Posts Tagged ‘jared s. anderson’


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Nine months ago, something happened that I’d been working very long and hard for: Beautiful Monster got published. It was picked up by Damnation Books, a wonderful publisher in California that I absolutely adore. There was much to be excited about as Monster went through the process of publication, and I didn’t want to waste any time. I immediately started planning my future as a writer. I began revising The White Room, a manuscript I wrote before Beautiful Monster which needed some work before being an acceptable candidate for publication. On top of this, I began an equally exciting top-secret side project—that I can’t really get into at this point—that I’m totally stoked about. Things were going swimmingly—my days and nights absorbed in the fictional worlds of my own creation—until, about three months ago, something else happened: I hit a brick wall. And it wasn’t writer’s block.

This brick wall was far scarier than writer’s block because at least there are things you can do to lubricate a stubborn story. What I faced was something I never expected to: doubt… and not the doubt that I could be a writer—that’s a given—but the doubt that I wanted to be a writer.

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So, I stopped writing—which given my life circumstances at the time—wasn’t all that hard. I was in the middle of moving—again—and I’d met some fascinating writers from the old-school who made me feel like one of them. It was easy to coast for a while, but in truth, I wasn’t coasting at all. I was thinking. I was wondering how, after so many years of dreaming of this, of working toward this, I could possibly feel this way once those dreams were finally coming true. But that’s where I was at, and it wasn’t very fun.

After a while, the people around me started asking questions. They wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. I never told them the truth. I didn’t want to be influenced in any way because I knew this was something I needed to figure out for myself. I was working, just not in any way that was visible. In those months, I produced nothing that would help my career in any way, but I did strip down the layers of who I am, and I did figure a few things out.

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I figured out that the glitter is gone, the shine has dulled, and reality has cast its shadow over the dream. I have a different understanding of what it means to be a writer now—it’s not a better understanding—just a different understanding. I figured out that writing is—in truth—a lot of time spent sitting in front of a computer. It’s picking up the thousands of little pieces of a scattered story and spending hours, days, weeks, and months trying to fit them together in the most cohesive, relatable—and salable—way. It’s sacrificing a lot of time with friends and family. It’s being asked outright in public settings how much money you make. It’s work. It’s a daily decision to sit down and create something that may or may not ever even see the light of day. It’s the choice to devote a lot of time and effort to an entirely unknown outcome. It’s a risk.

I realized that the glamour of being a writer—if there ever was any—doesn’t shine quite as brightly as the world would like to believe. I’ve met my heroes, and they’ve now become my friends—people I talk to on the phone, exchange emails with, and discuss the most tedious details of my life with. This doesn’t make them unglamorous, this simply makes them real. It makes all of this real—and that’s not a bad thing—it’s just a different thing.

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In the beginning, when this was still a dream, I made some conscious choices. I would steer clear of any unattainable expectations. I would not put anyone on a pedestal or hold my heroes to superhuman standards… and in truth, I’m neither disenchanted by the path nor in any way disappointed in anyone I’ve met. But the dream, as it manifests into reality, is grating and unsettling… it feels a little like walking off a ledge. It made me decide I needed to take stock. I needed to step back and look at writing from a realistic perspective. I needed to then ask myself if this was ultimately going to make me very happy. So, that’s what I did… and the past couple weeks have finally brought things into enough focus that I can proceed in what I’m confident is the right direction.

Ultimately, nothing has changed for me except my approach to it. The dream is still intact. Somehow, I still want this, but now I know that only the love of this—and nothing else—is strong enough to withstand the demands and lack of certainty that writing requires. There isn’t enough ego to uphold this—there isn’t enough money to justify it—and there isn’t enough comfort to sustain it. But at the core of who I am, this is what I do—what I’ve always done—and it gets me closer to happiness than anything ever has before. And perhaps the greatest persuasion has been the incredible and unbearable gnawing, gnashing need to write even when I’ve given myself permission to break from it for a while. If nothing else, this has slowly convinced me that my writing days are far from being over. I’ve made some great self-discoveries these past months, but that hasn’t stopped the stories from tumbling in, the characters from blathering on, or the fingers from seeking the keys.

