Paty Jager interview with David Alan Binder

posted Apr 26, 2017, 8:29 PM by David Alan Binder

Paty Jager interview with David Alan Binder

 Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 30+ novels, novellas, and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure, received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance, and a Paranormal Lorie Award. A mystery was runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
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1.     Where are you currently living?

My husband and I grow alfalfa for hay in SE Oregon.

 

2.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Don’t write to what the trends are or what you think others want to read. Write what you are excited about and it will come through in your story and grab the readers.

 

3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Writing quirk…I have to have green tea and tic tacs when I write. And not any tic tacs they have to be candy cane. ;)

 

4.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

My first ten books were published by the small press romance publisher, Wild Rose Press. Working with them was very hands on and helped me understand the whole publishing process. But I became frustrated with covers and not being able to do a sale when I wanted to generate interest in a series. In 201?,1 I started my self-publishing journey. There is a lot of work that goes into a self-published book, but I can do special pricing and make business decisions on my own. I tell all new writers that you can self-publish off the bat, but there is nothing that can prepare you for the hard work better than starting out with a small or large press.

 

5.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books?

My eBooks out sell my print books by a wide margin. But I like having the print books for signings at book stores and other venues. It is one more way to get my name, face, and books in front of readers. It’s easier to hold up a print book during a presentation or talk than an Ereader with a cover on the screen.

 

 

6.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

There is no secret tip to get published. Write the best book you can with engaging characters and a fast-paced plot and then hope it hits the right editor or agent’s desk when they are looking for that particular thing. If, like me, you write books that don’t fit in a specific genre, you’re better off self-publishing. While the big publishers don’t believe readers can like a book with a mashing of genres, I’ve discovered readers are open to the idea. Many of the self-published books that do well were ones publishers couldn’t figure out where to put them on the shelves.

 

7.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Learn the craft of writing; take workshops, attend writer conferences to make connections and hone your skills. Learn Goals, Motivation, and Conflict to make your story interesting. Know your genre. Get critique partners to share your work with and get feedback. Make sure they are at the same or a little higher level than you so you will all grow from the sharing. You don’t always have to agree with what someone who reads your work says about it, but if you get the same response from more than one person, you may need to rethink what they are talking about. NO story is ever perfect. Join online and in-person writer’s groups. They are a way to make connections in your genre to cross promote when you have a book out, and they can help you with the mistakes they made and support you.

8.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books?

I hate large revisions. Even though I know they make a book better and I have had to do several. I would rather sew a new pair of jeans than patch an old pair. I’m the same way with a book. I would rather start over from the beginning with a book then make huge changes in the story.

9.     How many books have you written?

I have written 36 books. The first 6 were practice. 😉 My seventh book was the first to be published. I now have 30 published books, 4 novellas, and a dozen short stories.  

10.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Learn grammar, use The Chicago Manual of Style when in doubt. Bookmark grammar and etymology sites on the web, and be open to discussions about your writing. Take classes and workshops on dialog, narrative, and show don’t tell. Most of all believe in yourself, but not so much that you can’t listen to constructive criticism. 

 

11.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

For my mysteries, I like to make the least likely person the murderer, but then the next time change it up with the most likely but all the clues lead to the least likely. 😉 I can’t give away all my tricks.  Don’t pull something out and use it as a plot twist if it doesn’t make sense. There has to be a reason for the twist. You can’t just add it to shake things up.  

12.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

For me the most essential thing in a book needs to be good character development. I want to care about the characters and want to go on their journey with them.

 

13.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

I have a website, blog, Facebook page, twitter, Goodreads author page and Amazon Author page. Exposure is the best way to promote your work. I guest on other author and group author blogs. I throw and attend Facebook parties. I do book signings and events where I may be the only person selling books.  I have the first book of my largest series for free. I am continually marketing and promoting these free books. And I am building my mailing list.

 

14.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now and why?

I would have been more conscientious about staying in one or two genres and not writing so many different ones. I think the skipping around, lost some of my western romance fans.

 

15.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

You can do anything you set your mind to.

 

16.                        Anything else you would like to say?

I’m lucky my husband has been supportive of my writing career. While I don’t make a lot of money, I am doing what I love and fulfilling my need to get the characters and plots out of my head. Even if I wasn’t able to publish, I would still be writing stories.

Right now my favorite series is the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series. Shandra is half Native American and a potter. She is an amateur sleuth who is aided by Weippe Sheriff’s Department Detective Ryan Greer, Crazy Lil, Sheba—a cowardly dog the size of  pony, and Lewis the cat, who believes he is a fur stole and rides around on Crazy Lil’s shoulders. The first book of this series, Double Duplicity is free as an eBook at all eBook vendors. It and the second book, Tarnished Remains, are also available in audio book.

 

And I’m starting a new historical western romance series, Ladies of the Silver Dollar Saloon. 

 

My tagline is Murder Mystery & Western Romance starring Cowboys & Indian
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