Hey There Darynda!

I’m honored to welcome the fabulous Darynda Jones to the lagoon today.

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t listen when I was told I just had to read FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT.  But I’m glad to say that when I did, I could immediately buy SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT.  For the first time in my life, I paid full price for a hardback book.  It was worth every penny.   Many times over…

Then I—along with all of Darynda’s other fans—had to sit and (im)patiently wait until THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD came out.

I’ve stalked her on Twitter.  I’ve visited her website so many times for updates on her books that I’m sure to get banned from there soon.

Imagine my surprise when she so generously agreed to be interviewed by me—with nary a restraining order in sight.

In 2009, Darynda’s unpublished manuscript (FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT) won RWA’s Golden Heart award for Best Paranormal Romance.  Less than three years later, Darynda is a double RITA nominee in two categories (Best First Book; and Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements) for that same book, only it’s now not only published but a bestseller.

Let’s ask Darynda a few questions, and maybe she’ll even answer a few more…

1.    What was your inspiration for FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT?

My inspiration was actually my heroine Charley herself. She just kind of popped into my head one morning, told me all about her life, and the rest is history. It was her personality that drew me to her more than anything, though. I wanted a character who was fun and a tad crazy but who lived in a rather dark world. I wanted her to have accepted her circumstances, to treat them rather everyday, like they were nothing special, and not be a whiner about them. LOL

2.    How many books do you anticipate there being in the series?

Well, my editor wants it to be ongoing, so there’s just no telling. I would love it to continue for quite a while longer. I adore writing about Charley and her antics.

3.    Please, please, PLEASE tell us that Charley and Reyes finally get together in the flesh.  I know that’s not a question.  So just comment.  And comment to my liking.  🙂

Hahaha. They definitely do, and quite soon. *wink wink*

4.    In real life, are you more like Charley or her best friend Cookie? 

You know, I’m not sure I’m very much like Cookie. She is super savvy, efficient, a tireless worker . . . yeah, that’s not me. I am like Charley in one very basic element: We both suffer from serious cases of ADD.

5.    Do you have a Cookie in your life?  I think everyone should have one. 

Oh, don’t I wish! I agree. Everyone should have a Cookie. And if I ever find one, I’m going to kidnap her and force her to do research and go to the post office for me.

6.    How many hours a day do you write?

It kind of depends on where I’m at in the process and how tight of a schedule I’m on. If I’m on a first draft, I will usually write (actually put new words on paper) anywhere from 2-10 hours a day, although I will be at my computer for more like 14. There is SO much more to writing than writing. If I am nearing my deadline, my hours will jump up from there.

7.    Do you have something special you do as a reward for reaching a goal?   (Finishing a book.  Finishing a tough chapter…)

Well, I am all about the reward system. LOL. After I finish a deadline, I will take a couple of days off (schedule permitting) and just vegetate. My brain is usually quite mushy by then anyway. Finishing a tough chapter? I will probably take the evening off and watch an episode of my favorite television show or go to a movie.

8.    There is a rumor going around that FIRST GRAVE may become a television series.  Can you tell us a bit about that?  And if it happens, how in the world will anybody be good enough to play either Charley or Reyes?? 

Yep! It actually sold to CBS for the CW a couple of years ago. Hopefully they’ll do something with it someday, though I’m not holding my breath. I can see several women playing Charley. For some reason, that is not nearly as much of a challenge as finding someone to play Reyes. I do not envy the casting director that job.

9.    I’ve heard you mention your sons, who you call the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.  How old are they?  Have they read your books?  And if so, are they proud, embarrassed (by the hot scenes) or a little bit of both?

My boys are awesome even though my youngest wrecked my car yesterday. LOL. They are 23 and (as of today) 19.

My oldest is Deaf and is not a fan of the English language, so he has a great excuse, but neither has read my books. It doesn’t bother me in the least. My husband doesn’t read my books either. I have no problem with that at all. However, many of their friends, especially girls, do read them and that gets funny. One girl texted my youngest and commented on how hot they were. My son texted me with: “MOM! What exactly are you writing???”

It’s the little things in life.

10. What author living or dead would you want to meet and why?

Well, since I’ve met the amazing JR Ward and the incredible Neil Gaiman, I guess I would love to meet Stephen King. I’d also love to meet Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde. Oh, and Mary Shelley. How cool would that be? And I’d love to have a face-to-face with Suzanne Collins. And Stephen Hunter! Okay, you said ‘author.’ Sorry. They’re like Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t pick just one.

11. What books have you read recently?  Any book recommendations for those waiting patiently for FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET?

Well, anything by JR Ward should do the trick! LOL. That woman is amazing. Also, Molly Harper and Jacquelyn Frank. Fantastic books!

12. What time of the day do you find most productive for writing?

A quarter past deadline. 🙂

13. How did you come up with your character names?

Actually Charley Davidson was originally named Harley Davidson. My editor put a stop to that silliness, so Charley was born.

As for Reyes, I was writing First Grave while interpreting at our local Jr. High and there was a kid whose first name was Reyes. I’d never heard it as a first name before and just fell in love. So I told him I was stealing it. He seemed okay with my thievery.

Oddly enough, at that very same school, there was another kid named Garrett who was sitting a couple of desks away from me while I was trying to come up with a name for, you guessed it, Garrett. Weird. And Swopes is the last name of one of my best friends.

I had a friend named Cookie who lived in Albuquerque many years ago and stole her name for my loyal, fashion-challenged administrative assistant.

Uncle Bob is in homage to the Terminator where John Connor introduces the Terminator to his friends as Uncle Bob. I thought that was too funny.

14. You have a YA series debuting in October.  Can you tell us a little bit about that?  How many books do you think will be in the series?

Absolutely! The Darklight series will be a trilogy. 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? 

15. Do you listen to music when you write?  Do you come up with a playlist for your books and characters? 

I don’t listen to music while I write at all. I must have complete silence. There is enough chaos in my head while I write. Music only adds to the confusion.

16.  How do you balance your web presence (blogging, web site, interview) with your writing?

Badly. It’s really hard to come up with that balance and it’s a constant challenge for me. I will often spend more time on writing-related content than actual writing, and that is not how it should be. I’m considering therapy.

17. Do you believe in an afterlife?  Supernatural? 

I do believe in the afterlife, I’m just not sure how much of it I believe is here on Earth. I am quite the skeptic.

18. Plotter or pantser?

Plotter. I MUST know where my story is going or I get lost in all that confusion I mentioned earlier and it’s hard to come back from that. Pantsers amaze me. They are like these mystical creatures who are not really of this world. I think they’re from Saturn. Or one of its rings.

19. Tea or Coffee? 

Coffee. Sigh….

20. Do you snack when you write?  If so, what are some of your favorites?

Gah! I’m so boring. No, I don’t snack. It’s too distracting. LOL.

 

One lucky commenter will get his/her choice of either of Darynda’s October 2012 releases:  FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET; or DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR–the first in her YA series.   And making it even better…Darynda will personally sign it!  The winner will be randomly chosen and posted on Sunday.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I wish Darynda the very best of luck in Anaheim at RWA’s RITA Awards in July.  Thank you, Darynda, for swimming with your mermaid fans!   And those on dry land.