Interview with Fantasy/Thriller author, Jay Hartlove

Jay Hartlove is the multiple award-winning author of the urban fantasy Goddess Rising Trilogy (Goddess Chosen, Goddess Daughter, Goddess Rising), the fantasy romance Mermaid Steel, and the science fiction thriller The Insane God. He is also the playwright, director and producer of The Mirror’s Revenge, the musical sequel to the Snow White fable, which had its theatrical run in the San Francisco Bay Area In August 2018 to rave reviews.
“I love to take stories where the reader does not expect, with sympathetic villains, heroes with very dark pasts, and lots of plot twists.  I turn victims into heroes.”

He is often compared by critics to Michael Crichton. Goddess Chosen (under its original title The Chosen) was endorsed by horror master John Shirley. The Insane God was endorsed by science fiction master David Brin. Jay was selected as one of the “50 Authors You Should Be Reading” by The Authors Show. He is a former competitive costumer, having won Best in Show at both San Diego ComicCon and WorldCon. You can read more about Jay’s creative adventures, including much of the research he put into his books, at

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

JH. I do most of my writing in my home office, surrounded by my favorite bits of inspiration. There are awards, sculptures, paintings, and theatrical props. My window faces my back deck and garden, which is very green and calming. I collect ideas all the time, so I often have a notebook with me. I am a firm believer that thinking about your writing is writing. You write what you know, and any decisions you make about a story adds to the knowledge you will draw from to write the story.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat workspace, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

JH. I don’t have any rituals other than getting back into my characters’ headspace. If I have done my job, I the writer disappear when the reader reads the words. It really is the characters’ story. It’s told through their eyes, their emotions, their reactions. I know where I want the story to go, but to put words to paper, I need to let the characters speak. I know I’m in the zone to keep building the story once I can hear them. In theatrical terms, I Method Act. I get inside their heads and let them speak.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

JH. I was a big time coplayer thirty years ago, before it was called Cosplay. I spent most of my creativity in my twenties building costumes, mostly for shows at conventions. I was part of different teams that won Best in Show at both San Diego Comic Con, and at the World Science Fiction Convention. I taught myself sculpture and fabrication, with which I built a lot of costume armor. I still use those DIY skills to repair and build things. To promote my fantasy romance Mermaid Steel, I scratch built a life-sized model of my heroine mermaid Chielle Mmava (waist up) which I set up in a chair behind signing tables. The model is accurate to the description of her dolphin people in the book. She is my “booth babe” at shows now.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

JH. When I started writing in the 1980s before laptop computers, I hand wrote everything in spiral bound notebooks on commuter trains and lunch hours…..

Join us next week for Part II of this fascinating Interview.
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