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I now have what I believe is a deeper, more accurate understanding of being a writer. It’s not pretty anymore, but it’s mine, and it’s real. I’ve learned that even when I’m “not” writing, I’m still writing, and so—at the risk of sounding melodramatic—how can I possibly not write? I can’t, but I do have a choice in how I proceed. I can either gather up the scattered pieces of story, glue them all together, and try to make something out of this that matters… or I can return to the days when jotted-down descriptions, disjointed dialogue, and fragmented portions of plot and poetry haunted me from hundreds of loose scraps of paper that invaded and overran any space within ten feet of me.

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For me, that choice is clear. After giving my soul a thorough strip-search, I’m realizing there isn’t really anything else I can do and be happy. The dream may be over now… the real world may have settled in… but there are still stories to be told.

And I’ll do my best to tell them.

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During the first quarter of a book’s release, it stands to reason that family and friends will account for the majority of sales. Knowing that my loved ones had already procured their copies of Beautiful Monster, I’ve been especially eager ~ and a little nervous ~ about this quarter’s statistics since I figured it would more accurately reveal how interested the general public really is.

Well, tonight, I received that long-awaited December 1st through February 28th royalty report from my publisher… and I couldn’t be happier. Beautiful Monster has more than doubled its sales since last quarter 🙂

Between book signings, interviews, social media sites, and various other activities, we do a lot to market our books, but whether or not they succeed is ultimately up to the readers. I realize book sales wax and wane ~ and I’m told they drop significantly during summer months when people are outdoors doing more active things ~ but while the going’s good, I can’t help but be a little excited. So thank you to all the readers. The road to publication is a tough one, but you’ve all made it worth it. And thank you to Damnation Books, for giving me the chance.

I haven’t had much time to blog these past weeks ~ I think this is only my second post this month ~ but be sure to come back in a few days for another installment of “Serial Chat” with horror novelist Tamara Thorne, where we will be discussing the rituals of writing…


Tonight at 5:00 p.m. mountain time, I will be live on Facebook being interviewed by Spotlight. Stop by, join the event, and stick around to ask questions at the end of the interview!

https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/353591518087836/


I met QL Pearce through a mutual friend, and have since become a great fan of her work. While reading Blood Moon Harbor, a compilation of her short stories, co-authored with Francesca Rusackas, I realized I could learn a lot from her. Since 1985, Q has written over one hundred and twenty five books for children, including eight scary middle grade collections, as well as film tie-in books for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the Universal animated series Land Before Time.

Q is not only a great storyteller and writer, but a good friend. For Christmas I received an unexpected and very sweet card from her, which was very exciting for me. Also, she has–whether she knows it or not–given me some very good pieces of advice. I just feel bad I didn’t get her a Christmas card, too. Next year, Q… I promise.

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Q: You started out as an editor at Lowell House Books in Los Angeles. How has your editorial experience helped and/or hindered your creative writing?

 

A: When I’m working on my first draft I experiment with the plot and characters and I become emotionally invested in everything. I talk to my characters and they often respond in surprising ways.

 

As an editor I learned to read a manuscript objectively and that skill is invaluable when I’m doing the first rewrite. I distance myself emotionally and turn on the inner editor. She’s brutal but effective when it comes to cutting elements I may love but that don’t serve the story.

 

Q: Your series Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs has done very well among middle grade readers. What prompted you to begin these stories?

 

A: I’m Canadian, born to British parents so ghost stories are in my DNA. When I was a child my family lived on an island in Florida’s Tampa Bay. There were about a dozen kids on the island and we were a nation onto ourselves. We hung out and watched TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Twilight Zone. We traded old House of Mystery comics, and made up our own ghost stories. My dreams were filled with swamp monsters, haunted houses and aliens. When I started to write, those stories bubbled up and spilled onto the pages. Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs was such a fun series to write. It didn’t hurt that it sold in the millions!

