Lorelei King: I absolutely loved recording the Darklight trilogy and was totally thrilled with my name-baby, Lorelei. Why did you decide to make it a trilogy rather than an ongoing series?
Darynda Jones: Thank you so much!!! I loved writing that series and my original idea was that it be ongoing, but after I wrote it (and thinking it would never sell), I wrote the first in the Charley Davidson series and ended up cannibalizing half the Darklight book to do so. After the YA series sold, I realized it was a lot harder to come up with a new and plausible explanation for everything than I thought it would be, and I got stuck. I no longer knew where to take it and that second book was a doozy to write. For the first time, I literally started a manuscript and trashed thousands of words three times before coming up with a reasonable creation.
In case you’re wondering, no, I did not learn my lesson. I still cannibalize my older works.
LK: Was it hard to say goodbye to the Darklight characters?
DJ: It was so hard! I adore Lorelei and Jared with a fiery passion. I especially LOVE Lorelei’s history, why her aura is fire and how she knows what she knows. I just loved the richness of her character. I also loved Brooklyn and Glitch. They were the greatest sidekicks a girl could hope for. And don’t get me started about the tension and the love/hate relationship between Cameron and Jared. Loved those boys to bits.
LK: Charley Davidson is a character that really resonates with people. Why do you think so many people connect with her?
DJ: I like to think it’s because she has these cool powers but she takes it all in stride. She’s not whiney (most of the time) and she is even a bit self-deprecating. She doesn’t take herself or her role in life too seriously and she has fun with it. People like fun people.
LK: How do you come up with those great titles for each book?
DJ: Thank you! The first one was just a happy accident. I’d decided I wanted it to be an ongoing series, so I was going to write it as such, but I wanted an easy way for people to know which book to read first. So I wanted some indication of how to sequence them. I also wanted the word grave in there, so I thought . . . First Grave . . . on the Right! It just hit me. And the rest is history.
LK: And while we’re on the subject, where do you find those fantastic little epigrams that open each chapter?
DJ: I’ve kept a file for years of favourite sayings or T-shirts or bumper stickers, and I wanted something fun at the first of each chapter, but I didn’t want to copy what others were doing. Then it hit me: Why not use my favourite sayings? Only I didn’t know if I could legally. I had to do a lot of research and even contacted a couple of copyright attorneys to make sure I could use them without getting sued. ‘Cause that would suck. Long story short, for the most part, yes I could, and so the chapter headers were born. I do make up a couple myself per book, but most are actual T-shirts, etc. And now my readers send them to me. It’s become a tradition.
LK: If you weren’t a writer, what job would you like to do? (Just so you know, I have it on good authority that ‘Grim Reaper’ is taken…)
DJ: LOL, I don’t think I’d make a good reaper anyway, even though I love black. I would probably still be doing my day job. I was a sign language interpreter for many a year and loved it. I just love writing more.
LK: I’m sure you’ve been chained to your desk writing most of the time, but what’s the best or favourite book you’ve read this year?
DJ: My favourite book I’ve read this year is definitely Fashionably Dead by Robyn Peterman. The second in that series just came out and I’m dying to get to it. I’ve just been too busy. And anything by the WARDen gets top billing as well. My favourite audiobook this year was Patricia Briggs’s Frost Burned. I’m obviously a little behind on the series, but Patricia gets me every time. That woman can write and her narrator is THE BOMB!
LK: As it’s audio book month, I have to ask: have you ever considered narrating one of your books yourself? *holds breath*
DJ: In fear of getting kicked off this blog, I will refrain from typing my knee-jerk reaction to this question. I’ll just give you a resounding no. I have the deepest respect for you and I could never, ever, ever do the books justice like you do. Your talent amazes me. They couldn’t pay me enough money to read my own books. Or anyone else’s for that matter. I am in awe of anyone who has the skill and talent to do what you do, and I am so honoured to have you as Charley’s narrator. Clearly I did something right in a past life.