Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jaye Wells: It Runs in the Family

I’m often asked how a nice girl like me ended up writing books about vampire assassins, junky wizards, and jaded cops. The short answer is that I was blessed with a vivid imagination. The long answer is a little more complicated.

It all started when I was three. My dad was a battalion chief for our town’s fire department. Since it was a smaller city, he was asked by the city to be on the murder squad—this was before the days of CSI. As part of this new role, he was required to become a police reservist. To do that, he had to go through the city’s police academy. When my father came home and told my mother that he’d be spending even less time at home than he already was, my mother looked him in the eye and said, “I’m going to become a cop, too.”

At the time, my mother was managing a bookstore. A lot of my early memories involved sitting in the kid’s section reading while mom worked, or having my kindergarten class have a special field trip to mom’s store. Obviously this was a huge influence on my life-long love affair with stories (also my grandparents owned a used book store in another state, where I spent a lot of summers).

My mother had never expressed an interest in public service. But for some reason, she decided to prove to herself and my father that she could become a kick-ass cop.

Which is exactly what she did. In addition to being a bookseller by day and a cop by night, she also entered and won sharp-shooting competitions. She quit those after she’d beaten all the women and the department wouldn’t let her compete against the men.

You want to know how I ended up who I am? That story. That’s where it started.

While Kate Prospero from my new Prospero’s War series isn’t directly based on my mother, she certainly provided lots of inspiration. Plus it was pretty cool being able to call my mother and ask her questions, like, “What’s it like to face down an armed perp?”

In case you’re wondering, my mom quite the reserves when I was five because by that point she was a single mom and the risks of remaining an unpaid cop outweighed the rewards.  Now she does office interiors and is a grandmother. But when I called her to say that I was going through our town’s citizen’s police academy as research for DIRTY MAGIC, she laughed. “You’re going to love it, honey. It’s in your blood.”

And you know what? She was totally right—as usual.


The Magical Enforcement Agency keeps dirty magic off the streets, but there's a new blend out there that's as deadly as it is elusive. When patrol cop Kate Prospero shoots the lead snitch in this crucial case, she's brought in to explain herself. But the more she learns about the investigation, the more she realizes she must secure a spot on the MEA task force.

Especially when she discovers that their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier - on the same day she swore she'd given up dirty magic for good. Kate Prospero's about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should never say never.

Jaye Wells is a USA Today-bestselling author of urban fantasy and speculative crime fiction. Raised by booksellers, she loved reading books from a very young age. That gateway drug eventually led to a full-blown writing addiction. When she’s not chasing the word dragon, she loves to travel, drink good bourbon and do things that scare her so she can put them in her books. For more about Jaye’s books, check out

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