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Please Welcome Darynda Jones!

First, thank you, Keri Ford, for loading my post for me (Liz Talley) during a blackout in my neck of the woods. You rock! Okay, and next, ENALR would like to welcome the fabulous creator of that spunky grim reaper Charley Davidson, Mrs. Darynda Jones! Thanks for coming to play with me today at the blog. Of course, for those who don’t know, I’ve known Darynda before she sold her slightly dark, always fun paranormal series about a grim reaper who also “helps” as a consultant for the Albuquerque Police Department (I had no idea how many “u’s” were in Albuquerque!).  I was lucky enough to final with her in the 2009 Golden Heart and become a blogmate through the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood where we blog on writing, craft and hacking it in the crazy publishing business. But I digress. In her first book First Grave to the Right, Darynda had smashing success, and with Second Grave to the Left on the near horizon (in only a few days! Squee!) she’s well on her way to knocking another one out of the ball park. So let’s find out what’s up with Darynda. Welcome!

Darynda: Woohoo! Thank you so much for having me, Ruby Sis! You’ve knocked a few out of the ballpark yourself. So excited! And, yeah, LOTS of U’s in Albuquerque. It’s a crazy place. hehehe

You had a lot of fun with your main character Charley Davidson in the first book. I loved her pluck and her slight vulnerability when it came Reyes (I don’t even know how to characterize that devil J). What’s Charley up to in this next book?

In Second Grave on the Left, Charley is recruited by her best friend/receptionist to find a missing friend of hers, Mimi. The mystery deepens when Charley finds out several of the woman’s classmates from way back in high school have died within the last month, and Mimi is apparently next on the list. At the same time, she is on her own mission to find Reyes’s corporeal body, against his wishes. He has decided he is too vulnerable and is putting Charley in danger, because demons sent from dear old dad have found him and are torturing him in the hopes of luring Charley in. Through incorporeal means, he has forbidden her to even search for him. So naturally, Charley has no choice but to discover his whereabouts before the demons go too far and take Reyes away from her forever.

You have three books contracted for Charley Davidson…anymore on the horizon? Is her story expandable?

It is very expandable. Fortunately, my editor wants it to be an ongoing series. I am writing outlines for the next three as we speak. Or, well, as I type. Not literally though, because I’m typing this blog. But, you know, metaphorically.

I happen to know you are penning a YA…what made you switch gears and look at that genre? Can you give us a teaser about what the books are about?

Actually, First Grave was the switch for me. I’ve written YA much longer than anything else and wrote this particular story long before FGOTR, never expecting it to sell. But I’m thrilled that it did! It is about a girl whose life is irrevocably changed when Death starts high school in her small town. We are still bouncing title ideas around, but the minute I know, I’ll shout it from the rooftops! lol

So things are busy for you (thanks for hanging with us, btw).  How do you handle promoting a book while juggling writing a new series and just breathing?

Sometimes, as you know, it is just overwhelming. Like every writer, I just have to suck it up, dive in and do the best I can. I do try to set goals and time limits, but that doesn’t always work and I spend an entire day putting out fires. I have vowed that one day I will have an assistant. It will be a day that will live in infamy. Or not.

You’re one of those writers who many of us long to be. You won the Golden Heart, had many agents vying for representation, and nearly went to auction on the series, how are you handling this sudden influx of success?

Well, it’s still kind of surreal. I focus on work and try not to dwell too much on the rush, because it can steal an entire day before I know it. I have to say, however, I am so very, very grateful. I keep asking myself what I did to deserve it and while I haven’t come up with an answer yet, I will keep you posted. Clearly there is a higher power at work here. And coffee.

What have you found the most challenging in the past year?

Finding balance. I’m still looking for it actually, but surely there is a magical formula that tells a writer exactly how much time to spend on PR, how much time to write, how much time to spend on those fires and when to breathe. Maybe there’s a sliding scale somewhere. Or a flow chart.

Finally, just for fun….what are you currently reading? (as if you have time) What books inspired your writing?

Right now I am reading an amazing book by one of our Ruby Sisters, Shea Berkley’s THE MARKED SON. Dylan is to die for and Shea’s writing is just stunning.

