MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR GAJA J. KOS!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hi, I’m Gaja J. Kos, and I write books that fall under the fantasy and romance umbrella. Everything from gritty dark epic fantasy, to urban fantasy and paranormal romance, as well as straight up contemporary romance, ranging from YA to adult.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My newest release, Shadow Moon (Lotte Freundenberger series), is part of the wider Kolovrat AU which consists of a combination of series based on a Slavic mythology twist.
I knew I wanted to write about a bisexual werewolf with a career in tennis from the moment Lotte first popped up on page in Chased, a novella within the Black Werewolves series. In urban fantasy, the are a lot of kickass characters who work as detectives, police, assassins… I wanted to present one who was a little different from that, and see how she would handle being thrown in dangerous situations. Besides, tennis is a great love of mine, has been from early childhood onward, so this story simply had to come out 🙂
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
For the moment I knew how to read, I fell in love with books. Those with supernatural/fantasy aspects were the ones that drew me in the most, and I suspect that’s the reason why the majority of books I write belong to those genres. I adore thinking about magical systems, individual capabilities or advantages of supernatural species, but most of all, for the Kolovrat AU, I enjoy plucking threads from my own Slavic culture and shaping them into something new.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Since the fictional world in which Shadow Moon takes place was more or less established, I basically needed to brush up on doubles techniques in tennis since I was, for the most part, a singles player. There are a lot of differences between the two, and I’m grateful I found some amazing books on doubles drills. I also took advantage of a two-day trip to Munich for a Depeche Mode concert to revive my memories of the town and take note of some additional details I later incorporated into the story.
Can you tell me about your Series?
I have five books planned in the Lotte Freundenberger series, following the span of a few crucial years of her life. And since I’m horrible at saying more without spilling some major spoilers, I’ll just keep it at that.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I do still have to write the final two, but even so, it would be hard to point out just one. Every new installment reveals a facet of Lotte’s life, characters that are dear to my heart… So, no, I could never pick just one 🙂
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes. When the idea first came to me, from start to finish, with just a few parts in between I had to work on, I knew that it would be impossible to put everything in a single book. Actually, I even added one once I fleshed out the plot, turning it from four titles to five.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write?
This is the part where people usually look at me funny. All right, here it goes… My husband and I always get up between 4.20 and 4.30 am.
There’s a perfectly good reason for that, though. We both love mornings, that lovely, serene quality they possess, and it’s amazing to take our dogs for a walk immediately after breakfast when the town is just waking up.
It really helps to clear my mind and put me in the proper mindset for work, which usually starts around 7am. D on what’s on my schedule for the day, that means plotting, writing, or editing. Sometimes a combination of all three.
Aside from a few breaks, I work until lunch, then, in the afternoon, either continue with whatever I’m doing, or throw myself into some graphic design, marketing, or answering emails (I admit, I’m a really slow responder and usually have to take two days off from work once a month to get through my inbox).
In the spring and summer months, writing out in the yard is a must. During winter, however… I migrate between the bedroom, the library, and the dining room, depending on which place suits me best at the time.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Although not always, I do tend to put meaning behind the names. Sometimes it can be as simple as sounding right for a particular character, sometimes I explore the origins until I find something that fits.
Where do your ideas come from?
If I ever find out, you’ll be the first to know! As far as I’m able to tell, they just…manifest? It’s my job to snatch them before they fade, store them for a while, then flesh them out.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Yes, actually. I’m currently developing a YA dystopian sci-fi, which is something I’ve never tackled before and really, really want to.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Copying my handwritten notes, edits, sometimes even entire chapters onto my computer. God, I waste a lot of hours transcribing, but certain things just demand to be written by hand.
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 them! I actually have one for Shadow Moon, which is a first for me, but I would definitely like to have more in the future. Possibly even a cinematic one, if I ever found the right people for my vision.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
In writing? The fact that a complete stranger read and enjoyed my work.
In life? The jury is still out on that, although overcoming depression ranks highly on the list.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Definitely the creativity. I mean, I get to form entire worlds… That part never ceases to amaze me.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully with a lot more dogs out in the yard and even more books on the shelves 🙂
Have you always liked to write?
From the moment I knew how. I used to write these odd little stories my mom still keeps in a drawer somewhere. They were…creepy, I admit. Occasionally made no sense at all. But I kept writing, kept doing what I loved. And never stopped.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
We all have impostor syndrome. It’s good to look at other authors for inspiration, but never, ever compare yourselves to anybody. Whether you want to take the traditional or indie route, just remember that your path is yours alone. And that our profession is one where you never stop learning.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Tough one. Graphic design, I think.
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 them sometimes, but never respond, even if my fingers itch to run across the keyboard to start a conversation. I’m a firm believer that, unless they’re editorial, reviews are there for other readers, not authors. Although that being said, it’s wise to listen to your fans… If a lot of them point out a problematic aspect, that usually means you need to take a good, hard look at what’s wrong.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Fighting for visibility. There are a lot of titles out there, which means it’s tough to find new readers unless you can stretch your budget.
What are you working on now?
At the moment, I’m focusing on Evenfall, the first title in the Shadowfire trilogy. My husband (and co-writer for this particular series) and I are deep in the editing stage, making sure everything is exactly as we want it before we send it off to our editor and prepare for the October release.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
How about an exclusive peek at the opening lines of Evenfall? Disclaimer: this is an unedited version.
The first thing I noticed when unconsciousness released me from its talons of darkness, was that for the first time in my life, I found myself gazing at the night sky.
The second, that the world around me was no longer mine.
My breath hitched in my throat, and I blinked, taking everything in. Above me, a spill of flickering, pale golden light was scattered across the canvas, painted a breathtaking blend of black, violet, and blue. Stars. Stars I had only ever read about in fairy tales my parents kept hidden under lock-and-key in the library, believing that indulging in that kind of nonsense didn’t become a High Master’s daughter.
There was no room in my sunlit world for dreaming of the surreal, but here it took shape, answering the question I was never supposed to ask, yet thought of time and time again.
If we could open portals between rooms, lands, even regions, why couldn’t we reach farther?
Where did your love of books come from?
I like to joke that I was born with it. Part of my DNA.
On a more serious note, my mom played a large part. She read to me when I was a baby, then supported my love for books once I was able to read on my own.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
So many! Keri Arthur, Vic James, Jex Lane, Neal Shusterman, Sarah J. Maas, Ray Bradbury, Karen Marie Moning, C.S. Pacat… Just to name a few. And I really do mean a few.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I love them each in their own way, but if I had to choose… Probably Avvyr Lakrius from Forged in Flames. He’s a complex character that wanders the shades of gray and refuses to be defined.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Haha, probably getting sidetracked by a new project I just have to put to paper right now.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A combination of both. Writing to genre expectations while adding a unique touch to the story is a challenge I really enjoy tackling time and time again.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Endless TBR and too many cups of coffee.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
I’m active on
Instagram (which is basically a bookstagram): http://instagram.com/gajajezernik
Or through my website gajajkos.com
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
Thank you so much for having me! 🙂