Monday, November 2, 2009

Guest: Jennifer Rardin

Welcome Jennifer Rardin to VampChix today!  She's the author of the wildly popular Jaz Parks series.  Who is Jaz Parks?  Here's the special skills she possesses:  Fifth degree black belt in taekwondo. Advanced training in aikido, southern Shaolin style kung fu, ju-jitsu and mystic fong chen. Expert sharpshooter. Ability to detect vampires without first seeing them. Cannot be hyponotized by same. Also somewhat immune to vampiric powers in general, making me an ideal candidate to assassinate the undead. Ability to react quickly in fluid situations where flexibility and clear thinking under pressure are required.  [Taken from the Top Secret file of Jasmine Elaine Parks at JR's website.]

Jennifer is giving away a copy of one book from her Jaz Parks series!  One lucky winner (just leave a comment today or tomorrow) will be drawn (tomorrow evening; announced Wednesday) and winner gets to pick any book from the series!

So let's learn a little more from Jennifer...

Q:  Bite Marks was just released last week and is the 6th book in the Jaz Parks series.  Do you have more planned in the series?  How many?  And can you give us some sneak clues for future books?

JR:  Yeah, we have at least two more books planned.  Book seven, Bitten in Two, takes place in Marrakesh, Morocco.  I had a blast with the story, which is packed with intense action.  It also introduces new characters you'll both love and hate!

I'll be starting book eight soon.  I know the general plot, which will be highly exciting from Vayl's perspective.  And I'm also pretty sure both he and Jaz will be traveling to Romania at some point in the story.

Q:  After an author writes a series for a while, they tend to get to know their characters VERY well.  Every talk to Jaz or Vayl when you’re just sitting around not writing?  Do they talk back?  What’s that conversation like?

JR:  We seem to have agreed to take complete breaks from each other when we're away from the novel.  Although I do occasionally find myself snapping out a comment that's so quintessentially Jaz that I know I've been spending a little too much time with my head in the laptop.  At which point I generally take the next morning off and clean the house!

Q: Any creatures Jaz and Vayl haven’t yet fought but you’re dying to unleash on them?

JR:  I'm pretty happy with the creatures they've grappled with so far, so unless I discover some amazing monster from folklore that I've either forgotten about or never heard of but fall madly in love with, I think I'll be creating the next nasty they meet from my own deranged imagination!

Q:  When creating your world what are some myths you’ve incorporated in the series?  What are some of the myths/monsters you’ve completely made up?  Which is more fun/interesting; working with established myth or making your own?

JR:  I've used a lot of the traditional myths that I've come to treasure, like vamps burning in the sun, zombies bowing to another's will, and werewolves dying from silver bullets.  I like preserving many of the time-honored traits I grew up associating with my favorite monsters, because they legitimize our worlds at the same time that they honor the artists who've built the foundation of our industry. 

As far as original mythology is concerned, in my world the government regulates the release of blood to vampires who've chosen to "blend" into mainstream society.  Creatures with supernatural powers, or others, are governed by their own council.  Which means they live their lives more in parallel with humans than in concert with them.  And I have tried to create at least one new scary for each of my books.  (Please don't read on if you're new to the series and wish to avoid spoilers here.)  In Once Bitten, Twice Shy, the first book in the Jaz Parks series, I introduced a chaos beast called a Kyron that was capable of ripping through the walls that divided worlds.  In the second book, Another One Bites the Dust, it was a demonic creature called a Reaver that stole souls and stored them in its third eye.  Biting the Bullet featured the mahghul, cat-sized monsters that flocked to scenes of potential violence to feed on that emotion and then instigate even more.  For me, one of the best characteristics of urban fantasy is the ability to mix old traditions and new ideas to create unique societies.  I get huge kicks from watching conflicts unfold in that kind of atmosphere.

Q:  Do you write to music?  Create soundtracks for your stories?  What are some of the songs your characters would listen?

JR: Yes, I write to music almost every day.  Generally I've got my IPod on shuffle and the tunes keep me company.  I don't really create soundtracks for my stories, but songs will occur to me in the middle of scenes, and if they influence me strongly enough I'll include them in the action.

Vayl is definitely a classical music buff, but he hasn't broken the news to Jaz yet, because he hates it when she makes those gagging noises like she's about to puke.  For her part, Jaz prefers hard rock and some of the better quality heavy metal.  Her most recent discovery:  Rammstein.

Q:  You have the best covers EVER.  Do you know the cover fairy personally?  How much do you have to tip that chick?  :-)

JR:  I completely agree with you, and yes, I do know the cover fairy!  She is a brilliant artist with gossamer wings and thigh-high leather boots, the better to kick cover ass with!  My sense is that, when we finally meet in person, I may have to buy her a set of her very own Jaz Parks poker chips!  (Because, perhaps predictably, she plays a mean hand of Texas Hold'Em.)

