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In 2009, Darynda’s unpublished manuscript (FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT) won RWA’s Golden Heart award for Best Paranormal Romance.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.

86 thoughts on “Hey There Darynda!

  1. Darynda, I think you’re the bomb-biggety, and I’m always recommending your series. In fact, I imagine the ladies on my online book club suspect I’m getting kickbacks from your sales. 🙂

    Congrats on another RITA nom, and best of luck!


    1. Thank you so much, Lea!!! I’m really nervous about it coming out. I wrote the first one literally years before I wrote First Grave, and although I rewrote it, one never knows what reader reaction will be. Sigh…

      1. I read the first chapter on your website, and I assure you that you worry for naught. It will be just as amazing as FIRST GRAVE!

  2. Darynda,
    OMG! I’ve been anxious to see you here! *Fins are flapping excitedly!*

    Okay, I won your first three hard back books from a contest with you recently. Don’t hate me– I have them in my basket to read as I’ve recently been unable to read anything while working on my novel (I reward myself with reading).

    But–my mother came to visit and scooped up the first one, wanted to take the second and third home with her (told her fat chance) but found her the paperback copy (for the second) at B&N for her for her birthday.

    Then my 20 year old daughter scooped up the first one, devoured the second and within less than 3 days had all three read and is DEMANDING the fourth one. (She will probably comment here as soon as she wakes up–off of work today.) Excited to see a YA book too–my neice will probably love it–sounds like it is right up her alley. My daughter too, I’m sure. You will be keeping my family entertained for awhile it sounds like. 😉

    So needless to say, once my novel is back in to publisher this week–guess what I’ll be doing? Yes–following the rest of the readers in my family to enjoy your books! LOL 😉

    Good luck to you on the RITA and thanks for swimming with us today. Don’t be a stranger, the lagoon is warm and friendly at all times!


    1. LOL, that’s awesome, Loni! Thank you!!! And please thank your mom and daughter for me. I am so pleased to be here. LOVE me some Mermaids!

  3. Hi Darynda!
    Wonderful interview….back to your desk, girl. We are patiently waiting for another installment of Charley’s adventures. I’ve preordered the 4th! and looking forward to the YA.

    See you soon!


  4. Good morning Darynda and Kim!!!!!!! We love you!!!!!!! I had to say that before I run out of the house but I will be back to say how much we love you some more just as soon as my flippers will carry me home!!!!

  5. Welcome back to the lagoon Darynda! That was a wonderful interview. We really appreciate you stopping by and telling us more about yourself.

    I love your books! I mean Reyes, really, what’s not to love!?! With all the craziness, I’m sure you don’t remember, but I had the wonderful privilege of meeting you earlier this year at RT. It was right after the J.R. Ward author chat (Oh. My. GOD! That woman was hilarious!) but I just wanted to say you were really nice and you made my day! Thank you!

    Best of luck to you on the RITA and all your future endeavors. Happy writing!

    1. I totally remember! Thank you so much, Dana, and yes, that JR is a riot! She’s the bee’s knees, that’s for sure and I was thrilled to meet you. Hope to see you again soon!

  6. Hi Darynda! Fan-mermaid here. (I was going to say #1 fan-mermaid, but I suspect I’d have to fight Kim for the title. And maybe a few other mermaids, as well. Lol.) Love this interview. Love your books. And since YA is my genre of choice (to read and write), I am counting down the days until the release of Death and the Girl Next Door!

  7. oh wow, Kim is ashamed… what’s worse than ashamed? cos that’s where I am. I’m on my VERY FIRST READ of First Grave. I’m humiliated. But — loving every word!!! Seriously do not understand why I waited so long to pick up this book – it’s awesome. And what a fun, fabulous interview! I don’t know what I’m more impressed by, Darynda: the fact that you write up to 10 hours a day or that you don’t snack! Both are mind-boggling to me. Still, thanks for doing what you do — I’m going to have a great summer working my way through the Charley Davidson books : )

    1. No shame allowed! Thank you so much and I only write 10 hours a day when I no choice. Hahaha. Which, sadly is rather often anymore. I am the world’s WORST procrastinator.

