A brief talk with Jaye L. Knight about her writing
I was impressed with her second series, The Makilien Trilogy. I’ve not read her first, Pirates and Faith. She is yet another of the bright, talented, well-educated results of homeschooling. I am still expecting great stories from this young woman. Resistance, reviewed yesterday, is a major step up.
Your Makilien trilogy was written as Molly Evangeline. Now Jaye L. Knight is still a pseudonym. Do you have a real name, or are you under witness protection?
My real first name is Molly, but my real life German last name is not the most authorly sounding, so that’s why I chose to use a pen name when I first started publishing. That, and I wanted to maintain some bit of privacy. The change to Jaye L. Knight was something I did not expect to do, but seemed an appropriate step at this stage in my writing and publishing. It’s kind of a fresh start.
I think the Ilyon Chronicles is a much better series. How do you see it. and how has your understanding of what you want in fantasy developed as a result of that earlier series?
My Makilien Trilogy was the product of my teen years growing up as a diehard fan (still am) of The Lord of the Rings. It was a fun adventure series with some serious topics mixed in, but now that I’m an adult, my view of writing and people in general has matured. I’ve also spent a lot of time studying the writing craft and have put a lot more work into Resistance than anything I’ve published previously. While writing Makilien, I was heavily influenced by Lord of the Rings, but with Ilyon Chronicles, inspiration has come from such a huge mix of things and experiences that I hope it produced something more unique.
The promotional materials for the new Ilyon Chronicles are much more professional. What has changed?
That has also come with age and experience. I’ve had more practice putting together graphics and knowing what I want to achieve. As with the writing and editing of Resistance, I’ve put more time and resources into the marketing aspect too. My previous projects were still a lot of trial and error. I knew with Ilyon Chronicles I wanted to do things “right” this time, so I started working towards that before I even finished writing Resistance.
What are your hopes for the new series, professionally?
With my previous two series, I did the best I could at the time, knowing they weren’t perfect but needing to start somewhere and hoping I could see some success with them. And I have had many very exciting moments along the way, but I’ve never quite felt like I achieved the goal I was trying to attain. With Ilyon Chronicles, I hope to take the step from beginner self-publisher to an indie author readers can take seriously.
I already consider you one of the new stars of Indie Christian fantasy. If the rest of your books in The Ilyon Chrinicles are as good as Resistance, you have taken a major step. What are your hopes for the new series, spiritually?
Ilyon Chronicles is the result of some amazing inspiration from God and drawing from a lot of my own personal struggles the last few years. There are many very hard struggles and some very flawed characters in the story who at times don’t see a way out of what they’re facing. I’ve been there. I know what that’s like, and I think God gave me this story as much to help me as I hope it will others. All through writing it, He has given me thoughts for the story that I can apply to my own life. I think one of my biggest hopes is that the story will touch people who are struggling and hurting and show that, even when you can’t see or feel God working, He is, and that even the worst moments have a purpose in our life stories.
Judging by the blurb for Resistance, it seems as if part of your inspiration might be the book of Daniel. Any truth to that?
I actually had never thought of that, but it’s probably true. I have read a lot about the book of Daniel in the last couple years, and it has no doubt influenced me subconsciously. There is a lot from the Old Testament that has inspired the spiritual aspect of this series.
Tell us a little about your life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
I was homeschooled with my two younger brothers all through grade school and high school, which has resulted in my family being very close. We probably know each other a lot better than some families. I guess that can be good and bad, depending on the situation. My close relationship with my brothers has been a huge inspiration in writing Ilyon Chronicles because my main girl in the story has five brothers. There are certain moments in the series that were directly inspired by real life moments with my brothers. For the most part it doesn’t get in the way of my writing. Everyone’s very good about that. And I don’t know what I’d do without my mom. She has slaved over Resistance almost as much as I have, and she’s my lifeline whenever I’m struggling to figure things out, both in writing and in life.
I pretty much write and publish full time, but I also run a small jewelry shop on Etsy as Jaye L. Knight. I make and sell jewelry inspired by my books as well as items specifically for writers. It’s a fun way to supplement my book income.
The jewelry’s pretty. I certainly understand the wildly varied outlets found by a person’s creativity. You do what the Lord gives you to do. Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction.
Actually, writing is one of the things I enjoy most and is as much a pastime as a job. As long as it’s not a particular part that’s frustrating me, it’s a great stress reliever. But I also love to read, and I’m really into history and historical reenactment of the 18th century. I like to design costumes and sew when I can. I have a box in my closet full of my colonial reenactment clothing and a few fantasy/medieval inspired dresses. I’m also an outdoors girl. I love summertime and getting to go hiking, kayaking, and fishing with my dad and brothers. I currently hold the record in our family for largemouth bass—20 inches long. 🙂
Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Resistance is the first book I ever sent to beta readers. I definitely wanted to get as much help and feedback as I could before publication this time. It was a very interesting experience. I did have a couple freak out moments when I started receiving the feedback from them and wondering how I was going to apply their suggestions, but my mom talked through it all with me and helped me think of things I hadn’t before. In the end, their help was immensely appreciated, and the book is so much better for it. I’m so grateful to them for taking the time to go through such a long book and help me like this. Following my final edit and applying their feedback, I did hire a proofreader, Amber Stokes, who is also my publicist. It was important to me to have a professional set of eyes go over it before publication. This was the first time I was able to afford that.
I design all my own covers. My budget doesn’t allow for a cover designer at this time, but I very much enjoy working on my covers. My first attempts weren’t the best, but as with everything, you improve with time and practice.
As I mentioned in the review yesterday, this cover is very good—a major step up. Have you done anything writing-related, outside of your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
Over the last few years, I’ve had quite a few people come to me with questions about indie publishing. I’ve really enjoyed helping in any ways I can, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of people that way. Some have become really great friends. Indie publishing is something I’m really passionate about, so I’m always happy to help others pursue it.
Tell us about Resistance. Make us want to read it.
Resistance is unlike anything I’ve written before. As I mentioned, inspiration came from so many different places. It’s set in a fairly typical medieval inspired fantasy world, but you’ll find hints of ancient Rome and biblical inspiration. And yet, the society is more modern thinking than in many fantasy novels. I wanted characters who were easy to relate to and relevant for today even though they live in a world different from ours. One of the most interesting things in writing this series have been the issues I’ve dealt with—from bullying to abortion—that I never imagined would be so prominent when I started. I think in some ways, Resistance feels a lot like a dystopian novel mixed in with the fantasy. It’s a combination I hope will draw readers as much as it has me and leave a lasting impression.
What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Each book has its own unique message, but I think the overarching theme in everything I write is to show how God works in even the darkest circumstances. It’s something I’ve had to rely on heavily in my own life. I love to use my writing to illustrate the truth of Romans 8:28, that God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to his purpose.
What’s your next project? As mentioned in the review yesterday, I’m already upset that I have to wait for the rest of the Ilyon Chronicles!
Right now I’m completely engulfed in Ilyon Chronicles. I’m, unfortunately, not the type of person who can work on more than one story at a time. I have to be fully devoted to one in order to get it done. I’m currently writing the fourth book of the series, and this summer I will begin deep editing book two in order to get it ready for publication sometime next year.
Thank you, Jaye [Molly]
Again, I can’t help but be pleased with what this young woman has done so far. Resistance is very good. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. More importantly, I’m expecting even more powerful tales as she matures. She is still a woman to watch as a Christian fantasy indie author.