I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Monday, March 7, 2011

GUEST AUTHOR: Darynda Jones

My guest author today comes all the way from the USA. She and I first met up on stage at the Romance Writers of America® Awards dinner. As the 2009 Golden Heart® winner (for the paranormal romance section), she presented me with my 2010 Golden Heart.

Please welcome St.Martin's Press paranormal romance author, Darynda Jones.

Welcome to my blog! Let's start with an easy question - who is Darynda Jones?
Winner of the 2009 Golden Heart® for Best Paranormal Romance for her manuscript FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, Darynda was born spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike.

After the Golden Heart final, she pimped herself as best she could, landed an amazing agent and sold to St. Martin’s Press in a three-book deal. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than 25 years and two beautiful sons, aka the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com

So, that’s the official story. The real one, the story behind the story, is much more interesting. It involves murder, car chases and random explosions. Just kidding. I’m about as boring as a girl can get, but I sure have fun pretending I’m not. Except for that one time I was thrown out of a restaurant for impersonating a CIA agent. That took some explaining.

You impersonated a CIA agent?!? I bet you won't be doing that again in a hurry. LOL

When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published?
I started writing when I was five. Yep, a born storyteller. Not, however, a genius. I didn’t actually learn to read and write until I was six. No way was I going to let that stop me. I would scribble on a paper and swear it was a romantic play or a story about a boy and his duck. (Long story.)

I wrote on and off for decades, taking breaks with kids, school, and career, until I finally got serious and started writing toward publication in 2002. It took me seven years to sell.

So, what's been happening in your world since the RWA conference in Orlando?
My first book, FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, just came out from St. Martin’s Press, so I’ve been super busy with promo and socializing. I’ve been amazed at how intricate and involved the process it.

I've been following part of that journey via some of your blog interviews. Phew! What an exhausting process!

It's always interesting finding out what sparks a writer's creativity. Is there anything that helps yours?
Anything and everything, but mostly music, movies and other books.

Hmm, a lot of my guests speak of similar interests. Now, onto one of my favorite questions - what do you think it is about your genre that readers find fascinating?
The impossible coming to life.

Part of my job as a writer is to make the unreal real. I have to make it so believable, so everyday, that you jump into the story and never doubt it’s possibility for a minute. If you do, then I haven’t done my job. The men are powerful and surreal, the woman strong and clever, and the stories are so much fun and inventive that the reader just loses him- or herself. Pure escapism. Pure entertainment.

Are you a panster or plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influence you most? What's your writing process from start to finish when writing a book?
I plot like there’s no tomorrow, but the characters definitely influence everything about the book. The characters always come first. It’s their story, after all. If they are not at the wheel, then the story loses its soul and I am telling a story for the sake of plot. I am giving directions to the nearest gas station. Not something I want to read, nor would I expect my readers to put up with that.

Please, tell us about your new release!
Absolutely! This is from the publisher:

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.  Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light."  But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice.  

Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all.  In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley?  And why can’t she seem to resist him?  And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.  

Whoo-eee! What a story, I can't wait to read it! So, what's next for you? What are you working on now?
With books two and three of the Charley Davidson series, SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT and THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD, safely with my publisher, I am now working with my editor on a young adult series that also sold to St. Martin’s, the first of which is titled GRIMSIGHT and slotted for an April 2012 release date.

Congratulations! It must be incredibly satisfying to have another series on the go with three books coming out! I wish you well on its success, Darynda.

For those looking forward to reading Darynda's debut series (with St.Martin's Press), here are the US release dates:


All right, last question, I promise! For those out there on the long journey to seeing their work in print, do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you'd like to share with unpublished authors?
Just this: Finish the book. And as soon as it’s finished, start the next and finish it too. Practice makes perfect.

Thank you so much for having me, Kylie. I was so honored to present you with your Golden Heart® in Orlando and can’t wait for your book to hit the shelves! 
It was a pleasure meeting you too, Darynda. That's a night I won't forget in a hurry. Thanks for visiting my blog, it's been a hoot!

