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


Monday, May 23, 2011


I have a fellow Dark Sider (Dark Side DownUnder) visiting today! Janni writes fun paranormal mysteries.

Bio: After growing up in a beachside suburb of Sydney, Australia, Janni Nell travelled overseas, working in the UK before returning to Sydney, where she now lives.

Janni began writing in her late teens. She won prizes for short story but her dream was to publish a novel.
Carina Press fulfilled that dream when Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator was published in June 2010. Janni’s work represents the lighter side of the dark side. Her goal is to write more books featuring Allegra and her drop-dead gorgeous guardian angel, Casper.
When Janni isn’t writing, you can find her line dancing or working in her vegetable garden. 
Janni, welcome to my blog!

Hi Kylie, it’s great to be here. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I live in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia. Yeah, I know the traffic sucks, but I love it here. Especially my little corner of the northwest, which is a just short drive from semi-rural areas.

So far as hobbies go, I love to line dance. Actually I love any kind of dancing. Give me music and I’ll move to it.

I also enjoy growing my own herbs and vegetables. Not that I’m very good at it. My pumpkin vine only has one pumpkin. Mind you, it’s a big one. I mean Cinderella could ride in this thing.

Oh yeah, and I also like to write.

What do you think it is about the paranormal genre that readers find so fascinating? It’s pure escapism.

Personally, I love being taken on a journey away from the real world where anything is possible. I love books that give me an experience I can’t get elsewhere.  If I can provide that for readers, I’m a happy camper.

Allegra Fairweather here. Paranormal investigator. Got problems with specters? Shapeshifters? I’m the woman to call. Just don’t call me a Ghostbuster. The last guy who did that ended up flat on his back with my boot at his throat.
With my 99.5% success rate, solving the mystery of a bleeding rose that has sprung up on the shores of Loch Furness should have been an easy gig. But already I’ve heard the shriek of the local banshee, discovered two bodies (and then lost two bodies), and had a near-death encounter with a three-hundred-year-old ghost. And perhaps most dangerous of all, the hot pub owner who hired me now wants to show me exactly what’s under his kilt.
Luckily, I’m ably assisted by my very own guardian angel. I’m grateful for his help—but he’s also drop-dead gorgeous. A bit distracting when I’ve got a mystery to solve, and the clock is ticking… 

To read an excerpt, click here.

 What’s your writing process from start to finish when writing a book? I wish I could plot in detail, but whenever I try this, I get bored and never finish the book. So I just have to jump in and start writing.

Before I start, I always know the main characters and the general direction of the story. Sometimes I know the ending, but not how the characters get there.  About half way through the first draft, I usually realise I’ve made a huge mistake with the plot. This means lots of cuts and rewriting.

Terribly inefficient way to work, but this seems to be my process so I just suck it up. Usually I don’t write the last chapters – even if I know the ending – until I’m happy with the rest of the manuscript.

Do you have any advice you’d like to share with unpublished authors? When I began writing, I followed every hot trend. No matter whether it was fantasy, romance or crime, I tried to write it. In short I was focussed on being published rather than becoming a good writer.

Then I attended a workshop on Finding Your Voice run by the wonderful Barbara Samuel. I went home and took a long hard look at my bookshelves. Eighty percent of my books were mysteries. My favourites were the quirky ones. And that’s the direction I took.

So, my advice to unpublished writers is to find your voice and be true to that.

Can you tell us about your latest release? SOUTH OF SALEM is the second book in the Allegra Fairweather paranormal mystery series. (Think fun and quirky rather than dark and serious.)

This time Allegra has to figure out who or what is killing her stepfather’s blood relatives.  Not that she cares much about him. But her mom’s kind of upset at the prospect of becoming a widow.

SOUTH OF SALEM is out this month (May) with Carina Press!

What’s next for you? What are you working on? The third Allegra Fairweather book. I’m almost finished. Yay!

Janni, it's been great having you come over from the Dark Side to visit.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Kylie. It’s been great fun! 

Now, folks, Janni has two (2) fabulous give-aways to share with us today. It's readers' choice  (if you're drawn out of my dragon coffee cup) of the first or second book in her Allegra Fairweather series.

Just share with us what fascinates you about the paranormal genre! Is it the world-building, the spooks and not-so-spookies, the mythical, the danger...what? 

