Special guest – Jennifer Rardin!
by Sharon Ashwood on May 6th, 2009

once-bitten-twice-shy1

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!

bitten-to-death

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.

biting-the-bullet

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!

bite-marks

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!

Giveaway!

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!

48 comments to “Special guest – Jennifer Rardin!”

  1. 1

    :smile: Hi Jennifer,
    I definitely have to read this series now. I feel like I’ve been under a rock because how could I miss them. But I will be reading them all .
    Liked your interview . Couldn’t believe that as I was reading I saw Jensen Ackles name .
    I love Supernatural and love Dean. Very sexy man. :) You have great taste Jennifer. It was great meeting you here today. Have a great day.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com


  2. 2

    what a great post! Your books look fabulous and I would love to read one! It is a great give away you have going here. Thanks for the chance to win one of your books!


  3. 3

    I read the best comment about Jaz recently (wish I could remember where!): She might be a kick-ass heroine, but in a fight, she gets hurt. But she keeps going.

    I thought that was such a good lesson for us slightly less than kick-ass ladies who are trying to be heroines in our own lives.


  4. 4

    Hi Jennifer! Nice to see you at Silk & Shadows. Great interview. Every time I read one I learn something new. And another teaser for “Bite Marks” is always welcome. :roll: Sign me up for the contest. If I win I get to pass along my old copy to someone I haven’t managed to brow-beat into buying one of their own. Anything for you, Jenn :lol:


  5. 5

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, Quilt Lady. Thanks for stopping by!

    That’s great to hear, Jessa. Thanks!


  6. 6

    [...] not too far from home.  Today you can find me interviewing at Silk & Shadows, where I get to talk about Jaz, Vayl, and the gang and even give away some  books.  Join me, [...]


  7. 7

    I love a kick-ass heroine. Can’t wait to read.

    Kelly


  8. 8

    Morning, Jennifer! Welcome to S&S!


  9. 9

    Followed you here from your website and I am drooling just THINKING about Vayl. Mmm…more about his life in the eighteenth century, huh? Are we going to learn deep dark secrets and see the bad side of Vayl? I think I’d like that! :twisted:


  10. 10

    I’m always looking for new authors to read, I think I would enjoy your reads. Nice having you here today!


  11. 11

    Thanks, Kelly!

    Good morning, Sharon, I’m having a blast!

    Well, you know me, Jackie B. We’ll probably learn a few secrets, enough to satisfy and yet whet the appetite for more. Was Vayl bad in the 1700s? I’m kinda thinking so.

    Thanks so much, Teresa, it’s great to be here!


  12. 12

    When I first saw the Jaz Parks series in the library catalog for requesting to loan out copies from other libraries, I was intrigued when I read about assassins – never in my time of reading vampire novels have I heard of a vampire assassin, that is what got me hooked. And then the awesome gadgets that they use in the books, it is really great. I am still waiting to get my hands on the fourth book, but hey – I am patient. Thank you for giving us this grand opportunity.


  13. 13

    I LOVE this series! I buy every book the day it hits the store and I recommend them to everyone. Jaz and Vayl are awesome together!

    Keep up the excellent writing Jennifer. :grin: I can’t wait for Bite Marks!


  14. 14

    I’m just so excited about the new book! And another short story?! Yay!! I’m trying to talk an indie book store here in town that sells your books and that hosts a lot of signings to try to get you to come here!

    Now my question is, where do you get your ideas for the gadgets? I think they’re just so cool. :)


  15. 15

    Your books sound great! Thanks so much for visiting us and I’m crossing my fingers and toes that the magical number randomizer picks me.


  16. 16

    I’m so excited and can’t wait for Bite Marks! Every Jaz book has been better than the one before it, so this one is sure to be spectacular!


  17. 17

    How sweet are you, Gayle? Hope you enjoy the story!

    Thanks, Judi! Great to talk to you again!

    My gadgets take some time to dream up, Andie, but generally speaking I begin with the question, “How cool would it be if we had a machine that could do ____?”

    I appreciate the welcome, Jody. Your odds are pretty good with three winners coming out of the pot!

    Whoop, whoop for the Jaz praise, Heather! I just got done with the copyedit for Bite Marks, and I’m finally happy to say I think it’s worthy of your investment. Hope you enjoy it!


  18. 18

    Welcome, Jennifer!

    I’ve heard really great things about this series, and as soon as I crawl out from under my current manuscript, I’m going to go hunt the first one down. Both Jaz and Vayl sound awesome.


