May 30, 2012

Posted by in AAD2012, Interviews | 59 Comments

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!

Here’s where you can find Darynda –

  1. it was an amazing interview. Now I really can’t wait to read the fourth book of the series! It’s terrible! Well I can’t wait for the YA book either. So curious about everything. I would love to win Third Grave Dead Ahead. thanks for this giveaway!

  2. Allison says:

    First Grave on the Left please! Great interview!

  3. I love these author spotlights! Really great interview.Would love to win First Grave on the Right. thanks!

  4. What a great interview! I love Charley and Reyes and the new YA series sounds good too!! I’d love a signed copy of First… smiles!

  5. What a freaking great interview with the fantab D! She ownes me, heart and soul, with her witty books. I so want to be her when I grow up. Seriously, people. 🙂
    And I just have to laugh aloud when I read that D thinks she is not that funny in person and say, “Liar, Liar, pants for hire!”….so NOT true by any stretch of the pervy imagination that she has in that brain.
    Can’t wait to party harty with you D, baby, in NOLA at the AAD. I think even Charley may show up, cause she thought it was a conference for ADD…silly woman.

  6. OOPS–My bad.
    Don’t enter me in the contest giveaway–I have all books already signed 🙂 and I would rather someone else get a chance at such an addictive series 🙂

  7. I love your Charlie and Reyes series! Can’t wait for the Fourth Grave book, but re-reading the previous books is so much fun. Would love to win an autographed First Grave (or any other) book. Thank you!

  8. eli yanti says:

    all reader must join this giveaway. love darynda’s book very much 🙂

  9. Great interview, Darynda! Squirrel…ah…not funny, bad girl, bad girl. Your humor is infectious. Keep up the great work.

    who has all your books in hardcover 🙂

  10. Awesome interview ladies! The fan girl in me is going to have as goofy grin on her face the whole day!:)
    I’m so jealous you get to meet in NOLA! Julie do some fangirly squeals for me when you meet Darynda!:)) And thank you for the giveaway, I’d love a signed copy of Third Grave!

  11. Great interview! I have been recommending this series to everyone. I have them all on kindle but would love for a chance to win a signed copy – it would be my first! First Grave would be great but any of them would make my day.

  12. Isis Nocturne says:

    Third Grave please! (I want to give my previously purchased copy to the roomie who stole my copy of Second Grave.) 😉

  13. Azucena Rodriguez says:

    Gosh, I love Darynda so much! I can’t wait for Fourth Grave and Death and the Girl Next Door. I am also interested in reading that historical she mentioned… lol! I would like to enter for the Third Grave book 🙂

  14. Thanks for the great interview! I’ve been wanting to start this series so I’d love book 1. Thank you for the chance!

  15. Filia Oktarina says:

    Great interview! I hear this series and want read it. I would love to win Second Grave on The Left please!!

  16. Darynda Jones always has awesome covers! Would love to win Second Grave on the Right!
    Can’t wait for NOLA!

  17. Marie-Claude says:

    I would like First Grave on the Left.

  18. I so need to enter and try to win Third Grave Dead Ahead! 😀 I need more Reyes *drools over Reyes* Did I say how hot I think he is? 😉

  19. Emma Wood says:

    Great interview of a great author can’t wait for october!

    First Grave for me if I win have them all on my Kindle but a signed copy would be fantastic!

  20. Amanda Lawrence says:

    I would love to have “third grave dead ahead”. The first two books were great and I haven’t had a chance to pick up the third.

  21. I love being introduced to new-to-me authors! I’d love a copy of First Grave!

  22. THANK YOU GUYS SOOOOO MUCH!!! And good luck, all!

  23. I ADORE Darynda…I belong to two fan Groups where we discuss her!/groups/210374592385601/…ahem, sounds like a bunch of gossips doesn’t it? Alot of fun there! SO looking forward to her next books…they are on my “MUST HAVE” list! LOL Would love to have an autographed copy of Second Grave on the Right.

  24. I love this series but don’t have the books. I purchased the first book on audio and loved it so much I purchased the next two; I would love a print copy!!!

  25. Lea Krnjeta says:

    I would like to win Third grave dead ahead. I am a huge fan of Darynda and of Charley.Love the story and the characters and the humor. I laughed so much reading this series and I cant wait for the 4th one. Also, Im looking forward to the new YA series 🙂

  26. Thanks a lot for this interview Julie! I had this serie on my wish list for a while but as soon as I read your post, I updated my list on goodread and here I hope to win the first in the series! I keep my fingers crossed! 😉

  27. Barbara Elness says:

    I would love to win a copy of First Grave on the Left since I haven’t had a chance to pick up any of the books in the series yet.

