Saffron's Space

Are you an aspiring science fiction author? Are you fan of Dr Who and science fiction? Do you enjoy a little bit of romance thrown into your novels? Then Pippa Jay is just the author for you., tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Pippa Jay, author of science fiction with a romantic soul. I live in Colchester in the East Anglian region of the UK, in Britain’s oldest recorded market town which was burned to the ground in Roman times by Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe. My household includes my husband of twenty years, three red-haired little monsters, a leopard gecko by the name of Yoshi, and six bantam hens – Eowyn, Rush, Kyru, Chiana, Scoop and Tails.

What books have you written?

I have two novels – Keir (science fiction romance) and Gethyon (YA scifi), plus three short stories, one of which is part of a free science fiction romance anthology – Tales from the SFR Brigade. The other two are The Bones of the Sea (free scifi) and Terms & Conditions Apply (hot scifi romance).

Who is the target audience for your books?

Primarily scifi and/or romance fans, ranging from YA to adult. Most of my readers fall into the sfr category.

KeirBriefly describe your books:

Most of my books are a reflection of the scifi series and films that I love best. If you like Doctor Who, then Keir might be the book for you. If it’s Star Wars, then Gethyon. Most of what I write comes under the space opera umbrella, and are action/adventure at heart. Some are quite light on the tech side, but Gethyon is my favourite in terms of technology, mostly because it has spaceships!


Is there a particular genre that you prefer to write?

Scifi, without question.

Do you also prefer to read this genre?

Yes, but I’ll read most speculative fiction, with or without romance. I’m not a fan of horror though.

Do you read a lot?

I’m reading less and less published works these days, but I do more beta reading for friends and colleges than I used to. My TBR pile is scarily huge though.

What is your favourite book?

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Gui.


A tortured hero bordering on the line between good and evil, magic, wonderful world building, and DRAGONS! What’s not to like? Also Ged  has been a big influence on some of my heroes.

How do you write? E.g. pen/computer, do you plan everything out first or just write on the fly?

I do a lot on my smartphone now – while away on holiday in the summer, I did 17K of a novella just on my phone! But it’s mostly straight onto my computer. Nothing is planned. I tried to plot for the couple of times I attempted NaNoWriMo, but didn’t stick to it.

Tales from the SFR BrigadeWhat advice do you have for other authors regarding writing? (e.g. getting over writers block, editing, etc.)

I always quote Galaxy Quest, “Never give up – never surrender!” Persistence is key. Also research. For things like writer’s block – look for inspiration by flicking through a photo stock site like Go for a walk or a drive, play some music, watch a film, read. I found one of the best cures is housework. Muse hates it! 😛 In terms of editing, get together a good group of crit partners and beta readers (try or join writing groups/communities. Or join one of the many weekly blogging rings). Try EditMinion – a free automated piece of editing software – but don’t treat that as the only thing you’ll ever need. It helps, but a good and (at least partially) human editor is far better!

What do you think is the most important thing in science fiction writing?

Get your science right and keep it consistent. That doesn’t mean it has to stick exactly to current theories, although don’t go breaking the laws of physics with long established basics like gravity and momentum. But if you give a plausible explanation for how and why something works, don’t go breaking your own scientific rules. Also don’t rely on things you see in science fiction films. Remember, they’ve been created by Hollywood to look good on the screen, not necessary based on fact like something by NASA!

How do you create your characters?

Usually I start with an action scene in my head, so I’ll have an idea how they look, and how they react in that scene gives me the start of their personality. Names often come with that or soon after.

Who is your favourite character (that you created)? Describe them….

Whichever one features in whatever story I’m working on at the moment! So right now that would be my rogue superhero Nelle, a kind of Art Deco Catwoman/Batman hybrid. Her super strength, speed and invulnerability come from a black second skin that she grows every night, transforming her. She’s arrogant, sassy and conflicted, but she’s determined to bring down the bad guy even while not considering herself one of the good guys either. She’s so much fun.

GethyonHow do you market your books?

