Hi Darynda, please tell us about your latest release.
Oh, the pressure! Okay, here goes:
Death and the Girl Next Door is about sophomore Lorelei MacAlister. Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning
on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. Life goes on and is as normal as can be until a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school and he seems to have a specific interest in Lorelei, something that never happens. To complicate matters even further, the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Jared and Cameron instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
None of them are terribly easy, but I’d have to say the biggest challenge was my hero, Jared. That is partly because between the first and second drafts of the book, his part changed drastically. Let’s just say he was one being in the first draft and another being entirely in the second. It took a lot of work to create his alter ego, but it paid off in the end.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
I really enjoyed writing Brooklyn and Glitch, my heroine’s best friends. They are fun, bossy, and fiercely loyal to Lorelei. And they made for great comic relief.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
If I get stuck, I have learned that it means something is inherently wrong with mymanuscript. I force myself to step back and take a look deeper look at it. Oddly enough, it’s almost always something with my hero. They are so cantankerous. Or there’s something wrong with the story itself. Something just isn’t quite working, and I know it deep down inside.
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
My oddest or most reliable writing ritual/habit: Well, I am easily distracted, so I MUST block the internet. Not just turn off the Wi-Fi, but totally block it. So I check my email on my phone before I even get out of bed in the mornings and the minute I get on the computer, I use a program called Freedom that blocks access to the internet for the time you allot. It’s fantastic! I think I would still be on my second book without it. (Clearly, I have no impulse control.)
Do you write in different genres?
I swear, EVERY genre appeals to me! I have manuscripts started in every genre under the sun. Mostly I write in paranormal, science fiction, young adult, and I even have several manuscripts started (and one completed) in historical romance. I love it all. I even have a spy story and a couple of assassin stories in there somewhere.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
Not at all. I love it and my mind goes a thousand miles a minute. When I have to complete a manuscript, I just have to force myself to focus and not get sidetracked, but it’s no harder to write in one genre than another. It’s all hard.
What was the last amazing book you read?
Well, I am so behind in my reading, but I recently read Divergent by Veronica Roth and really liked it! The next one in the series is out and I have it downloaded, just waiting for me to get caught up enough to be able to read for pleasure.
What can readers expect next from you?
Well, I’m currently working on rewrites for the second in the Darklight Trilogy, Death, Doom and Detention. Then it’s on to Fifth Grave Past the Light, the fifth in the Charley Davidson series. I also have three other series started, but I’m trying to focus. Again, not easy when you really do have ADD. :)
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Death and the Girl Next Door (excerpt)
By Darynda Jones
I laughed to myself and headed toward the back of our favorite and pretty much only hangout. It sat a mere block from our alma mater, Riley High, and we practically lived in our corner booth. I ducked past the snack counter and into a very dark back hall. Judging by the boxes lining the narrow passage, I’d be taking my life into my hands if I risked a journey to the little senorita’s room without illumination, so I ran my hand along a paneled wall. Where would I be if I were a light switch? Just as the tips of my fingers found the switch, a silhouette stepped out of the shadows and brushed past me. I startled with a gasp.
“Excuse me,” I said, placing a hand over my heart.
“Sorry.” The guy paused slightly before continuing on his way, and in that instant, I saw the makings of utter perfection: along arm with shadowy curves that dipped around the fluid
lines of muscle; a tall, wide shoulder; dark hair that curled playfully over an ear and led to a strong, masculine jaw. Something inside me lurched, craving a closer look at his face, but he walked by too fast and the hall was too dark for me to catch anything else.
After a couple of seconds, I realized my hand had brushed against his arm. It was enough to send a vision crashing into me, like the flash of a nuclear bomb, bright and unforgiving. Tamping down my surprise— I hadn’t had a vision in a very long time— I pressed shaking fingers to my forehead to wait out the familiar storm, to see what treasures would wash ashore in the aftermath.
Yet the things I saw were unreal, impossible, and certainly not of this world: A desolate landscape lay before me with scorched clouds and a roiling, violet sky. The air was stagnant and so impossibly thick, breathing it took effort. Then I heard the clanging of metal. I turned to watch in horror as a being, a boy of no more than sixteen or seventeen, fierce and somehow not quite human, struggled with a dark, monstrous beast. The boy’s arms corded as tendon and muscle strained against the weight of the sword he wielded. He slashed again and again, but the monster was fast, with razorlike talons and sharp, gleaming teeth, and the boy knew what those teeth felt like when they sank into flesh, knew the blinding pain that accompanied defeat. But he also knew the power he himself wielded, the raw strength that saturated every molecule of his body.
Another herculean effort landed a thrust in the monster’s shoulder and continued through its thick chest. The monster sank under the boy’s sword with a guttural scream. The boy
looked on while the beast writhed in pain, watched it grow still as the life drained out of it, and somewhere in the back of the boy’s mind, he allowed himself to register the burning of his lungs as he struggled to fill them with air.
Blood trickled between his fingers, down the length of his blade, and dripped to the powdery earth beneath his feet. I followed the trail of blood up to three huge gashes across his chest.
Evidently three of the monster’s claws had met their mark, laying the flesh of its enemy open. I gasped and covered my mouth with both hands as the boy spun toward me, sword at the ready. Squinting against the low sun, I could almost make out his features, but the vision evaporated before I got the chance. A heartbeat later, I was back in the dark hallway, gasping for air, one palm pressed against my temple, the other against the wall for balance.
I squeezed my eyes shut, fought the memory of the vision, the fear that summoned the taste of bile in the back of my throat, the feel of blood dripping down the boy’s arm.
Thank you so much for having me! ~D~
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
a Rafflecopter giveaway