going to like your writing—and that’s totally okay.

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

I know you’ve heard it over and over again, but DON’T GIVE UP! Seriously, to succeed in this industry you need to embrace perseverance, which is just another way to say you’re stubborn. Stay true to yourself and your characters. They are screaming inside your head for a reason, give them a voice. You can listen to the naysayers, you can drown in the massive amounts of advice floating in the writing community, but pick out the pieces that resonate with you. Hone your craft, strengthen your voice, bring your world to life and keep going.

Excerpt from Shadow’s Edge: Book 1 of The Kyn Kronicles:

Walking into the dim house, Raine braced herself for the smell which usually accompanied a violent death. She knew that smell. It was distinctive. It reminded a person of raw meat, coppery blood. A scent warning you that whatever you found, it wasn’t going to be recognizable.

She was a few steps behind the two men and coming down the short entry way when she realized there was no odor. No blood, no raw meat. She let out the breath she was holding. Yet, there were spine tingling traces of magic raising bumps along her skin as she drew closer to the front room.

Two agents passed her, heading out of the house, small evidence bags in their gloved hands. Osborn stopped just to the left of the entry way to the front room. In the middle of the opening, Gavin came to a halt blocking Raine’s view. She stepped around to his right and came to an abrupt stop, puzzled.

Bane Mayson was sprawled on the faded green couch under the picture window. At first glance the scene didn’t make sense. There were no visible wounds, no horrific mutilations, nothing to show how he died. Just the skitter of magic down her spine, making the deceptively calm scene in front of her much more ominous.

“Can you give a positive ID?” Osborn’s rough voice pulled her gaze back to him. He was looking at Gavin who wasn’t answering. She tilted her head to find out why then realized Gavin was looking at her.

“What?” she asked.

“I’ve never met him,” he said blandly. “Just spoke to him on the phone.”

“Oh.” A little disconcerted, she turned back to the waiting agent. “Yes, that’s Bane Mayson.”

Excerpt from Shadow’s Soul: Book 2 of The Kyn Kronicles:

“Good gods, girl. Didn’t I teach you better than that?”
The sound of Cheveyo’s sharp tone jerked her head up. Scrambling to her knees, she met the disgruntled gaze of her mentor.

“Obviously not,” she snapped back.

A small grimace that might have been a strained smile appeared on his tired face. A part of her relaxed a bit at his presence, but he didn’t look good. Weariness and pain had carved deep niches around his mouth and eyes, drawing his skin tight over his high cheekbones. The normal bronze of his skin was a pale olive. Gone was the fierce, dominating Magi. In his place was a hard, battle-weary warrior.

“Cheveyo,” she started, but he waved his hand cutting her off.

“I know, we have to get me out of here, yadda yadda.” He raked a hand through his collar length hair, as he slid down some invisible wall to sit across from her. Placing his hands on his upraised knees, he just looked at her.

His assessment made her uncomfortable.

“Didn’t expect me to answer your knock?” A faint thread of humor twisted through his words.

His question threw her back to when he had first created this bond between them. Her concerns on how linked they would be had resulted in his reassurance that the only way the door would open was if she went knocking and he answered her.

“Actually we were hoping you would.”

He raised an eyebrow. “We?”

Before she could respond, the feel of nails scoring her skin set her on her feet. She spun around to face the thick barrier of fog behind her. She hissed as another scrape peeled against her magic. Cheveyo’s hand on her arm stopped her from stepping forward.

“Raine.” He turned her away from the fog. His six-foot-six frame towered over her. She didn’t let it stop her from yanking from his hold.
“What?” she snarled. Screw authority. Right now they were in deep shit and they needed to get out.

Growing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater. Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab. Writing is what saves her sanity.

Shadow’s Edge: Book 1 of the Kyn Kronicles and Shadow’s Soul: Book 2 of the Kyn Kronicles are available now in paperback and ebook format.

You can find me at:
Buy Link:
Assc. Blog:

Shadow’s Edge: Bk 1 of Kyn Kronicles
Black Opal Books:

Shadow’s Soul:Bk 2 of the Kyn Kronicles
Black Opal Books:

14 thoughts on “An Interview with Jami Gray

  1. Thanks guys! Thank you, Cynthia for having me stop in! I hope you all enjoy Raine and Gavin’s adventure in Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Soul!
    Since we talked a bit about fav genres/authors, why don’t you share a few of yours?

  2. Great interview! I face the same “mommy guilt”, so can’t relate.

    Heehee “walking fur rug”…love it! I call them my canine babies, and hubby just shakes his head at me.

  3. I love the inspiration you are. You didn’t give up and with the demands of life you remind us to carve out time for dreams, no matter a few minutes or hours. Because by not giving up you are always on your way to making them happen.You have and still are making dreams happen! Great writing, great advice, great person!

  4. I just love your tag lines–where even the monsters fear what hides in the shadows and Come find me if you dare.How compelling! Made me come to this site to find out more about you. One of my writing partners is doing urban fantasy, so I’ll share this link with her. Sounds like a good read.

  5. Wonderful interview! I really enjoyed the excerpts also. Very intriguing. 🙂
    My favorite genre is romance, especially PNR. I love the characters/creatures, worlds, abilities, etc that authors can create. There are almost endless possibilities.
    I have many authors that I have enjoyed though some of my favorite are Elisabeth Naughton, Kresley Cole, Kate Douglas and many more.
    Jami, is UF the only genre you currently write? Do you plan on trying your hand at any others? Thank you for sharing.

  6. I did, Cynthia, thank you! Tina B–I can never say never, but Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance tend to be my favorites to write. However, post-apocalyptic settings intrigue me, as does Romantic Suspense. Think Maya Bank, Suzanne Brockmann, Alison Brennan,Stephanie Tyler and Kat Martin.
    I wish everyone a wonderful weekend and thank you so much for stopping by!

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