An Interview with Writer Jaye Frances

This episode allows me to break the format of what has been, up till now, a solo podcast. And that means I have my first guest on the podcast. Today, I’m talking with author Jaye Frances. Jaye’s been a successful author for over twenty years, and if you’re one of Jaye’s many fans, you already know that Jaye is considered to be on the leading edge of the erotic suspense genre.




Episode 47 - An Interview with Writer Jaye Frances

by Roger Reid


This episode allows me to break the format of what has been, up till now, a solo podcast. And that means I have my first guest on the podcast. Today, I’m talking with author Jaye Frances. Jaye’s been a successful author for over twenty years,  and if you’re one of Jaye’s many fans, you already know that Jaye is considered to be on the leading edge of the erotic suspense genre.

She’s promised to give us an update on the current state of the publishing business, along with some advice for those who want to break into the business of writing professionally.

Hey, welcome back. This is Roger Reid with another episode of Success Point 360.

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of Jaye’s work, she is the author of seven books, including The Kure, the possibilities of Amy, The Beach, Love Travels Forever and a three-book series called, world without love, which includes Betrayed, Reunion, and Redemption.

Roger: Jaye, welcome to the podcast.

Jaye: Thanks, Roger. I know we’ve been trying to do this for some time, and scheduling conflicts have made it difficult to get together, so I’m excited to finally be able to spend some time talking about the business of writing.

Roger: Let’s start off by talking about the current state of the publishing industry and what it means to new writers . . . and I’m talking about the person that’s trying to break into the business and perhaps make writing their full-time occupation.   

Jaye: It wasn’t long ago that being a successful writer meant you had to get the attention of the gatekeepers and convince them to publish your work. But now, anyone can call themselves a writer. You can write a book and put it on Amazon and let the market decide whether it’s worth reading. You can publish also your writing on various writers’ platforms, like Thrive, Medium, Newsbreak, and there’s a host of others.

Roger: You started writing for profit some twenty-five years ago. Let’s talk about how you got into the writing business. How you got your start.

Jaye: Prior to writing for myself, I wrote for others in what is legally called “work for hire.”

Roger: So of our listeners may not know that term means . . . can you explain with a little more detail?

Jaye: Work for hire is a legal arrangement in which the writer transfers the ownership of the work to the buyer, and the original writer doesn’t retain any rights, including authorship.

It’s actually a common practice, and accounts for a substantial percentage of the non-fiction books originated by folks who suddenly find themselves in a bubbling pot of publicity – they can’t or don’t want to write – yet they want to take advantage of a large audience who would buy a book to learn more about them and their exploits.

Roger: That sounds like work for hire is primarily non-fiction. But what about the fiction side of the market. Is this arrangement just as common?

Jaye: The fiction side of work for hire is a bit more covert. To suggest a fiction author – especially a popular, successful one – would buy someone else’s work and put their name on it is a little like pulling the mask off the Lone Ranger.  But it’s really not that unusual.  In fact, it’s one reason that after buying the 20th book from one of your favorite authors, you wonder what happened to that original “voice” you loved so much?

Roger: So why would a successful author buy work for another writer and sell it as their own?

Jaye: It’s all about the business of branding – and money.  When an author has established themselves with a large audience, their publisher sees lots of future business – people who will buy new books based on the author’s name and reputation. Think of that audience as a hungry tiger ready to be fed.  But if the author has “gone dry,” or can’t produce new books at the same speed at which the audience is ready to purchase them, one alternative is to buy the rights to another writer’s unpublished work . . . or to contract with another writer to produce a product that is in the same genre and written in the same style.

Roger: The idea of needing to satisfy the constant demand for new material seems like a lot of pressure. I know there are authors out there who brag about their volume and talk about writing 5K words a day or more. But I also think that volume and quality are very separate qualifiers. I can certainly write 5K words a day, but I’m not sure that anyone would want to read it. So from your own writing experience, give us some perspective on volume versus the time it takes to produce writing that’s going to hold the reader’s attention and keep them turning the page. For example, tell us how long it took to complete the three books in the World Without Love series?

Jaye: It took about five years. I know there are some writers who can craft page after page of perfect sentences on the first draft. But for me, it’s a process. It’s not so much about the writing as the re-write. And the re-write. And so on. It’s not unusual for me to spend six hours on a two-sentence paragraph. If you do the math, it works out to be about twelve minutes a word.

And I want to respond to your statement about writing a large daily volume, but not being sure about the quality of your work. Quality is so subjective. There have been some books that have been financially successful that were criticized for being poorly written, or in desperate need of editing.  And that’s not to say they could have been better books if the author had spent more time on them –it’s really a reflection of the audience, and what they’re willing to tolerate before they stop reading.

