Name Jay Gaudette (And everyone is asking what Jay is short for. It’s Jackson.)
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Born and raised in St. Louis. Married. Two grown sons. College degree in a communication field (printing). Worked in that field and in business development. Did lots of marketing, sales, training, strategic planning, training, public speaking; I pretty much had a very well rounded work experience.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
During the last year I published three novels, eleven short stories and several anthologies of erotic romantic literature—heavy emphasis on stories, plots, characters, etc., with plenty of erotic content. But recently, as I was rereading the novels just for fun, on a dare from wife, I skipped over the erotic scenes just to see how they held up. Frankly, I liked them better without the explicit sex scenes. I’ve decided that the Unconventional Affairs world is better as PG13/R rated material than X-rated. I’m revising and republishing them as a 40+ part short story series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As a business person I did a helluva lot of writing: business plans, scripts, operation manuals, procedures, strategies, speeches, presentations, training classes, literally thousands of pages of material. So writing has always been apart of my life.
My wife and I were fortunate to be able to retire early several years ago. We’ve done something kind of unique; we bought a big, comfortable boat and cruised all up and down the East Coast, Canada, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay—if you could get there by boat, we got there. During our travels I started a blog about our adventures which became pretty popular. As an offshoot of that I’ve published two travel/boating lifestyle books that sold well and received favorable reviews. Well, when you’re a boater, you wait a lot. Most of the time, you’re waiting for weather and sea conditions to improve. That means there’s a lot of down time. Frankly, I ran out of boaty things to write about, so I took a shot at fiction, and the Unconventional Affairs, as well as the short stories, is what came out.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As I said, I was a writer for many years. Now, the better question is when did I consider myself an author—a published author, that is. That was when I sold a boating article to a Canadian travel website—they paid me $200!–that was about an outrageously terrific donut shop in a small Canadian town that we took our boat to.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ll stick with the romance stories from here on out.
Oddly, the entirety of the Unconventional Affair trilogy started with the ending of the first book of the trilogy. It was a scenario that I had rumbling around in my mind for years and years. My start in writing fiction was to get that out of my head and onto paper. Everything took off from there.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
As I don’t have a formal writing or English education, I don’t know the formal jargon to discribe how I write. I can say that I like good crisp dialogues and concise narrations. I like to experiment with different formats, such as writing text messaging exchanges and phone conversations. I’ve also written a short story that is entirely a television broadcast transcript with all the appropriate tagging. I tend to include as much humor as I can. I don’t use unnecessarily fluffy adjectives and adverbs. And pretty much all my writing is past-tense without a lot of participle and gerund phrases.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Unconventional Affairs is a play on the idea that much of the action of, at least, the first two thirds of the series takes place at a convention in Las Vegas. The characters had affairs, so put two and two together—Unconventional Affairs.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are several. First is that confidence, while not a mystical force of any kind, is a powerful mindset that can have a very positive impact on a person’s life. One of the trope phrases throughout the series is “Confidence is magic. Be confident and have faith that good things will happen.” I personally believe that. Another message is that life is full of self-revelation and change. And that’s okay. It’s nothing to be afraid of. The third message, the most important message, is that love is the most powerful facet of human nature that there is. Nothing can change the course of one’s life, and the lives of others, like love. And it’s not something to be taken lightly. The more we love, the better off our friends, family, heck, even strangers, are.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I have no illusion about Unconventional Affairs. It’s a fable. Therefore, most of it is the stuff of my imagination. But I have tried to ground it in realistic aspects of the human experience.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There is quite a lot of content that comes from my life. For instance, during my business life I’ve worked at a million conventions. So I was able to bring some details to that whole scene that added realism to the story. And later in the series, one of the male characters has a serious bout with chronic nightmares. I’ve gone through that myself. But the main thing that shows me in the stories is that I use a great deal of the aspects about my wife’s and my relationship. There is a lot of us in the stories.
Another aspect of that question that is interesting is that I’m a guy writing stories about women. Therefore, I don’t have a pure female perspective on what happens to them. And I can’t write from the male characters’ perspective more because the stories are, again, about the women. So the best I can do is to try to pull out as much as my perspective that I can and adapt it for the character appropriately.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I don’t think there is a book that has been a huge influence on my life, but there is one that has influenced my writing. Oddly, it is Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton. It is the only book I’ve ever read from cover to cover in one sitting. I want to be able to write a book that good that someone can’t put it down.
Also, I work very hard to make my dialogues good. They’re one of the things that I get the greatest complements about. So I listen carefully to television and movies. Scripts (dialogues) are very difficult to write. And to watch and take in a great dialogue is a thing of beauty.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m pretty much in writing mode at the moment.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
The complete serialization of Unconventional Affairs—I’m taking three 60,000+ word novels and converting them to 40+ shorts stories, with heavily revised content.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have to admit that I get a great deal of support from a small but enthusiastic band of erotica writers on Facebook. It’s a pretty tight group and we’re pretty active. And they’re fun too. They’re the kids that always sat in the back of the classroom—they got in trouble a lot, but they were more fun to be with.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No, I don’t. I’m too old to start a new career. Besides, I’m retired, we have money, I’m with a wonderful woman, we lead a fun and invigorating life…why would I want to “work”? I’m a writing hobbyist, but I’m damn serious about it. For instance, I am constantly tinkering with content, formats, selling and marketing techniques, anything and everything about this obsession. And I’m always trying to hone my craft. I want to be a good writer, and I know that means constantly striving to be better at it. Oh yeah, and I’m always trying to sell my stuff. Now, if I get some recognition, like from an author’s interview website….
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
This work that I’m doing on Unconventional Affairs is a top-to-bottom de- and re- construction of the entire library. Everything is getting looked at. If it needs to be revised, it gets revised. Case in point, just today I finished the revision of part 23, entitled “The Jealousy-Aimed-at-Monica Party”. Not only did I revise it from X-rated to an R rating, but I folded an entire other short story into it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Since I really got my start in enterprise (business) writing, it was more of a necessity than anything else. Employers and customers liked that I could write, and that made me more valuable.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
One oddity of my writing is that when I’m at the second or third draft stage something weird happens. I’ll sit back, read it through, and discover that my paragraphs are in the wrong order. They’re constructed well, but I end up cutting and pasting them differently.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Patrick O’Brian, author of what are commonly known as the Master and Commander novel series (more correctly known as the Aubrey-Maturin novels) set in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Great writer. Incredible imagery. Brilliant vocabulary and voice.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Only accidentally. Since I travel extensively I use many of my favorite locales as settings. For instance, Annapolis, Maryland, and Charleston, South Carolina are prominent in the Unconventional Affairs Romance Series. These are favorite destinations of mine.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. I intentionally went against the grain with them. They’re simple, clean, colorful; counter to the typical cover of these genres.
Here’s why…As I’ve said, I have an extensive business background, especially in developing business strategies. I couldn’t help myself, I guess, and I put out a survey to erotic romance readers to find out their purchase preferences. I got a good sized sample so the results were pretty trustworthy. One of the surprising results was that the respondents almost unanimously said that cover graphics had no or little impact on their purchasing decision. The most important was the description. That is one of the reasons for converting the novels to short stories. I can write more succinct, more inviteing descriptions.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I know there are a lot of writers that make extensive outlines and checklists and character profiles and punch lists and whatevers. That’s all fine. Whatever floats their boat. But it comes down to the story. Write the damn story! Get it down. Sure, it will suck at first. It will be rubbish. But after you get to know it better, after you’ve let it breathe for awhile, it will become whole.
When I first started writing Unconventional Affairs, I got drawn into the world of the characters, and I love it there. One of the reasons that I’m doing a complete rework of it is that I like it so much. I want it to be the best that I can make it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Go to smashwords.com and buy Unconventional Affairs. Search Jay Gaudette and it will take you to my profile page. You can click on books and buy them.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’ll tell you what made me cry recently.
I wrote an Unconventional Affairs short story about one of the lead characters, Marie Lingley, forty years in the future. She would be 60 years old and advanced in rank in the Coast Guard to Admiral. She was getting ready to retire and was recalling her life with one of her former subordinates.
Marie recounted all of the principal characters in the stories. Some were still alive and kicking, but some had also died from old age, war, or illness. It was sad to write that, but I had to. For some reason, I had to finish their lives. I bawled my eyes out.
Even past the series, I have lots more stories in the Unconventional Affairs world, but I know that story will be the last one.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Seriously, we aren’t having headstones. We’re being buried at sea off the coast of Florida. But as far as my legacy goes, I have two wonderful sons that I am very proud of.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m a boater, baby! Get me on my boat and out on the water.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I watch a lot of ice hockey.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Anything my wife cooks. Seriously, she makes tater tots taste incredible.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would like to have been King of Sweden. Yes, that would have been nice.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?