  28. 3rd since I only have one in E format! Great interview!

  29. First I wanna say THANK YOU for this interview!!! Second I wanna say I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU GUYS IN NOLA!!! I down the bayou so I’m so going!!! Third, I just recently heard about these books and now I hear great things about them EVERYWHERE!!! I would really like the first book so I can start the series! I’m so excited!! 🙂

  30. dian aesha says:

    Great interview and the cover very-very beautiful..
    maybe i would choose : first grave on the right..

  31. Astri Nasthasia Videlia says:

    Nice Interview… So excited about her book already… ^^

    The first book would be the best start I think…
    Thank’s for the Giveaway… ^^

  32. Thanks for the fun interview and giveaway! I’m soooo looking forward to reading the first two books (which I have) on my vacation the first week of June. I’ve been saving them for my “staycation” 🙂 Please sign me up for Book 3 🙂 You guys are sooo lucky to be able to go to AAD and I wish I could join you!

  33. I wasn’t going to miss this for anything in the world!
    Fantastic interview! I’m huge fan! (audiobooks) I know exactly what I’m getting every time I download one of Darynda Jone’s books, and that is, a whole day of pure entertainment.
    I can’t wait to meet her in NOLA.
    Thank you Julie.

  34. Great interview. I would like Third Grave Dead Ahead. Thanks for the giveaway.

  35. DANIELA says:

    I’d like First Grave on The Right, book 1. I’ve read very good reviews about this series and I’d like to start reading it.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  36. I would love to win Third Grave – I’m trying to save money but I’m going to have to buy it when it comes out in paperback. 🙂

  37. I would love to win Second Grave. It’s funny that Darynda doesn’t think she’s very funny, yet she writes humor so well.

  38. I’m such a fan of this series – love the snarky humour. Would love a signed copy, Appreciate you making it international – thanks for the chance to win


  39. Awesome interview!

    Thrid Grave for me plese =)

  40. What a great interview! Although, Darynda will have to fight me over Z… LOL

    One of my favorite things about the books, besides being just plain awesome is the sayings at the beginning of each chapter. They make me snort more times than not..

    I’d take the first book, only because it started it all.

    Thanks so much for doing this!

  41. Great interview ^^ i love this series
    i would like to win First grave on the right

    all the best

  42. Kristiana S says:

    Great post and love the interview so much! 😀
    Now i know that you wrote YA before you wrote Charlie Davidson’s series, Darrynda! I really excited to read your debut YA novel 😀
    Well, i have your Third Grave Dead Ahead in my bookcase, but i haven’t read the first two. It would be great if i can read the first on the Charlie Davidson’s series, First Grave on the Left.
    Thank you for the interview and for the contest, Julie 🙂
    And good luck for your next release, Darrynda! ^^

    Kristiana S

  43. Just finished 1st one. It was hilarious!!!! Would love two or three.

    Thanks for the great giveaway.


  44. Northwoman says:

    OMG! This author was already on my to read list, finding out there is funny is moving it up to the top. As always, I appreciate the awesome giveaway chances and would love to get First Grave on the right.

  45. These books are so great – Charley cracks me up! I’d love a copy of Third Grave. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  46. Patricia Mannix says:

    I am 65 years young this year and have been voraciously reading paranormal books since I was 17 yrs. old. Started with The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, HP Lovecraft & Day of the Triffid’s. It wasn’t until I read your Charley/Reyes books that I finally filled the hole in my reading hunger for the first time in my life. I love your humour/horror balance, it is delicious and I can’t get enough. I read all three in 2 1/2 weeks and want more. You write perfectly, not leaving the reader alone, falling off into an abyss, wondering what the characters face is doing, body language and from one scene to the next, I am never left guessing or left alone. You have knitted each scene, dialogue together without dropping one stitch, anywhere! I am studying to write myself and your’s is the only books I have purchased to keep as study material on how to write. I would love any one of your three books, it would be an honor….truly.

  47. You guys are so awesome!!! Thanks again! Isn’t this blog the best? Love it!

  48. Patricia, what a lovely thing to say!!! Thank you so, so much! What an honor. I love that you want to write. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  49. Great interview, Julie & Darynda! You ladies are awesome!
    I loved the hints about the next book and Darynda’s answer “The hotter the better.” =)
    Would love to have a signed copy of Third Grave Dead Ahead. Thanks for the giveaway!

  50. Kathy Webb says:

    Loved the interview and would love to win the second grave… I have read the first and need to read the next ones!! Thanks Darynda!


    aka Kathy

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