Big thank you to Josie Jaffrey to having me spam questions at her! I just reviewed her first book in the series Solis Invicti yesterday. So check out my review if you want to know more about her work. 

LF: How long have you been writing for?

JJ: I’ve always written stories, but it wasn’t until I finished the first book in the Solis Invicti series that I started to think it was what I wanted to do with my life. It was the first time I’d actually completed a novel, and somehow that broke the seal and I realised it was something I could do. I’ve been writing ever since, and I’m not sure I’d be able to stop now even if I wanted to.

A Bargain in Silver promo

LF: Tell us about the series Solis Invicti.

JJ: I’m a big paranormal romance fan, and I’ve always loved vampire stories best, so I wanted to write something in that area, but with some key differences. I knew I wanted to set the story in the UK, because I wanted the action to be in places that were familiar to me, and I wanted to make the story darker. The world of the Solis Invicti isn’t one in which humans and vampires could ever coexist peacefully, because they need each other so fiercely that tensions are inevitable.

The series starts with a bang as zombie-like creatures that I call ‘Weepers’ start spreading across the globe, infecting and turning every human they come across. The only people who can protect the humans are a vampiric race I call ‘the Silver’, and they offer a bargain to the humans: protection in return for blood and servitude. That bargain is really the core of the whole series. It’s about how far people are willing to compromise their freedom for safety, and about the power dynamics that result from that compromise.
The Price of Silver promo

LF: How hard was it to come up with different names for vampires/zombies?

JJ: It was trickier than I thought it was going to be. There’s so much vampire and zombie fiction out there already that I ended up using the ‘say what you see’ naming method (the Weepers cry tears of blood and the Silver have silver in the whites of their eyes).

LF: Also how hard was it not to fall into the ‘normal’ vampire/zombie way of things?

JJ: I made conscious decisions about which tropes I wanted to follow and which I wanted to avoid. I love bonding and scent marks and love triangles, so I deliberately included them quite prominently. However, I didn’t want my vampires to be able to turn into mist, or control minds, or be shiny. Those decisions were easy ones.

When it came to the zombies, they aren’t the main focus of the story. They’re the jeopardy rather than characters in and of themselves, so it made sense to make them fairly standard zombies, so they aren’t distracting.
But I think the thing that makes the Solis Invicti series different from most paranormal romances is that it includes both vampires and zombies in a single novel. It creates a dynamic that I hope is interesting, with the humans forced to ally themselves with one kind of new monster, the rational ones, to avoid being killed by the other.

LF: Are you working on any other books?

JJ: I am – I’m currently writing The Gilded King, the first book in the sequel series to the Solis Invicti series. The series is called Sovereign, and the first book will be out in June. While it features some of the same characters as the Solis Invicti series, it takes place hundreds of years in the future when the world is quite different. That’s all I’m going to say for now!

Bound in Silver promo

LF: Self-published vs Traditionally published. What made you take the route you did?

JJ: The Solis Invicti series always felt like a natural fit for self-publishing to me. I think paranormal romance performs quite well there, and in any case agents aren’t much interested in vampires these days.

My ultimate aim is to be a hybrid author: part self-published and part traditionally published. I have a novel on submission to agents at the moment that’s quite different from my previous work, a young adult historical book, and I don’t ever envisage publishing that myself.

LF: Does it still shock you that you have books out there in the world?

JJ: The thing that constantly surprises me isn’t so much that my books are out there in the world, because anyone can self-publish, but rather that there are readers out there who connect with the story and enjoy the characters. That’s what I was most worried about when I published the books, and what I dearly hoped, but didn’t expect, would happen. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have readers and reviewers tell me that they love a story that for so long was only alive in my head.The Silver Bullet promo