We’re very happy today to have on the blog the author of the Charley Davidson series: Darynda Jones. The fourth book of the series will be released for October, like the first book of her new YA series: Death and the Girld next door.
Thanks to her for answering our questions.
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
Absolutely! My name is Darynda Jones and I write the Charley Davidson series, a paranormal mystery/urban fantasy story about a female private investigator who was born the grim reaper, and like Charley, I live in New Mexico. I’ve been writing for many years and sold my debut book, First Grave on the Right in 2009.
How many books do you intend to write for this series?
It is an ongoing series, so I’m not sure how many there will be. I am hoping it will continue for a few more years. I love writing about Charley!
Was it difficult to write the first book? How long did it take?
The first book was only difficult because I tried to write “differently” than I normally do. I always start with an outline (three actually), and then I just kind of write all over the place. I tried to write it from chapter one straight through and it didn’t work for me. I got stuck on chapter 6 and just left it there for over a year. In the end, it took me two years to write it. As a comparison, it only took me 9 weeks to write the third book in the series, Third Grave Dead Ahead.
Did it become easier with the following books?
Not so much easier because I’m not on deadlines. I have to write even when I am not in the mood. Hahaha. And I’ve learned that writing sequels is actually a bit harder in some ways. For example, you have to figure out how to bring in all that backstory without boring your reader to tears. It’s much more difficult that I was hoping it would be.
How do you find your titles? Did you imagine them all when you started the series or do you brainstorm each time?
The first three I came up with pretty quickly. It’s funny because I was just trying to come up with something kind of fun for the first one and it just hit me one day, First Grave on the Right. The next two were a breeze.
But after those, which are very light, I wanted to go a bit darker. My editor does not want me to though, so after Fourth Grave Beneath my Feet, which is a bit more serious, we are going back to the lighter titles. The next book is already titled Fifth Grave Past the Light.
How did you end up writing Urban Fantasy/ paranormal romance books? Is there any other genre that appeal to you?
I swear, EVERY genre appeals to me! I have manuscripts started in every genre under the sun. Mostly I write in paranormal, science fiction, young adult, and I even have several manuscripts started (and one completed) in historical romance. I love it all. I even have a spy story and a couple of assassin stories in there somewhere.
Does the inspiration for the characters come from people you know?
Not generally, though I will say that Charley’s best friend, Cookie, was physically based on a friend of mine. I will do that sometimes, just for a reference for physical characteristics. I like to combine people too. Like maybe the physical traits of someone combined with the sence of humor from someone else.
Probably the most difficult for me to write is not necessarily the character, but the attraction between Charley and her love interest Reyes. Reyes is so physically perfect and such a sweetheart at times and then he’s just a jerk at others, so it’s important for me to make him attractive and worthy of Charley’s love even when he’s angry or being a jerk. That is not always easy and I’m not sure I always pull it off.
Who is your favorite character in the series?
Probably Charley, though I do love her relationship with her best friend/assistant Cookie. Cookie is fun to write, too. And then there’s Reyes. If I was stranded on a desert island, I’d have to go with Reyes. 🙂
Have you already other plans for future series? Or is it top secret?
Well, I have a YA series coming out in the US in October. The first one is called Death and the Girl Next Door and it’s about a girl whose life is irrevocably changed when the Angel of Death starts high school in her small town. I’m also working on two more YA series. Heck, who am I kidding? I’m always working on new series. I swear I have about 17 started right now. I just have to decide which one to finish first.
Can you tell us a little something about the fourth book? And about your new young adult book?
Sure! Here are a couple of quick blurbs:
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.
DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR
Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace, but she is finally beginning to accept the fact that they’re never coming back. Life must go on. She’s got her grandparents and the support of her best friends, and high school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will 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?
Was it difficult to create Reyes? Because, well, now I think everyone wants one.
Haha! Well, again, I think the difficult part is making him hot, sexy, angry, and yet vulnerable all at the same time. But I had a very clear picture of him in my mind from the start, so not difficult to create, just to maintain. So, yeah, he’s high maintenance.
Did you need to do a lot of researches for your books?
Not much at all. I pretty much broke all the rules, so I made up a lot of stuff as I went. Mostly my research had to do with being a private investigator, what they can and cannot do by law. Some of it surprised me.
I have MANY favorite authors and and even more favorite books. At the top of my list are writers like JR Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Jacquelyn Frank, Julia Quinn, Stephen Hunter, Neil Gaiman, Molly Harper…. I could go on and on. Two of my all-time favorite books are LOVER AWAKENED by JR Ward and THE DUKE AND I by Julia Quinn. Outstanding books!
Where is your favorite place to write?
At my desk. In fact, I have a hard time writing anywhere else anymore.
Your books are going to be released in France, do you see yourself meeting your French fans one day?
In my dreams, I most certainly do! I would LOVE to go to France!!!
For more information, check out her website: www.daryndajones.com
Great interview. I love Darynda Jones and her books are in my forever-favorite shell.
If I was stranded on a desert island, I’d also go with Reyes, he’s dreamy!
I’m looking forward to meet Darynda in AADNOLA.
I totally agree as well! You’re so lucky, I’m jealous!!!
I LOVED this first book. I think you did exceptionally well in writing Reyes. So much so, he’s real and going to be mine, right??? LOL
I really can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series and the YA book as well.
Oh Reyes… ;D
Gosh, I still need to read the first book. I better get started then! 🙂
Thanks for the great interview, I enjoyed reading it. And Darynda, if you ever get to go to France, perhaps you could visit Holland and your Dutch fans as well 🙂
All I can say is that I adoooore Reyes. He makes me melt into a little puddle of drool
DARYNDA JONES! I’m pretty sure you were one of the first people to introduce her to me, Mel, but even though I still haven’t managed to get my hands on one of her books yet, I still really REALLY want to! First, because I love anything that has to do with reapers and second, because I love that Charley has a best friend named Cookie! :’) LOL also because I know that you love her books and that’s always a plus!
Awesome interview, Mel! I would love to go to France to meet you too x) <3
Darynda Jones sounds awesome!! And now I feel really bad I haven’t started reading her books yet! The first two will be top of my joyful reading next month! 🙂
Oh I love hearing about writing sequels. I have to had it to authors at doing this as it amazes me as a reader to not get bored with the touches of reminders we are given. Great interview!
I still need to get the the series, and now I think I need to YA book too! LOL Thank you!
Wonderful interview! Thanks for sharing it, I am a fan!
Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out
Ooh such an epic post! I love Darynda and all her books! 😀 I’m so happy to hear it will keep going for a few more at least I can’t wait to read Forth Grave!! Awesome interview! I love the attraction between Charley and Reyes it’s so real and intense! So I can see it could be hard to put that all in words. Excited to read more of them! 😀 <3
I love this interview! I love Darynda Jones! I love Charley! And Cookie, and UB, and Swoops, and *sighs* Reyes. Though I really want to kick him where it counts sometimes.
I hate thinking this, but I’m not sure that Reyes is Charley’s HEA. I don’t see his sweetheart moments as much any more. Hopefully, he will redeem himself soon, or I have to show him my own brand of hell. LOL
Fun interview. I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Jones’ work. I’m so excited for her new series, it sounds so great. And it makes me happy to know that she is working on a lot of other ideas in other genres. It gives me a lot to look forward to!