Blogging, social networking, and the odd giveaway mostly. I’m active on several social media platforms, although I have to admit Twitter is my favourite. If you ever want to chat, that’s the best place to find me.

Are you happy with how well they sell?

Could always be better! No, I’m surprised to be selling any, being a new author in a niche genre. But I don’t have any marketing skills and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to improve those.

Are you happy with how they’ve been received?

Yes. Overall the feedback has been positive, and generally the negative ones have been down to a reader not connecting to a character rather than down to flaws in my writing. Not much I can do about that, except write a wider range of characters.

What advice do you have for other authors in regards to marketing?

What’s worked best for you? Please don’t spam people with your book! Getting hit by DMs on Twitter, particularly the automated ones, almost demanding that I check out their book/website/FB page is an instant turn off. Also constant tweets to buy the book, with little or no interaction between. Same on Goodreads and Facebook. I’m much more inclined to check out a book or author if I’ve interacted with them first. The whole point of social media for me is the social part. Just using it as free advertising space is not going to work. I would say the best thing is to (and I quote my friend Liana Brooks here) a. Write excellent books, b. Write lots of them, and c. Be visible. That last bit is my own thought.

Terms and Conditions ApplyThe covers of your books are lovely, Did you come up with the ideas/artwork yourself? Was it difficult to get the covers to match what you had in mind?

Thank you! With my debut novel Keir, I had minimal say on the cover, and it was nothing like I expected. But it was a hard one to do when my male MC is a blue-skinned, tattooed guy, and the cover has had plenty of compliments. For Gethyon, I was lucky to be able to request and work with the publisher’s cover designer (Misa Buckley) because I already knew her outside of work. I didn’t get the final say in it, but was able to bounce ideas back and forth, and send her images including a mock draft I made myself. The Bones of the Sea was made by another friend and cover designer (Dani Fine) after she’d read the story, and it matches the elements in the story perfectly. For Terms, again I did my own rough draft first, and Dani did the final polished design.

What is your opinion on Traditional vs. Indie publishing?

I think an author should follow whatever path makes them happy and ignore the nay sayers. Too often people think that it really is a case of one or the other being the only ‘right’ way, and that one has no merit over the other. There’s still a huge bias against indie authors, and I’ve actually seen it getting worse rather than better. For me, I’ve very happy being a mixture of small press and self published. I still harbour a tiny hope of having an agent and a Big 5 deal one day, but I’m content with where I am.

What has been the hardest part about writing?

Time. Writing, researching, editing (and promoting) are all massive time sucks. Tricky when you also have a family, and they have to come first. Right now I consider myself very fortunate to be able to spend the days my kids are at school almost fully devoted to writing.

Where do you see the future of your writing going?

I would love to make a paying career out of this. At the moment it isn’t, but until my youngest goes to secondary school, hubs and I have agreed I can spend that time working toward it. That gives me five years. I also want to explore different subgenres of scifi. I have a decopunk and a cyberpunk I’m working on, both things I’d never thought I’d write.

The Bones of the Sea If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be?

Thank you so much for buying my books and I hope you’ve enjoyed them!


Pippa, thank you very much for joining me. Readers if you’d like to know more about Pippa: A girl who writes scifi. Whovian, Scaper, & Sith-in-training. Loves The Rasmus. Published by Lyrical Press Inc. & Champagne Books. 2012 Readers Favorite Finalist, 2013 Aspen Gold finalist, 2013 Gulf Coast RWA Chapter Silken Sands Self-Published Star Award Finalist, The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist, and 2012 SFR Galaxy Award winner.

Then check out her various online presences:



Adventures in Scifi

Spacefreighters Lounge

Romancing the Genres




SFR Brigade:


2 Comments so far

  1.    Pippa Jay on October 26, 2013 5:22 am      Reply

    Thanks for having me, Saffron. I love Dael the dragon – how cute!

    •    saffron on October 26, 2013 7:11 am      Reply

      Haha yeah I love him, I’m trying to adopt him as a kind of logo. Thanks again for the great interview!

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