  19. 19

    Lol, I think I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms from not reading these for a while. I’m tempted to get the new Biting the Bullet just for Jaz’s mini-mission! I can’t decide if I want it that much to buy the book again and sound obsessive. Wait … this is me we’re on about, I AM obsessive.
    :mrgreen: (I don’t know if this face goes with my comment, but i’s awesome so it’s going in)


  20. 20

    Hi Jennifer,
    The books sound like great reads! More to add to my tbr list.


  21. 21

    As a follow-up to an earlier comment, it makes a heroine (or hero) more human and believable when they get injured in a fight. There are few things so unreal as watching one of the knock-down drag-out fights on TV or in a movie, and the hero/ine walks away without even a bruise!


  22. 22

    I agree, Carol! The heroes have to get hurt, and have flaws as well. It just makes it easier to relate to the characters. That’s one of the reasons I never really cared for Superman. He’s too darn perfect. I always preferred Marvel comics, particularly the X-Men and Spiderman.

    I used to be in karate, and our sensei focused on self-sefense a lot. When teaching about defending against someone with a knife, he made sure we knew–you will get cut, but get past the fear. It’s all about the realities. :)


  23. 23

    I can’t believe I haven’t started this series yet. Really enjoyed the excerpts, so please count me in.

    BTW Jaz’s top secret file page was a hootl


  24. 24

    This was extremely interesting! :lol: I can’t wait to read book 6 and definitely book 7! :razz: I love learning more and more about the characters! And yeah, I know what’s it like to always have your best ideas when you’re somewhere and you don’t have a pen and paper! :arrow: That sucks!
    Well, I enjoyed reading this! :grin:


  25. 25

    Much love for the series and you. Jaz has to be the best female lead around. I find her to be a cool role model. And Vayl do I even have to go there??? He’s well dreamy in an undead sort of way. Keep up the great work. Are you going to have another series or book come out that doesn’t have to do with Jaz? :mrgreen:


  26. 26

    Thanks a lot, Annette! (Watch out for those manuscripts though, yeah? I’ve heard they can give you hives!)

    Shall I tempt you more, Emily? During the writing of the mini-mission we had a twenty minute discussion about whether or not a car could climb steps!

    Hi chey! It’s great to be on your list! (Much better than some I’ve been on!!)

    …and with their hair perfectly coiffed, Carol G. As a naturally curly redhead who’s barely in control of her own do, that one may annoy me the most.

    Count me double on the Superman comment, Andie. Never could get past all that perfection.

    Yay! Welcome to Crazyland, Cathy M!

    Thanks a million, Robin. My agent and I are looking to pitch an entirely different series to my agent next spring. Same world, MUCH different circumstances and creatures, (in fact, no vamps at all in the first book).


  27. 27

    Hi Jennifer, I’m surfacing a bit late tonight to say thanks for visiting Silk And Shadows! I love a series with an ongoing sense of history, especially when that history spans a few centuries. And lol, your editor dousing your hero and heroine with hose water!


  28. 28

    Jaz & Vayl sound very intriguing. It also sounds like you have devoted some time to what can be a real weakness for some paranormal writers: world building. I may be able to ignore the flaws while I’m reading but it leaves me unsatisfied when I’m finished. I’m looking forward to reading your books.


  29. 29

    I just love Jaz, Vayl and the entire crew, and I can’t wait to see what they get into in the land down under! Please keep the great stories coming, and thanks for being so awesome to your fans!


  30. 30

    Interesting twists and turns, the heroine’s (Jaz Parks’) complexities and biting wit made this series one of my all time favorite. :grin:

    Can’t say anything more… Um, is it October yet? :wink:


  31. 31

    Jennifer,

    Your characters and your books sound fantastic — and wow – you got some great covers!

    Kim


  32. 32

    Major fan of Jaz and Co. I have recently become the local library for the series, loaning out copies of the books to all my friends. They are definate converts.

    Here’s to Jaz rockin’ out the “others” for many, many books to come.


  33. 33

    How exciting that the upcoming book is set in Australia. Does the setting (location) already change in the previous books or are they all set in the same city/country?


  34. 34

    Hi Allison, thanks for the welcome! I gotta say, having a somewhat ancient hero does make for a wide choice of storylines!

    Arlene, I’ll admit to you up front that world building is my least favorite project and one my editor nags at me constantly about (which is why she’s so good.) My trend has been to give readers images of the world(s) in each book of the series, so that as they read through it, they can actually see it appearing around them bit by bit.

    Wahoo, Jaime M! Well, I have awesome fans, so it’s easy to be awesome right back atcha!

