MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DAISY ST. JAMES
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Daisy St. James and I write Paranormal Romances.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Phoenyx in Flames was a bright flicker at the back of my head about twelve years ago that wanted to become a star! I started writing it on my breaks at work and any chance I could get, and then life kicked in, I got married, had kids and that bright little flicker dimmed. Over the years I built a world in my head, jotting down ideas for characters and plotlines until I found I’d plotted out five books and hadn’t really written a damn word. Last January I started writing Erotic Contemporary under the pen name Mona Moore. One day as I sat down to write book four in my Criminally Yours Series (which I still haven’t completed—I know, I probably should!) that bright little flicker came back, only this time, it lit up my brain like a pinball machine. So, I sat down and wrote Phoenyx in Flames.
What is it about?
Imagine you’re a little girl and you find yourself hearing the thoughts of others and feeling their emotions. Then imagine your life falling apart at the age of five. Suddenly, a kind gentleman swoops in and saves you—then spends the next twenty years turning you into the deadliest Supernatural Assassin the world has ever seen. Throw in a vampire MC and an Ancient hell bent on kidnapping you. Then get ready to have everything you’ve ever turned upside down and inside out.
That’s Phoenyx in Flames, and it’s only the beginning as I’ve already started writing book two, Phoenyx Falling.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I’ve ALWAYS loved anything and everything Paranormal. I grew up on horror movies. My mother and sister and I held “seances” in our basement and practiced our own special “Practical Magic”. It’s always been in me and now just seemed like the write time to stop lying to myself and start writing what a truly love.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Anything and everything, from Demonology to Vampire lore, to the diverse types of witchcraft practiced across the globe. I have pages and pages of these things bookmarked and at my fingertips for whenever I need to reference them. I’ve also taken a few of those standards and turned them completely on their heads!
Can you tell me about your Series?
The Phoenyx Series will be five books, although I have some Beta Readers already asking if I may write spin-offs of their favorite characters. It’s a possibility I’m not opposed to. The series basically follows Jane, aka. Phoenyx who was raised to fight for the side of good. She learns things about herself that she will need to embrace and come to terms with and as the books progress, she falls in love (maybe more than once) and she has to figure out who she is. Why she’s here. I think I’ve put together something really special (which I’m sure all authors say of their own work), and I’m hoping others think so as well.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Yes! I haven’t written it yet, but Phoenyx in Ashes (which will be book three) is my favorite. Though a lot of these books haven’t been written yet, I have detailed every single path each character will take. As a matter of fact, I’ve already written the final chapters for both book two and book five. It’s very exciting.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I was an avid Buffy watcher and there was something so great about her that I felt I needed to write a strong female lead that kind of fell into line with Buffy. Phoenyx is nowhere near as cutsie, no, she’s pretty hard and badass, but I drew a lot from those seven seasons. Also, I love reading books like The Hollows Series and The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. So, I draw from other writers as well. I’m hoping in doing so that I’ve come up with something unique and different.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Oh, yes! There is too much of Phoenyx’s story to tell in only one book.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I’m a stay-at-home-mom and a voice over artist, so all depending on what client I have for the day, I usually get my actual “work” out of the way and then sit in my office with my laptop and write until it’s time to pick up my kids after their school day. Once the kiddies are asleep, I usually sprint with my sprinting partner Christine Monroe at around 8 pm until my eyes get weak or my husband tells me I’m neglecting him!
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I do! I’m currently knee deep in book two of the Phoenyx Series called Phoenyx Falling.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
When it comes to names, I go with what feels right. However, some names do have special meanings. For example, Phoenyx. A Phoenix will rise from the ashes and be born again. In a lot of ways, that is what my Heroine is going through throughout these books.
Where do your ideas come from?
The deepest darkest recesses of my twisted little mind.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
This is it. Paranormal Romance. I write Erotic Contemporary before and although it was fun, this is where I belong I think.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Keeping my focus and finding the time. I have three children and so I do most of my writing at around 8pm once they’ve gone to bed for the night.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I love book trailers! I think all books should have them and YES, one is being created for Phoenyx in Flames by my very good friend and fellow author, Christine Monroe.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finally finishing Phoenyx in Flames. It was just a pile of ideas in a duotang up until a couple of months ago. To have finished it finally after all these years of putting it on the backburner is quite the accomplishment.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The ability to create. I’m able to birth a character from my imagination and then share it with the world. Writing their story brings them alive on the pages. It’s so thrilling to be able to do something like that.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully, I’ll still be writing and sharing my books with the world. My son will be in his twenties and my daughters will be probably just getting ready to graduate from high school. Maybe a change of scenery might be nice. Who knows? I just hope that wherever I am I’ll still be writing.
Have you always liked to write?
Oh, yes. From a very early age. Ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved telling stories.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep doing it. Don’t stop. That was my mistake. I should never have put my love on the backburner. Take a little time out of each day and write something, anything at all. Even if it’s fifty words, it’ll be fifty more than you had yesterday. Listen to music regularly. It’s so inspiring! And always tell a story, even if you’re verbalizing it to someone. Even if you’re telling it to yourself. Make something up. Just tell it. Don’t ever stop. Just keep going.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I’d probably be a psychiatrist. I’ve always been fascinated with how the brain works and I like helping people.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read the reviews. I love reading them, the good and the bad. I use it as a learning experience. Not everyone is going to love my books, I know this, and those that don’t will have an opinion. I take every review seriously and use it to make myself a better writer. You can’t be angry or punish someone for how they think or perceive something. This is how we as humans are built. When we, as authors, put ourselves out there for scrutiny, we open ourselves to both positive and negative comments. If we’re not ready for the negative, we shouldn’t be writing at all. Not to say I don’t have “feelings” about it, but I would rather take it for what it is, someone opinion, and I can choose to value or devalue it. I would rathe value it and use it to my advantage.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
The editing! I’m lucky to have found a great company, Gray Publishing Services, and I think they did a damn fine job with my book. I used to edit my own and though I had a very clean manuscript, it was tedious, and one set of eyes will never catch all the errors. Gray Publishing Services (Tiffany Lynn) has been my savior!
What are you working on now?
I am still working on Book Two of the Phoenyx Series. However, I have some ideas for down the road. Maybe a Paranormal RomCom, or even on the other side of the spectrum, something much, much darker. I’m jotting it all down as they come.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Okay, this is NSFW!
“A strange sensation swooped over her as she stood in front of that final door. The door was open just a crack, and her sharp sense of smell picked up Monroe’s scent and—. Phoenyx’s eyes flew wide, her fingers shook as she reached out and pushed the door open just a hair further. The dim light made her pupil dilate as she tried to focus on the writhing mass of limbs on the gothic four-poster bed. Monroe lay like a goddess among the pillows, her pale flawless body a creamy splash against the blood-red sheets. Her head was thrown back in ecstasy, a bright crackling purple light pulsed from her half-closed eyelids and her mouth parted into a trembling O as the man between her legs moved with the force of a wild beast.”
Where did your love of books come from?
Definitely, my mother and Reading Rainbow. My mom always read to me, of course back then it was Dr. Seuss. As I got older, I dove into her novel stash and the rest was history. Levar Burton was an awesome storyteller as well!
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Kim Harrison and The Hollows Series.
J.R. Ward and The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series.
Deborah Harkness and The All Souls Trilogy.
Anything by Anne Rice and Stephen King.
In romance, I have to go old school and say Johanna Lindsey, Virginia Henley and Brenda Joyce. Love those ladies!
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Ash. Definitely Ash, but I can’t tell you why yet!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends on the scene I’m writing that day. If it’s emotional, it does drain me quite a bit. Sometimes it will take me a day or two to recover.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Stock photos! I can get lost in the stock photo vortex for hours and hours. I try to not indulge while I’m writing.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
When I was writing erotica, I was trying to cater to what others out there wanted. For example, Breaking In, my first book as Mona Moore, was labelled “A bad boy romance”, but if you ask anyone who’s read it, Blake is the furthest thing from a bad boy you can get! So, I wasn’t very successful. Now, writing in Paranormal Romance, I have that freedom to world build and be more original. I’ve turned a few things on it’s head, so I’m hoping people will end up liking it.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Messy on the Inside or The Little Black Bird of Doom.
Where can your fans find you and follow?
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️