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JP (Jo-Anne) MCLEAN writes urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers which have received accolades from the Global Awards, the Chanticleer Book Awards, Wishing Shelf Book Awards, the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and the Victoria Writers Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart, and fun. Her work includes endorsements from award-winning and best-selling authors, E.E. Holmes, Jennifer Manuel, Elinor Florence, Jennifer Anne Gordon, and Eileen Cook. JP is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP lived in various parts of North America before settling on Denman Island on Canada’s west coast, where she now lives with her husband. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden.
I wanna welcome you to discover wordsmith on this wonderful summer day, at least where I’m at. How are things with you?
[00:00:12] JP: We’re perfect sunshine today, and it’s not been a sunny summer so far. Are we calling it January? It’s so cold and wet in the Northwest.
So yes, lovely to have the.
[00:00:22] Stephen: So where exactly are you located?
[00:00:24] JP: I’m on the small island called Deon island, which is off the west coast of British Columbia and Canada. Nice. It’s kinda between Vancouver island and the mainland.
[00:00:34] Stephen: Okay. Wow. Nice. How big is small?
[00:00:38] JP: Small is we have 1300 people. It’s about 20 square miles 50 square kilometers.
So it’s pretty small.
[00:00:46] Stephen: Wow. Yeah. OK. We’re very fast. I live in a small town. We don’t even have a post office here in the states. We have more cows in our town, so
[00:00:56] JP: Then you know exactly what it’s like. Yeah,
[00:00:58] Stephen: exactly. Yep. Yep. Before we get started talking about your book tell everybody a little bit more about yourself.
What are some hobbies and things you like to do besides writing?
[00:01:08] JP: Oh, thanks. Yeah. Of course writing takes up most of my time, but when I’m not writing, I love garden. I have quite a few flower gardens. I used to have a much bigger vegetable garden, but writing took over that part of my life.
I don’t do quite as many vegetables anymore or the preserving and canning that I used to do. And I also love cooking, which is partly why we had the garden in the first place. So nice. And right now I’ve got a nice pork shoulder on, that’s gonna be taco time later when I put it in the oven and crisp it up.
Oh, wow. Those are the things I love doing the most probably.
[00:01:44] Stephen: Nice. All right. What’s your favorite food to cook?
[00:01:49] JP: Oh, always savory, usually meats. My husband does the baking. So if there’s anything sweet to be had, he will be making the sweet thing. Usually not me. But yeah, a roasts, mostly I love doing all kinds of roasts and salmon.
Of course, there’s lots of salmon here. Any kind of garlicy salmon would be my favorites
[00:02:08] Stephen: to make. All right. If I ever get up that way, I’ll definitely stop by. We’ll have to have a good salmon dinner, cuz that sounds wonderful. Okay. When did you start writing and why did you wanna start writing?
[00:02:22] JP: I started writing. It was a very specific time in my life because I had worked gave up my work career to travel with my husband for a few years. Cuz I thought I may as well take advantage of that while I could. And then we were, we just come off of three years in Tucson, Arizona when we were back on our wet coast and it was the very first winter we were back, which was 20 11, 20 11.
I. Yeah, 2011. And I was sitting in the living room. The rain was ting down sideways, hitting the windows and the wind was howling and hockey was on TV. And I thought to myself, oh no, , how am I gonna spend this winter, this first winter back? And I had been reading a lot of fantasy novels, the Vampire type J awards Laurel K Hamilton kind of books, and was thoroughly enjoying the escapism of those books.
And so I decided I would try to write a scene, just one scene. Cause I thought it would be, I always have these dreams flying dreams and I always thought we were right on the oceans. So I thought it’ll be such fun to just jump off the deck and fly down the coast. And so I spent probably. A month writing that one scene and that scene just kept growing and growing until it turned into a book.
And I remember my husband would look over at me, say, what are you doing? and I didn’t wanna say anything, cuz it was embarrassed at first it was such fun and I was so observed in it, but anyway, it turned into a book and I then had it evaluated and they said, yeah, you’ve got a good idea here.
And then I had it edited. And the rest is history. That’s now seven books and I’m on my second series that has two books.
[00:04:12] Stephen: Nice. Wow. So it all started with one scene. We’re gonna have to come back to that on the author half and talk about some author stuff with that. Cuz I think some people need to hear some more about that.
