Interview: Jaye Wells

Please welcome Jaye Wells, author of the Kate Prospero series.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Wake up in Tuscany. Yoga in the morning followed by cappuccino, a good writing session on a patio overlooking the Wells_DeadlySpells_TPpatchwork hills, lunch in a town on a hill followed by gelato, find a body in the piazza and help the police solve the crime, and then dinner al fresco with my family and friends, lots of wine and laughter.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
Accessory: I wear a Mantraband almost every day. I have several and change out the message based on my mood.

My signature color changes. Right now I’m in a pleasant blue phase. Phrase: “Walk tall, kick ass, love music, and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers, and warriors.” –Hunter S. Thompson (this is one of the quotes that hangs above my computer monitor)

Meal: I love to cook and to eat, so I don’t have one signature meal. But I think good company can make any meal better.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), my art history professors in college who taught me to love symbolism and to see how paintings tell stories, and Brother Blue, a storyteller how used to have story time at the bookstore my mother managed when I was young. He made storytelling seem like magic—like a story wizard.

Do you listen to music when you write?  
Yes. I create playlists for each book I write.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Bitter chocolate. Without the bitter, the sweet ain’t as sweet.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I wanted to see what would happen if I combined crime fiction with magic. Just before I started this book, I binge-watched The Wire. I thought it was great, but wanted to see what would happen if Omar and Stringer Bell were wizards.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Individuality versus conformity
Inherent corruption of powerful institutions
Magic as metaphor
The false dichotomy of good versus bad
Characters trying to be strong is a world invested in breaking them
Marginalized characters who betray the myth of “normal”

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Kate Prospero grew up in a crime family. She was being groomed to take over. This made her very cocky when it came to cooking magic, which led to a traumatic tragedy. She walked away from the family and the magic and vowed to turn her life around. The problem is, magic—and the family—are part of her. The more she resists accepting both, the harder her life becomes.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Kate Prospero is a mash up of Raylan Givens (Justified), Sarah Linden (The Killing) and Fiona Goode (American Horror Story: Coven).

If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Stephen King, Anne Rice, Chuck Palahniuk, Tana French, Neil Gaiman, and Shirley Jackson.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing a horror novel as my thesis for my MFA in Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. I’m also getting ready to begin the fourth Kate Prospero novel. The third one, Deadly Spells, releases in February.


Raised in Texas, USA Today bestseller Jaye Wells grew up reading everything she could get her hands on. Her penchant for daydreaming was often noted by frustrated teachers.  She embarked on a series of random career paths, including stints working for a motivational speaker and at an art museum. Jaye eventually realized that while she loved writing, she found facts boring. So, she left all that behind to indulge her overactive imagination and make stuff up for a living. Besides writing, she enjoys travel, art, history, and researching weird and arcane subjects. She lives in Texas with her saintly husband and devilish son.

11 thoughts on “Interview: Jaye Wells”

  1. Thanks, Mary! Dresden is such a great series. Prospero’s War is a little different because the magic is in the open and is a bit less paranormal in flavor because it’s all based on alchemical potions. Plus my main character is a cop, not a PI, so it’s less noir than Dresden and more gritty police procedural.


  2. Jaye, this interview started on a great note: Describe perfect day: Wake up in Tuscany. Seriously, you could have stopped right there!

    Love the description of your themes and of Kate’s internal struggle. It’s easy to see how you’re well on your way to book 4. Lots of great material!


  3. Magic and mystery, what a great combination! I love your themes, especially this one: “Characters trying to be strong is a world invested in breaking them”

    Has the Seton Hill program been a good experience for you? Good luck with your thesis!


  4. Jaye, I love your mix of crime and magic, which feels very unique! Kudos on your theme of characters trying to be strong in a world that is trying to hold them down. Really a universal concept and combining it with mystery elements is always so intriguing. Keep on writing!


  5. Sue Star, I am loving the Seton Hill program. Some days I think I’m crazy to try to juggle a master’s degree with a career, but I’m getting so much out of the classes and community there. I absolutely love that their focus is popular fiction, too. I’m learning so much about all of the major genres.


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