I meant to post this wrap up of meeting Darynda Jones this past May in June but things were a bit hectic. I then decided since I was attending her reading of Fifth Grave Past the Light, I would wait to post the wrap up. I’m going to combine both events into one post. There’s a signed copy of Fifth Grave with swag up for grabs (sorry guys US / Canada only because of shipping).
Southwest Book Fiesta wrap up can be found here.
• Picked Albuquerque for the setting of her Charley Davidson because it’s an urban setting and she lived in the city for 7 years. Plus it’s part of the whole write what you know advice.
• Her Darklight trilogy ends in October when the third book is released. Mountainair was the inspiration for the setting (the town is located outside Albuquerque). She named it Riley’s Switch and through research later found out that Clovis, New Mexico use to be called that.
• Charley Davidson spinoff series maybe around book 7 or 8.
• As of right now the series has been translated in 18 countries and just sold the television rights.
• When asked who publishers compare her to she said Janet Evanovich and doesn’t like being compared to other writers.
• Has always been a writer and as a child would make up stories.
• When she quit her job she thought she could write 10 books a year, but quickly realized that she can’t.
• When asked about writing and where she gets her ideas, she said there are no new stories. The key is to take what is there and put a twist on it and make it yours.
• Original name for Charley was actually Harley Davidson, but agent made her change it. She cited that there are people named Harley Davidson in real life.
• Asked if anything surprised her about the industry after selling First Grave, she said yes. She was surprised at how much she didn’t know about marketing. She was also surprised that Fourth Grave doubled in sales when it was released but hit lower on the New York Times Bestsellers list when compared to Third Grave.
• On how she found her agent: looked for one that worked in both Adult & YA. Plus they needed to have a background working with paranormal authors.
• She pointed out that when you sign with an agent, you sign with the agency. Something she wasn’t aware of. When her agent was getting ready to leave the agency in order for them to take their clients, there’s a lot of legal complications plus the agent has to pay a lot in legal fees.
Book Signing Q&A
Darynda began by telling us a story about her way down to Albuquerque that involves a slow driver and a ticket. LOL! She didn’t get a ticket, but the driver that was weaving in and out of the lanes every time Darynda passed her and would slow down in front of her was the lucky recipient. Darynda said she felt bad, but hey maybe Reyes had a hand in getting the other driver a ticket. 😉
So the book reading / signing was very informal. A few in attendance wanted a Chapter 4 reading from Fifth Grave Past the Light but because there were a few underage children in attendance most decided it wouldn’t be appropriate. Instead the first four pages of chapter 4 were read. Then questions were opened up and here are the questions people asked.
Have you thought of YA series for the Charley books?
No, but that would cool. Maybe a novella, but there is a spinoff coming soon.
Do your characters appear in other books?
No. Could have done it but never thought of it. I may have Lorelei from my Darklight series make a cameo in one of the Charley books.
Are you doing a national book tour for Fifth Grave?
No. Part of the reason is because the book was released during conference season and I’ve been traveling for those.
Do you come up with the shirt or bumper sticker quotes?
Those are made up. One or two may be real especially in First Grave. It was afterwards that I wondered if those existed and turns out they do.
So do you spend your time on the internet looking for bumper stickers or shirts for quotes?
I use to but not anymore. People send them and I have a folder with quotes. I try to use new ones that haven’t been around for long. Feel free to send me any!
What else have you written or are working on?
My first manuscript was a historical romance that might see the day one. One day. It’s very dramatic. I have a few middle grade books I’ve worked on as well as few more YA books. I’m currently working a 1860’s NYC piece about a female serial killer and a NYC Copper. They may have an attraction.
Do you enjoy writing short stories or a novel instead? Is the novel your forte?
My forte is the novel. Shorts well written fascinate me because you can get so much emotional detail. I did write a short though. It was suppose to be 400 words or so, but ended up 2,000 words about Uncle Bob & Cookie in Bob’s POV.
I will be writing a short though. I’ve been invited to write a horror short for a Random House publication. I’m trying to figure out how to write a novella because of the word length when compared to a short story.
Without giving a spoiler for those who haven’t read, will Sixth Grave answer the question at the end of Fifth?
Yes. Some people thought I would drag it out, but no. I know some people have asked why can’t Charley have all her powers, but if she’s not in danger there’s no story. So Charley needs to keep learning things.
Is there a cut off for when the series will end?
No. Right now it’s open regarding how many more books we’ll have.
Synopsis: Charley Davidson may not look like your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper, but she has vowed to reap grimness wherever she goes despite this unfortunate fact. Sadly, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. As he is the main suspect in her arson case, she is determined to stay away from him until she can find out the truth. According to her therapist, however, she lacks conviction.
When dead women start appearing in her apartment – lost, confused and terrified beyond reason – Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’s help, especially when it becomes apparent that her own sister Gemma is the serial killer’s next target. With his ability to observe incorporeally, surely he can find out who’s responsible. And even if he can’t, he is the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return: Charley. All of her – body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay…
One lucky person will win a signed copy of Fifth Grave Past the Light with a swagpack. Swagpack comes with a journal, bookmarks, a pen, and chocolate (note: chocolate will be put in a ziploc bag to prevent melting during transit since some began to melt on my home way). US / Canada only (sorry guys shipping is expensive). Giveaway open until July 27th. Good luck!
The question asked to unlock the additional entries: Since Charley is a grim reaper and can see dead people. Have you ever had a paranormal experience?