Q. Tell us a little bit about your background, and your evolution as a writer. If you’ve taken more than one workshop at the The Storied Imaginarium, what is it that keeps bringing you back?
I started writing fiction the year I turned 30. At the time I felt like I was running out of time, but now I laugh at myself. Either way, I’m glad I started and it’s worked out pretty well. I’ve published a dozen novels, several novellas, and multiple short stories. I’ve hit the USA Today bestseller list and won a couple of awards for my writing.
In 2016, I graduated with an MFA in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University. It was in that program that I discovered my love of horror and gothic literature, which isn’t too much of a surprise since I’ve always written paranormal fiction of some shape or form.
I’ve taken two workshops with The Storied Imaginarium. I keep coming back because a) it helps fill in some gaps in my knowledge of folklore and myth and b) I’ve found the workshops to be highly fertile ground for writing short stories.
Q. Have you published any stories that have come out of the generative workshops at The Storied Imaginarium? If so, what inspired your pieces, and where can we read them?
As it happens, my story “The Copper Lady” was born in the Monstrous Women workshop. We’d studied vampire archetypes and during the class I had a dream about an empousa, who had copper fangs. I woke up the next day and wrote “The Copper Lady,” which everyone can read in the Chromophobia anthology. I’m especially proud for this particular story to be included in a collection of horror works by women in the genre. In fact, several of my stories from The Storied Imaginarium have been what I call “mother wound horror” because so many of the stories we’ve studied get to the heart of the shadows of the feminine experience.
Q. What advice do you have for writers working with fairy tales and myth as well as combining them with current science and social issues?
Fairy tales and myths are full of archetypes that invite shallow analysis, but the truly effective retellings require viewing them through complex lens and a deep understanding of why these figures work for the stories they appear in. However, it is also important not to get too literal with our depictions and remove the magic—because magic is the vocabulary of the subconscious and that’s where the real work of these stories happens.
Q. How did you come to writing and who are some of your influences?
I was raised in bookstores—my mother managed one and my grandparents owned another one. Books were revered and magical, and when I grew old enough to be an outcast, they were a solace. So I guess you could say I came to writing because other people’s writing brought so much to me.
Some of my influences include Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, C.S. Lewis, Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King, Judith McNaught, Ray Bradbury, Carmen Maria Machado (though she is a more recent influence), and Beverly Cleary.
Q. Can you give us an insight into your writing process? Any habits when you sit down to write?
I’m a story puzzler. I write my stories out of order and then try to figure out the structure from the clues my subconscious leaves for me in the scenes I write. It sounds woo-woo but it’s just how I’m wired.
When I sit down to write I usually light a candle and put on a playlist I’ve made for the project I’m writing. I usually also draw some tarot cards to help set an intention for my work session.
Q. What is next in store for your readers?
Chromophobia: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror comes out in early August so be sure to snag a copy to read “The Copper Lady” and the other amazing stories by other women horror writers.
Author Bio: Jaye Wells is the author of more than a dozen novels. She is best known for writing urban fantasy with her USA Today bestselling Sabina Kane series and the Prospero’s War series. In 2012, she won the Best Urban Fantasy Reviewers’ Choice Award from RT Book Reviews for Blue-Blooded Vamp, and her novels Dirty Magic, Volatile Bonds, and Silver-Tongued Devil were also nominated for the award.
In addition to writing, Jaye is also a sought-after speaker and teacher on the topics of writing craft and the writing life. She is a lecturer for the Seton Hill MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. She has also served as faculty for the Paradise Lost writing retreat, taught writing at sea for Cruising Writers, ran the writers’ workshop for FenCon, and has mentored several writers through Horror Writers Association’s mentorship program. She also offers writing workshops and seminars through Wells Writing Workshop.
Jaye holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She belongs to International Thriller Writers and Horror Writers Association. Before she became an author, Jaye was a magazine editor and freelance writer. She earned her B.A. in Art History with a minor in History from Southern Methodist University.
When Jaye is not writing or teaching, she loves to travel, cook, and do things that scare her so she can write about them. She lives in Texas.
Author Website: www.jayewells.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jaye-Wells
Instagram: @jayewells / @wellswritingworkshop