 

Q: Do you have a favorite story among the Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs collection?

 

A: My favorite is Swimming Lessons, the first story in More Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs. It is based on something that really happened on the island when I was a kid. Somebody’s dad had built our group a large raft and anchored it about fifty yards offshore. The water was deep but visibility was only a few feet and I always worried that there was something just below the surface waiting for one of us to stray too far. One day I accepted a dare to swim to the bottom. To prove that I had done it I had to bring up a handful of mud. I took a deep breath and dove in, following the anchor line down. I always swam with my eyes open so, although couldn’t see detail, I saw the darkness below getting closer with each kick of my skinny legs. When the dull, greenish bed came into view I was almost upon it. I reached out to grab some mud and my hand sank in several inches. Nearly out of breath, I closed my fingers, turned and kicked for the surface. I was probably halfway back when I realized I was holding something slimy and very much alive. I screamed, losing the last of my air and taking in a little water. I could see the bright, flickering light above me and swam for all I was worth. Nothing felt so wonderful as breaking the surface and taking in a huge sputtering breath. I didn’t win the bet because I had let go of whatever was in my hand. Swimming Lessons is my story about what lurked in that deep, dark water.

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Q: How does it feel to have scaring the hell out of children as part of your job description?? LOL

 

A: It’s delicious. From the time that I was about nine years old I read all the scary stories I could find. I know that there are still plenty of young readers who, like me, love to be scared and I’m happy to oblige.

 

Q: Where is the most unusual place a new idea has struck you?

 

A: Behind my left ear.

 

Q: You met horror novelist Tamara Thorne at a book signing and have remained good friends with her since. What book signing was it, and what has kept the two of you remaining such good friends?

 

A: We were at a signing at a winery in Rancho Cucamonga, California. We started talking and we haven’t stopped. We share an interest in ghosts, monsters, mythology, books, animals, unusual weather, anything purple, puns, haiku and snarky movies.

 

Q: You’ve also written a lot of non-fiction in recent years. What is your favorite non-fiction topic to write about and why?

 

A: I love to do research so my favorite topic is whatever I’m working on at the moment. I enjoy science and nature topics as well as biographies, but I love writing about the legends and myths of ancient cultures. I get ideas for fiction from everything I learn.

 

Q: You’re currently working on a Celtic mythology series. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about Celtic mythology?

 

A: My parents were both from the British Isles so, to a certain extent, while researching this book I learned about my own distant ancestors. As children we’re taught that the Greeks and Romans viewed the Celts as barbarians, so what surprised me most was discovering how advanced the Celtic culture really was. For example, the Celts were competent traders and they built a network of roads across Europe predating the Roman roads. They had a sophisticated justice system, were skilled farmers, and were excellent at crafting metal. They were among the first cultures to use chain mail, iron plows and soap, and they had the guts to wear plaid. The mythology of the insular Celts of Ireland and Wales includes heroic tales that are absolutely outstanding, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley. It’s filled with magic, intrigue, pageantry, and features a hero unlike any other, Cú Chulainn, son of a god and nephew of the king of Ulster.

Q: You’ve written some titles about mysterious disappearances and ghost hunting. What are some interesting things you’ve learned about ghost hunting?

 

A: I’m fascinated by the early days of ghost hunting. One of the first groups formed to investigate ghostly topics was the London’s Ghost Club started around 1862. Over time it included some famous members, such as William Butler Yeats, Charles Dickens, and Arthur Conan Doyle. In 1927, Harry Price, the “father of ghost-hunting” joined. Appropriately, membership in the club was forever. The group split up for a while and reformed in 1882. Another group formed around the same time, the Society for Physical Research. Some members belonged to both organizations.