  8. I’m from Saturn! I’m from Saturn! Yay!!!

    Hoorah – Darynda is in the lagoon!!! Thank you so much for stopping by and for the incredible interview. You know the Mermaids heart you and thanks to Kim who wouldn’t shut up about your book, we’ve all read it!!! 😉

    Good luck in Anaheim!

    1. Hahaha!!! I love Saturn-ites! Don’t know how you do it.

      Thanks so much for having me here in the lagoon and for the luck! I’ve seen the competition. I will need it. LOL! So many great authors.

  9. Hi Darynda! What a great interview. Okay, I might also be a borderline stalker. 🙂 Love the “Grave” series. Love Charley. SO happy to hear that she and Reyes will be together in the flesh soon!

    The world would be a better place if we all had a Cookie. 🙂

    Hoping to run into you in Anaheim so some of your genius will rub off. 🙂

    1. Susan!!!!! I will rub you in Anaheim every time we see each other! Wait, that came out wrong. So good to see you and here’s to Cookies!!!!

  10. What a fun interview! I remember when you won the GH. The title alone said this author is going places. Very excited to see you venturing into YA. I have a 13 yr old voracious reader so we’ll be adding yours to the pile. (Which doesn’t last long. It’s more a revolving pile of one.)

    Congrats on all the success and I’ll be cheering you on in Anaheim!

    1. Thank you so much, Terri! Hope to see you in Anaheim! And I love that you have a voracious reader. I wanted one. I got dirt bike enthusiasts instead. Sigh…

      1. You’re welcome to borrow my voracious reader any time you want! She has done some beta reading for friends and if left to her own devices I swear she goes through a book a day! LOL!

  11. Hi Darynda! Great interview today! I absolutely love your books and I can’t wait for your YA debut! Best wishes!

  12. Welcome to the lagoon Darynda! I voted to tie an anchor to your ankle until we got all of the gory details about Reyes and a couple dozen more books out of you, but the other mermaids out voted me. They lack that certain zeal to carry my plan out. 🙂
    Your No. 1 fan bawahahahahahahaha

    1. LMAO! And zeal is so necessary when carrying out such plans. Thank you so much, love. I’m thrilled to be hanging with you guys today!

    2. Avery does have that certain moral flexibility one looks for in a kidnapping accomplice… LOL! <3

  13. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Darynda and reading DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. SHE IS BRILLIANT, as is the book!!! (Well, all her books really) I’m DYING to get Fourth Grave!!!!! Love you D!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kristin! We should really start a true Reyes fan club. Or Charley. Or, hey, even Darynda. She rocks, too. 🙂

  14. I was late in the game reading First Grave. Picked it up in April at the RT Convention in Chicago, and fell in love! I told all my book club friends that they must read it (and books 2&3)!

  15. Hello Miz D and Miz Kim,

    Two of my favorite buds. Wonderful interview. And see Kim, I told you Darynda’s books rock!

    But Darynda, I take great offense at this comment…”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.” I like to think of myself from Mars. ;0)

    1. Ha! Mars it is, miss priss! Thanks for stopping by, beautiful lady. Kim has been so awesome, especially when I got my interview to her really late. I think she still likes me, nonetheless. 🙂

      1. Arriving late to the Darynda Party. Last day of school. 6th grade graduation. A really long awards ceremony. End of the year parties. Gifts for teachers.
        If it sounds like I’m making up excuses as to why I didn’t hit this party earlier, I totally am. LOL.
        And my middle name is Procrastinator, so I get it. 🙂

    2. Tammy,
      It all started one night at a bar in Orlando…you told me about Darynda’s book, and I thought, “Hmmm. Grim reaper? I think not.” What was wrong with me??? LOL.
      Now, I’ve made up for lost time! And I’ve converted everyone I know. Even people who don’t even read all that much. 🙂
      Thanks for recommending Darynda.
      And you’re one of my very favorite people, Tammy!
      Thanks for stopping by the lagoon.

      1. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to both of you!!!!! Thanks so much for having me, Kim, and for putting up with me, Tammy. Not many people know this, but Tammy is the love of my life. I was going to ask her to elope but we’re both already married. Darn it.

          1. I always had a feeling you were a woman of somewhat loose morals and easily distracted by shiny things. I don’t even have to have the diamond. See how easy I am?? LOL.

  16. Greatest recommendation ever, J.R. Ward hooked me up with First Grave, and the rest is history. Thanks for the chance to win Fourth Grave.

    1. All it takes is that first recommendation to create an obsession, huh, Sheri? 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I was out of reading material when the first Charley Davidson book came out – I fell in love with Reyes and I really like Charley. As soon as each successive book has been released I buy it 🙂 LOL – I am very eager to see where they go and when they get together (please!!)….Good Luck in the future and I would LOVE to get the fourth book!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kerry! I know what you mean about getting those books AS SOON AS THEY COME OUT!!! 🙂 It’s like crack.
      We’ll definitely put you in the running for the fourth book. 🙂

  18. I loved this interview! Thanks for adding to my Darynda/Charley obsession 🙂 Oh, if only I had twitter, I would be a full stalker… Darn it! I have to resort to Facebook stalking xD

    I can’t wait for Fourth Grave and the YA trilogy!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Azucena! Stalk away! I love to have company in my stalking. 🙂 Is there a twelve-step program somewhere for FIRST GRAVE? It is kinda like an addiction.

      1. I don’t think I want to enter a 12-step program, this is one addiction I’m willing to have all my life xD

  19. Oh I can’t wait to catch up to this book. I listened to the first and loved it and now I’ll be joining a read a long for the book.

    Love that you plan it all out. Now you can plan how I get Reyes all to myself. 🙂

      1. Ummm. Can I say, “Hell to the NO!”? If anyone besides Charley is getting Reyes to herself, it’s gonna have to be yours truly. I’ve been telling the mermaids that for quite a while. He’s mine. At least in this lagoon.

  20. This is such a fabulous peek behind the scenes of Charley’s (and Darynda’s) world — thanks for all the fun scoop. And the Darklight series sounds fantastic!

    Is the youngest Mighty Mighty Jones Boy in Mighty Mighty Trouble, poor guy?

    1. It does sound fantastic, doesn’t it? You have to read the excerpt! Go thee to Darynda’s website. 🙂
      And I can’t wait for BOUND to come out! The last of your trilogy! Yay, you! Congrats to you. So many good things for Golden Heart winners! 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by, Erica!

  21. I can’t wait for the YA series. But my mom (Kim MacCarron) Wouldn’t let me read the others series. But a funny story is…. My mom lent first grave on the right to my friends mom and told her to read it. Well little did i know that she finished it in a day and gave it back to her daughter to give it back to me at school. She apparently put the book on my desk and fell it off when i didn’t know. Well my 6th grade teacher found it later in the day and said ” Uh…. Who is reading this book …. it says it is full of Sexual activity and romance….” I had no clue in the world it was my mom’s book. LOL … then it hit me 20 minutes later i leaped out of my seat and ran to the front desk to pick up the book. I said “Is it signed by the author to kim? He opened the book and was like “OHHHH hahahaha thank god i thought one of my 11 year old students was reading this book. Hopefully my mom will let me read this up-coming YA book. can’t wait!!!!!

    1. True story, dat. 🙂
      Apparently the teacher even started to read the first couple paragraphs. Ouch! I’m not a big blusher, but it was a tad bit uncomfortable the next time I saw the teacher–who is a man, I might add. Which makes it even worse. If it had been a woman, I would have just converted her on the spot.

  22. That was a great interview. I wasn’t aware that Darynda was an ASL Interpreter. That is my second language. 🙂
    I love Darynda, Charley, Reyes, Cookie and even Garrett.
    I cannot wait to read “Fourth Grave Beneath my Feet” and “Death and the Girl Next Door”!

  23. Hello to my wonderful Ruby sis Darynda and my Unsinkable sis Kim! Loved the interview. Darynda, as you know, I’m a big fan girl of you, too. 🙂 You have an incredible voice–perfect pitch! I’m soooo looking forward to your YA series.

