Name: Hello, I’m Jade Belfry. It’s a pen name. Jade is my real middle name (and as legend goes, my mother’s first choice for my first name – she got out voted), and Belfry is the last name of a wonderful couple that I had the pleasure of knowing. Unfortunately they both passed away a few years ago. I “adopted” their last name to honour their memory. They both always encouraged my writing.
Age: I’m 35. A young 35, I tell/fool myself. J
Where are you from: I currently live in Brampton Ontario, which is a richly ethnically diverse suburban city. I was born and grew up about an hour north of my current home in what we refer to as “cottage country”. It’s a place of big open fields and beautiful lakes, a very different place from where I live now. Both areas have their charm though. I will say that I’m glad that my area gets less snow! It’s funny that winter predominantly plays a role in my latest novel, because it is not my favourite season!
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: I share my home with my husband John, a multi-talented musician. Music runs in his family. His studio is in our basement, much to the chagrin of our cats. My high school was a school of the arts (think Fame), where I majored in drama. For post secondary school I attended York University in Toronto, Ontario. While there I tried out a double major of History and English with a minor in screen writing. I’ve always continued taking courses at various schools. Most recently I fumbled through study of the French language (Je parler un petite peu), dug into a course on plant based nutrition and after that was honoured to have the opportunity to study Human Trafficking through Ohio University. I work at my evil day job (that’s not actually evil at all), 5:00am to 1:30pm daily, so I’m used to early mornings! I keep that early wake up on the week-ends as well. That’s also usually when I do my best writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?:
My latest news is that I’ve just released the second book in my Club Perfect Series, A Perfect Trio. My first novel, A Perfect Dom, took much longer to write and was MF. This second book flowed a lot quicker, and turned into a great menage love story. It was a bit of a risk to switch from MF to MFM, but so far the feedback from my readers has been great!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?:
It’s hard to say when I first began writing. In elementary school I would come home tightly clinching pages of foolscap paper covered in stories. I’ve always loved to imagine characters and create worlds. Perhaps that comes from being an only child and having to make up imaginary friends to keep me company.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?:
I think I considered myself a writer when I was in University, and then I put that part of myself away when I entered the working world. I suppressed the desire to write for a long time and put everything else first. When I started writing again I struggled with the fear of failure and the guilt of taking “me time” to do it. Honestly I still struggle with that a bit. I’m still learning how to juggle all aspects of my life in harmony.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?:
Probably the phrase “Baby Dom” was what inspired me to write my first book, A Perfect Dom. I started with the concept of a man (Vincent, who was originally named Daniel), who arrived on the door step of a BDSM club wanting to train to become a Dom. I wrote a few paragraphs down in my notebook and sat on the idea for a bit. The question that brought me back to it was: what sort of woman trains Doms? Who is strong enough to bring out the best in her students? Once I had Mia in mind, my lead female character, the story came to me. In many ways, A Perfect Dom is more her story than Vincent’s.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?:
I think of my style as heavily influenced by short stories, where every word counts. I want each scene to draw the reader into the settling and give them value for each word on the page. For me, there also has to be some beauty in each scene – that means a richly described settling or action. Usually it’s a kiss. I love a good kiss!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?:
My first book was originally just titled Perfect. I changed it once I realized that I wanted to make it a series. It’s meant to be a misnomer: the characters struggle for perfection in different ways and ultimately find that what they thought was “perfection” is unattainable, and that their reality can turn out better than what they imagined.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?:
My settings are overall real. For example, my novels are set in a beautiful village called Port Credit. There is a real Port Credit about twenty minutes away from me in Ontario, but I’ve taken some license with the geography and town events. A Perfect Trio includes police work and an investigation. I researched police life and had an anonymous source that helped me with terminology. The victim impact part of the novel is also as realistic as I could make it without experiencing trafficking first hand. It was important to me to give victims a realistic voice.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?:
Not the overall story, but of course smaller elements are inspired from my life or those of my friends.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?:
I’m a huge fan of In Our Time (the Nick Adams Stories) by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway clearly loves writing, but there is a sentimental note to these stories that is missing in some of his other works. I am also influenced by the writing of Christopher Pike. His characters, despite sometimes having special “talents”, are always ordinary people who just happen to find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. His characters never lose their original sensibilities and each decision is authentic to who they really are. An author in my genre that inspires me now is Sylvia Day, particularly with her Crossfire series. I love her use of description. It’s subtle but brings her stories alive. Plus the characters in this series have a relentless passion that is addictive. The first chapter alone is filled with more description then some books.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?:
No question, fellow SirenBookstrand author Dale Cadeau is my mentor. She is my biggest supporter, and also happens to be my Mom. She is my sounding board, my creative consultant, and my favourite lunch partner. We had our first books published at the same time, and it’s been a joy to be on this journey as authors together with her.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?:
I’m currently reading A View to a Thrill, by Lexi Blake. I love her series (both as Lexi and as Sophie Oak). Each series is a little different style, but all are equally well written and engaging.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?:
I love reaching out to new authors. I also appreciate that my publisher Siren-Bookstrand is willing to take a risk on new writers and work them to develop their skills. I just finished reading Princess by Kelly D. Smith. And Nina Perez. Although she’s not a particularly new author, she may be new to some readers. Check out her Sharing Space series.