 

I’ve tried my own hand at ghost hunting. Tamara and I have gone on a few research field trips to hotels and other sites rumored to be haunted.

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Q: Do you believe in ghosts?

 

A: So much of what we believe is based on personal perception and there are differences in how each of us experiences life. The term ghost is a catch-all and there are many definitions, but sure, I remain open-minded about ghosts because I believe in a universe of possibility. I do think that if what we call ghosts exist, they are subject to laws of physics. Still, there is so much we don’t know yet about the world we live in. I just love the books of Michio Kaku because he proposes so many ideas to consider.

 

Q: Where do you think most “monsters” really come from?

 

A: Monsters are the product of culture and they take many forms. There are are living, breathing monsters who walk among us and find satisfaction in harming the vulnerable. Mythological monsters were often created to serve as warnings. For example, Algonquian stories of the Wendigo reinforced the taboo against cannibalism. The myth of the Qalupalik was a frightening story that kept children in the Arctic from playing on hazardous sea ice. A Greek who swore a false oath or killed a parent would be punished by the monstrous Erinyes. In my opinion, cryptids such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster are creative fiction or misinterpretation of evidence, but I would love to be proved wrong!

 

Q: Which monster is your favorite and why?

 

A: European dragons!! I have been fascinated with them since I was a little girl. I love the way they are depicted. They can be evil or honorable. They breath fire, fly, have armored scales, underground lairs, and they look great in silhouette on a flag, shield, or t-shirt. I have stone dragons at the base of the downspouts in my garden and little dragons stare down from most of my bookshelves. My favorite is a large dragonhead with flaring wings that hangs over my office desk.

 

Q: You are an active member of SCBWI. What is SCBWI and what do you love most about it?

 

A: The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is an international, non-profit organization that provides opportunities for writers and illustrators to improve their craft, network with their peers, and learn how to market their work. SCBWI is made up of dozens of regions that offer local events that enable people to get together to discuss their work or to hear industry professionals speak. I have been a volunteer with one of the Southern California regions for over a decade. What I love most about it is that through SCBWI events I have met people from around the globe who love children’s literature.

 

Q: Red Bird Sings, your non-fiction picture book with co-author and illustrator Gina Capaldi, has received many honors, such as the Carter G. Woodson Award gold medal, Moonbeam Award gold medal and a Eureka silver medal. How does it feel to know you’ve written something that so many people really care about?

 

A: I feel privileged to have been part of bringing the story of Zitkala Sa to the attention of educators and to tell it in such a way that young readers can learn about her achievements. Zitkala Sa was born as Gertrude Simmons on a Sioux reservation the same year that the battle of the Little Big Horn took place. She endured life in an assimilation school but refused to accept the dismal future that was planned for her. Instead she developed her musical and literary talents to become one of the first Native American writers to achieve worldwide recognition. She used that acclaim to gain attention for her work as an activist for Native American rights. It’s a story of survival and empowerment. The thought that other people feel the same way and have honored us with such awards is amazing.

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Q: What are your plans after the mythology series?

 

A: Gina Capaldi and I have several proposals out for nonfiction picture books, and a fun scary picture book for early elementary. I’m also working on a Young Adult novel. With Francesca Rusackas, I am testing the ebook waters. We have written a collection of short stories under the title of Blood Moon Harbor.

 

Q: You’re a writer and your husband is a scientist. What do you guys talk about?

A: We talk about anything and everything. After many years of marriage I still think that my husband, Bill, is one of the most interesting people I know. He is a physiologist and a professor to his core so he loves learning and enjoys sharing what he’s learned. He’s always curious about my latest research when I’m working on nonfiction.

 

In general we talk about politics, music, cooking and the dogs! There is one topic of conversation where our writing and science meet. We are both fans of science fiction. He likes high tech and I’m drawn to dystopian. My all time favorite is Fahrenheit 451. I’ve decided that if I were a character in the story and had to be a book, I would be another of my favorites, Animal Farm.

 

 

Q: What has been your proudest moment as a writer?

 

A: My favorite moment was when I met a school librarian who told me that my scary story collections had to be replaced often and that the spines always had to be taped because they were read so often. They are all out of print now but that story still makes me smile.

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On Valentine’s Day, author Dianna Love and I did an interview in which three people who commented were eligible to win one of three signed copies of Dianna’s works. I have chosen the winners!

So… a big congratulations to:

Tamela Gibson

Linda L. Bennett

and Jessica Mobbs!

I’ve set up a temporary e-mail address where guys can give me your mailing information which I will forward on to Dianna, who will send your signed books and Keeper Kases along!

Thank you everyone for your participation! Please contact me here by leaving a comment, and we will arrange for your books to be sent!

 

 


Love

Dianna Love is the New York Times best-selling author of the Slye Temp novels, the Belador series and the Bad Agency series with Sherrilyn Kenyon as well as several other novels and series. I discovered her by accident a few years back, and it was one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made. I’ve been a huge fan of her work from the first sentence of hers that I read.

I was overjoyed when she agreed to do an interview for me, but when she sent me signed copies of several of her books, and said she wanted to do a giveaway on my blog, I was ecstatic. Dianna is one of the kindest, most open and giving person I’ve met in a long time, and her assistant, Cassondra Murray, whom I’ve also become acquainted with, is just as great.

For today, Dianna will be around to interact with her readers, answer questions, and let them get to know her a little. Just leave a comment. Also, those who leave comments today (February 14th, 2013) will be put into a drawing and three people will win one of three possible prizes. Dianna will give away a copy of LAST CHANCE TO RUN, JUSTIFIABLE, and  TIME TRAP (one book to each of three winners who comment.) She will also include a Keeper Kase with each one.

Before we get to the interview, here is a synopsis of each of the novels she will be giving away.

TIME TRAP:

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Her memory is blank.  Her future’s in question.  Her power is dangerous.

Waking up in an unknown world, Rayen learns only that she’s seventeen and is hunted by a sentient beast.  Terrified that she may never learn  who she really is or find her way back to her home, she’s captured in a  land that is at times familiar even if the people and the structures  seem alien.  When local law enforcement delivers her to a private  school, she’s labeled as a Native American runaway, and Rayen discovers a secret with deadly repercussions.  Forced into an unlikely alliance  with a computer savvy street punk and a gifted oddball girl to save  their world – and the future – Rayen finds the key to an identity that  no person would want.

JUSTIFIABLE:

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Children are missing, adults are  being murdered and a city is on the brink of exploding.  The key to  saving lives is a secret whispered in confession.

Once a beloved, award-winning investigative journalist, Riley Walker  now anchors for a television station rated the worst in Philadelphia.  That’s how it works when a top newsman makes an epic mistake in front of the whole world. The busier Riley stays, the less he thinks about the  one decision that will haunt him forever.  His vow?  Never get involved again.  That works until a killer uses Riley’s past against him, and targets a  child the world has forgotten. Riley is the only one who can save him,  but when Riley digs deep for the truth, he uncovers evidence fingering a powerful player no one will believe is guilty. Dangerous politics pit  Riley against a serial killer, and threaten all he’s fought to regain

To save the life of a child and stop a killer on a savage murder  spree, Riley must fight an enemy far greater than the tide of public  anger rolling against him. He’ll have to face his own demons, and the  horror of the child who died because the last time…Riley was wrong.

and LAST CHANCE TO RUN:

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To an undercover agent, she’s a Person of Interest. He’s interested.

