Interview with Jan Tilley

Jan Tilley

Interview Date: 6/21/2012


Jan Tilley was born and raised in northern Ohio. Enticed by the Atlantic Ocean, she later moved to Wilmington, North Carolina and now resides in Indiana.
She has held a wide array of jobs throughout the years, including newspaper reporter, veterinary assistant, Public Information Officer for Emergency Management, and currently works at a local elementary school. But, her most important job has been raising her two daughters, Sara and Brooke. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Kevin since 1985.
Jan wrote her first novel "Coming About" after her oldest daughter went off to college. She began writing about her feelings over the loss of her child to the big bad world. It began as a purging of emotions but as they always do, the characters came alive and took the story down a totally different path that she never expected.
She was then bitten by the bug and is now admittedly obsessed with writing. Her second novel "Embody" was released to rave reviews. She was recently featured on The Kevin Smith Show where she discussed the book in a live two-hour interview. "Rogue's Hollow" is her latest release which is a suspenseful ride, fictionally based on a spooky town near where she grew up. Tilley is an award-winning author who has been a guest speaker at multiple conferences and events. This year alone more than 50,000 of her books have been downloaded world-wide. She's more than happy to accommodate interviews.
She will continue to write her heart out and do her best to entertain you for as long as you'll welcome her into your lives! If you would like to contact Jan you can reach her at, follow her on twitter @tilleytalk or at the Jan Tilley & Friends fan page on Facebook.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

The inspiration for my first book, Coming About, came from my oldest daughter going off to college. I poured my emotions out into my writing and by the end of summer I'd written an entire manuscript. The idea started with my daughter, but then the characters took over and led the story down an unpredicted path.

Kev's response: So, in a nutshell ... we're blaming her.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Life inspires me. Everything that I see and the people that I meet. Inspiration is offered to us every day, it's up to us to acknowledge and accept it. I base my characters from real people that I know. I have to get a vision in my mind of the person before I can imagine what they would do in any situation. I love coming up with their names and often use my friends and family. Funny story; I was writing early one morning, working on Rogue’s Hollow. I posted on Facebook that I was spending time with Malachi and Travis. My cousin, Renay, asked me who Malachi and Travis were. When I told her they were the characters in my latest book, she chimed in with her quick-witted sarcasm and said, “Why can’t you use normal names. Your characters always have weird names.” It just so happened that I was writing a scene about an old witch who used to live in Rogue’s Hollow at that time. The old witch was then given the name of Miss Renay. Be careful and don’t cross a writer. They’ll surely use you in one of their books!

Kev's response: Mwahaha! That'll teach her! (And if not, there's always the next book....)

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

My first novel had no outline. It was completely character created. I had an outline with Embody, but it went off track. I had a great outline with Rogue’s Hollow. Now when I look back on it, it’s almost comical how far off it went. My characters are my muses and they lead my stories where they should go.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I do believe that my body has a bio-rhythm, everyone's does. There are some days when my fingers fly across the keyboard and other times that I sit and stare out the window. I try to work with my body and accept that there are good days and bad days for writing.

Kev's response: I find that beatings help as well. Just sayin'....

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

My first book, Coming About, falls in the contemporary women’s fiction genre with a flair of romance. After I published this book, I decided that I didn’t want to be stuck in the romance genre, so I tried my hand at science-fiction. Let me say, I will never do that again! It was really hard for me to make up an alternate universe and imagine what life would be like for an alien life form. My third novel is fictional suspense, so I still can’t quite figure out what I want to do.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I love those quiet times when it’s just me and my imaginary friends. The thing that has shocked me the most is how much the characters actually come to life. I find myself talking to them, which terrifies my teenage daughter. There is a fine line between creativity and insanity when you’re a writer.

Kev's response: That cracks me up, considering I just posted this on my Facebook wall the other day: "I'm not crazy, I'm simply not sane by any normal definition...."

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

I'm not a fan of self-promotion. It just seems pompous to me. I'm getting better, but I still don't care for it.

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

My kids will attest to the fact that I have no filter on my mouth. I say exactly what I'm thinking, but I never try to offend or hurt anyone. I believe in complete honesty... to a fault. Unfortunately, not everyone loves honesty. I can also be very inappropriate. My niece in Ohio actually calls me Aunt Inappropriate. I love dirty and off-color jokes.

Kev's response: I feel like I need to hang out with you to be around a kindred spirit.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

Only one at a time for me. That would overwhelm me to be working on two or more stories at the same time.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

No question about it... e-books are the way to go. Personally, I prefer the real paper books for reading. But, from an author's viewpoint, I sell 100 e-books to every 1 paperback.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on the sequel to my first book, Coming About. So many people have asked for a sequel that I finally gave in. It’s fun revisiting my old friends and seeing where their lives are leading them. It's like going home again.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

My first book was published traditionally. I felt very detached from the entire process and wasn’t thrilled with the outcome. I researched Amazon’s new publishing house CreateSpace and fell in love. I decided to give it a try with Embody and had a wonderful experience. I even started my own publishing house, Spenbrook Publishing. I ended up buying back the rights to Coming About and re-publishing it as well with CreateSpace. Rogue’s Hollow is also an offspring of CreateSpace. My advice would be to never give up. I am not a formal writer. I didn’t start writing seriously until I was in my mid-forties. When I read other peoples ‘formal rules of writing’ it makes me cringe. Much of it, I don’t agree with. But, I think that’s what makes me different and unique. Yeah, there’s a protocol which authors follow, but isn’t it fun to color outside the lines sometimes? I’m just too rebellious to do what I’m told that I have to do. I’d rather let the readers decide.

Kev's response: *thumbs up*

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

All three of my books are on Amazon in book and Kindle formats. Check me out at this link: You can also reach me at, Twitter @tilleytalk, or Facebook at Jan Tilley & Friends

Kev's response: Jan, thanks for joining me! Good to hear from an indie having a lot of success, and wish you more of it with your sequel!

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