Interview with P. J. MacLayne

51HztYaXRPL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_How did you get started writing?

I’ve always been a reader. It seemed natural that I wanted to write stories as well. I started with essays in grade school, moved on to poetry in high school, and stayed with poetry much of my adult life. Then a few years ago, I had a story that just wouldn’t work as a poem. I wrote it as a novel, and I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

Tell us about your current series.

I currently have two series.  The first is The Free Wolves. The first book, Wolves’ Pawn, was meant to be a stand-alone, but the characters kept bugging me, so now it’s a series. I just released Wolves’ Knight and there are more stories rolling around inside my head.

My other series was meant to be a series from the start. They are the Oak Grove Mysteries, and I’d put them halfway between a general mystery and a cozy mystery. The main character, Harmony Duprie, is the kind of person I’d like to have as a friend, and I enjoy telling her stories.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Editing! It’s hard enough to get the words down in some sort of readable fashion, but then to edit them and whip them into readable shape is hard! And I hate it when I realize large chunks of what I’ve written need to go away.

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

I’m working on the third book of the Oak Grove Mysteries. It’s tentatively titled “the Baron’s Cufflinks.’ (All the Oak Grove books have a jewelry sub-plot.) It’s giving me problems, however, so I haven’t set a release date for it.

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

Emotion is the hardest thing for me to write. My stories are action driven, and it feels like throwing in emotions slows the story down. And although there is romance in each story, I say I write action with a touch of romance.

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

Tasha Roeper is the main character and heroine of Wolves’ Knight. She first appeared in a minor role in Wolves’ Pawn and has grown a lot since there. Her biggest strengths are her loyalty and her willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. (I couldn’t pick just one!) Her weakness is that she’s trying to succeed in a non-traditional role while holding on to tradition at the same time, and the contradiction causes some unique issues.

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

When I wrote Wolves’ Pawn, I didn’t read anything else in the paranormal romance genre until I was done writing it. I wanted the story to be “pure” and uninfluenced by other similar books. Now that I’ve got the characters and world firmly planted in my head, I can read other books of the genre and not worry about them influencing my stories too heavily.


Do you write under a pen name?   Why or why not?

Yes, P.J. MacLayne is a pen name. I’s not that I don’t like my “real” name, but it doesn’t have that something “special” to make it memorial. I think P.J. MacLayne is catchier!

What do you have planned for the future?

I’ve got the makings for about three more books in The Free Wolves series, at least one more in the Oak Grove Mysteries, and I’ve got a completed book that I need to take a look at and see if I can whip it into shape for release. In my spare time, of course.

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

I’ve belonged to several critique groups. That was back when I was writing poetry. The first group was non-exclusive—writers from many areas got together together to share their work and critique everyone else’s. We had people who wrote articles for publication, some who were writing fiction, and others who wrote poetry, like me. It didn’t matter. I learned so much from that group, and I miss it. The only reason I left it was because I moved away.

The second group focused on poetry. I learned a lot from that group as well, and I’ve tried to bring those lessons into my current writing. Especially in using compressed imagery to create a scene.  Poetry tends to use only a few words to convey a larger scene, and I try to incorporate that into my fiction writing.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

My current release is Wolves’ Knight, the second book in the Free Wolves series.  Tasha Roeper, a wolf shifter, had been sent away to an allied pack after being captured and rescued during a pack war.  Now she’s back, and a force to be reckoned with. So when her friend Dot is threatened, Tasha takes it personally.



She lay on the ground, wiggled her belly a few times to work away the pebbles under it, and put her nose between her forepaws. Even close up, with her eyes open only a crack, an unwary observer might think she slept. From the distance, she might look like a large rock.

It was a technique she’d learned to snag game. Find a spot along a trail, settle in and slow her breathing, wait, pounce when an unsuspecting animal happened by. She could stay in the same position for hours if need be. But the game she hunted tonight wasn’t meant to end up as her supper, and she didn’t have hours to wait.

The wind picked up and a gust almost covered the sound. Tasha’s ears pricked forward at the shuffle of footsteps. A figure inched along the side of the building, stopping at a window. Tasha tightened her muscles, but didn’t move.

Then he went on. Tasha was positive it was a male although the wind blew the wrong direction for her to catch his scent. Not even her tail twitched as he stopped at another window. Her ears caught the sound of him tapping on the glass. He moved again.

The third window sat in a pool of darkness. But Tasha’s eyes watched as he raised the window. He grasped the window frame and started to lift himself inside.

And Tasha exploded into a snarling mass of muscle and fangs.

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pjmaclayne 1-2-16Author Bio: Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscapes. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

P.J. MacLayne can be reached on:  Facebook


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