Leave a comment by midnight (Aussie time), Thursday, 26th May 2011 and I'll throw your name in my coffee cup for a chance to win one of Janni's Allegra Fairweather books!

If you'd like to know more about Janni, wander over to her website! She also has a Facebook page and Twitter account (you can find the links on her website).


  1. Hi Janni, Hello Kylie!

    It was lovely reading about you, Janni. Thanks for bringing her to us Kylie.

    What facinates me about the paranormal genre is the unknown.

    Congratulations on the release of Allegra Fairweather books!

  2. Hi Nas

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. :-)

  3. Hi Janni + Kylie,
    Lovely covers there. The arts department at Carina really know their job!
    I would have to say that my fave part of the genre is the worldbuilding. Its a really important thing for me; anyone can have vampires or werewolves etc, but what makes their vamps and werewolves so special? (and different from everyone else) All of my fave authors have taken tired tropes and turned them into something unique - that's what I love.

  4. Hi Nas, doing the early-bird thing again I see! Are you partial to the "scary" unknown, like in horror tales? Or just discovering the "regular-run-of-the-mill-paranormal unknown? :-)

    Bec, I'm with you on the world-building. If an author takes on a familiar trope (or done to death creature) they have to have a great slant to get me to read it, and that's usually through their WB.

  5. Hi Bec

    The person responsible for my gorgeous covers (and my website) is Frauke of CrocoDesigns. All her work is wonderful!

  6. Janni, congrats on the upcoming release of your second Allegra book. You know I love the cover art. It's so striking.

    As for what fascinates me about the paranormal genre - the whole thing really. The worldbuilding, the characters, the mystery, the intrigue, the feeling that anything is possible. :))

    Great interview as always, Kylie.

    PS - No need to put me in the draw.

  7. Hi Eleni, notch up another for world-building! :-)

  8. Janni, thanks for telling us about your series and how you write. I've written several nonfiction books but I'm working on my first fantasy and I just started writing, and then half way through realized I had to go back and change some stuff. Glad to know I'm not alone!
    My favorite things about fantasy is that anything is possible, and that in the middle of that I love to see a mystery and human relationships (or nonhuman if the case may be)that touch me in some way. I love watching the relationships, even if it is just friends, whatever, but I love to see people connect or fall in love, or fight or what ever in the midst of crazy fantasy situations.

  9. There is nothing like a good book that connects on an emotional level. One of the first fantasy books I read where this connection stood out for me was the Pern series (written by Anne McCaffrey).

    The relationship between Lessa and F'lar, the link between them and their dragons, and the interconnection between them all during the Queen's first mating flight. And you learned all about it through Lessa's eyes.

    Not quite your combination of mystery and fantasy but the characters and the relationships were powerful.

  10. Eleni, thanks for stopping by. :-)

    I. Blanchard, good luck with the fantasy. :-)

  11. Hi gals and congrats Janni on a new book! (I confess I have your first on my iPod in my TBR pile :-( What attracts me to the genre is a) the fabulous kick-ass heroines. They can be damaged, or don't need saving (or sometimes DO need saving!). And b) the 'strangers amongst us' element that UF brings to the genre. I love the idea that there can be deadly creatures lurking in the background and true heroes and heroines who risk their lives to keep the peace :-)

    Paula x

  12. Strike another one up for the characters!

    Thanks for dropping in, Paula. How's your deadline going? :-)

  13. Hi there,
    Great interview!

    What I love about paranormal is the scope for interesting twists on characters through the interesting challenges that being 'other' and dealing with paranormal elements.

  14. Paula, you'll get round to reading it one day. :-)

    Miss Jen, thanks for dropping by.

  15. Hi Janni and Kylie!

    I just love how something so surreal in a paranormal story can become reality once great writing sucks you into the world building and the characters heads =)

  16. Hi, Miss Jen, welcome to my blog! Oh, I love giving my characters challenges brought about by their paranormal "otherness". Internal as well as external challenges to overcome! :-)

  17. Ahh, Mel, that IS the sign of good story. After getting lost in a good book, I find actually returning to the real world is the shock. LOL It doesn't feel real!

  18. Hi Janni
    Congrats on your new release, and yes I also love your book covers and website!