Escaping the compound of a deadly international felon–with a fortune in rare, stolen coins hidden on her body–elite athlete Angel Farentino has to make the most important run of her life. Literally. With her father in prison, where he belongs, and a prior undeserved conviction hanging over her head, she has nowhere to turn and no one to trust. Definitely not law enforcement who railroaded her through a judicial nightmare. One step ahead of lethal men and dogs on her trail, she runs into the arms of a dark stranger willing to help her if she’d let him. But that would only get the sexy pilot killed. Between figuring out who’s sabotaging his undercover work for the DEA and trying to save his baby sister from herself, Zane Jackson has enough on his plate. The last thing he needs is to get entangled with a woman who’s treading on the wrong side of the law. But when the long-legged distraction races into the middle of his operation and stows away on his plane, a primal need to protect forces Zane to risk everything, starting with his heart.
Just leave a comment and be eligible to win!
And now, for Dianna’s interview. Thank you, Dianna, for the wonderful interview, and thank you, Cassondra, for your kindness and hard work.
Dianna Love Blogs with Jared Anderson Feb 14th 2013
Q: I’ve read that you never intended to be a published author, that one day you just wrote down a story that had been playing in your mind. What made you decide to write this story down?
*** I spent many years working alone way up in the air painting large murals.  I never liked listening to the radio (before Sirius FM) so I’d make up stories in my head to keep myself entertained during work days that lasted twelve to fifteen hours.  Then I stopped climbing so much and thought I’d write down the one that had been coming back to me over and over.

 Q: What was the story about?

*** It was about a woman on the run who was carrying a fortune in rare coins that someone else stole.  She has to stay away from the law until she can prove she’s innocent, but she stows away on the charter airplane of a man working undercover for law enforcement.  The story was published as a short romantic suspense, but  I’ve recently gotten back the rights to that book, rewritten it as a romantic thriller and put it out under a new title..but more about that later.

Q: What was your journey to publication like?

**** I was fortunate in that I sold the first book I wrote, but anyone who’s been in this business for any length of time knows that’s not ever “all the story.” Right after I sold, my first senior editor was moved out of that position and the new one who came in was entirely different to work with and we never could make a connection.  I eventually realized I was writing books that were too big for what that house published, so I switched gears and went in another direction toward romantic thrillers.  At that same time, I was also working on an urban fantasy series that I kept pitching, but was constantly  told was too unusual.   Fast forward six years and the urban fantasy genre had done some growing.  The Belador series sold at that point.  Regardless of what genre I’m writing at any particular moment, there is always a suspense/thriller element.

Q: Can you describe your usual writing process?

*** There are plotters and pantsers (seat-of-the-pants writers), but I call myself a hybrid.  I’m always telling writers to find “their own  process” and go with it.  All that matters, in my opinion, is producing a great story.  I’m a type-A person, so I prefer to plot out complex threads.  I generally start with brainstorming an idea then I write a couple chapters to get a feel for the characters, and then I start plotting.  If know I won’t write myself into a corner, that allows me the freedom to be as creative as I want when I’m laying down pages.

Q: How do you know when an idea is a good one?

*** I’ve never been asked that and love this question!   When I hit on an idea for several major surprises in a story, or something that will make a story very different, I get really pumped.  That’s the moment that I can’t wait to begin telling the new story.  I have to be entertained first if I’m going to write it. If it becomes slow or dull anywhere I stop and back up to where I was last excited about it, figure out where something isn’t working, fix it and move ahead.  I’m like a kid who is not easily entertained, which I think is a good thing because if I can write something that holds me, then I feel good about it holding the ultimate audience–the readers.

Q: Have you ever written a book that you were dissatisfied with, and why were you dissatisfied?

***When I was first writing I tried my hand at writing a character who was a beta male and found out quickly that I sucked at that, so I tossed that book.  I enjoy the high action of black ops type characters and thrive on putting characters into difficult physical and emotional situations, then figuring out how to get them out of the jams I’ve thrown them into.

Q: Have you ever read a book you wished you’d written, if so, what book, and why?

