When Tenaya Jayne isn't creating beautiful graphic art or baking a chocolate cake that could bring you to tears, she writes fantasy books that are also known to evoke a mix of emotions from her readers. Jayne started writing fantasy to escape from the pain and harshness of life, taking readers along for the ride. The initial plan was to only write two books, but she never anticipated the overwhelmingly positive response she would get from fans, who were begging her for more. As our author of the day, Jayne reveals what inspired her to start writing, talks about her favorite authors and what it felt like when she she finished the last book in the Legends of Regia series.
Please give us a short introduction to what Forbidden Forest is about.
Born in shame. Cast from society. Shape Shifter/Elf hybrid, Forest must fight for any respect she can get. Targeted in her youth by a vampire noble who placed an illegal slave mark on her, she is forced to obey him, no matter what.
Slipping the grip of her master and abandoning the prejudice of Regia, her native world, Forest takes a job on Earth, guarding the portal, using her skills as a warrior to enforce Regia's laws. Now, called home for a black ops mission, Forest must put aside her own prejudice to transport the vampire prince, Syrus, through enemy territory in a time of war.
Prince Syrus, mage and master of the Blood Kata, wants Forest more than he's ever wanted anything. In spite of their mutual mistrust, their attraction cannot be denied. Through the danger of their mission, and the secrets they both keep, it doesn't matter what they feel. Forest is forbidden.
Why do you write fantasy? What is it about the genre that appeals to you?
Pain. I began writing my first book in my twenties, and I was inspired at that time by heartbreak. My toddler was not developing normally. I was in denial for a long time, but when I truly had to face there was something wrong, I needed to escape to help myself through the dark, painful time. So, I escaped into my own imagination. As a child, I was constantly accused of having and overactive imagination, as if that was some kind of curse, or incurable disease. I’m a daydreamer, and my imagination is wild. Only in fantasy can I truly indulge my mind. There are no constraints in fantasy. Anything I want to happen is possible. I love that. I need it.
In your bio, you call yourself an escape artist. Why do you think it is important for people to escape to a Fantasy world every now and again?
It’s good for the soul. Life is hard and painful. Fantasy is a wonderful way to let go of stress.
Did you plan from the start for this to be a series? Can the books be read as standalone stories or do they end on cliffhangers?
When I first wrote Forbidden Forest, I had no idea it would turn into a seven book series. My original plan was just for the first two books and that was all. It would end there. My couple achieved their HEA, the story was over. Right? I never anticipated the overwhelmingly positive response I got from my readers, or the cry I received to continue on and write more in the world of Regia.
The Legends of Regia books are meant to be read in order. I’ve got quite the reputation for my nasty cliffhangers.
What do you like to read for your own entertainment? Any favorite authors?
I like to read in most genres and I’m always on the lookout for a new voice I don’t know. I tend to stay away from nonfiction. I don’t want reality in my reading time. As far as favorite authors, goodness there are so many. I love Nora Roberts, Dean Koontz, Sherilynn Kenyon, Ray Bradbury, Tanith Lee…This could take a while. I’ll just stop there.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Graphic art. I love photomanipulation. It’s another creative outlet for me. I’m quite domestic as well. I love to cook. I can make a chocolate cake that can bring you to tears.
Your readers report that your book evoked a whole mix of emotions, from anger to laughter to tears. Was this intentional?
It’s not really something I thought about as I was writing. I have found in real life that even in the darkness, you can laugh. Love can make you furious as well as elated. All that comes out in my writing. Despite the fact that my characters are fantasy races, they are human in their relationships and feelings. As an author, there is no greater joy than to know someone connected with your story or characters on an emotional level. When you get feedback from a stranger, telling you they cried at the end, or melted at the romance, or laughed aloud…yeah, that’s what makes me feel successful as an author.
You ended the series with Lightning Flower - were you sad when the series came to an end?
It was bittersweet. I did cry a little. In my mind, I’ve lived in Regia for the last six years. It kind of felt like selling your home and moving away from your best friends. When I did write those two little words, the end, I became fully aware why some authors keep a series going well beyond its expiration date. It is very difficult to let go. I could write Regia forever, but I’m a believer in quitting while you’re ahead. It was the right time and I finished strong.
What are you working on right now?
The Icicle Spider trilogy. I’m really excited to finally be writing this story, it’s been banging around my head for about ten years. Because it’s still in the early phases, I don’t have a whole lot I can share about it, but I can show you the trailer.