From time to time I thought this would be a good space to bring in other authors that I admire and respect, one of which is Jaye McKenna. She’s got a wild new novel out, called Psi Hunter, and is here on this bright morning to tell us all about her work! So without further ado, here is my good mate and future star m/m writer Jaye McKenna. 🙂
Arielle: So Jaye, let’s start with the most obvious question: tell me a bit about yourself.
Jaye: Ugh… my favorite job interview question! I was born in the UK and dragged over to the US when I was about four. I always had a vivid imagination, and lots of imaginary friends. I was the quiet, shy kid hanging around by the fence during recess, but it didn’t bother me too much, since I had so much interesting stuff going on in my head. Stories and characters and that sort of thing.
Arielle: You sound like me as a kid! Great minds and all that, eh?
Jaye: Must be! I was a pretty lonely kid. Back then, there was no such thing as diversity and nobody cared much about whether kids were being bullied or not. Having a British accent made me “different” enough to be a prime target. So I ended up spending a lot of time by myself in my own head, and I’m sure that had a lot to do with me becoming a writer.
Arielle: How long have you been doing it?
Jaye: All my life, I guess. It started with the imaginary friends and the stories I would make up in my head. By the time I was nine, I was writing those stories down, and turning in some of my school assignments in verse (the teachers seemed to get a kick out of that, for some reason!). In high school, I alleviated the boredom of public education by writing novels during class… in college and grad school, I wrote when I had time. And then when the kids arrived, there wasn’t any time… but now that they’re both older (one in high school, one in college) and busy with their own things, I’ve got the time to devote to writing.
Arielle: I hear you on the no time with kids underfoot thing (i.e. my life at the moment). A couple of months ago you gave me the great honour of being one of the beta readers for Psi Hunter. Just how did the idea for this novel come about?
Jaye: Psi Hunter has been kicking around in my head for about twenty years…I wrote the original version during graduate school as a nice diversion from research and too many math and physics classes. It was about the fifth novel-length thing I’d attempted, and I was still learning at that point, so it wasn’t very good. The characters and the world I’d created for them stuck with me, though, and I knew I’d eventually come back to them when I had the time and the inclination.
Arielle: And was this m/m at the time?
Jaye: Ah, good question. The original Psi Hunter wasn’t m/m. I’d initially wanted to put Kyn and Pat together (and had written some rather steamy scenes for them, too!), but this was back in the nineties, and as an avid sci fi reader, I knew what was being published, and I didn’t think it would be marketable.
Arielle: So what made you decide you wanted to write in this genre?
Jaye: In 2011, when I got back into writing after a long absence, I started with a fantasy story. Again, I didn’t think an m/m pairing would be marketable, so I didn’t start out writing it that way, but the characters were extremely stubborn and refused to have any involvement with the girls I kept throwing at them. About that time, I discovered the m/m romance genre, and realized that there was a market for it after all. I stopped fighting the characters and let them have their way… and the result was an epic fantasy opus called Kingmakers, that I’ll be going back to and polishing up for public consumption once Guardians of the Pattern is finished.
Arielle: Guardians of the Pattern being the name of the series, of which Psi Hunter is the first. I know you already have another novella set in the same world out, which is about the character Miko. Can you tell us more about this world and the people in it?
Jaye: The stories in the Guardians of the Pattern series take place about 600 years in the future. In the universe I’ve created for this series, in spite of all our technical achievements, the fears and prejudices we harbor against those we perceive as different from the norm still drive many socio-political agendas. Even in the supposedly enlightened society of the member worlds of the Federation, humanity’s habit of subjugating a misunderstood minority is still very much in evidence. In the future I’ve envisioned, psions—individuals with psychic talents that include mind-reading, empathy, and healing—are still fighting for basic human rights. On some worlds, they are even hunted down and murdered, while the Federation turns a blind eye.
Arielle: And who are the main players that we need to keep an eye on?
Jaye: All of the characters have important roles to play, but Miko and Luka are both pivotal to the storyline, and appear in all of the books in the series. Miko’s story will be told in Book 3, Ghost in the Mythe, and Luka’s story will be told in Book 4, which is tentatively titled Wildfire Psi. All of the major players in Psi Hunter will make frequent appearances in future books.
Arielle: And how many books are planned?
Jaye: Right now, I have five books drafted for the Guardians of the Pattern series, and two more outlined. While the events in Book 5 will wrap up the overarching plotline nicely, they will also kick off a new challenge for our heroes to face. That will probably require three or four books to get sorted out, and I have a very specific endpoint I’m working toward. I’m guessing it’ll take me a total of eight or nine books to get there, but since the last three or four are mostly in my head right now, don’t hold me to that! (I seriously need about twelve more sleep-free hours a day, really…)
Arielle: If you find those hours, lemme know!
Jaye: Heh. If I find those hours, I’m not sharing!
Arielle: You’re so mean!
Jaye: Mean is my middle name—just ask my kids! 😉
And that was the very lovely, very talented Jaye McKenna! Here are the all important links to her new novel, Psi Hunter:
And the prequel, Facing the Mirror, is free (yes…free!) over at Smashwords: