AAD Author Spotlight: Interview with Darynda Jones plus giveaway
For my twenty-second Authors After Dark Spotlight, I am excited and honored to have the awesome Darynda Jones.
Questions about AAD:
Have you attended Authors After Dark before or are you an AAD virgin like me?
I don’t get to say this very often, so here goes: I’m a virgin! LOL
What are you most looking forward to at AAD2012?
Being the fan girl that I am at heart. I get so excited when I see the names of the attending authors. So many of my favorites!
Which author(s) attending AAD2012 are you most looking forward to meeting?
Oh, gosh, there are so many. I am a HUGE Jeaniene Frost fan, so I would love to finally meet her in person. I keep missing her at other conferences. I love Jessa Slade and Virna DePaul. I would love to meet Yasmine Galenorn and Alexandra Ivy. Oh! And Manda Collins. And Pamela Palmer.
Okay, I’ll stop there. I’m excited to meet them all!
Questions about your WRITING and READING HABITS:
What did you do when you found out you were being published for the first time?
Truthfully, I sat down and cried. I was at a mandatory district-wide meeting for the schools I worked for and my agent and I played phone tag a couple of times that morning. I finally caught her call so I got up and stepped outside to take it. After she told me the first offer, I was so stunned I had to sit down. By the time we got off the phone, it all started to sink in and I started to cry. But I had to go back into the meeting, so I texted my husband the first offer (there were several more after that) and went back inside. Sniffing and flummoxed.
Of all of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite?
Oh, wow. It’s so funny because everyone always says, “The one I’m working on now.” And I finally get why. It’s the only one that is fresh in your mind. So I guess I’m going to have to be cliché and agree with the masses. I’m doing final revisions on Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet and I’ll have to go with that.
Have you ever written a scene that made you blush?
Not while writing it, no. The hotter the better. The more it takes the reader’s breath away, the better I’ve done my job. But I’ve had readers find mistakes I’ve made. That’s embarrassing. Like in one book I have a character with a silver Taurus. And in the next book, it’s magically white. Sigh….
Who was your favorite hero or heroine to write?
While I’ve written many stories and several manuscripts, I would still have to say that Charley and Reyes from the Charley Davidson series are still my favorites. Charley is just fun and Reyes is just hot. And stubborn. And deadly. A delicious combination.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine to read?
Oh wow, so many. I love Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones. Probably a little too much. But then you have that whole Black Dagger Brotherhood to contend with. Honestly, I’d take Zsadist in a heartbeat. (Sorry, Bella.) I even wanted to get a “Z” tattoo on my wrist. May still do it.
Have you ever been surprised by a reader’s reaction to a scene that you wrote – either good or bad?
All the time! Sometimes I’m floored with readers’ reactions, good and bad. It’s so fun!
Have you always been a reader or are you like me and got turned off by the mind-numbingly boring deep and multi-layered books you had to read in High School only to ‘find’ reading again as an adult?
Hahaha! Well, it just so happens, I had a fantastic BFF who introduced me to romance novels in high school. Before that, I could hardly stand to read. Aside from the mundaneness of high school reading requirements, I’d read a little Stephen King. I actually loved it, but I wasn’t “hooked” on reading until I discovered romance. That’s when I turned from a non-reader to a voracious one, and I’ve never looked back.
What book do you most remember having read in High School?
The very first romance I read was Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s A Rose in Winter. Only I’d read the condensed version in Woman’s Day while sitting in a dentist’s office. I told my BFF how fantastic it was and she was like, “Well, duh. Here, read this.” She handed me a book called Barbary Bride and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Questions about YOU:
What is your favorite movie?
I could never ever choose just one! I love so many. Right now it would have to be The Hunger Games, but I love everything from The Cutting Edge and Love Actually to Aliens and The Terminator. I love foreign films too, like Chunking Express, The Man from Nowhere, and Dead Snow.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Pralines and Cream or anything with chocolate.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Kind of a night owl, though I work better in the mornings.
Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you?
Well, I have a bachelor’s in sign language interpreting and was an interpreter for many years before becoming a full-time writer. I got into it out of necessity. My oldest son was born deaf. Probably just to spite me. Little stinker.
Question about your UPCOMING RELEASE(S):
Your Charley Davidson series is filled with some of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Did you know, when you sat down to write the first book, that your books would end up being funny or did that just happen?
First, thank you so much! I never imagined I could write funny! I’d always wanted to, but just didn’t think I had it in me. I’m not that funny in person. LOL. But it was something I strived for. It’s much more natural now. I hardly have to think about it. I kind of “channel” Charley now and she’s funny. Unlike me.
Quirky/funny characters are my favorite, but sometimes an author runs with the ‘funny’ a bit too much making the characters annoying and impossible to take seriously. You Darynda, write your ‘funny’ characters brilliantly! As an author, how do you find the right balance between comical/quirky and serious/realistic?
Again, thank you! Though some would disagree with you. I do have the occasional reader who says my humor is just too much, and that’s fine. Everyone has a different line to cross, so I just go with what I like and what I think is fun. For most, it’s a good mix. At least according to most of the letters I get. So that thrills me to no end.
And if an author can make me laugh and cry at the same time, I will be forever devoted to her. I think that is a hard thing to do and it is something I strive for. That fresh mix of heart-wrenching and comical. When the reader has tears in her eyes and yet is laughing so hard she almost pees, I have accomplished my every goal. I can then die happy.
The fourth book in the Charley Davidson series, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, is releasing October 30th 2012! (Only 153 days to go. Not that I’m counting or anything). Can you give us little medium hints as to what readers should expect this next book?
Haha! Sure. I can tell you that there is a lot more Reyes in this book, if that helps. After Charley’s encounter in the third book with a man who basically tied her up and tortured her, she is having a hard time getting back into the swing of things and has been holed up in her apartment for two months, going through a home-shopping phase. When she re-enters the world to help a woman who believes someone is trying to kill her, Charley finds that Reyes, angry and ripped to shreds, has been a very busy boy. And everything he’s done is for her.
You have a new Young Adult trilogy starting soon. What made you decide to branch out into YA and write your Darklight series?
Actually, I branched out into adult fiction when I wrote the Charley Davidson series. I’ve been writing YA since I was a YA. I took a hiatus and wrote a historical romance, then went back into YA and wrote the first in the Darklight series, Death and the girl Next Door. After that, I wrote First Grave on the Right. First Grave just happened to sell before the YA.
I was trying out different genres, seeing which I liked best, but I always find myself coming back to YA. I think I love the “discovery” of it all. My characters get to discover their first loves, what true friendship means, if they have any supernatural powers. Haha. I love paranormal!
Your Darklight series will follow sophomore Lorelei MacAlister and tell us what happens when she runs into the Angel of Death. Can we expect the same quirky humor in your new series that we see in your Charley books?
Not to the same degree, but actually, it was my first attempt at writing humorously. So it has its moments, but Lorelei isn’t quite as afflicted with ADD as Charley.
The first book, Death and the Girl Next Door is slated for release October 2nd 2012. Tell us about it.
Absolutey! Here is a quick blurb:
Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.
High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?
For you, what has been the biggest difference between writing YA and grown-up books?
Sex. Or the lack thereof. But I am all about the sexual tension, so while there will certainly be no sex in any of my YA books, there will be lots of angst and longing. You know, just like in real high school. (Or maybe that was just me.)
Thank you so very much Darynda for answering my questions today. I, um, may have asked you a few more than I usually ask because your Charley books are just so freaking awesome and I love your writing voice! I can’t wait to meet you in NOLA! I’ll be the one with “Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks” written on my badge and the big goofy grin on my face.
Darynda is offering an AMAZING giveaway. One winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of First Grave on the Left or Second Grave on the Right or Third Grave Dead Ahead! To enter just leave a comment below letting us know which book you would like to win. Be sure to leave your comment by Sunday, June 3rd 2012 11:59pm EST. Giveaway open internationally!