Fiona: What are your current projects?:
The main project I’m currently working on the third book in my Club Perfect Series. I can’t tell you a title yet because I keep debating what it should be. It is a MF erotic novel. And because my mind is never still, I’m also working on a supernatural story.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members:
By far, my Siren Sisters and Brothers have been awesome to work with. Writing has been such an isolating, independent activity that it was a happy surprise to join this huge family that is very supportive and super knowledgeable. Morgan Ashbury in particular was so open and welcoming. My mother and I reached out to her prior to submitting our first books with SirenBookstrand. She gave us great advice. It’s possible that neither of us would be published authors now without her guidance. Andrew Jericho has also been a great teacher. Thorough his books and his blog I leaned about honestly, openness and living your own truth. All that, plus his books are great reads. But honestly, every single one of the authors has been incredible friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love it to be a career. Right now I feel that I’m just trying to jam it into an already packed day.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?:
I think that’s the hardest part of writing – letting go. You can edit, change and pick at your stories, but there comes a time when you just have to let go. I’m really happy with both of my books in their finished form.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?:
I always struggle until I find the character’s authentic voice. It’s fine to plan out potential motivations with characters, but until those motives are tested and ring true, it’s difficult for me to get the character’s voice correct.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?:
One of my favourite authors is spoken word poet, Bassam. Full disclosure, he’s a good friend of mine, but he’s also been a real inspiration. Through example he taught me the catharsis and therapy of writing. I really like how regardless if I’m reading or hearing his poetry, every single word is alive and electric. If you ever get a chance to attend a spoken word event live, I highly recommend it. Unfortunately my schedule doesn’t permit it as often as I’d like.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?:
I haven’t yet, but next April I will be traveling to my very first reader’s convention and signing event. It’s called Romancing the Capital and takes place in Ottawa Ontario April 17 & 18. I’m pretty excited about it. There will be some great authors there that I am looking forward to meeting, some fun events planned and my very first opportunity to talk to my readers in person.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?:
Both of my covers were designed by Harris Channing. She is an amazing artist, and also an author. I love each of them – it may be sound silly or vain, but I’ve had both covers printed out portrait size and framed them. I hung them each in an area where I see them every day. It’s a great motivator.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?:
Actually writing is the hardest part of writing a book for me. I am an expert procrastinator. And after working a full day I’m often too tired to write when I get home. With this next book I’m trying to use a few techniques to help me. One is story beats. I learned about the technique in the wonderful book, Write, Publish, Repeat. I find it easier to write if I have a plan of what I’m trying to accomplish in the scene.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that if you want to do something, that if your heart is screaming at you to write or sing or paint – do it! Don’t fight it and don’t doubt yourself.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?:
If you’re thinking of submitting your work for publication, or self-publishing it: DO IT. If you are waiting for the perfect story or the perfect moment, it may never come. I recommend everyone watch Lemonade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJltcT7DH7g). It changed the way I view my life. With the changing technology of reading and publishing, there are so many resources out there on the internet that will help you along the way. Read Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. And research you publisher before you sign anything.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want my readers to know that I appreciate them and don’t dare underestimate their intelligence. The media has termed Erotica “mommy porn”, but erotica readers are strong woman and men who expect great characters, realistic storylines and yes, they also want sizzling sex. I think the media doesn’t understand that erotica books are not written purely for the sex – otherwise why would so many books have an added element of suspense, mystery or comedy? Erotica books are as diverse and complicated as our readers. I also love connecting with my readers – feel free to message me on facebook or send me an email.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?:
I enjoying painting pottery and crafting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?:
I adore Orphan Black. The actors and crew are absolutely amazing. I cannot imagine how much work must go into every single episode (and in case you’re wondering, my favourite clone is Helena). Movie wise, my favourites are pretty diverse: Fight Club, Vanilla Sky, Clerks and Leap Year.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
My favourite colour is blue, that’s easy. For foods, I tend to favour comfort foods: pizza, nachos, toasted tomato sandwiches, plus the French Canadian inspired foods I grew up enjoying like tortiere (meat pie) and chicken and glissants. My musical tastes are all over the place. Some favourite artists are: Meg Meyers, Nova Rockafeller, Hoodie Allen, Roy Gluckman, Jimmy Nevis, Walk Off the Earth, Drake, Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean, Tool, etc. I also wanted to mention podcasts. I work pretty early so I use them to keep me awake and start me on a positive note for the day ahead. My favourite is “Get Up On This.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?:
My website is http://www.jadebelfry.com/
Twitter – @jadebelfry
You can find links there to my blog. I’ll fully admit that I’m a terrible blogger, but I do post some short stories, book tie-ins and after each release I post a Q&A. And every month I compete in a 350 word challenge on Lori King’s website: http://lorikingbooks.wordpress.com/
If you leave a comment here you be in for a chance to win both of these books (ebook) so comment by the 10/10/2014 to entra