It's a Wicked Jungle out there...

by Michelle Miles

I was searching for a topic this month when I ran across a post at one of my RWA chapter Yahoo groups. I was intrigued by the idea of a new site specifically for paranormal and urban fantasy authors. Especially since I'm beginning to write in that genre myself. So I contacted the owner, Melissa, and she agreed to an interview with me! I think you'll find the information here as exciting and awesome as I did. I know I'm fired up!

Where did you get the idea for your new site?

When I first decided that I wanted to pursue a professional career in writing everyone responded with the same advice. That I start with short stories. Master the craft: learn how to develop characters, write dialogue, build conflict and tension, those good things we writers love. Then, when I was finished perfecting my writing I was to sell my stories to professional market and build some credibility as an author. There was only one problem with that strategy (and it was a huge one). After searching high and low, submitting dozens of stories to dozens of print and online magazines I discovered there were no professional markets for the type of material I was writing: urban fantasy. I was puzzled by this. There were a handful of established authors publishing novels in the genre. I saw television shows and movies using the paranormal and supernatural as part of their story line. Yet everyone continued to say their wasn't a market for paranormal romance or urban fantasy.

Fast forward to five years later and I can honestly say the all-knowing "everyone" was completely wrong. There is a huge market for this genre and now that more people have fallen in love with it, I do not believe it is going away. It is not just another fad.

I gave up on short stories years ago and moved on novels. My first full manuscript was a bust. It is hidden in a drawer and will stay there until I become a good enough writer to get the story on the page to match the vision in my head. My second attempt faired much better. I've done several edits, polished it up and just recently begun the process of finding an agent. I have a few friends in my writing group that have recently sold their novels and what I learned was that publishing is a slow, slow, business. Once your novel is written it can take up to two years to actually see it in print! My initial thought was, that is a lot of wasted time! Think how much better their sales could be if they could build a fan-base before the novel was released. The online community is amazingly supportive. Readers are eager to discover new others and share their thoughts and opinions on books with the rest of the world. My vision for Wicked Jungle was to leverage that spirit, excitement and passion. To connect readers to new writers in the genre and to provide new authors with an opportunity to get exposure via short stories and flash fiction.

How did you get interested in the genre?

My love for paranormal fiction started at a young age. It was the summer before I started sixth grade and I was spending a few weeks at my grandmother's house. She lives in a small town, the kind with one flashing stop-light, one gas station, and one neighborhood grocery store. Lucky for my grandmother, there was a library within walking distance. My grandmother would let my cousin and I walk down to library and spend a few hours (during the hottest part of the day) lost in the book stacks. That was when I stumbled upon a collection of books by Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. In fact, I read Vampire Diaries the first time it was published in 1991! I was obviously ahead of the curve. To be honest, most of the books were not really age appropriate. But it was the supernatural elements that captivated me the most and I've been hooked ever since.

What sort of contributors are you looking for?

We are looking for new and aspiring authors that are passionate about the genre and can create great fiction in less than 3000 words. Trust me, it is not as easy as it sounds!! We also have opportunities for guest bloggers. We use the blog for interviews, excerpts, contests, news and updates. For those interested in guest blogging they can email me directly: with their desired topic and guest post date.

How long have you been writing?

I have always had a passion for telling stories and a desire to bring characters to life. I was told it wasn't a realistic career choice. I should be a doctor or lawyer, anything that would create a steady (and hefty) paycheck was the message drilled into me at an early age. During my senior year of college I had a moment of clarity (an epiphany, or an ah-ha moment as Oprah calls them) where I realized that I would never be happy unless I pursued my dreams of being a published author. I made the decision not to pursue law school and joined a writing group that has been instrumental in helping me learn the craft and business of writing. Six years later, I have sold short stories, I manage two blogs, and am working on selling my first novel. My how time flies when you are having fun.

What inspires you to write urban fantasy and/or paranormal?

What I love about urban fantasy is that it provides a fantastic escape from the everyday realities of the real world. Often the stories take an ordinary character (in many cases one that has been shunned by society and labeled an outcast) and provides them with a sense of purpose, a destiny for which the lives of many hang. Everything that made the protagonist a "freak" becomes essential in their survival. The rest of the fictional world may not know it, but that character has the opportunity to become a hero. As a reader, we get an intimate look at that transition. For a few moments, we are allowed to live in a magical world, where literally anything is possible. And more often than not, good often prevails. How cool is that?

Readers can connect with wicked jungle online at

Check us out on Facebook: Wicked Jungle Fan Page
Follow Us on twitter: handle: @wickedjungle
Melissa's personal blog:

Thanks, Melissa! We enjoyed having you here at PCD!

Michelle Miles writes romance, loves movies and enjoys a good urban fantasy. You can find out more about her books by checking out her website at


  1. Interesting interview. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great interview, Michelle. Applause goes out to Melissa for choosing writing as a profession and taking it seriously. Best of luck to her.

  3. Loved this, Michelle and Melissa! I'm working on a few paranormal/urban fantasy stories myself, so this is a great resource. I'll link it to my blog so I can visit often.

  4. "Everything that made the protagonist a "freak" becomes essential in their survival." This is one of the reasons I love to read urban fantasy.

    Great interview!

  5. Thanks for stopping by, ya'll! I was glad to spread the word about Wicked Jungle. :)

  6. Thanks for the kind words. Doing the interview as a lot of fun and I hope some of you will stop by the site and say hi!

  7. Just checked out the site - love the picture of Eric (waiting sucks!)

    Enjoyed the interview, Melissa and Michelle. It's hard to go against well-meaning advice when you know you have to follow your dreams. Glad you persisted.

  8. Very cool indeed!! Great interview and looks like a fantastic site.

    --Chiron O'Keefe


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