I have been struggling with whether or not I should post Jennifer's interview for the last month... But I think Jennifer would like for everyone to have the opportunity to read her answers and get pumped about her release of Bitten in Two, which comes out November 8th.
When I first received an e-mail from her asking if I would like to host her and read her newest Jaz Parks installment, I was so giddy with excitement that I sent her the interview questions that same day- two and a half months early. She laughed with me and didn't mind my over enthusiasm... and then sent the interview back to me almost as quickly as I sent them to her. She was fun, incredible and sweet.
To Jennifer's family and friends, I'm so heartbroken for your loss. My prayers are with you- that you can find strength as you grieve. Rest in peace, Jennifer, you will be severely missed.
Welcome to Rex Robot Reviews, Jennifer!
Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the courageous Jaz Parks and her newest installment, Bitten in Two?
Thanks so much for having me here, Julia! I'm not sure I can pinpoint the inspiration behind Jaz. She began as this sassy, cynical voice in my head that wouldn't be silenced, despite the fact that I was trying to write Once Bitten, Twice Shy (the first book in the series) in third person. So, eventually I caved (like everybody eventually does if they know what's good for them) and gave her leave to speak her mind. She's a lot like my daughter. And like I'd want to be if I wasn't already indelibly stamped by my own experiences.
Bitten in Two is a continuation of Jaz's efforts to eradicate Brude, the domytr (translation: badass demon) who's taken residence inside her head. It's also the best love story I've ever written. Hopefully by the end you'll feel a whole lot better about Jaz and Vayl, and about how two people can fight through seemingly impossible odds to stay together.
I am so excited that Jaz is onto her seventh novel! How do you see Jaz's character evolve from the first book to the seventh?
I think Jaz has developed her capacity to love and her patience for those she cares about. She's also added several new skills to the set she began with, including the ability to walk in Vayl's past (which I think is amazing, because we get to see events through his eyes). Most importantly (to her), she's much more mentally stable than she was when her story began. I'm happy for her in that regard. Nobody should have to stay in the state she was in when we first met her.
Are there any particular challenges your characters have created for you during the writing process?
My characters are a huge pain in the ass, and they like it like that! They're always making me turn back to previous books to make sure I got details of their previous adventures correct (including clothes, jewelry, actions and comments). And they are always moving the action away from my outline. This, I have decided, is what happens when you create strong, unique characters. And if you're smart, you just let them grab the reins, because when they're in charge the story ends up reading a lot better anyway!
Jaz has a lot of awesome international adventures, so what kind of research do her adventures require?
Sadly, I was never able to visit any of Jaz's locations in person. However I did do massive amounts of online research to make sure I created the right kind of detail for her adventures. I also read travel books, travelogues of people who'd been to those particular spots, and I corresponded with folks who lived in the area to make sure I got the little things right. This is mondo important to me, because when the reality is easy to accept, the fiction tastes a lot sweeter too.
Which supporting character did you enjoy writing the most and why? (My favorite may always be Cole!)
Even though I spent a lot more time with Cole, it's still a tie between him and Jaz's dad, Albert. Cole is hilarious and a lot of fun. I never quite know what he's going to say (which sounds weird, but his jokes usually jump complete right from my head to the page) and I love that unpredictable element about him.
Albert is just a lovely character to spend a book with. He appears in One More Bite, spending an entire mission with Jaz (to her immense consternation). They've never gotten along, so watching them interact is completely entertaining, and writing about them never felt like work.
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What songs would you choose for the Bitten in Two soundtrack?The story takes place in Marrakech, so I'd have to do some research and find some wonderful North African tunes to help set the mood... But I'd probably also add a few of my favorites like One Fine Day, Bad Moon Rising, And So It Goes, The Sound of Silence, New Divide and Hold On... all of which have special meaning when you relate them to the storyline of Bitten in Two.
Where can we find you when you aren't writing?I'm usually hanging out with my hubby. We enjoy gardening, traveling, and cooking together, so my down-time is pretty sweet.
Tell us something about yourself! What is one thing no one knows about you?Hmm, that's a tough one. Okay, here's something I'm not sure is common knowledge. When I was a teenager (between the ages of sixteen and nineteen) I made extra bucks by cleaning houses for old folks. I totally recommend it. They're very patient and kind! (Although, I gotta say, this one old gal had stuff in her refrigerator that had been expired for at least a decade. The things you learn when you start digging into other people's gunk!)
You're writing a YA book and another series! Is there anything you can tell us about it that isn't too confidential?
The YA book is called Shadowstruck and is currently on the market. We've had encouraging noises from editors, but no takers yet. It's about a troublemaker named Holmes who has to rescue his sister from a creeper who happens to live in another world.
The new series is called Book Club of the Damned. The three girls (and token guy) who will (hopefully) fill your days with snorts of laughter and amazement are all students at Wisconsin State University in Kenosha. And, no, it doesn't exist. (The college, not the city. At least, I'm pretty sure Kenosha will still be standing after I've had my way with it!) Since our heroes have devoured every book related to vamps, werewolves, and other creepy-crawlies known to man, they find themselves to be the experts when those very monsters begin to appear on the streets of their fair city. Think Ghostbusters meets Get Smart and you'll be edging close to the idea!
So, what comes after Bitten in Two? Will we be seeing more of our kick-ass heroine, Jaz Parks?I've been contracted to write one more book in the Jaz Parks series, which is called The Deadliest Bite, and is scheduled to release next June. It will tie up a lot of loose ends and let you know where our fave characters are headed without actually “ending” the series.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today!Thanks to you and everyone for stopping by!
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Also, make sure you take this chance to pre-order Bitten in Two, which releases in the US on November 8 and in the UK on December 2. You can find it at any of these fine online retailers. Thanks!