Chatting with Jess Faraday
Today, I have the honor of hosting Jess Faraday and her book, THE AFFAIR OF THE PORCELAIN DOG.
For Ira Adler, former rent-boy and present plaything of crime lord Cain Goddard, stealing back the statue from Goddard’s blackmailer should have been a doddle. But inside the statue is evidence that could put Goddard away for a long time under the sodomy laws, and everyone’s after it, including Ira’s bitter ex, Dr. Timothy Lazarus. No sooner does Ira have the porcelain dog in his hot little hands, than he loses it to a nimble-fingered prostitute.
As Ira’s search for the dog drags him back to the mean East End streets where he grew up, he discovers secrets about his own past, and about Goddard’s present business dealings, which make him question everything he thought he knew. An old friend turns up dead, and an old enemy proves himself a friend. Goddard is pressing Ira for a commitment, but every new discovery casts doubt on whether Ira can, in good conscience, remain with him.
In the end, Ira must choose between his hard-won life of luxury and standing against a grievous wrong.
The Affair of the Porcelain Dog has been short-listed for a Lambda Award in the category of “Gay Mystery.”
Q: Welcome Jess. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your book?
Jess: The Affair of the Porcelain Dog is a tale of suspense set in late Victorian England. Someone has stolen a statue belonging to crime lord Cain Goddard. Goddard tasks his assistant, Ira Adler, to find it. But everyone and his brother is after that statue–including Ira’s bitter ex, Tim Lazarus. Ira’s search will turn up secrets spanning several decades and two continents, connecting the meanest London streets with the loftiest corridors of power. And when he finds the statue, it will reveal secrets about his own past and Goddard’s, and his life will never be the same.
Q: When did you first realized you wanted to be a writer?
Jess: After I sold my first book. I’m dense like that, sometimes. I’ve always enjoyed scribbling, but it was only after I started doing it “for real” that it occurred to me that I’d chosen many of my previous jobs because they’d be easy enough that I could finish the work ahead of time and be paid to sit somewhere quiet and write stories.
Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Jess: A little of both. I outline because it’s easier to work the plot kinks out of twenty pages of outline than out of four hundred pages of text. But even though I know the beginning and end when I start, the middle still goes through changes while I’m writing.
Q: What are you working on now?
Jess: A paranormal mystery set in 1820s Paris. The protagonist, a woman, is one of Vidocq’s original Surete agents, and the last remaining agent of an elite paranormal investigation squad recently dismantled by Vidocq’s (fictionalized) successor.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
Jess: Write the best manuscript you can, and research your market well. Sending your manuscript to everyone and anyone wastes everyone’s time. Don’t write for a specific market–find the publishers who publish what *you’re* writing, and send them the best you’ve got.
Q: What book or series can you read over and over again without getting bored?
Jess: Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and anything by Cherie Priest.
Q: If you decided not to be a writer, what would your other dream job be?
Jess: Something else with words, books, and information. A librarian, maybe?
Q: What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done in your life?
Jess: Pressed the “send” button to send a manuscript.
Q: Who is the one person that has singlehandedly inspired you the most in your life?
Jess: That’s tough. No one achieves anything alone. Overall? My parents. Am I too old to say that? My parents never pushed my brothers or I in any specific direction, but were a constant source of acceptance and encouragement no matter what weird or off-the-beaten-path thing we decided to pursue. They still are.
Q: If you could take a trip to any foreign country RIGHT NOW, which one would you choose?
Q: What is one talent that you’re hopeless at, but you wish you had?
Q: What TV show are you most addicted to?
Jess: I don’t watch much TV. When I do, it’s with one eye on something else, so…. I do like Doc Marten. And I’m waiting for the next series of Downton Abbey.
Q: If you were stuck on a desert island, name three objects and three people you would want with you.
Jess: Three objects: a good, sharp knife; a container for storing water, and a very thick book. Maybe Great Expectations. Three people: Roy, because he can build or fix *anything* and is excellent company. Jane and Charlie because life would never be boring.
Q: What is one trait or physical characteristic that you are proud of/love about yourself?
Jess: I’m pretty good at figuring out systems, methods, and procedures. It sounds boring, but it makes it really easy to swallow new bodies of knowledge quickly and efficiently. Which makes for interesting stories.
About the Author:
Jess Faraday is the author of one novel, three book translations, a handful of short stories, and numerous nonfiction articles.
She is a graduate of the University of Arizona (B.A.) and UCLA (M.A.). Since then, she has earned her daily bread in a number of questionable ways, including translation, lexicography, copyediting, teaching high school Russian, and hawking shoes to the overprivileged offspring of Los Angeles-area B-listers.
She enjoys martial arts, the outdoors, strong coffee and a robust Pinot Noir.
Thank you, Jess!