That was your first series. You said you’re on your second series now, which includes a blood mark. Tell us a little bit about that series of
[00:04:32] JP: that book. Okay. Blood mark is a. Story about a young woman who is born with a very obvious birthmark or she thinks it’s a birthmark, it’s a red chain that is wrapped around her body, including her face.
And so she’s grown up with this and it’s been something she gets bullied about. So she’s thrilled at 25 years of age, when this mark starts to disappear, she’s absolutely. Until she finds out that, that mark, isn’t a birthmark, it’s a blood mark and it’s protecting her. And once it’s gone, she will lose that protection.
So she’s in a race against time to find out what she’s being protected from or who.
[00:05:14] Stephen: How does she find out that it’s protecting her?
[00:05:17] JP: She makes a trip. She, her, she works in a flower delivery or a nursery called positively plants. And she’s making a flower delivery out to a professor at a university here in BC their set in BC.
And she drops her glove and she has a mark on the back of her hand. And the professor notices the mark and recognizes it.
[00:05:39] Stephen: Okay. The, this series she’s gonna be the main character and the whole point. So with blood mark. Okay. I don’t wanna give anything away. Is this book one of the series?
[00:05:52] JP: It is book one, but like all of my books they’re standalone.
So you don’t, there’s no cliff hangers at the end. I don’t like cliff hangers okay. You can read book one and be completely happy with it. Book two will be coming out this fall sometime I haven’t gotten exact date yet, but it’s written and it’s just being edited right now.
[00:06:08] Stephen: Okay. How big of a series is this likely to be?
[00:06:11] JP: Probably three. I envision three. Okay. I’ve already got the third one started in terms of outlining and so yeah, it will definitely be three. I don’t know if it will go to four. I don’t anticipate it will go to four at this point, but I thought the first series I wrote was just gonna be one and it ended up being seven.
[00:06:29] Stephen: not that good. I’ve heard the, that from lots of people. Yeah. I thought of one book and now I’m at nine or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. So why did you choose the fiction genre with vampires in dark fantasy in that was there obvious choice or was it just that’s what I
[00:06:49] JP: like?
Oh, it was completely obvious choice. I don’t there aren’t vampires in my books just to clarify. They don’t. They’re set in the contemporary times and they ha there’s more magic than than the vampire part of it. So no vampires, no. Wear wolfs, but magic people who can fly and people who can do powerful things that, that kind of thing.
And the reason I write it is because I love it. If I find a book like that, it just absorbs me for some reason. It always has way back from when I was watching, be witched as a kid. I just always liked that idea that there’s magic in the world.
[00:07:26] Stephen: So does your character wiggle their nose at all?
no. And for the younger readers or younger listeners that have no idea what we’re talking about, go watch, be witched yes. An old callback.
[00:07:41] JP: My, I remember as kids there are four of us in our family and the three girls and one boy, and he wanted to watch star Trek. And so it was a fight. Every time we got to watch TV about whether it was gonna be witch or star Trek.
[00:07:53] Stephen: The good news is now they’re both on syndicated repeats in some on demand somewhere. so true. What type of feedback have you been getting from readers on your
[00:08:07] JP: books? The feedback from readers on the first series, especially not so much this one, but the first series is why isn’t this a movie?
I’m not, I kid you not nice. And I know that all, a lot of authors would like their books to be made into movies, but consistently I get readers coming back and telling me that about that first series the gift legacy series. The first book is secret sky in that one. And this one, the blood mark books, the reader feedback is it’s really astounding me because it’s won eight awards, eight awards really.
[00:08:44] Stephen: It has, what awards have you won? It’s
[00:08:47] JP: won the global book award, the Eric Hoffer award, the wishing shelf book award. It’s still in contention for the Seba, the Chan clear award for paranormal fiction. It’s won a gold Titan award, a reader. Favorite. I’m gonna be forgetting something important. I know, cuz I can’t come off top of my head, what they all are, but I’ve just been really imp really surprised and pleased.
It’s a nice pat on the bat.
[00:09:17] Stephen: Yeah, that sounds like wonderful feedback. Did you win different awards as you were still writing the other books or did that all come at one time? How did that happen and work? It’s part of a, something that I did with this book that I didn’t do with the first series.
