I picked up Jennifer Rardin’s first book on a “hey, that looks fun” basis, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Her characters are irresistible, her vamps are mesmerizing, and her plots keep me up way past my bedtime. What’s better than that?
The best part about participating in a blog like this is it gives one license to contact your fave authors and force them to answer questions. Better yet, they show up and give away stuff–Check out the end of the interview for the loot-related rules.
I can’t think of a nicer mid-week treat, so without further ado, please welcome Jennifer Rardin!
Jaz is a wonderful character with a very clear voice. How has she evolved from the time she first stepped into your head?
Jaz started life as a shy little penguin with two daddies . . . wait a sec. I think I might be channeling some other writer. Or possibly Sesame Street. See what happens when you write about the supernatural all the time? Ya just get weird.
Which might be a good way to describe Jaz, but never within her hearing, because she would so kick your ass. That, at least, hasn’t changed since I first heard from her. At the time I was writing Once Bitten, Twice Shy, the first book in the Jaz Parks series. I’d started it in the third person, because I wanted to get a big chunk of the story from the perspective of the vampire hero, Vayl. But Jaz was such a smartass–opinionated, funny, and loud enough to make your ears pop–that she forced me to rewrite the whole book from her point of view. At the time she was all about the J-O-B and surviving her twisted history.
Now that I’ve begun writing Bitten in Two, the seventh book in the series, I can say she’s dealt with a lot of the issues that were tearing her up inside then. That she’s surrounded herself with good people who would help her get on down the road if she could just figure out how to trust them. She still has a long way to go before we can call her whole, but at least she’s still cracking me up.
Your male characters are delightful and Vayl is a delicious dark hero. For those not familiar with the series, tell us a bit about him.
What a nice comment! I am so buying you chocolate when we meet!
I do love my guys, especially Vayl. He was raised among the Rom (more commonly known as gypsies–although that’s not really a nice word to use for them) and, as a result, his family traveled widely throughout Europe during his years as a human. When he was thirty-eight two major events changed him forever. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t begun the series, but I will say he became a vampire in 1751, and with the advent of each book we learn a bit more about how he spent the interceding years.
Bitten to Death, gives a great perspective of how he spent 108 years of his life as a member of a Vampere Trust in Greece. Bitten in Two, which releases next spring, will give us the most detailed look yet at what he was like in the eighteenth century.
I think the most important details to remember about him are that he’s smart, sexy, and holding onto the last scraps of his humanity with both hands.
Villains are every bit as important as the heroes. Without giving too much away, what drives the villains in your stories and how do those forces shape the future for your characters? Do you see a unifying thread amongst the bad guys?
I think my villains have a lot in common with terrorists. They want to pick America up and break her over their knees. Then they want to gather up all her freedoms and make a big bonfire out of them. Vayl and Jaz have been hired to stop the worst of those people.
The unifying villainous thread is that all the bad guys live in two worlds. Ours. And another one that Vayl calls the Whence. We’ll learn more about this world of magic and power as the series progresses.
You have a very delicate balance between romantic tension and a rip-roaring action plot. What choices do you have to make to maintain that equilibrium? Do the characters ever try and stray from their appointed paths?
The choices I make regarding the balance between romance and action all happen pretty much at gut level. It just feels like the right time, or if I’m lucky the story has led into a wonderful personal moment, and there we are, watching two people try to make a relationship work against momentous odds.
Oh my gosh, you should’ve seen Jaz and Vayl at the beginning of the series! They couldn’t keep their hands off each other. My editor had to spray them with a garden hose a few times! Now we all know each other much better, so all I have to do is raise an eyebrow and everybody steps right back in line!
What’s coming next in the series?
Orbit US & UK will be releasing Bite Marks this October 29. Fans of Jaz & Vayl can look for another quick read (they usually gulp them down in a day, two at the most) during which our heroes will be working their hardest case ever. No, I’m not exaggerating. It takes place in Australia, where fanatical gnomes have targeted one of NASA’s most valuable assets. But that’s not all (you knew I wouldn’t stop there, right?). Jaz is also forced to wrestle with a personal demon unlike any she’s encountered before.
The crew will include our old faves: Cassandra, Bergman, Cole and Jack the malamute. And I’ll introduce a couple of new characters who I think you’ll love . . . and hate!
Also, the first three books of the series will be coming out in mass market paperback in the US (with new covers even) this summer! Here’s the schedule!
Once Bitten, Twice Shy–June 30, 2009
Another One Bites the Dust–July 28, 2009
Biting the Bullet–August 25, 2009
We’re including a brand new Jaz Parks mini-mission at the end of this version of Biting the Bullet. I really enjoyed writing this one, so I hope you all get to read it!
What’s the one talent that Jaz has-supernatural or not-that you’d like to borrow for a while?
Jaz has a knack for putting even the most upsetting events aside as long as she needs to so that she can concentrate on the chaos in front of her. Then, when she has a free moment, she can pull those events out of temporary storage and deal with them properly. I’d love to be able to do that.
Where can readers find you?
In the bathroom. No, I’m not kidding. My bladder must be the size of a raisin. Plus, for some bizarre reason, I get my best ideas in the shower. But when I’m done, no doubt I’ll be online because I’m freaking addicted to the Internet! Wahoo for the World Wide Web!
I’ve got a kicking website that I update at least twice a week, and I do respond to comments, so feel free to drop me a line at http://www.jenniferrardin.com. My Facebook fansite has been a lot of fun as well. We can gossip about the books (and Jensen Ackles–yay Supernatural!) at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Rardin/19356585468. And if you’re into MySpace, I regularly visit my site there at http://myspace.com/jenniferrardin. Can’t wait to chat with you!
In celebration of this summer’s mass market release of books 1-3 in the Jaz Parks series, I’ve decided to give away one copy of the trade paperback version of each book. The first two (Once Bitten, Twice Shy and Another One Bites the Dust) will be ARCs (which are considered first editions, and so are quite collectible), while Biting the Bullet will be a regular copy. I’ll also autograph each novel. Let’s make it extra fun and pick three winners, shall we? So we’ll give one book to each winner, okay? Cool!