I first met Jess when I gave birth to her seventeen years ago. In terms of publishing history, on line hits and just about every other measure of a writer’s success, my daughter is showing me the way. At fourteen she had her first article published in a magazine; at fifteen one of her short stories was included in a physical book; her serialised stories attract in excess of 20,000 readers on line.
For my first author interview, I decided that I need go no further than my own home.
Please welcome to neverimitate, Jess Law.
Where do you typically write?
In terms of physical location, my desk in my bedroom is where most of my stories are written. I do visit actual locations and scribble down ideas, but my best work happens where I am most comfortable.
In terms of where my work ends up, the majority of what I am writing at the moment is fanfiction – hence it ends up on websites like FanFiction or Archive of Our Own.
Tell us about your writing process.
That suggests that there is a typical process that I go through every time. There isn’t. With my fanfiction I think of an idea or am given a request or prompt and then I just sit down and write. In that way I can produce 5,000 or so words in a single sitting, before going back and editing to see if it works.
My original stories have a much longer and more arduous process, as I tend to do a lot of research and character building before I write anything down. I have an entire folder of characters and inspiration on my laptop to draw ideas from.
Tell us about your publishing experience.
The things I have had physically published – my magazine article and my short story – were very different experiences. For the article, I was contacted by the editor and asked to write an article on a specific topic. I was provided with background information and clear guidelines but it took me some time to write something that I thought was appropriate. For the short story, I was stressed after my first GCSE exam so sat down and wrote to try and calm down. I entered the result in a competition without expecting anything to come of it, and got a phone call several months later to say I had won and was being published in a collection of short stories. It was quite surreal.
Publishing fanfiction on line is different again. I have learned over the years what my readers like – fairly simplistic and cliché romance – so I just churn it out, send longer stories to my beta reader, and then upload it on two websites. It’s simple and stress-free, although it gets a bit tedious occasionally as I prefer complex fantasy to romance.
In what ways do you promote your work?
To be honest, I often don’t. On the rare occasions when I upload original work on line I promote it via Twitter, but my fanfiction has enough of a following from people just searching the sites. I’m not the most popular author by any means, but I don’t have enough free time to be constantly dealing with requests, so for now that suits me. I already have multiple pleas to expand on many of my short stories so I feel no need to promote and chase for even more readers.
What are some of your current projects?
I have a longer fanfiction project which I have been writing since December ; it is currently 50,000 words long and far from complete. I am also in the research stage of an original story which should end up being my third original novel – like the others I doubt it will be published anywhere, but I’ll enjoy writing it. Alongside that I will continue writing short 1,000-5,000 word fanfiction stories when my readers request them.
Where can my readers find you?
My fanfiction isn’t exactly great literature, but those who really want to read it can find me under the pseudonym of ThePenguinOfDeath on FanFiction or Archive of Our Own. I have also published a small number of stories and articles on Readwave. My published short story is in the anthology ‘Wild n Free‘, available on Amazon.
Jess Law, more commonly known as ThePenguinOfDeath, lives with her family and chickens in Wiltshire. As well as writing she enjoys hiking, reading and Explorer Scouts, and she is part of too many fandoms to retain her sanity. Her ambitions are to study Medicine, become a Doctor, and eventually publish an original novel in the Horror or Fantasy genre.
You can follow Jess on Twitter (@FailFish) or marvel at her many fandoms on Tumblr where she blogs as #NotDead. and Loki’s Little Midgardian.