Interview: Darynda Jones

NRR: Can you share with us how you got started into writing?

I’ve always been a storyteller. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up fantastical tales. So writing just kind of came naturally, however I didn’t start writing toward publication until around 2002. It took me seven years to sell and First Grave was my third complete manuscript. 

NRR: What inspired you to write the Charley Davidson series?

Mostly desperation. I wanted something unique that would catch and agent’s or editor’s attention. I also wanted a character that readers would love, someone with a little bit of Buffy in her, a little Stephanie Plum and a lot of Lorelei Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls, and Charley was born. She is smart and sassy and just a tad accident-prone. She also has a serious ADD problem, but that could be contributed to all the coffee she drinks.

For the paranormal part, I sort of took mythology and lore and challenged it. While I use the loveable and ever-popular grim reaper, I tweaked and molded the idea of it until I’d created a feisty, fruity version. 

Charley Davidson is a mix of bravado and nerve and while the tone is lighthearted, she's attracted to a lot of dark things, like the big bad in her life and the place where she lives.  

NRR:What was the easiest/most challenging part of writing Second Grave On The Left?

The easiest was just bringing all the characters I’d fallen in love with back to life. They are so alive in my head and I had no problem coming up with what they would do or say. 

The hardest was making it a stand-alone. Wow, that took some doing and my editor has a few new gray hairs because of it, I’m certain. It was just so hard to bring in all the backstory from First Grave without it being boring or repetitive. You have to come up with a way to give readers new to the series all that information without boring the earlier fans to tears. Not an easy task, as I found out. 

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

Dreaming of all the ways to torture my characters. I love to put Charley through the paces, to make everything seem okay then blindside her with something she didn’t see coming. (Which is exactly what blindside means, so I probably didn’t need to explain that last part, huh?) And I love to put my hero and heroine together, have things heat up to the point of exploding, then throw a wrench into their plans. There’s nothing more frustrating then being interrupted when the man of your dreams is seducing you. 

I’m a little evil, if you think about it. 

NRR: Your books have the perfect blend of mysery, humor and romance. How long does it take for you to put a novel together?

The perfect scenario for me is to let a story simmer for a couple of months before starting to write it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen often for me anymore. I spent a very long time writing First Grave. Second Grave took me four months to write and, due to time constraints and schedules, I wrote Third Grave in two months. A feat I’m quite proud of. 

NRR: What is a day in the life of Darynda Jones like?

Normally I get up, make coffee, then sit down to answer email, do the social networking thing, and put out any fires that cropped up during the night. Then I shower and get ready to write. I may write for anywhere from 4 to 14 hours, depending on where I’m at on deadline. And that writing is often rewriting, revisions, copyedits, or any number of writerly duties. It’s not always new stuff. 

NRR: Okay, I have to ask this because I think it was absolutely brilliant! Why did Charley name her breast? (For those of you who have not had the chance to read First Grave On The Right, Charley named her right breast "Danger" and the left "Will Robinson")

LOL, first of all, thank you! And, sadly, I’m just not sure why I had her name them. The more I got to know Charley, the more it just seemed like something she’d do. I name all my vehicles, so I had her do the same, and the whole nomenclature habit blossomed from that. 

NRR: Can you share with us the storyline to Second Grave On The Left?

Absolutely! Here’s a blurby thingy:

Pulled from her bed in the middle of the night, Charley is coaxed into helping her assistant Cookie investigate the disappearance of her friend Mimi. Together they find out that Mimi isn’t the only one who’s met with foul play recenlty. Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally.) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

Okay, that was really quick, but you get the idea. 

NRR: What can fans expect to see from you next? 

Well, Third Grave Dead Ahead comes out the end of January, and I also have a young adult coming out in April, also from St. Martin’s Press, where a girl’s life is irrevocably changed when Death starts high school in her small town. 

Thank you for joining us!
I would like to thank NRR for having me. I think this site is just beautiful and am so honored to have been invited. 
Thanks again! 

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