If you'd like to know more about Darynda or want to read the excerpts from her books (*spoiler alert, proceed at your own risk!), click on this link for her website. You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Darynda's other books:

Second Grave on the Left
Third Grave Dead Ahead


  1. This series sounds like a lot of fun. Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Hey, Darynda's in Kylie's house! Hi Kylie! Hi Darynda! Darynda, huge congratulations on all the brilliant reviews and the massive buzz that First Grave is getting! I'm going to say I knew you when! ;-) Love your advice to writers - how true. I spent a lot of my writing career writing about 100 pages of I can't tell you how many books and then wandering off to start something new. Finishing a book teaches you stuff about writing that nothing else done - if only that you CAN finish a book! Good luck with the rest of your promo whirlwind! You're everywhere!

  3. Whoo, Ms Darynda! Hi, Kylie!

    Darynda, congrats on a superb debut! I'm clearing space on my bookcase for all your releases. I totally agree with you and Anna about finishing the book. It's so satisfying get to the end. I know--I just finished my latest YA. Now for the fun part--revising!

    Enjoy the whirlwind. See you in New York!

  4. Hi Darynda and Kylie!!
    I too did a lot of 1st and 2nd chapters and then started on something else. So really good advice, FINISH the book!
    Darynda your books sound fabulous =)

  5. Hi Darynda, Hello Kylie,

    This series sound very, very interesting to someone like me who is a huge fan of the TV series The Ghost Whisperer.

    All the best!

  6. Hi Darynda

    Lovely to "meet" you and put a face to the name. I am currently doing one of Margie Lawson's online classes and just yesterday, she used excerpts from your book as an example of emotive writing. It was so weird going on Kylie's blog this morning and finding you on it!!

    Congratulations on your fine success!

  7. Hey, ladies!

    Chris, that's just too coincidental (and funny!). Got to be providence that you've found Darynda in two locations at the same time - LOL! And ML is great isn't she? Some great courses and lecture packets. I love her EDITS system using the highlighters.

    Nas, just add another book or three to your TBR pile! :-)

    Hi, Mel. Really basic advice but totally sound - finish the book!

    Vanessa, wow, to you being able to get to NY fo the Nationals. Sigh. Lucky you. Enjoy.

    Anna, thanks for dropping in! It's interesting tracking authors and their tours to see what and where they go. I'm taking close note of ideas and places as in another few months I might be having to formulate a plan!

    Janni, thanks for calling in to say to Darynda!

  8. I've Darynda's first book on my TBR pile. Looking forward to reading it!

  9. THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH!!!! Oh my gosh, I thought this was going live tomorrow. Wrote the wrong day down. So Sorry!!!!

  10. @Anna, yes, I have done that so many times, it's crazy. So it's advice that I had to learn the hard way too. I'm so excited for your new book! Squee!

    @Vanessa! Hey sis! So good to see you here. Thanks for the coveted real
    estate spot on your bookshelf. I have a spot just for you too. Can't wait beautiful girl!

    @Mel, thank you so much!!!! And that's def a lesson we all have to learn. Thanks for stopping by!

    @Nas, thank you! I love the Ghost Whisperer. I thought the writers did an amazing job with that series.

    @Chris, Margie is a doll! I had no idea she was using excerpts from First Grave. I'm so honored!!! I've taken two of her classes and she is coming to my chapter's conference in November. So excited! Thanks so much for coming!

    @Rowena, thank you so much. I hope you like! *crosses fingers*

    @Kylie, thank you again for having me! Wow, I cannot believe I spaced the day on this. So, so sorry. (Okay, I can believe it, but I'm very irked at myself.)

    Big hugs!

  11. Darynda, time zones are wonderful things. Don't fret - you're here! And it's great to have you!!!

  12. Wow, Darynda at Kylie's place. How cool is that! As usual, I hung on every word. :)

    I had the great pleasure of reading FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT and I can tell you it's fantastic. One of those books where you close the cover and say, "Wow."

    And don't even get me started on Reyes. *sigh* LOL

    Great interview, both of you.

  13. It's going to be my special read for this weekend. My son is getting married. Woo Hoo! Then I'm relaxing back with First Grave on the Right.

  14. Laurie & Rowena, how cool is that - treating yourself to a few hours of relaxing reading - sigh. I've only read one book so far from my TBR pile this year. I have so many wonderful books waiting, waiting, waiting...

  15. Thank you so much, @Laurie! Wonderful to see you here!

    @Rowena, I'm not sure how well I'll do following a wedding, but I'll give it my best shot! LOL. Super congrats!!!

  16. Kylie, I'm not making much of a dent in my Leaning Tower of TBR either, but special books move right to the top of the stack. :)

  17. LOL, true about the "special" books comment, Laurie! :-)