    Thanks, Kim. I agree, the covers are just fantastic thanks to those geniuses in Orbit’s Art Department. If you’re interested, they did a two-part piece on how they make book covers, using mine as an example. Really fascinating. Here are the links:

    http://www.orbitbooks.net/2009/01/28/the-making-of-an-urban-fantasy-cover-part-i/

    http://www.orbitbooks.net/2009/02/18/the-making-of-an-urban-fantasy-cover-part-ii/#more-1577

    You go, Eeyore!!

    The setting changes for every book, Paula, because the bad guys operate globally, so Jaz, Vayl and their crew must as well. The first two books take place in the States, Miami and Corpus Christie. Biting the Bullet is set in Tehran, Iran (and if that wasn’t a pain to research I can’t even begin to tell you what would be!). Bitten to Death occurs in Patras, Greece, which is the site of Vayl’s former Trust (a close-knit community of vampires) and One More Bite (here’s a link if you’re interested in seeing the cover: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/One-More-Bite/Jennifer-Rardin/e/9780316022095/?itm=1) takes place just outside of Inverness, Scotland. We already mentioned the Bite Marks action happening in Australia, specifically about half an hour south of Canberra. And the book I’m writing now takes place in Marrakesh. Which means I’m really grooving on my current research. The colors! The architecture! The names (Djemaa el Fna–that’s their main market area–doesn’t it sound like a blast?)


  35. 35

    Lol I’m sure Jaz could make a car climb steps if she ever had the need to, I reckon someone should try it out …
    But now I so need to buy the book (again), or maybe I could persuade someone to buy it me for a late bday pressie. (I like that plan … now to find someone who doesn’t already know I have a copy) :grin:


  36. 36

    I love Jaz Park Series and I am lookin’ for my own Vayl :mrgreen:

    I CANNOT wait for the new book!!!

    *hugs* thanks for the great way to escape, Mrs. Rardin!! *hugs*


  37. 37

    I absolutely love the Jaz series. I am eagerly awaiting book #6! The slow build up between Vayl and Jaz has been great to follow.


  38. 38

    UF Books with kick-ass heroines are my favorite! :!: I would love a chance to win one your books, Jaz sounds awesome. Thank you for the great interview & giveaway.


  39. 39

    Sounds like a plan, Emily!

    Hugs back, Lorna B! (I hope your future Vayl makes you just as happy as Jaz’s makes her!)

    Coolio, Samantha! I never quite believe the quick-and-dirties are going to last. Now this one…

    Woohoo! Good luck FantasyDreamer!


  40. 40

    Jaz sure sounds like a lot of fun, Jennifer, I need to start collecting this series. Have a great weekend.


  41. 41

    Truly the best! I love these books and once I start reading, I can’t put it down. Somehow, those books always suck me in! Not that that’s a bad thing though, lol!

    I find myself to be a big Vayl fan though. He seems passionate about what he loves and will go after it full force, but at the same time he has a steady hand and a calm head enough to be slick. And you pretty much have to be to be one step ahead of Jaz. I wish I was more like Vayl, but unfortunately, I’m more like Jaz. ;)


  42. 42

    Thanks a lot, Pam P. I hope you enjoy it!

    I appreciate your insights on Vayl, D. Queen. I’m not a whole lot like him either, but I think everyone like Jaz needs someone like him in their lives!


  43. 43

    As soon as i saw your books on the shelf in the bookstore i knew i had to read them, they are just absolutely amazing.

    I’m now reading them through for the fourth time in waiting for the release of the next one. Can’t wait to find out what jaz and vayl get up to next!


  44. 44

    Wowza! I’m glad they’re holding up to repetition, emzie. Hang in there–October’s not as far as it seems!


  45. 45

    It’s really nice of the author to give away three copies of her books. I have to admit that I haven’t read any of her book, just read reviews from people who have done so and, of course, the author’s web page.

    By the way, how many books is this series going to have? :wink:


  46. 46

    [...] Silk & Shadows » Blog Archive » Special guest – Jennifer Rardin! [...]


  47. 47

    Ms. Rardin, I absolutely love your series. I am patiently waiting for Bite Marks, as I know many people are. I hope to see more action between Jaz and Vayl! I was wondering how many your are anticipating for the series? Not that I ever want them to end, but I’m dying to know how it turns out!


  48. 48

    Hey Cristina and Elie, right now I’ve contracted for eight books, but I can envision at least six more. I do know how the series ends now–but I’ve also realized I have at least two great spin-offs to do, so never fear. I’ve got you covered for years to come!


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