Today it’s a freakishly huge honor to have visiting me today Darynda Jones, witty writer extraordinaire of the Charley Davidson series and her new young adult series, Darklight.
Today, it’s all about Charley!
In case you just got back from Mars or out of a cave somewhere in South America, the next book in the Charley Davidson series, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, comes out on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. I have my copy already pre-ordered from B&N – if you don’t, chop-chop!! It’s still at 50% savings over at Amazon (find links below).
ParaHangover (PH): A day in the glamorous life of an award-winning author… What’s it like? Do you write full-time?
Darynda Jones (DJ): I was able to “quit the day job” and write full-time a couple of years ago. I love it! You can’t imagine how grateful I am. As far as how my day goes, 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.
PH: I’m so happy to hear that you can focus on writing and don’t need the day job to support it!! And I can’t imagine all the hard work that goes into writing a book besides actually sitting and writing it (plotting, selling, promoting, keeping us fans happy); it’s a full-time job in itself!
I read, and it might surprise people to know, that you started writing young adult stories. Can you explain how that happened?
DJ: Absolutely! I’ve been writing YA since I was a YA, and my love for it has never waned. I sold an adult series, the Charley Davidson series, before my young adult even though I wrote the YA years before. The first one, Death and the Girl Next Door, is an October release and I’m thrilled that it’s finally hit the shelves.
PH: And don’t you know I personally can’t wait for Death, Doom and Detention (Darklight #2) coming out March 5th, 2013 😉
Will you ever go back, dust off your post-apocalyptic Van Halen epic, and publish it?
DJ: Ha! I love that you remember that. I have a horrible secret, though. In one of my it’s-time-to-give-up-the-dream-and-get-a-real-life fits of depression a few years ago, I actually chunked that manuscript. Yep, tossed it in the trash, though I do remember almost the entire story. Looking back, it does have some great elements that would still work today, but I’m not sure it’s a story I would want to tell today. I have too many other ideas bouncing around in my head that are screaming to get out and be heard. So while the odds are against it, I have considered using elements of that story in another story I’m working on. One never knows where life will take you.
PH: We all grow up and mature someday. Van Halen rock can grow up to be emo Radiohead. And oh what I’ve chucked in fits of depression: a whole set of kitchen chairs, bed comforters, basically anything that didn’t fit in my rented truck when I moved out of my college apartment.
When we last left Charley, she was utterly shredded, diced and pureed, both physically and mentally. What’s next for Charley? And Swopes?! And Mistress Marigold?! And…
Spoiler Alert ~ Skip to next question if you haven’t read Third Grave Dead Ahead!
DJ: LOL, well, as you might have guessed, being sliced and diced like a sack of potatoes took its toll on Charley and she is still recovering from all that in Fourth Grave. She has developed some interesting . . . habits, ways of coping with what happened to her, that have actually lead to bigger problems, but don’t worry! Cookie is on it! As for Swopes, he is dealing with a few things himself. He did die, after all, for a few minutes. It’s what happened after he died that will affect his mental wellbeing for some time to come. We also get to see Mistress Marigold and she helps Charley with a little problem she picked up on the wayside.
PH: Damn, why is October 30th so far away??!!!
Where do you get your bumper sticker and t-shirt slogans? Um, they rock!
DJ: Aw, thanks! A VERY few of them I make up myself, but for the most part, they really are T-shirts and bumper stickers. I keep a collection on my computer, save them every time I come across a great one. And sometimes readers will send me some. I love it!
PH: What is up with the death/reaper fixation (i.e. How did you come up with the kick ass idea for this series?!)
DJ: LOL, well, my fixation is one for the therapist. Not really sure about that. I came up with the idea of Charley while lying in bed with the sniffles one wintry morning, waiting for my turn in the shower. I’d been pondering what I wanted to write next for some time. I knew three things: I wanted it to be paranormal, I wanted it to have a strong heroine who couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble to save her life, and I wanted it to have a hero confident and capable enough to keep up with her.
And right there next to a medicated vaporizer, Charlotte Davidson and Reyes Farrow were born.
Reyes was easy. Tall. Dark. Brooding. My favorite kind of hero. But Charley took some thought. It took me about two minutes to visualize her completely, to mix the perfect characteristics that would become all that is Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire. She is a little bit Buffy, a little bit Stephanie Plum, and a lot Lorelei Gilmore of the Gilmore Girls. Which makes her more fun to write than I ever imagined possible.
PH: Best birth of characters story EVER!!! I totally concur on the Lorelei comparison – you nailed her!! You even have Charley driving a Jeep! Sweeeeet!! Why did that take me so long to pick up on? I think I just fell in love with you more…
Before First Grave on the Right was released, I remember seeing all sorts of glowing quotes from J.R. Ward talking up your book. As a huge Warden fan, that was one reason why I started looking out for your book. In true “pay it forward” style, is there an author you’d like to talk up or suggest we check out?
DJ: Oh, I love nothing more than talking about writers I adore! Right now I am reading two fantastic novels. One is Red Headed Stepchild, the first in the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells. I recently had the extreme pleasure of meeting Jaye and let me tell you, that woman is a living doll. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to hang with her and I’m loving her book! I’m late to her series, so now I have to get caught up. Oh, the agony!
The second book I’m reading and loving with a fiery passion is Kiss of Steel by Bec McMasters. This is Bec’s debut and you would never know it. The story, the characters, the sexual tension…oy!
And, BTW, is JR not the absolute bomb??? LOVE her with all my heart and soul!
PH: Okay, added Wells and McMasters to my TBR, STAT!! And yes, the Warden is one of the most gracious and generous authors out there (I love her virtual book signings – what a fantastic idea!). And so are you, Darynda!!
The Fun Stuff:
1. Charley’s shoes or flip-flops? Usually boots, actually.
2. Coffee, tea, or Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino®? Anything with the words mocha, cookie, and Frappuccino in it wins my seal of approval every time.
3. Van Halen, The Smiths or Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam? All fine choices! I’ll go with Van Halen, though the Smiths are great on long trips.
4. Dawn or dusk? Dusk
5. Quentin Tarantino, Michael Bay or Merchant Ivory Films? Totally depends on the mood, but I have to be loyal to my long-time love, QT.
6. Driving in the car: windows up, A/C on or all the windows down? On cool nights when the moon is high, I love the windows down.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charlie Davidson #4)
By Darynda Jones
Published October 30th, 2012
St Martin’s Press
Paranormal Romance | Urban Fantasy
From Goodreads: Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.
In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans.
I can’t thank Darynda Jones enough for allowing me to interview her! This is HUGE for little me. And a special thank you to Dana Alma for all her patience and hard work on making this tour happen. She deserves a cookie (or a dozen).
What? You want more? Well, I’ve got more!!! I have an excerpt from Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. If you’ve never read any Charley Davidson, here’s where you can get a feel for the characters. Rock on, Charley!!
With renewed energy, I pulled back onto Academy— after hitting a drive- through for a mocha latte— and had just started for home when my phone rang.
“Yes?” I said, illegally talking on the phone while driving within the city limits. Scoping for cops, I waited for Uncle Bob to stop talking to whomever he was talking to and get back to me.
My uncle Bob, or Ubie as I most often referred to him, was a detective for APD, and I helped him on cases from time to time. He knew I could see the departed and used that to his advantage. Not that I could blame him.
“Get that to her, then call the ME ay- sap.”
“Okay,” I said, “but I’m not sure what calling the medical examiner ay- sap is going to accomplish. I’m pretty sure his name is George.”
“Oh, hey, Charley.”
“Hey, Uncle Bob. What’s up?”
“Are you driving?”
“Have you heard anything?”
Our conversations often went like this. Uncle Bob with his random questions. Me with my trying to come up with answers just as random. Not that I had to try very hard. “I heard that Tiff any Gorham, a girl I knew in grade school, still stuff s her bra. But that’s just a rumor.”
“About the case,” he said through clenched teeth. I could tell his teeth were clenched because his words were suddenly forced. That meant he was frustrated. Too bad I had no idea what he was talking about.
“I wasn’t aware that we had a case.”
“Oh, didn’t Cookie call you?”
“She called me a doody- head once.”
“About the case.” His teeth were totally clenched again.
“We have a case?”
But I’d lost him. He was talking to another officer. Or a detective. Or a hooker, depending on his location and accessibility to cash. Though I doubted he would tell a hooker to check the status of the DOA’s autopsy report. Unless he was way kinkier than I’d ever given him credit for. I found his calling me only to talk to other people very challenging.
“I’ll call you right back,” he said. No idea to whom.
The call disconnected as I sat at a light, wondering what guacamole would look like if avocados were orange.
I finally shifted my attention to the dead kid in my backseat. He had shoulder- length blond hair and bright blue eyes and looked somewhere between fifteen and seventeen.
“You come here often?” I asked him, but my phone rang before he could say anything. That was okay. He had a vacant stare, so I doubted he would have answered me anyway.
“Sorry about that,” Uncle Bob said. “Do you want to discuss the case?”
“We have a case?” I said again, perking up.
“How are you?”
He asked me that every time he called now. “Peachy. Am I the case? If so, I can solve this puppy in about three seconds. I’m heading down San Mateo toward Central in a cherry red Jeep Wrangler with a questionable exhaust system.”
“Hurry, before I get away!”
Seriously, if that wasn’t enough, there’s two giveaways on this blog tour! Check these out!!!