Today, I’m excited to welcome New York Times bestseller Darynda Jones to Paranormal Unbound! I first heard of her when reading one of Margie Lawson‘s packet’s on fresh writing, and then this summer Ms. Jones taught a class at RWA University, which reminded me I’d wanted to check her out–so I grabbed her first book in her Charley Davidson series, First Grave on the Right. And, uh, yeah, I chewed, chewed, through the rest of them in some kind of book stupor. I couldn’t tell you what happened in which book, because when I finished one, I popped the next one onto my Kindle and kept reading. I love it when I find an author like that.
So without more dithering, here’s my interview with Ms. Jones, who was gracious enough to allow me to pepper her with questions, especially about the hero Reyes… Oh, and stick around to the very sherry end, as we have two books to give away!
In your Charley Davidson series, Reyes is such a yummy, sexy beast. When you were first conceptualizing the stories, did he come to you first, or did Charley? And was he fully formed (wink, wink), or did he develop alongside Charley?
Isn’t he wonderful? Sigh… Actually, Charley came to me first, in all her glory. She just popped into my head fully formed with all the quirks a girl could ask for. Reyes was more of a process. He was a mystery even to me and he unfolded with deliberate obstinacy, taking his sweet time about the whole thing. It was like trying to get open a Godiva chocolate and only peeling off tiny pieces of the wrapper at a time, layer by layer, instead of in one fell swoop. See? He’s even stubborn in my mind.
Cool, it’s always very interesting to hear how characters come to life for an author and for some reason it seems so fitting that he was as enigmatic for you as he was for Charley. I promise this won’t all be about Reyes (grins), but is there a certain scene or element about him that when you thought of it/wrote it you giggled and were like ‘ooh where did this come from?’
How did you know I giggle when I come up with these things? I did, actually, and still do when something fabulous about him hits me out of the blue. I giggled insanely when I figured out who his dad was. I didn’t know that at first and it just made him so much darker and even more delicious.
It certainly did, and it raised the stakes so much higher! You have a new release coming out, the third in your YA series Darklight. Can you tell us a little about the series, for those only familiar with Charley, and about the latest installment Death, And the Girl He Loves?
Sure! The series is basically about how one girl’s life is irrevocably changed when the Angel of Death starts high school in her small town. He’s there for a reason, of course. Her. But the more we learn about Lorelei McAlister, the more mysterious this seemingly everyday girl becomes.
Death, And the Girl He Loves brings the trilogy to its conclusion, where Lorelei must deal with the fact that the fate of the world rests on her reluctant shoulders, a fact she is not happy about. She has zero faith in herself or her abilities, and she is scared to death humanity will perish because she doesn’t know how to stop a supernatural war before it happens as prophesied. I’ve been told the conclusion is more action-packed and suspenseful than the rest of the series. This pleases me greatly. 🙂
I need to check this series out! Charley is a snarky narrator, and your stories are brimming with humor. Do you have any advice to share on writing humor?
Believe it or not, you can LEARN to write funny, even if you aren’t particularly funny in person. Like me. LOL. I studied comedy. I bought books on writing humor. I watched sitcoms and other humorous shows and movies. Paid attention to the type of humor and the timing. One invaluable lesson was: Less is more. The more you learn and practice, the more internalized it becomes until it’s second nature. That’s not always a blessing. I find myself being snarky at inappropriate times.
What are you working on now, and what’s coming up next for you?
I just turned in Sixth Grave on the Edge. I will have revisions and then copyedits, etc., for that, then I have a short story due in December for a horror anthology. The minute that is turned in, it’s on to Seventh Grave Preposition to be Determined.
Thank you for having me!
Thank you for joining us, it was fun learning more about your characters and books! Good luck with your new release!
Blurb for Death, And the Girl He Loves
The fate of the world is not something a girl wants on her shoulders, and that is especially true for Lorelei McAlister. Unfortunately for her, that is exactly where the world’s fate has decided to take up residence. Lorelei has seen firsthand the horrors that lie beneath our everyday world. And those horrors are getting her friends killed. Because of this, she agrees to leave the sanctity of her hometown and is sent to a different world entirely. A boarding school. But even here she is being watched. Someone knows what she is. What she carries inside her soul. And on top of that she’s seeing visions. This is nothing new for Lorelei. But these visions are something more: death, destruction, and the end of the world. Lorelei must face the fact that there are people who want her dead, and no matter where she goes, no matter how far she runs, the lives of her friends and family are in mortal peril. Lucky for her, her friends and family include the handsome Angel of Death, a fiercely protective half-angel, and a ragtag group of loyal supporters who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty in the name of fighting pure evil.
Unfortunately for me— and everyone around me— I have, for lack of a better word, visions. Sometimes when I touch people, I can see into their futures or their pasts. It’s heartwrenching on several levels. I never see the time they were laughing at a party or riding a roller coaster at the fair, screaming with exhilaration. No, I see the bad parts of their lives. I see the catastrophic. I see the pain and fear and anxiety. And now, thanks to this nifty skill I’d inherited, I knew exactly when, where, and how Kenya was going to die.
Her death flashed before my eyes the moment we touched. The visions were thoughtful that way. And now I had a decision to make. I’d struggled with the question of divulgence before. Many times. And this scenario was no exception. I might be able to prevent her death if she’d listen to me, but that took a lot of faith. And since she threatened me with a switchblade every chance she got, I didn’t figure faith was her strong suit. Especially faith in me. The new girl. The girl she most liked to harass and promise a slow and painful death to. I was pretty sure I’d developed a nervous twitch after meeting her.
But this was different. Maybe it was a timing thing. She was going to die too soon. Too young. She literally had only days to live. And the vision stole my breath with its vividness.
About Darynda Jones
NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.
Links To Author:
Links To Purchase Books:
- “I giggled insanely when I figured out who [Reyes’] dad was” Interview with @Darynda Jones on @ParaUnbound http://wp.me/p3gew2-mM #DGH❤ <–Click to tweet
- Interview with NYT Bestseller @Darynda Jones + Giveaways on @ParaUnbound http://wp.me/p3gew2-mM #DGH❤ <–Click to tweet
Intrigued? Commenters have two chances to win. I will use random.org to pick winners for each of the following (in other words, one person will win one, and the other, the other):
- An autographed book of your choice, courtesy of the author (Darynda Jones is not responsible for items lost in the mail. )
- An Advanced Reader’s Copy of Death, and The Girl He Loves (US residents only)
This contest will run until Monday 10/14 (12 AM Pacific) – Winner will be drawn and announced by End of Day Monday (PST)!
Disclaimer: Prize must be claimed within one week of the winning announcement.
Random.org has spoken and the winners are:
- THERESA MATERAZZI won the autographed book of her choice
- Tam won the ARC
The winners have been contacted. Thank you for participating!