[00:09:34] JP: When I was writing the first series I did apply submitted the book for an award with the Whistler independent book award people. And it got honorable mention. That was a nice big boost. And then I had a short story that one honorable mention with the Victoria writer’s society. I wasn’t really promoting more than the first book in the series.
And that book now is getting a little bit older. So when I put out this book, the first new book of a brand new series, I decided I was gonna submit it to a bunch of contests in the hopes that it would get one or two so that I could use that to the same advantage that I used the Whistler. Award when I got, when I had the first book and it just blew up I got way more than I thought I was gonna get.
So so nice. It was a strategy paid off. I’m tickled with it and I will use that strategy again.
[00:10:29] Stephen: Nice. Great. And you got these awards. I know. I hear a lot of times that people say awards don’t help. Do you think that helped people discover and feel confident in getting your book
[00:10:40] JP: to read it? Absolutely.
Absolutely. I think it does. It gives you something to talk about. And it’s a little bit of proof. It’s a little bit of they talk about the social proof and how important it is. Like the same thing with reviews. If you have a book with no reviews and no. Person saying it’s a good read and it’s sitting beside somebody that’s got a a bunch of awards then you’re probably gonna pick the one.
That’s got a bunch of awards if it was a toss up between the two. So it’s definitely worthwhile. And it there’s another bonus in that, is it really does give your. Confidence a boost, which is so important, especially when you’re starting out. And you’re iffy about whether or not this was a brand new book and a brand new character.
And I had changed my writing. I was doing first person before, and this is third person and I was using one point of view before, and this is three points of view. So I know that I can do it now. I feel confident that I can do this different kind of writing as well. So yeah it was definitely worth.
[00:11:40] Stephen: Nice. Okay. And you mentioned people said, why isn’t this a movie yet? If you had the choice, would you want it to be a movie or would you rather choose it to be a TV show?
[00:11:52] JP: Oh, I guess I kinda like the idea of a Netflix series, so that, that would I don’t think I’d want a never ending show, but I think the series based on the book would be fun.
[00:12:07] Stephen: would be good. Okay. And if you. Into a movie. This is a something I haven’t asked others. So if it got turned into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character? Oh man. Yeah. I’m
[00:12:19] JP: throwing that one at you. Yeah. I I’m terrible for actresses and actors. I don’t know them.
So I, not sure. Okay.
[00:12:30] Stephen: No, that’s not a big deal. Sorry through that one for you on a, we should be reading more than watching movies anyway. So we’ll go with that, this movie, that
[00:12:40] JP: movie you should watch.
[00:12:42] Stephen: So have you done anything do an author table is set up and meet people that whatever some festival fair event or something to get your book Have you done anything like that?
[00:12:57] JP: Lots of that, yes. Okay. I did prior to COVID I did a lot more of it during COVID not so much, but yes I do. Every time there is an opportunity for me to be at a festival. I will go and be there and have a table. And I also have a table at the Saturday market here on our island because we’re a tourist island.
And during long weekends, if I set up on long weekends, I’ll always sell books. I’ll always talk to people take my card, they go back and I can see downloads happening as a result of it. So yeah,
[00:13:28] Stephen: I, I do. Nice. Okay, good. And where can we find your book?
[00:13:35] JP: I’m wide so you can find it everywhere.
And if you wanna know, if you want links to those places, you can go through my website, JP McLean, author.com. It’s on Amazon. It’s on Cobo. It’s on no app Barnes and noble chapters. Pretty much anywhere if it’s not, you can always order it because it’s available wide and it’s through Ingram spark, which is a very big distributor of.
[00:14:00] Stephen: Okay. Great. And you said your website was JP McClean, author.com? Yes. Yes it’s. Okay. Do you have any type of newsletter to keep people updated when the books are
[00:14:12] JP: coming out? I do. As a matter of fact One of the, one of the perks to joining my newsletter is the very first I give them short stories.
So the very first short story they get is Boone park, which is the one that won the honorable mention at the Victoria writer society. And I think now I have six or seven short stories on there. And only one of those short stories is available for purchase. The rest of them are only available through my website.
If you draw my email list. So draw my email.
