Goldfish Grimm: If we could peek into your office (coffee shop, kitchen table, wherever you write), what would your writing process look like?
Jaym Gates: I’m a compulsive world-builder who dabbles in every form of fiction. It would look brilliant: classical music in the background, three or four windows open with notes and bits of stories jotted in them, some pretty movie like Hellboy: Golden Army or Corpse Bride playing quietly in a small window, me looking very serious and writerly as I stare at the squirrels playing in the redwood outside my window.
GFG: What is it actually like?
Non-existent!The sad truth is that I wrote obsessively for almost 10 years, but didn’t really submit anything. Then my editing and publicity career took off, and I just don’t have time to write anymore. So I’ve got about 50 stories on my hard drive, ready to go out, and not going out.
For the writing itself, I tend to be a one-round writer. If I write a short story in stages, I lose control of it. “Clank-Clank Nanny” was written in one draft, with very little editing afterward. I’m a perfectionist!
GFG: Was there anything in particular that inspired “Clank-Clank Nanny”?
JG: I think I was listening to a song at the time that inspired it, but I couldn’t tell you. Most of my flash comes out of strange tics in my head. I think I was also thinking about the leftovers of war.
GFG: Red eyes and blue eyes. These images had me the most intrigued throughout the story, along with the repetition of rust and dust, bones and stones. Beyond the symbols of deterioration and decay, what meaning could be assigned to these descriptions?
Red eyes are considered the sign of evil and madness. Blue eyes are often what you see on heroes, the love interest, etc. So Nanny is wanting to go back to normality, find her sanity, forget the madness of the war, and she’ll do anything to make that happen.
More esoterically: I have several friends with PTSD from events in the various wars over the last 15 years. The way that alters the basic chemistry and worldview of a person is never very far from my mind, and filters into a lot of my work.
GFG: Do you have anything you’d like to plug or promote?
JG: I’m a publicist, so I’m about the only thing I can publicly promote right now. I work on books, movies, games and press social media. More information on that can be found at jaymgates.com.
Jaym Gates dealt with childhood insomnia by reading books on dinosaurs, geology and Shakespeare. This explains a lot of things. She’s a publicist and editor by day, a stage manager by night, and writes and trains horses in the copious spare time left by the other three jobs. You can find her on Twitter at @JaymGates, or at jaymgates.com.