• Kelly Collins

A conversation with Darynda Jones

I put Darynda Jones in December as a gift to myself. I love the Charley Davidson Series and can’t wait for the January release of the next book. The Charley Davidson series is a wild ride. Can you tell us what inspired the first book? Thank you! Actually, I was looking quite specifically for a new project to work on. I knew I wanted it to be paranormal in an everyday setting. So, I’m laying in bed one morning, waiting for my turn in the shower, when Charley Davidson pops into my head in all her glory. And the rest evolved from there. Everyone wants a BFF like Cookie Kowalski. Did you model her after someone you know? Her looks and a little of her personality comes from a friend of mine, one I lost touch with many years ago. She left quite an impression and I wish I could find her again. Reyes Farrow is so hot—literally. When this series goes to film (and you know it will) who do you see playing him? I go back and forth, but right now I’m leaning toward Anson Mount. He is so rugged and pretty and darkly handsome. I think he’d be perfect. Charley is quick witted and entertaining. I imagine she gets that from you. Would you say there’s a little bit of Charley in you, or would you say there is a lot of Darynda in Charley? Thanks again! I would say there is a little bit of Charley in me. I wish there were more! But I’ve never seen myself as quick witted or even remotely funny at all. I once put an editor to sleep during a pitch. True story. Everyone has someone or something that inspired them to write. Mine was a high school English teacher. What or who inspired you to be a writer? While I’ve been writing since I was a kid, it was my best friend in high school who really inspired me to write. To be a writer. Something I never dreamed I could do in a million years. I always thought you had to be an alcoholic or a genius, and I’m neither. Accomplishment seems to be your middle name. With NYT and USA Today after your name, you are also the recipient of. a RITA, three Bookies, two Holts, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier. What are you reaching for next? I would love to go higher on the lists! I’m not sure it will ever happen, but I have my eye on the number one spot. Maybe someday! What does your writing process look like? Complicated. I inspire hives in others. :) Mostly because I plot like there’s no tomorrow. I barely start a book without three distinct outlines. The Skeleton Key: This answers four basic questions: Where are we? What time of day is it? What major event happens in this scene or series of scenes? And in what order does the story unfold? The Outline: This is a brief synopsis of the entire book. It is usually about 5-9 pages long and is what I send my editor for approval before actually starting the book. The Detailed Outline: This is where I take the skeleton key, plug the outline into the appropriate areas, then add any details I’ve come up with including specific scenes, little extras I want to reveal here and there, funny lines or situations I want to use, and even internal and external motivation. These outlines usually run between 40 and 60 pages, but remember that part about adding scenes? Yeah, by this point I’ve already written a nice chunk of the book. Next, I take the final detailed outline, copy and paste it into my manuscript, and delete as I go. This way I never stray far from the conceived story. I don’t wander around aimlessly, wondering where I’m going. I know exactly what is coming next, and very often, if it’s a “hard” scene (meaning I’m too lazy to write it at that moment), I’ll jump to another scene. I don’t get bored and/or stuck very often and I rarely pull my hair out by its roots. I’ve tried pantsing it. It wasn’t pretty. I had writer’s block by the time I got to page three. NOTE: Let me just say that I write ALL over the place. I do not write linearly in any way, shape or form. By having such a detailed map of where I’m going, I can write on chapter two one day and chapter nineteen the next. Another (possibly more important) advantage to this technique is that there’s never a dull moment. Each scene has a purpose. Each scene moves the story forward. This makes the book tight, the pacing strong, and the story smooth. Just sayin’. Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? The ONLY scene that’s hard for me to write is the love scene. It’s the very last thing I do. It’s so hard, and I don’t know why. I’m not, like, frigid! I quite enjoy sex, but making a scene so sexy your readers’ toes curl is not as easy as it sounds. :) What are the first three books on your kindle right now? An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning, and It Had to Be Him by Tamra Baumann. I don’t want to leave out your Darklight books. I’ve recently started reading Death and the Girl Next Door. Can you tell us a bit about the series? Sure! It’s a YA trilogy about a girl whose life is irrevocably changed when the angel of death starts high school in her small town. I loved writing that series. I miss it. If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living? I would probably still have my day job(s), interpreting (ASL) and teaching interpreting. Where can we find you? http://www.daryndajones.com https://www.facebook.com/darynda.jones.official https://twitter.com/Darynda https://instagram.com/author_darynda_jones/ Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME!!!

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