We interviewed the Author of UNDERGROUNDER, Jae E Glass all about her work!
1. Tell us about UNDERGROUNDER?
UNDERGROUNDER is the first book in a three-book arc that begins as a paranormal romance and evolves into an urban fantasy set in the seams between two dueling realities taking place in New York. It follows the story of Alexandra Bailey and Leanna Farrow, two women from vastly different worlds colliding in a time of crime and crisis. As the two drift closer together, first as friends and then as lovers, the mystery surrounding the Underground, Lee’s childhood home and the location of a secret world, and its origins take a sinister turn with the power to burn the Underground to ash, taking both women with it.
UNDERGROUNDER as a whole is billed as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it very much is on the surface level. Lee is a genetic anomaly who physically appears wolfishly “bestial” in contrast to Alex’s “beauty”, and while the standard tropes are there, the story has its fair share of mystery and intrigue as Alex uses her skills as a journalist to uncover the origins of the Underground and what/who Lee and her subterranean community really are.
2. What inspires your work?
I’m inspired by a lot of things and can’t really put a finger on the pulse of ONE thing that drives me, but if I had to pick it would be my love for hidden worlds linger just out of eyeshot. I love the idea there is something more to the world than meets the eye. Like, for example, graffiti. Is it really vandalism or a clever way to hide wards and sigils meant to keep humans from seeing what they shouldn’t? What if that sewer drain terminates at a secret door? Or maybe the reason that streetlight is brighter than the rest isn’t a short but a signal. That’s where my mind goes, and that’s where I draw the largest chunk of my inspiration from. The idea the unseen is more fantastic than the seen.
3. What can fans expect from UNDERGROUNDER?
Readers and fans of UNDERGROUNDER can expect to be taken on one hell of an emotional journey from start to finish. It’s a doozy of a book and features equal moments of brutality and beauty, heartache and healing. I try very hard to write a world that is both believable and sincere. My readers will encounter very human characters with very human flaws. They will also begin to dip their toes into a rich world full of its own wild mythology and monsters. There’s also a fair bit of laughter too, we can’t forget that. My wife, who is beside me through 90% of the writing process, inserts her wit many times throughout the story, bringing wonderful moments of light in the dark areas. As a whole, I think fan are in for a treat.
4. What advice would you give to new writers?
That’s a tricky question to answer because every new writer is different in their own right. What helped me in the beginning was just writing. That’s it. Write what you love and what you want to read. Find a fandom and dive into it. Dabble in writing fanfics and learning how to build your author’s voice and prose. I like to think back to advise my welding professor in college gave the class before we headed to the booths. He told us, “Books will show you pictures and walk you through the steps, but until you get your hands dirty and f*ck up a bunch, you’ll never actually learn. Failure is learning. So go f*ck shit up.” (he was a gem of a man). That’s my advice to new writers. Go out there and write messy stories full of errors and weak plots and terrible tropes because at least you’re getting your hands dirty and learning the trade.
5. Goals for 2022 and 2023?
Well, I can safely say that my biggest goal in 2022 was getting UNDERGROUNDER out into the world and into the hands of readers. With that done, I can focus on my next publication, which will be my goal for the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. BLOOD AND TINES is a standalone dark fantasy that sets the stage for not only the events transpiring in UNDERGROUNDER’S sequel TOPSIDER but also in future books to come. It’s the foundation for the world I’m building, and it’s my goal to get it fully polished and ready for publication by the end of the year.
6. What type of characters do you like to write?
I love relatable and real characters. I want to see myself in the people I both write and read, which is one of the main reasons I began writing in the first place. I also want to showcase strong female leads who push the limits while also knowing their worth and the worth of their insights. I like creating broken characters and showing that, even though they have cracks and fissures, they are no less valuable or needed. I also want to write male characters who defy societal norms or who grow in a constructive and healthy way throughout the length of the story and challenge the norms we see so often in fantasy and romance.
7. Where can people support you?
Twitter (@JEGlass_) and Tiktok (@jaeeglass) are my two main platforms, but it would mean the world to me for readers to write reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Even if they’re copy and paste copies of each other. Even if it’s just a “Thumbs up, loved the read!” kind of review. If you want to support me, or any author for that matter, PLEASE review.
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Tatiana Stec is the Co-Founder and Creative Director at All Ages of Geek. You can follow her on Substack.