Almost every writer I’ve ever read has inspired me in one way or another. When I pick up a book and see how the author did this or how she pulled off that, I am just in awe. The true art of writing is in the little things. How a writer can mold and shape her story and characters in the readers’ minds until the simplest touch makes the reader feel like her world has stopped spinning on its axis in anticipation of that one breathtaking moment. That’s the stuff I live for.

Thanks for joining us today. Love, love, love hanging out with you, my sweet friend. And I’m over the moon excited about this upcoming release. I’ll have my copy!!

Thank you so much, again!!!  Leave a comment about your favorite paranormal creature (or a general one to Darynda) and I’ll enter you in a drawing for a $15.00 Starbucks giftcard.


53 Responses

  1. Hi, Darynda!

    I think I knew you first as a fellow YARWA member, and I participated in the Rubies’ Winter Festival last year. And, of course, I was the scary fangirl who ran around gushing to anyone who would listen about FGotR. 🙂

    So, grim reapers, Death in high school…what’s the common thread there, and why? LOL Seriously, though, what gave you the idea to make Charley a grim reaper?

    Thanks for coming to ENALR!

    • Thank you so much, Natalie! Scary fan girls ROCK!!!! lol

      The idea for Charley stemmed more from desperation than anything. I wanted to get noticed and it’s hard for an aspiring author to rise to the top of the slush pile. So I wanted something different, something unique, and Charley was born.

      I do have a death thing though, huh? Weird. 🙂

  2. Welcome Darynda! We are thrilled to have you visiting us today.

    This is such as awesome series. I cannot wait for the next two books!

    My only request is that when you find that sliding scale or formula that tells authors to spend x time on writing, x time on promo, x time on family, x time on personal hygiene (as we all write in our PJ’s until noon, right ladies?)…then share the secret here!

    • Cynthia! How lovely to see you.

      I will definitely share. It’s kind of like looking for the fountain of youth, but I shall not give up!!!

  3. Oh, thankyou so very much, Keri Ford, for getting this post up there for me, and all the other ENALR gang! Uh, my electricity keeps going out for huge stretchs of time….and it happened yesterday lasting late into the night. You rock, girls!

    And I will give a prize to commenters! PRIZE!!!! Yes! How about a Starbucks giftcard? Yes, that would be very good. A $15.00 Starbucks giftcard to a random commentor who tells me her/his favorite paranormal creature. Dracula, anyone?

    • Thank you again Liz and Keri!!!

      I went out of town and didn’t get my post to Liz until late yesterday. Yes, that’s the kind of sister I am. So while I’m off galavanting around the country, Liz is in panic mode trying to get a hold of me.

      I really need to find that sliding scale thing. Or hire an assistant. 🙂

  4. Darynda, thanks for stopping by! It was great to meet you this summer on the CG tour. Your books sound like a lot of fun, and somehow I have to find room in my constantly expanding TBR pile… *sigh*

    Like Natalie, I’d love to know if you had a particular inspiration for making Charley a grim reaper.

    Great interview, Liz!

    • Great to see you, Gwen!!! And if your TBR pile is like mine, you will soon be cited with a code violation from your city. Just a heads up.

      And while Charley’s supernatural status was born out of desperation, she was also someone I had a very clear vision of as far as her personality. I wanted Buffy, Stephanie Plum, and Lorelei Gilmore from the Gilmore Gilrs all rolled into one. Because that just sounds like someone who would get into more trouble than she would know what to do with. 🙂

  5. Darynda:

    I am SO excited for SECOND GRAVE to come out. I absolutely loved the first book and am so happy for you and for all your success!!!


  6. I’m hooked! Definitely going to add your books to my reading list. Great interview and congrats on the GH final 🙂

  7. Welcome to the blog, Darynda! and no worries Liz–happy to help out! Awesome that you’re getting to expand in the series! Are you finding anything you wrote in book1 that’s now giving your troubles to write around for books 3, 4, …5 …6?? (wow, that’s a lot!)

    • Not so much trouble, but I do wish I’d done something a little differently. I wanted something to happen in book three, but I’d already set up the world and the rules and I couldn’t change it. That’s not fair to the reader. So I took out that scene and will save it for my next series. LOL!