Roger: So what does that mean to the new writer wanting to break into the business?

Jaye: Well, first, you don’t need perfection, but don’t ignore good writing practices. Don’t leave glaring errors in punctuation, spelling, or sentence structure. You want to give your writing the best possible chance of being read. So don’t handicap your work by sending out rough drafts, or manuscripts that still need a lot of editing. I’ve seen work that was supposedly ready to send to a publisher that had so many logic mistakes that I couldn’t follow the story.

Roger: Can you give us one shortcut to finding the obvious errors and correcting them?

Jaye: Read your work out loud. Get your partner or a friend to listen and then give you feedback. I think you can catch about 90 percent of the most obvious errors just by giving a physical voice to your work.

Roger: Let’s talk for a minute about your work, specifically. I know you’ve had a lot of readers ask you why some of your stories are written from a man’s perspective, and I’ve read several of your books in which the main character, the protagonist, is male. And if I didn’t know you, I would swear the writer behind that character is also male.  So obviously, you don’t need to be of the same gender to write from a gender-specific mindset, but at the same time, I think there are assumptions made by readers that a particular character’s actions or behavior is an extension of the writer’s gender. What do you think about the accuracy of a man writing from a woman’s perspective, and vice-versa?

Jaye: Some readers of my earlier work, for example, “Short Time” and “The Possibilities of Amy,” were convinced they were written by a man. I’ve always taken it as a compliment.  I believe writing from a different perspective keeps the stories fresh and interesting.  And remember, it’s fiction, and as an author, I like to take as much liberty with my own identity as I do my characters, so I plan to continue jumping back and forth over the gender line, especially if it brings something special to the story that otherwise might be lost.

Roger: A lot of your writing has been described as edgy and sexually provocative. And after the first book in the world without love series, Betrayed, was chosen by a University of Florida professor to be used in the classroom to teach erotic writing, you were frequently referred to as originating a new cross-over genre called, inteli-erotica.  What does that mean?  What are they talking about?

Jaye: It came from the idea of writing graphic sex scenes because they were integral to the story – and without them, the story wouldn’t make any sense, it wouldn’t drive the characters to take the actions they take.  And that’s opposed to simply throwing in a sex scene every eleven pages to make a book more sellable.

Roger: Do you recommend first-time authors try to go the traditional publishing route or are you’re a proponent of self-publishing?

Jaye: I don’t want this to sound confusing, but I don’t think it matters, not in the long term. There are books out there that were originally self-published, and because of the initial sales, a traditional publisher approached the author with a book deal. And in fact, that’s the path that a lot of book consultants are recommending to their clients. First, get the book into the market, get it into the hand of readers. If it’s a great book, and the audience likes it, publishers will notice. And if it fits the genre they typically publish, they may decide to make the author an offer to publish the work traditionally.

Roger: So, give us a comparison, the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

Jaye: The advantages of self-publishing have been discussed so many times I think everyone knows that the author retains all the rights, maintains control of the price, distribution, cover art, internal layout, and formatting. And the big advantage is, that you can get it out very quickly. From the time you submit a formatted draft and artwork, to holding a finished book in your hands, can be as short as a week. By comparison, If you go with a traditional publisher, you typically won’t see a finished book for at least a year  . . .

Roger: And that’s definitely one of the drawbacks of traditional publishing. There has to be others, because I occasionally read about a successful author who turns down an offer from a large publishing house to self-publish their work. Are there reasons why you might do the same thing?

Jaye: The advantages of traditional publishing continue to become more convoluted and harder to rationalize. The budget for marketing and advertising – especially for a first-time author – is practically non-existent. You may get a press kit for the sales reps and limited support from retail brick and mortar book stores, but that’s not where the majority of books are sold. And as far as receiving an advance for the book, it depends on your existing audience or platform – if you have one – and the degree of celebrity the author can use as a selling advantage.

So, when a new writer asks me if they should hold out for a traditional publisher or self-publish, I tell them to get the book into the hands of readers as quickly as possible. And ninety-nine percent of the time, that means going the self-publishing route.

Roger: And that means using Amazon, right?

Jaye: Amazon’s self-publishing program is straightforward, it’s extremely fair, and puts an author’s work on an equal footing to any traditional publisher. So yes, right now, I think it’s the best vehicle out there.

