Author profile: USA Today bestselling author J.J. King offers a bit of advice

By Jaymie L. White

Special to Wreckhouse Press

PORT AUX BASQUES – USA Today best-selling author, Janice Godin, also known by her pen name J.J. King, currently has 23 published novels under her belt and shows no sign of slowing down.

Growing up in St. Teresa, Godin said her mother would read to her and her brothers every night before bed, and her father used to come up with his own fantasy stories to tell them as well. They all grew up as avid readers, but by age six she used to write her own stories and keep journals.

“I never really thought about being an author, not really, but in my early twenties I moved back here to Stephenville and I just started writing a story. I really enjoy reading about wolf-shifters. That’s the focus of most of my books, but the stories I read had all alpha males, really strong, gruff, mean men, and I didn’t love those characters. Then I read a Canadian author, Kelly Armstrong. I read Bitten and her character, Elena Michaels, was so strong and such an alpha female that I instantly was like ‘I need that,’ but I couldn’t find books like that.”

Godin was drawn to the fantasy genre from a young age.

“I like fantasy. I like slipping outside of everyday life, even watching TV or movies. I’d rather watch Star Trek than the news. I don’t really love being mired in reality when I want to relax. My brothers and I read high fantasy when we were kids, like Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time’. We read that, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings, but then discovered urban fantasy and paranormal romance and just got hooked.”

Godin’s first novel, Blood of Even, was published in 2016 but actually took her nine years to write. She also works as a teacher and has a cover design business.

“I wasn’t really writing it. I was picking at it in bits and pieces and it was all out of order. I really didn’t know how to write a book at the time, but after nine years I finished it and then I went into a lot of months of edits.”

Godin writes the majority of her books, paranormal romance, under the pen name of J.J. King, but she writes under her own name as well.

“The second book I wrote was called Then She Danced and I wrote it as me. It’s a romantic women’s fiction set here in Bay. St. George and I wrote that it five weeks, so from nine years to five weeks, that was a fun one. That was the frenzy. I got that one out.”

Before she starts writing, Godin likes to have her book broken down in a detailed outline, a method she has cultivated over the years and has helped her cut down on the editing time necessary once the book is completed.

“Each chapter is broken down into five or six different beats, things that happen in that chapter, and each chapter ends on a mini-cliffhanger, like ‘what’s going to happen next?’ just to keep driving the interest. I do let things happen and go off course a little bit sometimes if the characters demand it or if something cool happens and I think ‘Oh, that came out better than what I thought I was going to write’. I go with it, but I do have a very detailed outline.”

Another method she utilizes is that in many of her different series she has character crossovers for readers to enjoy.

“If someone finds me with Alpha Wolf Academy, after they’re done with it, if they go on to read Guardians they’ll see some of the same characters, so it draws you into all the different series’.”

Godin started getting her books published using the self-publishing route before being picked up by Evernight Publishing. She is working on getting back the rights to those books and getting back into independent publishing because it is a better fit for her, and despite the added work involved, she enjoys having that control indie publishing provides.

“I want to work on those stories and republish them myself. I enjoy the challenge of the full business. It is very hard, but I do enjoy it.”

Godin doesn’t think one ever stops learning how to write, a craft she takes very seriously as she has invested time and money into numerous courses to improve her abilities. One of the most unexpected things she learned about herself through writing has been that she can actually see it through from start to finish.

“I think the greatest hold back for anybody that wants to write is being unsure that you can start something and finish it. My first book, Blood of Eden, was 85,000 words which is ridiculous. I know a lot of new authors I talk to I say, ‘Write a 40,000 word novel. That’s where a novel begins’. The fact that you finish it, the pride that you have, it’ll keep you going. You’ll do it again.”

Godin has a plethora of ideas to choose from when writing new novels, and some of those ideas are coming in the form of two soon-to-be released series.

“One of them is looking at the underbelly of my wolf world. It’s an extended wolf world to Alpha Wolf Academy, Beta Wolf Academy, and Guardians. It is called Wolf Underground. All through those series there have been bits and pieces left in about a wolf underground where there is drugs and weapons and a sex trade, so this book is going into that. That’s continuing my wolf world, but there’s also another brand new series I’m doing and releasing very soon. The first book is called Cursed Slayer. It’s a slayer series and the series is called Supernatural Slayer Agency. Instead of just being about wolf shifters it’s about everything. There’s vampires, shifters, high fey, gargoyles. If it exists in mythology somewhere, it’s going to be in the book.”

For future budding authors, Godin said the most important thing you can do is research what sells, what’s popular, and what works in the genre you want to write.

“Study the market. Find what you love and then look to see what other successful people are doing. Every new author wants to be completely unique, but there’s a reason people buy certain books and will buy within that same genre. They’re looking for something. They’re connected to an idea. If you can connect using these tropes with readers but still write what you love, you’re going to be able to actually make a living off of it, and making a living as an author or an artist is not a dirty thing. It’s a hard job and you deserve to be paid for it.”

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