An Interview with Jaycee Jarvis, author of TAXING COURTSHIP


“My name is Han-Auditor Quintin of Jardin. I am a Hand and Elkart is my waccat.”

Em shook her head. He had to be lying. He was her client, not a Hand. “You can't be a Hand. Hands are above suspicion, honorable to a fault.”

He turned to face her fully, the waccat a silent shadow at his side. “You think I’m dishonorable?”

“You worked with me. We broke into the Tribute Office together. You can't be a Hand.”

Hands did not kiss outlaws with tenderness or passion, let alone both.


Jaycee Jarvis’s Biography

Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The first book in that series, TAXING COURTSHIP, is set for a June 2018 release.

An Interview with Jaycee Jarvis

Jaycee Jarvis’s debut fantasy romance novel, TAXING COURTSHIP: The Hands of Destin Book One, will be published on June 20, 2018 by Soul Mate.

Question - Please describe what the book is about.

Jaycee Jarvis - TAXING COURTSHIP is a forbidden romance between Quintin, an honorable but lowly tax-collector, and the outlaw Lady Em.

Q - Where did you get the idea?

JJ - I’m a character first writer, so I come up with my romantic leads before anything else in the story. I’m drawn to characters who are almost too noble for their own good and I liked the idea of pairing a painfully honest man with a thief, since opposites attract is always fun.

Q - What’s the story behind the title?

JJ - I’m usually terrible at titles, but when I decided to write about a tax-collector, TAXING COURTSHIP came naturally. I’m very glad my publisher kept it.

Q - No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.

JJ - My setting is pretty unique. Destin is a bronze age civilization inspired by the Inca empire. My tax-collector hero uses quipus for accounting, which is based on an actual string and knot record keeping system used by the Incas.

Q - Tell us about your favorite character.

JJ - While I love Quintin and Lady Em, I have to say my favorite character is Ulric, Quintin’s curmudgeonly year-mate. Ulric is rough around the edges, while also being a loyal and steadfast friend. He is often outrageous which is so fun to write!

Q - If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?

JJ - I would go shopping with Lady Em’s sister-in-law. Em doesn’t much enjoy being dragged through the market by her, but I think she’d make an excellent guide.

Q - Are your character based on real people, or do they come from your imaginations?

JJ - None of my characters are based on specific people, but I write emotionally driven novels, and in order to do that, I pull from my own life and experiences a lot. My characters tend to be an amalgamation of real people and my imagination. I love the saying “Watch out, I’m a writer. Anything you say or do may end up in a book.”

Q - How long did you take to write this book?

JJ - I wrote my first pieces of this story over 10 years ago. Then my kids were born and life got in the way. I finally completed a full rough draft in 2014, and actually won a contest with it that year. Based on feedback from that contest and beta readers, I polished it up and finaled with it in the Golden Heart in 2016, which directly led to my publisher picking it up.

Q - What kind of research did you do for this book?

JJ - I researched the Incas, other Bronze Age civilizations and rain-forest ecosystems. While I have traveled to Costa Rica, most of my research has been from books or online. I fell down the Pintrest rabbit hole more than once trying to get some detail just right!

Q - What did you remove from this book during the editing process?

JJ - I rewrote the opening scene multiple times, and left entire drafts of it on the cutting room floor.

Q - Are you a plotter or a pantser?

JJ - I’m a pantser with aspirations of being a plotter. I find pre-planing interesting and helpful, but my stories tend to take unexpected turns during the actual writing. I’ve learned to live with a messy revision process to take those new twists into account.

Q - What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?

JJ - I really enjoy drafting a completely new story. There is something very exciting about a blank page where anything is possible. NaNoWriMo is my catnip, though I’m only sometimes at that drafting stage in November.

Q - What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?

JJ - Final edits are challenging for me. There is always more polishing that can be done so sometimes I have a hard time letting go and calling a project ready for submission.

Q - Can you share your writing routine?

JJ - I have three kids, so during the school day is my solid writing time. If I’m drafting or in early revisions, then I like meeting a writer friend at a coffee shop or the library. I tend to do different tasks at different times of day. Fresh writing in the morning, and detailed edits at night.

Q - Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?

JJ - Writing is a very solitary business, and until you have a contract, all your goals and deadlines are self-imposed. I don’t think I’ve ever had writer’s block, but I have struggled with self-motivation at times. Having a writer community and friends to hold me accountable have been invaluable to me.

Q - If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

JJ - I think I would just give myself a pep talk. When my children were young, writing was especially hard, and I think I would just tell myself to keep at it! I might also have encouraged myself to push through the hard revision stage with more of my manuscripts.

Q - How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

JJ - I won NaNoWriMo for five years straight, and most of those books are unfinished. I also wrote a novel as my senior thesis in college, and that book is firmly in the “unpublishable” category.

Q - Do you have any writing quirks?

JJ - I’ll give myself chocolate chips as incentives for getting through revisions. Sometimes I think my stories are fueled entirely by chocolate.

Q - Tell us about yourself?

JJ - I live in the Pacific Northwest with my own soul mate, our three children and a rotating menagerie of pets. Currently we have an elderly cat and a pair of birds.

Q - How did you get into writing?

JJ - I’ve always loved stories and read voraciously, but didn’t start writing anything down until high school. I was a math major in college, and have a technical bent, but once I took a creative writing class, I was hooked.

Q - What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

JJ - I love to travel. I find new places and experiences very energizing. I think that’s why I enjoy reading so much. You can always be transported to a new place between the covers of a book—and it’s cheaper than airfare!

Q - Apart from novel writing, do you do any other kind(s) of writing?

JJ - Does twitter count?

Q - Share something about you most people probably don’t know.

JJ - I used to drive a school bus, and still have my commercial license.

Q - Which book influenced you the most?

JJ - As a teen, I was a huge fan of Mercedes Lackey, and read the “good parts” (ie: the romantic scenes) of OATHBREAKER a dozen times. These days, I deeply admire Mary Balogh for her emotionally rich work. THE SECRET MISTRESS is probably my favorite novel by her, because of its unusual characters, but it’s hard to pick just one.

Q - What are you working on right now?

JJ - Book 2 of the Hands of Destin, of course. DEADLY COURTSHIP is a second chance at love story between Quintin’s friend in the city guard and her on again, off again lover.

Pitch: In a world rife with elemental magic, Han-Triguard Madi’s earth gift strengthens her body, but makes her distrust of fluid emotions. When her former lover Jasper, a water gifted empath, begs her to protect his brother’s orphans, Madi struggles with unwelcome tenderness even as she tracks down a murderous Lord.

Q - What’s your favorite writing advice?

JJ - Being a writer is a marathon, not a sprint. Be prepared for the long haul, and keep in mind that every goal, every book is just a marker on the journey.

Q - The book you’re currently reading

JJ - I read fast and often so my choice in fiction changes almost weekly. In non-fiction I have been chewing on YOUR BOOK, YOUR BRAND by Dana Kaye

Q - Tell us about the magic in your world?

JJ - It’s an elemental magic system based on the idea of balance. There are three elements in Destin: earth, air and water. When those elements are in balance, it creates the spark of life, and the closest thing to fire magic. In TAXING COURTSHIP, Quintin has an air imbalance which gives him the ability to manipulate air and speak mind to mind.

Q - What is your favorite romance trope?

JJ - I’m a big fan of opposites attract. An important part of what makes a relationship work for me, is when a couple plays off each other’s strengths, and becomes more than they ever were alone. And with opposites, there is always the opportunity for sparks to fly before they figure out how to work together!

Links to Jaycee Jarvis