[00:14:44] Stephen: So there we go. So everyone listening, interested in this type of book, go check it out and get some free stories with that.
[00:14:52] JP: And I’m in the newsletter. I always talk about the books. I’m reading too, just in case. I often find people if they’re interested in the fantasy genre, then that’s what I read.
So anything supernatural, even thriller stuff. Sometimes I like Terry Hayes, I read a little while ago, just loved his book. And so I Send I put links to it in my newsletter, just in case you’re interested in checking out other books,
[00:15:16] Stephen: which leads right to my next question. What are some of your favorite books and authors that you’ve read now throughout your whole life?
Like your top ones? Oh
[00:15:25] JP: gosh. Someone else just asked me that question this morning. It’s really hard to pick a top one. I’ll pick a bunch of top ones cuz I read an awful lot. So if I wanna read a thriller book, Terry Hayes loved his. Book oh, Lee child. Lovely. Put me on the spot names.
Sorry. that’s okay. I’ve recently read Victoria AARD if you’re, if you like the high fantasy or more high fantasy, she’s got an imagination, like no other, I’ve never seen so many magical things put into characters as she puts in. And she’s really funny too. If you see her on Twitter and Instagram, she’s hilarious.
She’s also gorgeous. The other woman I’m reading right now hilarious is Anne Charles Deadwood series,
[00:16:15] Stephen: highly re that I talked to Anne and I’ve started listening to the audio book actually.
[00:16:21] JP: Yeah. Oh, it’s funny. She is a funny lady, man. she? Her kids are hilarious in the book. And the other one, another book that’s very much like mine actually is a woman whose name is Annette Marie.
And she write the first book that I read was three mags and a margarita, and she sets it in Vancouver in current time. Just happens to have a bar in it, just like there’s a bar in blood bark. Hers, her books are very similar to mine and very good. Really enjoy them. EE Holmes books are good too.
I really enjoy her. Her gateway series books.
[00:16:59] Stephen: Okay. And who was that, that you mentioned that books are similar to yours?
[00:17:03] JP: Annette’s Marie.
[00:17:05] Stephen: Okay. That’s her name? Cause I like to mention that Hey, if you like this check this out it helps draw people into some of these books.
Cause that’s, as From being a, an independent author in today’s huge market world people, it’s hard to get people to know you. So it helps a lot when you can say, Hey, if you like this, I’m very similar type thing. Yeah. AB
[00:17:32] JP: absolutely. Yeah. Great.
[00:17:34] Stephen: And. Please. Tell me on your little island, do you have a bookstore?
[00:17:39] JP: We do. We have a fabulous bookstore. What’s it called? It’s called a Braus a, B R a X, a S. That’s a great name. Yeah. And they have very recently opened up a cafe in the back of their bookstore. And they have sold more books, more paper books of mine than pretty much anyone else. Nice. Like I said, it’s a big tourist.
The Northern Gulf islands are big tourist spots. So in the summertime I have to go there all the time and restock my books. They’re very good about making sure all the local authors are represented in their store.
[00:18:15] Stephen: That’s great. I love that. I’m gonna put a link in the show notes to them. I like letting people know, Hey, if you’re in this area check out this bookstore.
[00:18:24] JP: Yeah, they’re fantastic. Couldn’t say high enough praise for them.
[00:18:29] Stephen: Great. All right. And before we move on to some author stuff, if when you’re at your author table or talking to somebody and they say why should I get your book? What would you tell ’em?
[00:18:42] JP: They’re unique that is you’ve never read anything like them before.
All books are unique, but the idea that there is the secret society of people who can fly. or that this person with a blood mark and it’s disappearing and she can, she has these dreams where she travels to the past, but she doesn’t realize that’s what’s happening. And she accidentally changes things.
So these are really unique, interesting books. It’s escapism, it’s pure escapism. It’s just a whole bunch of fun. And the reader reviews are the proof. They all say there are lots of funds. Great. Nice. I love that. JP, thanks for sharing about your book. And I appreciate you taking some time to tell us about it.
[00:19:26] Stephen: I hope lots of people listen to the episode and check out your book. Oh, good. Thanks for having me. It’s been fun. Yeah, it’s been good.
I had a great time chatting with you, Stephen, and you’ve done a great job showcasing our event. Thanks so much.