You have been writing almost your entire life, what is writing to you besides your livelihood?
Writing just means so much to me. I have all these stories swirling around in my head, and without writing as an outlet, I’d probably be in a padded cell. It’s simply the state of being in which I’m the most sated. It makes my insides happy. :)
Three manuscripts later and you were able to achieve a publishing contract (and win the Golden Heart award), were all the manuscripts different? If they were different, were you surprised that First Grave on the Right was the one that was picked?
I was so VERY surprised! And, yep, they were all different. 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. But my first two completed manuscripts were historical romance and YA respectively. I really thought if anything sold, it would NOT be First Grave. But I’m sure glad it did.
You began your writing career writing adult based books, why did you change to writing books for Young Adults? What do you think are the additional challenges of writing a Young Adult series?
I’ve actually been writing YA forever. I switched and started writing adult when I decided I needed to actually complete a manuscript. So I wrote my first (and only, so far) historical romance. Then I went back to YA and wrote Death and the Girl Next Door long before First Grave. I wanted to venture into the paranormal world and the story hit me one day. I just thought, how cool would it be if Death went to high school? The adult series just happened to sell first.
But it’s all hard. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Writing is writing and a great book is a great book. I strive for excellence in everything I write, adult or YA.
What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Again, it’s all hard work. But I think writing anything historical is more of a challenge because you have to get it right. And history buffs know their stuff.
There’s no faking it in historical works, fiction or creative nonfiction. You have to do the research and you simply must nail it or your readers will call you out on it.
The Urban Fantasy / Paranormal genres appear to be the genre that everyone is writing in these days (even authors that are well established in other genres) what do you think the draw to these genre is? How do you believe your novels stand out from the rest of the crowd?
I think paranormal is so fun and inviting because you get to make it all up. There are no rules except the ones you place on your characters and their world. It’s very freeing and requires a great imagination. I guess that my novels stand out because most paranormal is dark and edgy. Mine gets dark and edgy, but for the most part they are humorous. My heroine in the Charley Davidson series is sarcastic to the extreme. There’s not much she takes seriously, and that is why she is so much fun to write. My heroine in the YA series, Lorelei MacAlister, is a bit more serious, but her friends bring in the comic relief in those. They prove there’s not much that happens in life that’s not worth laughing over.
I think the first questions that came to my head when I read you first book First Grave on the Right was, why the Grim Reaper? The second question was Why Charley Davidson, was it on purpose to make her name sound like Harley Davidson?
Ha! Yes indeed. In fact, her name was Harley Davidson until the series sold and my editor said no. I had to change her name and Charley was born.
Really, it all began with her and she—along with her abilities, personality, and attention span—was at the center of the entire concept. I knew I wanted a strong female protagonist with lethargy issues and a coffee addiction. She didn’t become the grim reaper until I’d finished the first draft. I decided she needed to be bigger and badder. She needed more of a twist, and since there weren’t many writers with a grim reaper as a protagonist, I figured why not?
I find Reyes a very interesting character; he literally has the survival and destruction of the world in his hands. What went into the creation of his character?
That’s the real icing on the cake, my (anti-) hero, Reyes Farrow. I wanted him dark and mysterious, which is a ‘duh,’ but I also wanted him to be a tad more powerful than Charley. For the scales, at least at first, to be tipped in his favor. And I wanted him so ridiculously hot that people he passed on the street couldn’t help but stop and stare, so a certain amount of magnetism had to be instilled into him. Then, just to add fuel to his already blazing fire, I added a power that he almost has no control over. That will come into play later in the series, but we will learn that sometimes a power can overtake the best of intentions.
It appears that in most UF and paranormal novels, yours included, that have come out in recent year that there is a romance aspect to the stories. Do you think that romance is needed within novels of any genre to make the plot and story more well rounded?
Personally, I absolutely do! I will read stories with no romantic subplot and have really loved a few, but I crave that attraction factor, even if it’s not the main focus in a work. So, for me, yes, that romance rounds out a good story any day of the week.
Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
The third in the Darklight Trilogy, Death and the Girl He Loves, comes out in October, and 6-8 of the Charley Davidson series sold, so Sixth Grave on the Edge will be out around May of next year. I also have several other projects on the back burner I’m dying to finish and get sold, so I’m hoping to have a couple of new projects out in a year or two. Like I said, most are YA, but I have one or two that are adult as well.
What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite)?
Well, I just started a book that has been out for a couple of years and everyone raves about it, but I’m just getting around to it. I’m only about 15% in, but it is amazing! I can’t believe it took me this long to get to. It’s Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison, and the story and the writing have blown me away. I can’t wait to finish it!
I think than anyone that likes the paranormal genre will really enjoy Darynda's series, there is really something for everyone in her novels. Darynda has very kindly supplied 1 copy (open INT) of the first novel in her Charlie Davidson series First Grave on the Right as a giveaway. So make sure to enter with rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway