Thank you so much for visiting by Bibliophilia, Please for my stop of the The Dirt on Ninth Grave blog tour - which is out TOMORROW! Today, I'll be featuring an exclusive interview with Darynda Jones, and there's also a giveaway of the book!
Title: The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9)
Author: Darynda Jones
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)
Release Date: January 12, 2016
In a small village in New York Charley Davidson is living as Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.
But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her-even from her new and trusted friends-the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.
Kayla: Hi, Darynda! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to interview you. You have a lot of fans here at Bibliophilia, Please. Do you mind telling us a little bit about your Charley Davidson series and newest book, The Dirt on Ninth Grave?
Darynda Jones: I’d love to! Charley Davidson is a female PI who was born the grim reaper. In every story, she solves a case for a living client and one for a departed, not to mention all the side cases thrown in for good measure. The books are packed with lots of mystery and lots of sexiness in the form of our love interest, Reyes Farrow. He has daddy issues (mostly because his father is public enemy number one in both the tangible realm and the supernatural one), but that’s another story.
In Ninth Grave, Charley has lost her memory due to a traumatic event (involving Reyes’s dad, no less), and we find her working at a diner in Sleepy Hollow, NY, where she has her whole brood looking out for her. She just doesn't know it’s HER brood. Trust is coming hard for her, especially since she can see into the supernatural realm but has no idea why. And when one of her regulars is cloaked in shadows and fire, she’s both scared and intrigued by him.
This book was so fun to write because it is almost like starting over. Charley gets to learn to trust her closest friends once again and fall in love with Reyes all over again, once she can get past his brooding darkness.
Kayla: You’ve been working on this series for quite a while. How have you changed as a writer since you wrote the first book in the series and debut novel, First Grave on the Right?
Darynda: Well, I hope I’ve become a better at what I do. I still take workshops and classes, learning all I can about story structure, character development, etc. I’m obsessed with all things writing, so taking classes is a joy.
I’ve also learned that I need a lot of help when it comes to both the writing and the business end of things. I have several amazing beta readers and an incredible continuity editor along with the team at St. Martin’s Press. My agent and editor are both the absolute bomb. I basically won the lottery when it comes to traditional publishing. As for the business end, I have two ridiculously talented assistants who keep me in line most of the time. They take care of so much so that I can write.
I really had no idea going into this how much work it is. It’s no longer just about the writing, though that is and will always be the bottom line. There is just so much more to this whole gig and finding a harmonious balance is a dream I hope to achieve someday.
Kayla: Do you have any unique writing habits while working on your novels?
Darynda: I’m not sure how unique my habits are, but I do have to have a complete, very detailed outline before I can really get down to business. I’m anal about it to that point that it’s become something of a crutch. Still, without it, my stories would wander. I like tight, fast-paced stories. My greatest fear is boring my reader. I never want to let her down.
Other than that, I now write to music, which is new. I used to have utter silence, but now I put on headphones to block out distractions. I’m so easily distracted, it’s sad. Oh, look! A chicken!
Kayla: Which book(s) would you say have had the biggest effect on you as a writer?
Darynda: If you mean books that I’ve read, I’d have to say anything by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I cut my teeth on her amazing books and have wanted to write romance ever since. Others that came down the pipe and really affected me were The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Lover Awakened by JR Ward, and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. There are many others, but those taught me very specific things. It’s like they gave me permission to write boldly and never, ever, ever pull my punches, and for that, I thank them, all of those amazing writers, from the bottom of my heart.
Kayla: Are there any 2016 releases that you are excited to read or enjoyed reading already?
Darynda: Oh, yes! Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning. The Beast by JR Ward. Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. So many! I could go on and on.
Kayla: Finally, do you have any upcoming projects after Ninth Grave that you can get us excited about?
Darynda: I am working on a couple of projects, but I don’t want to sell on proposal. I’m not good at that whole deadline thing, so I am trying to get the first in each series written and the next ones at least roughly outlined. So, other than Tenth Grave, I can’t make any promises. I will say that they are both historical, one a paranormal YA and one straight historical fiction (with a wicked twist, of course).
Thank you so much for having me!
Kayla: Thank YOU! The pleasure has been mine. :-)
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About the Author
For reasons known only to the Big Guy upstairs, NYTimes and USA Today Best Selling author Darynda Jones won both a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. But even before that, she couldn’t remember a time she wasn’t putting pen to paper. When she was five, she would pick up a pencil and notepad, scribble utter chaos onto the page and ask her mom to read her masterpiece aloud. Thankfully, her mother would play along. Later she wrote plays for the neighborhood kids, made up stories for her brother as he played cars, and fell in love with Captain Kirk. Those raging, seven-year-old hormones only fueled her imagination, prompting her to create fantastical stories for Barbie and Ken to enact. Ken was such a bad boy back then.
After years of being repeatedly sent to the principal’s office for daydreaming in class, she managed to make it to high school where she almost finished her first manuscript. Sitting with her BFF in a corner booth at the local Tastee Freeze for hours at a time, she wrote a post-apocalyptic story about a group of teens who bore a remarkable resemblance to the members of Van Halen and were trying to escape the tunnels of a huge government fallout facility decades after World War III had destroyed the surface of the earth. It was a science fiction version of The Warriors and destined to be a classic.
Life was good. Writing was good. Then she graduated and the real world came crashing through. She forced the dream aside in favor of sustenance and shelter, got married to a local rock star, and had at least two kids that she can think of, the oldest of whom was born Deaf, probably to spite her. When he was five, she packed up her boys and moved to Albuquerque to put him in a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program. The rock star stayed behind with the business, and they took turns going back and forth on the weekends to see each other for seven really long years.
While in Albuquerque, Darynda decided to see the cup half full and go back to college while she still had enough brain cells to make it worth her while. After graduating Summa cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Sign Language Interpreting, she moved back to her hometown and got a real job. Several in fact, mostly teaching at a local college and interpreting pretty much everywhere. Based on personal experience, she does not recommend having more than three jobs at any given time.
But bit by bit, the desire to write needled its way back to the surface. Unable to squelch it any longer, she started writing seriously again in 2002 with one goal in mind: A publishing contract. Unfortunately, she sucked. Thank goodness practice makes almost-perfect and three complete manuscripts later, she won that Golden Heart, landed an amazing agent and sold to St. Martin’s Press in a three-book deal.
She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press, the Charley Davidson series and the Darklight Trilogy. She hopes you enjoy reading them as much as she enjoys writing them.
Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
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Thanks to the very generous people at St. Martin's Press, I have a copy of The Dirt on Ninth Grave up for grabs!
Ends at 12:01am CST on January 26th
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