JP McLean - Addictive, Smart and Fun Thrillers
Bestselling author JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes addictive urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers. She is a 2021 finalist for the Chanticleer Paranormal Award for Supernatural Fiction, and the Wishing Shelf Book award for Adult Fiction. Her work has won a Readers’ Favorite Award, and a Gold Literary Titan medal. She lives on Canada’s west coast. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Ghost Mark.
Please give us a short introduction to what Ghost Mark is about.
When a woman who changed history learns that the one person who benefited from her mistake is now gunning for the man she loves, she must find her way back to the present to save him.
What inspired you to write this book?
Ghost Mark is the second book of the Dark Dreams series and follows on where Blood Mark left off. It’s inspired by the events in book one that left us wondering what happened to Buddy.
Dreams play an important role in this story. Why?
It’s through Jane’s dreams that the reader gets glimpses of the past. Those glimpses are puzzle pieces that tell a larger story of a wrong committed against an innocent. Jane must put the puzzle together and right the wrong that she is privy to through her dreams.
In which way do you think dreams serve us in real life?
I do things in dreams that I can’t do in life, like fly. I love my flying dreams. They’ve given me fodder for my books, which has served me well!
Tell us more about Jane Walker. What makes her tick?
Jane Walker is a tortured soul. Not only was she abandoned at birth, but she bears blood-red birthmarks that snake around her body. She also suffers from a form of narcolepsy that leaves her paralysed when she’s dreaming. These challenges make Jane interesting because her obstacles are bigger, her vulnerability is frightening, and the consequences are more dire. Anyone who’s been bullied or ostracized can relate to her.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m fanatically organized. It drives my family around the bend. I love nothing more than a quiet day to re-organize closets and cupboards.
What was your greatest challenge when writing Ghost Mark?
The biggest challenge was weaving the three character’s storylines together so that the timing of events worked for all of them. It made for some short chapters, but short chapters keep up the pace.
Ghost Mark is book 2 of your Dark Dreams series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
The feedback I’ve gotten is that, even though Ghost Mark is written to be a standalone, the background of the main character is so complex that the story is better enjoyed when you start with book one.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
I suppose I could say that Jane’s best friend and roommate, Sadie, didn’t do exactly what I had planned. She blew my socks off. I had planned on her being a supporting character, but she was such fun to write that she ends up being as strong and interesting as Jane. As I was writing it, I worried that Sadie might steal the spotlight from Jane, but instead, the contrasts between Sadie and Jane make both characters stronger and more interesting.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I jot down some turning points and major scenes. I like to have the beginning, the end, and a few critical scenes already sketched out before I tackle the writing.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write exclusively on a laptop which is most often on my lap. I have two writing spots in the house. When I need to be creative, I sit in the dining room in a comfy chair with views of the Pacific. When I need to work on the marketing side of the business, I sit in a different comfy chair in the living room. I don’t know how this division of labour came about, but it works for me.
An average writing day starts with a coffee and a reread of the words and notes I wrote the day prior. I’ll stick at it for a few hours with the goal of getting one scene written and perhaps a bridge to the next scene. If it’s a short scene, I may tackle a second. And on creative writing days, I never go online before I write. News and social media quash my imagination. I don’t even check email or texts before I write.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing the third book in the Dark Dreams series. It continues on where Ghost Mark leaves off.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Your readers can find out all about me, links to my books, downloads of the first chapters, and free short stories on my website, jpmcleanauthor.com.