    1. I’m looking forward to that YA series, too. Thanks so much for swimming by, Vanessa. Were you a Golden Heart finalist every single year??? LOL.
      Fan Girls Unite! 🙂

    2. Oh, thank you so much, Ruby Sis!!!! I still think you should supplement your writing career by becoming a super model, but that’s just me. Heart you!

  24. Well, I had to come see…. I’ve been meaning to read Darynda’s books for a long time as all my facebook fans (paranormal addicts) adore you… but of course I’ve been DROWNING in my reviews (Can I get a pair of mermaid flippers over here please?!) but I WILL one day read your books, all of them, because I seriously love series and I stalk characters so it might be safer if I have at least 4 waiting for me when I’m ready to tackle them! 😉

    Even though I get busy reading, I do really like to stalk authors and their interviews… its fascinating to me… I’m trying to write some short stories myself and mine are WAY shorter than Darynda’s but I have to admit I’m just like her and I procrastinate… Majorly! I’ll do lots of research about this or that.. or start messing with covers on my own etc.. and then I’m like “darn, didn’t write today!” I definitely need to take a page out of your book though and sit down to write at least 2-4 hours a day, even if they are scattered about. I don’t like listening to music when I write either… though I know a lot of authors who do and I’m like “How do they do that??!” I can do it… but I tend to tune all the music out and I don’t even realize I’m listening.. its like background noise 😀 Anywways, cool interview 🙂 will get them all soon when my flippers finally catch up *grins*

    1. Chelsea,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, you really do have to read the books. I know exactly what you mean about liking to read a series that has several–if not all–the books out already. I did that with Twilight and also with Hunger Games. I read all three Hunger Games books in a weekend. Loved that I didn’t have to wait for the next one. LOL.
      I find myself with the exact same problem that you’ve experienced. I get caught up in things somewhat writing related, but then I end up not doing the actual writing. I truly wish I had some self-discipline. And don’t even get me started on my addiction to online Boggle. Yikes.
      Good luck on your writing! Stick with it! And come back to visit us again. We’re a pretty fun group. 🙂

      1. Kimberly its a pleasure! 😉 And I really do want to read the books! I probably have at least 300 TBR’s on my list… I try not to think about actual numbers because I’ll frighten myself haha! 😉 Yeah I don’t mind waiting “sometimes” but if I’m really into a series?? ugh, hate the wait time 😀

        And yeah I do the same thing on writing.. I need self-discipline too.. I keep saying ohh I’ll do it.. and then I don’t *sigh* I’m afraid to ask what boggle is… I have enough additions as it is so I’ll just pretend I didn’t read that LOL 🙂

        And thank you on the writing.. I’ll do it! Yes, today!!! haha! really *cough* You guys seem fun for sure 🙂

    2. Chelsea, I am the same way. I wonder how people can listen to music when they write. When I do, I either completely tune it out which makes the point moot or I focus on that instead of writing. It just doesn’t work for me.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and good luck on the writing! Yay!

  25. Good night Darynda and Kim!!!!! Whew, that was a long day and I just have to say…

  26. WE LOVE YOU!!!!! (Some of us in a slightly more scary way like, ahem…a certain mermaid named Kim… 😉

    Sweet dreams, splish-splash

    1. Carlene,
      There’s no need to make me seem extra stalkerish and weird. Really.
      Sweet Dreams to you as well.
      Taking my sparkly tail off to my comfy rock by the sea.

  27. GAH!!!! I had a killer weekend and didn’t get back to these wonderful comments like I’d planned. So sorry, beautiful creatures of the sea!

  28. Great interview!! Just finished Second Grave last night and am seriously considering not working today so that I can read Third Grave. You are a bad, bad influence Darynda Jones:) Thanks for the amazing reads!

    1. Juliette,
      When I read the first two books, I think I let my five kids eat cereal for every meal until I finished reading. Yes, Darynda is a bad influence, but sometimes it feels soooo good to be bad. 🙂

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