Q: Do you foresee writing urban fantasy for quite a while, or do you feel you’d like to try another genre?

JR:  I do feel like urban fantasy is an ideal fit for me.  But if I wander away from the genre, I think it's likely I'll change forms as well.  I've been thinking of writing a musical comedy for a while now, and I've just begun developing an idea for a straight comedy that I believe would work best on the big screen.

Here’s the same 5 questions we ask every guest:
Dark or Light?

Historical or Modern?

Fav Movie or TV vamp?

Bagged or from the Neck?
 From the Neck.

Dead or Undead?

Thanks, Jennifer!

Please visit Jennifer at her website and become a fan on FaceBook!

{Michele's note: I tried to get more pics of Jennifer's covers in today's post but Blogger was not playing nice with me!  So please visit her site to view all the awesome covers.}


Unknown said...

Hi :)
Thank you for having the excellent Jennifer Rardin here today & thanks to Jennifer for sharing. I enjoyed learning more about her & her writing.
Love & Best Wishes,

Crystal Adkins said...

I have the first book in the series, and I really like her style :)

Amanda Makepeace said...

Thank you for sharing more about your books and writing in general. It's great to see a glimpse of the author!

I've not read any from this series yet, but it is on my "to read" list.



Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

I know that authors don't usually have a lot of control over their cover art - but yours totally sucks me in - SCORE!

mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

Rain Maiden said...

I have not read this series, but it sounds like it kicks butt. I will add Once Bitten, Twice Shy to my wish list. Got to start at the begining.

JWZ1978 said...

Sounds like a great series, I'll have to check it out!

Judy said...

The series sounds great. Love the covers!! That was a very good interview, I really enjoy learning about the authors I read!!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Jennifer. Great interview. Your series sounds wonderful. Love the covers to your books.

The Scarf Princess said...

The series sounds great! And you have wonderful taste in your choice for favorite vamp.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

susan said...

A joy to stop in and say hello and read all the good things about happenings with you. Love the book write up and I love series of books so right down my alley. susan L.

Alicia0385 said...

I have not yet read any of her books but I have heard great things about them. They are in my TBR Pile!!

jeanette8042 said...

Awesome interview and the series sounds interesting.

Rosie said...

This series is definitely on my tbr pile. Can't wait to read them!!

rosie0512 @ hotmail . com

throuthehaze said...

This series sounds great! I will definitely read them.

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

donnas said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing. I love this series and cant wait to get the chance to read Bite Marks. Glad to see there's two more on the way.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

donnas said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing. I love this series and cant wait to get the chance to read Bite Marks. Glad to see there's two more on the way.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Anonymous said...

I've been reading reviews for this series and they are all positive.Can't wait to read them.

Daelith said...

Thank you for the interview. I've been hearing good things about this series too. I've got them on my wish list.

cheleooc at yahoo dot com

Linda Henderson said...

Enjoyed your interview and you do have great covers. Can't wait to read your book.

Jeanette J said...

Thank you for the interview. I'd love to win one of the series. Please enter me.

Abigail said...

Perfect timing. I just read and posted my review for Once Bitten, Twice Shy on my blog. I'm definitely ready for Another One Bites The Dusk

I posted this on the Contests & Giveaways sidebar of my blog

AllThingsUrbanFantasy(at) gmail (dot) com

Unknown said...

Great interveiw! Sounds like an awesome read! I have not read your books before, but I am going to start watching for them.


Teonda Tollison said...

Jennifer is a new author to me. I will be looking for all her books soon.

Brenda Hyde said...

AWESOME interview! Any author that names Angel as their favorite vamp goes on my To Be Read list:)

I really appreciate Jennifer's take on traditional myths. I'd been thinking about that one for awhile now.

Asylumgirl said...

*raising my hand*

May I be a winner, pretty please.

I haven't read any of Jennifer's books yet.

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

Silvia said...

I have 2 confess that Jennifer is a new to me author as well. I loved the interview and the covers look great. It seems I have been missing out!

Blodeuedd said...

Fun post, I would love to start this series. Oh and the covers are kick-ass ;)

blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

Scott Romanski said...

OOo.....These sound good!

MarnieColette said...

Thanks for such a wonderful interview. Jennifer, I think you should have a couple chapters where Jaz and Vayl have to babysit Jaz's little niece that would be scary.

Book of Secrets said...

Jaz sounds like a totally kick-butt heroine!! Please enter me in the book giveaway. I want to read more!

Diana Owen-Emerson

Andrea I said...

I'm glad to learn more about Jennifer and her books. There are definitely on my TBB list.

Van Pham said...

Great Interview! I haven't read Mrs. Rardin's series yet but would love to, it sounds really interesting!