***I’ve read a lot of books that I’ve admired, but haven’t wished I’d written them so much as wished I’d thought of the clever idea that inspired the story.  Like the plots that Tom Clancy and James Rollins have written or the plot for The Sixth Sense or the Bourne series…or that last A-Team movie.

Q: Aside from writing, you enjoy fishing and riding motorcycles. These are very different activities. What is it about each of them that turns your crank?

***I was obviously a tomboy growing up.  I fished from the time I could hold anything in my hands and rode motocross bikes in my teens.  I still love to fish, especially light tackle, because it’s quiet and exciting at the same time.  With saltwater fishing, you never know what might bite.  I’m riding a BMW motorcycle these days and screaming along the highway is almost like flying on the ground.  I forget about everything when I fish and ride my bike. Those are two great ways to give my brain some down time, even though I do plot stories while I ride.  Then there’s writing, which is something I practically breathe.  I need to be creative and I love puzzles, which is what a complex thriller is to me.  I must have a challenge at all times.  It’s just part of my makeup.  Writing is one of the most difficult and wonderful challenges I’ve ever come across and hope to be doing it until my last day on earth.

Q: Which of your characters do you feel is the most dynamic and life-like?

*** Right now, I would say Evalle Kincaid, who is the key player in the Belador urban fantasy series.  She is so flawed and so loyal and so determined that it’s easy to cheer for her.  She fights for everything she gets and is shunned by many, yet she’s got a heart of gold and makes the hard choices even when she’s the one with the most to lose.

Q: If you could meet one of your own characters in the flesh, who would you choose to meet and what would you say to him or her?

***I would like to meet Angelina Farentino and thank her for inspiring me to become an author. She is the female protagonist in my first suspense story—the one I mentioned earlier.  I first wrote the story as a full-length romantic suspense, but cut the book down to a shorter novel to fit the publisher’s criteria.  I got the rights back last year, and I’ve just revised the story back to a larger, high-concept romantic thriller.  The new book is LAST CHANCE TO RUN, and was released in December as the prequel to my new Slye Temp romantic thriller series.  Angel and I have come a long way together.

Q: Have you ever based a character off someone you didn’t like and done bad things to them?

***No. I like creating really deadly villains and having the freedom to make them pay without feeling any hesitation or remorse.

Q: What is it like being a New York Times bestselling author?

*** I feel very fortunate to have books on the NYT and USA Today bestseller lists.  I’m humbled and thrilled to have reached this point in my career, and thank every person who has ever read one of my books.  I spend a lot of time on the road talking to readers and writers in an effort to give back for what so many have given to me.

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Q: You have collaborated with Sherrilyn Kenyon on several works. What do you most love about working with her?

***Laughing.  We met when my first book was out and we started touring together for her books over the next year.  It was during one of those trips when we’d just returned at two in the morning from a signing that we were talking to wind down and the subject of the BAD Agency series came up. I started brainstorming an idea for the series, because I love to brainstorm.  Sherrilyn liked it and suggested we co-write.  My answer?  Well, my mama drowned the dumb kids. 🙂

Q: What is the best thing about collaborating with another author?

***Those moments of discovery where someone comes up with a great element that you didn’t think of or the other person has a suggestion that takes the story in a direction that really jacks up the tension.

Q: What is the most challenging thing about collaborating with another author?

***I’ve spoken to a lot of writers and tell them to be careful about collaborating just because they are “good friends.”  If anything, that’s dangerous to the friendship.  The one thing I said to Sherri was that our friendship meant more to me than a contract and she agreed.  If the first book had created problems for us, there would not have been a second, but we’ve just released number six.  So the most challenging things are being secure enough to allow each other to edit at will, and trusting each other to do the right thing by the book.  When we started, we made a deal on one important thing – no sacred cows.  It didn’t matter who wrote which words – everything was up for revising or editing.

Q: What advice would you give to two writers who were contemplating a collaborative novel?

