Meet Author J.L. Stray
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance.
About J.L. Stray
J.L. Stray has always enjoyed reading books and writing stories. Finally, she gathered up enough courage to publish one herself. A former Policy Specialist and current Consultant, she spends any extra moment she has writing, outlining and scheming her next book.
Raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, she graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy. Most days she uses one of those degrees in either her career or dealing with her children.
J.L. lives in that same small town, with her three very active children, who always have her at a diamond, field or court. She is a lover of books, shoes, beaches, and a strong drink.
We asked J.L. Stray a quick round of questions, and here are her answers:
Q1: You recently published your debut novel, how long did it take you to have a finished manuscript?
A: It took 2 years to fully write it. When I began, it was just something that I was doing for fun; for myself. I wasn’t working on it full time, it was one of those every once in a while things. But I had been reading all these stories on Instagram and blogs about authors who were self-publishing. Self-publishing hadn’t occurred to me until I finished it and decided that as scary as it seemed, I was going to share it with anyone who would read it.
Q2: Your novel is the first in a series, how far along are you with the rest of the series?
A: The second book, Fixing the Broken is currently with my editor and I plan to release it in late February. The third in the series is one of my current WIP; No Longer Broken. No Longer Broken should be out in September 2021.
Q3: What is the best thing as a writer you have learnt so far?
A: I think the best thing that I have learned so far is just to write and keep writing. First drafts are going to be messy, and that’s why they call them first drafts. I used to get caught up in editing my chapters as soon as I finished writing them, or as I wrote them. That was really cutting into my productivity and stifling my words. Now, I just write to get the story written and revise when the first draft is completed.
Q4: If you could change anything about your process with publishing what would it be?
A: I would like to be more of a planner. I’m a huge pantser. I rarely start writing a novel with an outline. I dive in and let the story tell itself. I think that’s why my novels are so long. Irreversibly Broken is 380 pages long because the characters kept speaking to me. But it doesn’t always work that way. With the next book in the series, Fixing the Broken, I felt like I had a lot of great scenes, and stringing them together into a novel that made sense took a little finesse. An outline would have made that process easier.
Q5: How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been a writer since high school. For the longest time, it was just poetry, I have so many little notebooks full of poems that I wrote in high school and in college. In college, I took a creative writing course and wrote a few short stories. From there I kept writing little stories until it was too long to be considered a short story.
Q6: Who is your favorite author? And why?
A: This is a hard one because I have several. I would say my favorite is Jane Austen. I devoured everything she wrote at a young age. By the time I was fourteen I had read every word she wrote. Her books are what caused me to fall in love with romance novels; the ease with which she describes a simple touch or look, it mesmerized me at a young age and continues to do so.
Q7: Your hero?
A: My heroes are the women who have come before me and worked so hard to make the Self Publishing world what it is today. I’m excited that I get to be part of it and contribute to it.
Q8: Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?
A: I do. I have a Spotify playlist that includes all the songs that inspired all three of the novels. It is largely full of songs from Picture This. They are an Irish band, whose song, One Night, inspired a lot of what I wrote in the second book, Fixing the Broken.
Q9: What was the highlight of writing your debut novel?
A: Finishing it. I spent so little time writing it at first and I never actually thought that I would have enough of a plot, or story for it to be one full story. It was a hobby, something I wrote when I was bored at work, using a legal pad and pen. Before I knew it, I had over 114,000 words and a story that I was really proud of.
Q10: What are you reading now?
A: I’m reading I Love You, I Need Him by J.R. Rogue.
J.L agreed to participate in a little flash fiction.
This is the cover of your next book, write the opening paragraph…
“Deanna gazed out at the mountain view before her and sighed. Finally. She had peace. There were no more court appearances, no more meetings with the lawyers, The divorce was final and she was free. Her husband, a prominent politician, was not happy that she was free from his clutches, but she was. No more handlers telling her what to do or say. She could be her own woman. A noise to her left startled her, she thought she was the only one out here right now. Well, her and ranch hand, that must be what she heard. She looked over and saw a man stacking firewood, shirtless. It was chilly out, she had on a sweater and a jacket, but here he stood; tight jeans, work boots, no shirt. His face was being kept warm with a beard from what she could see. He must have caught her staring because he looked up and his eyes met hers. Her breath caught in her throat. His hair was longer in the front and constantly needed his hand to push it out of the way. Sweat dripped down his defined chest, but the definition didn’t stop there; he had a lickable six back and hip muscles that could be seen from his low slung jeans. He smiled a friendly smile at her and she felt her thighs clench. I am so screwed, she thought, awkwardly returning his smile. “
Danielle Moyer has been attracted to her supervisor, Mike Connelly, since the day she walked into the Philadelphia Probation and Parole. But there’s a rule: Subordinates cannot date supervisors. Danielle doesn’t act on it. She’s convinced herself that any stolen glance, slight touch or innuendo is all in her mind. And then..
Mike Connelly never meant to cross the line with one of his staff, but there is something very inviting about Danielle and he can’t help himself. The two give in and find themselves navigating a very dicey office romance. With pasts that are riddled with things that have left them broken, making it an uneasy road.
Add in the rule: supervisors can’t date their subordinates and you’ve got a situation that could easily break in more ways than one.
Can they endure or will it leave them broken?
J.L, it was a lovely having you as a featured author, thank you so much. If like us, you too want to find out more about what she’s up to next, you can follow her on the links below: