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Writer Spotlight: Jabe Stafford

Sorry for the lack of posts this week! I've been super busy editing the second book of my Nocturnal series. I just finished going over the edits and I now have time to blog!

It's time for another writer spotlight and I want to give the floor to Jabe Stafford, a sci-fi & fantasy author.

Take it away, Jabe!

1. Tell me about yourself

Heartfelt and snarky sci-fi and fantasy is my biggest passion, so that's why I geek with bloggers and share stories. Before working my current office job, I taught Tae Kwon Do to children, teenagers, and adults. 

2. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

It took until age 26 for me to realize that storytelling was the dream I needed to live. It felt to me like the fantastical and the weird was easier to deal with than the bad mall job I had at the time, so I wrote daydreams of psychic cops and alcoholic demons down on scratch paper.

3. Do you think an education in writing is necessary?

Nope, but it does help to know why books and stories are written the way they are. Those indents and quotation marks will help readers read your stories more smoothly when used well. Same goes for understanding character development and worldbuilding. Disorganized word vomit = not easily readable. Pieces of the world woven into the characters driving the plot = delicious!

4. Are you a full-time author? If so/not, how do you balance work, life & writing?

Not full-time yet, but that's the dream. Completing a manuscript a year and learning while writing seems the best way to balance growing and having something to offer readers/publishers. And I've got better balance kicking pads than I do with work/life/writing. Some days I take impromptu days off to write. Some days the stories don't flow but the ideas/concepts do. Goal: Just keep doing things to add to the dream.

5. Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser?

80% pantser, 20% plotter. Just enough plotting to know my characters have arcs and the plot isn't forced. Then it's writing time. Characters' in-the-moment decisions and reactions make for better writing than detailed outlines executed well. For me, anyway.

6. Who or what influences your writing?

Three authors: Neil Gaiman, Victoria Schwab, and Kevin Hearne. Climate change scares the bejeezus out of me, so it's a fairly common element of some of my stories both published and on my flash fiction blog One Page Worlds.

7. Do you have any writing habits?

Sundays are writing/editing days. At least 6 hours each Sunday goes into this. Other habits include listening to writing podcasts and treating others the way I want to be treated. 

8. What do you feel is the hardest thing about the writing process?

Derailment. I need momentum as a writer, and that means having other responsibilities out of the way before starting to write. Taking too long of a break between writing stories is also rough. Can't let the brain stagnate.

9. What are your solutions for writer's block?

MORE COFFEE! If that fails, a 20min walk helps because it allows thoughts to float around without the need to get them on the page in the right order. I've also got flash cards with a deck of genre cards, a deck of creature cards, and a deck of job cards. Drawing one of each and improvising writing a flash fiction based on those can help build geekery momentum too! 

10. Are you self-published or traditional? What made you choose that route?

I've published a short story and an article with Kyanite Press and am currently querying three manuscripts. Traditional or indie press publishing would be my preference. I would rather write a book each year than write a book one year, then self-publish it and market it the next year.

11. Who encourages your writing?

My editor Sarah LaChance and some fantastic writer friends both on Twitter and from the critique groups I work with! If you're a writer and you haven't teamed up with a critique group, I genuinely recommend it.

12. How long does it normally take you to finish a book/story?

9 to 10 months to finish writing a manuscript, then 2 to 3 months to edit/work with beta readers.

13. Do you have any marketing strategies?

When I publish a manuscript soon, the plan is to combine Twitter and Instagram professional geekery with sharing experiences with badass bloggers like you! And seek out conventions/institutes to set up a table at. Genuine connection and positivity with people always felt better than forcing any kind of sale. 

14. Any favourite genre you like to write in? What draws you to write in that genre?

The Reaper's Case Notes are Jabe's online blog stories

Sci-fi & fantasy are my favorites! Grew up reading those genres and they got me through the rough times, so writing stories in those genres feels like the best way to give back. 

15. What do you think readers will find appealing in your book/books?

A sincere human connection, banter, and visceral worldbuilding that can be a punch, a laugh, or a seduction. 

16. Any advice for aspiring writers?

Write AND learn. Spend too much time writing and you don't get out and read to see how other storytellers do it. Spend too much time learning and you don't actually get your story on the page. Balance.

Jabe's website along with his short story can be found HERE

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1 Comment

Don Edward Cook
Don Edward Cook
Nov 17, 2019

Snarky sci-fi, eh? Then in your novels’ universes, Jabe, do you have good aliens with bad attitudes? And what drives your stories’ snarky tones? I’d love to know. Cheers!

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