And before we leave this subject, I want to offer a warning to beginning writers, who may be thinking about using what we used to call a vanity publisher. I thought most of these companies were gone, but I had a reader bring up the subject a few weeks ago, asking me what I thought about entering into a deal with what she called a hybrid publisher. In exchange for a fee, they would publish her book and provide some degree of distribution.  And in her case, the fee was about $3500.

Without going into a lot of detail, I just want to caution your listeners that a fee-charging publisher needs to be looked at with a lot of scrutiny. Because from my experience, and in talking with others who have used a fee-charging publisher, the money the publisher makes is based on charging that upfront fee, and not on the sale of the book through the company’s marketing and promotion. That’s just my opinion, but I’ve been writing long enough to know that book sales are usually the result of the author doing promotion through book tours, putting together a user-friendly website, and continuing to keep readers interested with free articles, short stores, and offering pre-publication pricing and discounts. And that’s true whether you decide to self-publish or go with a traditional publisher.

Roger: So the moral of the story, is, don’t spend the money if you don’t have to, especially for services that are usually provided for free from a self-publishing platform, or that you can learn to do yourself.

Jaye: That’s exactly right.

Roger: Let’s change the focus for a minute and talk about editing. When do you feel your work is ready to be turned over to an editor? And in your opinion, what does a professional editor bring to the process and the overall quality of the book?

Jaye: I don’t use a third-party editor. It’s important to me to retain the original voice of the work. For me, an editor is in reality, a co-writer.

I know there’s going to be a lot of writers who disagree, but I also know of writers who think of themselves as idea generators. They sketch out an outline or a simple rough draft of a storyline, add a brief description of the setting and characters, then expect an editor to put it all together into a finished story.

That’s not editing, that’s co-writing. If I was going to make one suggestion that will help you make a giant leap in the quality of your writing, start doing your own editing. It’s the real essence of the craft. And as you get better at it, the better your overall writing will be.

Roger: Obviously, that’s going to mean a lot more work for the author.

Jaye: It is a lot more work. And it often means researching the boring aspects of background, the accepted practices of the time, and even the mechanical details, but in the process, you’re also learning the finer points of writing, and it will soon start to show up in your work.

Roger: So if you were going to advise a younger writer, someone who is just starting out with their writing career, how does the idea of self-editing fall into the mix?

Jaye: Make it part of your education. Learn grammar, tense, and punctuation. They are just as important in arriving at the final product.

Roger: Beyond generating sales and getting positive press and reviews for your work, do you consciously write from the standpoint of wanting to make an impact on your readers? Or do you write the story, and hope the audience finds it interesting?

Jaye: My goal is to leave the reader thinking about the story long after they’ve finished the book. For example, it was not uncommon to receive very pointed emails from readers of the Kure. They complained of nightmares and being distracted by the graphic descriptions of John’s condition. And then some readers were disturbed by the ultimate sacrifice made by the woman who loves him.

Roger: So they were complaining that the descriptions were too graphic, too intense?

Jaye: At first, I wondered if I’d pushed the envelope too far, but then in the next paragraph, the majority of readers wanted to know when the next book was coming out.

Roger: You’re saying readers would talk about the effect the book had on them –typically referred to it in a negative context, and in a sense, blaming you for writing something so intense, they couldn’t stop thinking about it, and then in the next breath, they’re asking for more? Am I saying that right?

Jaye: I think that’s a good way of putting it.

Roger: Even though the majority of your writing is fiction, I know you’ve written across a wide variety of subjects, settings, and character types.  For example, your book, The Kure, is set in 1865, which puts the characters under the influence of the economic and social climate following the civil war. And from there, you bring in the influence and practice of witchcraft during that time period.

And conversely, in the book, The Possibilities of Amy, the story is centered around a contemporary high school romance.

So, in writing from both a historical perspective as well as a contemporary mindset, do you have a favorite time period or setting for your writing?

Jaye: Not so far. Although I haven’t done a story with an off-world setting or based on space travel.

What’s more important to me, is the feedback and reaction I receive from my readers. And like most feedback, a lot of it is subjective or personal. The most popular book, or in his case, books, has been the world without love series. It’s also generated the most emails and comments from readers.

Roger: Why do you think that is?

Jaye: I think the first book in the series, touched a lot of readers in ways there weren’t expecting. I mean, some of the emails expressed outright anger at some of the more despicable characters, and readers were actually were suggesting ways to kill them off in the next book. The commonality, at least for me, was that they became emotionally invested in the story’s outcome.  And that may have been because it was based on a true story of abduction and the eventual sale of a young girl into the underground world of white slavery and human trafficking . . . so for some readers, knowing the story was based on a real event, made it real for them.