      Thanks again, Keri!!!

  8. Welcome Darynda, thanks for joing us. The books sound good and I love the cover of the 1st one. It definitely caught my attention – I am a cover whore sometimes. I loved the interview.

  9. Welcome to the blog! Glad you’re here with us today.

    Mmmm, favorite paranormal creature? That’s hard to choose, because I’m a big paranormal fan. I think shifters, perhaps. Honestly, I love anything except zombies, BLEH!

  10. One thing I love about Darynda is her generous spirit – she’s always willing to help when needed, gives her time to her readers so generously, and kept her job as an interpreter in her school even after she got that big check. Gotta love someone with such a kind spirit. Makes you happy she’s doing so well instead of wishing you were in her shoes. Okay, I kinda wish I were in her shoes, but I’m also super happy that she’s created a character that resounds with all kinds of readers. I’m a big fan of not only Charley, but more so, her creator 🙂

    Oh, and I tend to like witches when it comes to paranormal. Yeah, I like a good witch.

  11. Book two, at last! We’re all so happy for you. {{{Hugs}}}

  12. Hi, Darynda!! I’m so thrilled it’s almost time for SECOND GRAVE!!

    Charley’s voice is amazing and hilarious, and her relationship with Reyes is beyond hawt.

    Cannot wait for Aug 16!!!

    • Thank you SO much, Elisa!!!! Rubies are the best! So glad you like Reyes. I like Reyes too. Probably too much. LOL. Hugs!!!

  13. Yay! Cannot wait for Second Grave! 🙂

  14. Hello Darynda, I just loved “First Grave on the Right” and I can’t wait to read Second Grave. I thought your writing was fresh! I love the humor and one hot demon 😉 Just a few more days and I can see what kind of trouble Charley is stiring up! 😀

    • Yay, thank you so much, Gail!!! I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of Second Grave. While most people like it better, I got a letter from a girl yesterday who liked First Grave better and I was floored. LOL. I think Second is just better written. She probably didn’t care about that though. haha

      • I think readers care about story and character…and not so much about the tightness and beauty of the sentence.

        • Very true. And, while I think the story is better, it’s just so hard to judge. It’s that thing where it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Lots and lots of trees. hehehe

  15. Hi, Darynda!

    I’ve never read any books with the grim reaper as a character. Yours sound fascinating! Look forward to reading them!

    • Thank you, Shawna!!! And I’m glad! I wanted Charley to be different and not something you see everyday. Hope you like!

  16. Loved First Grave, Darynda, and especially Charley. She’s very cool. Can’t wait to read Second Grave. Thanks for bringing us such entertaining books!

    • Aw, thanks, Bev!!!! I have JOCKEYS AND JEWELS on my Kindle and have already heard from another Ruby how good it was. I can’t wait to dive in!

  17. i really rreally want to read your books! i actually started to get a grim reaper tattoo,. but sure glad i didnt, now i can get a woman reaper! ( its a really long story about the tat grimreaoper) and it can be oringal!

  18. Mr. Wong still rocks my world.

    • I LOVE MR. WONG!!!! Thank you for loving him too. He’s just a bit misunderstood and, well, catatonic, but he’s a good guy. 🙂

  19. So happy this is going to be an ongoing series….we need much more to come. I bought the book and now have several friends hooked too. We’ve pre-ordered anything available. Please write lots!

  20. Now I’m having thoughts of Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black. Loved that premise. Welcome Darynda, thanks for stopping by.

  21. Hey Lady! Super Congrats and many sales.

  22. I’m enjoying the new wave of Grim Reaper/non-vampire books coming out. I think I have enjoyed several prominent characters, Van Helsing, Joe Black, The creepy guy in Lost Highway…
    Lots of great philosophical discussions have taken place over that guy for sure.

  23. It’s been a nice day talking paranormals and Darynda’s awesome upcoming release. Thanks for joining us, and thanks, D, for being here 🙂

  24. Hi, Darynda and Liz! So sorry to drop in late, but I just had to stop by and say how much I’m enjoying First Grave. I’ve been sneaking away from my revisions to read it and I don’t feel one bit guilty about it. 🙂

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