***I sort of answered that in the previous question, but I would add that it’s important to get documentation in place for the terms of the collaboration and what would happen if one of the two dies.  Make sure to go to literary or entertainment attorneys familiar with the business.

Q: What do you consider the highlight of your career as a novelist?

***Hitting the New York Times over and over again never gets old, but the first time I was asked to be the keynote for a large reader event was quite amazing.  I’ve given other keynotes since then, but it’s that first one when you’re so flattered to be asked and amazed when you walk in to a packed room.

Q: Which part of the writing process is hardest for you?

***I love to brainstorm and work out the puzzles of each plot, and I enjoy writing the scenes.  I write pretty clean so revising isn’t usually that big of a deal.  All that said, I get so caught up in the action and emotion in the first draft that it’s not until the second run through, or the polish, that I focus more closely on the physical descriptions and setting.  I know what they look like and I can see every detail as though it was a movie running through my head, but I have to work at remembering to include those things.

Q: What are you working on now?

*** I’m writing on my new Slye Temp series.   A blown CIA operation in the UK destroyed an elite mercenary black ops unit two years ago. Surviving members disappeared to heal their wounds, and have now resurfaced as part of Slye Temp, an agency contracting security work with corporate America.  At least, that’s what goes on above ground.  LAST CHANCE TO RUN was the prequel, and the other three books will be released this year.  NOWHERE SAFE  will be out this month—February 25th.

I’m very excited about a new venture into Young Adult fiction written for ages 14+.  I just released TIME TRAP, book one in the Red Moon series, under the pseudonym Micah Caida (co-authored with Mary Buckham).  It’s an epic sci-fi/fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games.  Early readers from age 12 to age 50, both male and female, have said “it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before.”

I also just released my first mainstream thriller, which was a collaboration with former NBC anchor Wes Sarginson.  JUSTIFIABLE is Book One of the Riley Walker novels, which blend Wes’s experience in investigative journalism, and Dianna’s experience writing thrillers.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the readers out there!  I hope every one of you finds your perfect hero or heroine.


Having hit the 100 page mark on The White Room, I took a few days off. Well, they weren’t “off” by any stretch of the imagination–I am in the middle of moving into a new place in a new state, busy with writing-related activities, and I’ve started running again–all this sitting around writing has been great for my progress on the book, but very bad for my waistline! Still, I took a few days away from writing and I’m eager to get back at it. I am ecstatic about this book. It’s going well, and I’m very excited to see it to its end.

In the meantime, Beautiful Monster is still getting great reviews, and I’m receiving lots of positive response to it. The latest five-star review of Monster can be read here: http://juliesbookreview.blogspot.com/2013/02/review-of-beautiful-monster-by-jared-s.html. Thank you, Julie’s Book Reviews for the wonderful review.

A friend of mine, writer Jennifer Latas, asked me a few months ago if she could use a few of my photos for the trailer on her novel, Fall, which has recently been picked up by a publisher. The trailer was completed about a week ago, and it looks great. I am the “bad” guy! Check it out at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmObvmKxsyk

Don’t forget to visit my blog on Valentine’s Day to read my interview with New York Times bestseller, Dianna Love. Leave a comment and be eligible for prizes. Dianna will give away a copy of JUSTIFIABLE, Book 1 of the brand new Riley Walker novels, the mainstream thriller she wrote with former NBC News anchor Wes Sarginson, a copy of LAST CHANCE TO RUN, the prequel to her new Slye Temp romantic thriller series, and a Keeper Kase™ loaded with a unique collection of Keeper Cards™

Also, I have an upcoming interview with Q.L. Pearce, author of the Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs series which will be posted later this month… and I’m trying to get more Serial Chat up, which is  a series of personal e-mails between myself and horror author Tamara Thorne where we discuss serial killers, dreams, and all things horror. Good stuff!

The rain has stopped now, and that means it’s time for me to get out of my Marvin the Martian house slippers, put on my running shoes, and hit the…er, sidewalks. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Write on…