Roger: I know you’ve mentioned in other interviews that the amount of research that went into the world without love series was involved and lengthy. Do you think that incorporating as much detail about the places and people that you put into your books helps to make the story more popular, or interesting, and ultimately, translates into more sales?

Jaye: I really do. I’ve received comments from people who have visited some of the places where the world without love series takes place, and they were surprised that ninety percent of those places mentioned or described in the books actually exist. The names of the roads, the restaurants, and many of the businesses are taken from real places, which I think makes the story more authentic, which in turn, can produce more emotion from readers.

Roger: Have you ever, or would you consider, compromising your writing for money?

Jaye: Depends on what you mean by compromise. A book publisher may ask a writer to shorten the length of a manuscript because they need to meet a cost price point, but in my experience, they seldom ask a writer to eliminate a character, change a setting, or alter the description of the antagonist.

On the other side of the coin, Editors who work for periodicals and magazines tend to see their job as needing to change something. They may need to adjust the word count to meet mechanical specifications, or they’ve got to adhere to so-called “common” values of advertisers and sponsors, or they need to make the article conform or complement the tone and intellectual reputation of the publication.

Some of those changes will make more sense than others, but the point is, being a professional writer means compromise. Just like any other profession, you have to meet the expectations of those who are going to buy your work. In a writer’s case, that can mean pleasing both the audience and the gatekeepers.

I’ve met a few people who believed their decision to be a professional writer gave them some sort of privileged moral ground, and they were animate that publications must not dilute, alter, or otherwise edit their work, because they believed their original creation was inspired, and to change it would be the same as if desecrating a piece of art. I have to tell you, It’s an attitude that comes from inexperience and undeserved ego.

And when they can’t get a sale, they rationalize it by saying, “My work is over their heads,   Or, the audience lacks the sophistication to understand what I’m saying.”

Personally, I’d rather share my work with others, and if it’s necessary to cut a sentence here and there to satisfy an editor or publisher, I’d rather do that than not have my work read at all.

Roger: Let’s talk about the new project you have in the works.  What are you working on right now?

Jaye: My next book is titled, “Journeys . . . From Above and Below the Belt.” It’s a collection of short stories and novellas.

Roger: That’s a title that can be taken several ways. Is there a particular message you’re sending to your readers?

Jaye: First of all, the title is meant to be suggestive, because most of the stories in Journey’s have a sexual component to them. At the same time, I’ve used that component to illustrate, explain or define a situation that wouldn’t make sense without it. We touched on this before, and I’ve talked about it in other interviews, and I’ll say it again: I won’t use gratuitous sex as a substitute for intelligent writing. I think it’s a cop-out on the part of the author, and more importantly, it’s insulting to the reader.

In Journeys, the sex is there, but it serves a purpose—it drives the story forward, or reveals a side of a character that was previously hidden.  And if a reader happens to see some of themselves in one or more of my characters, so much the better.

Roger: Okay, last question: What advice can you give to aspiring novelists?

Jaye: A successful novel is always the result of telling a great story, sometimes it’s providing an escape from reality, and other times, it’s providing a vehicle from which to experience life from a different perspective. Good writers become better ones by writing something every day.- not just when inspiration makes a rare and well-timed visit.

If there was one piece of advice that I could give to beginning writers, it would be to never apologize for your work. If you feel it’s inappropriate,  if you’re uncomfortable with it, or believe it inaccurately depicts the situation and the mindset of the characters, then get rid of it. Your writing should drive the story, while revealing insight into a character’s mindset, attitude, behavior, and values. Avoid crossing the line into gratuitous writing. Although your intent may be to shock the reader, it’s always more effective when done with reason or justification.

Roger: I know you have other commitments and have to run. You’ve given us a lot of value, and I know there’s a lot of beginning writers out there that are going to replay this a couple of times to get everything they can from it.

Jaye: Oh, you’re more than welcome.

Roger: Jaye, thanks for being on the podcast, and best of luck on the new book. The title again is  . . .

Jaye: Journeys from above and below the belt.

Roger: And when is it coming out?

Jaye: It’s scheduled for late fall of this year. And I encourage readers to check my website for updates.

Roger: That’s ?

Jaye: That’s it!

Roger: Jaye, thanks again, and I hope you’ll consider coming back to give us an update on the success of Journeys.

Jaye: That would be great . . I look forward to it.

Roger: That’s it for this episode. If you have questions or comments, you can leave me a voicemail on my website, Just click on the voicemail tab located in the main header. And if you have specific questions for Jaye, you can email her at  That’s

Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

© 2021, Roger A. Reid, All Rights Reserved

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