Guest Author: Darynda Jones

My guest today joins me from New Mexico and is an amazing NY Times, and USA Today Best Selling author whose title “First Grave on the Right” won both the Golden Heart Award and the RITA from Romance Writers of America. I won't list all her accolades, but will say she’s also been the recipient of two Holt Medallions and a Daphne du Maurier award.

Her paranormal romantic thrillers (Charley Davidson series) and Y/A series (Darklight Trilogy) have both been published by St Martins Press. 
Even though she’s not a new author (she’s been writing seriously since 2002), my guest, Darynda Jones, is a fairly new author to me — her work introduced to me by a mutual friend (Hi Dana Alma!) who almost exhausted every superlative in the dictionary as she described Darynda’s stories!!

OMG I love her SO MUCH! 

Welcome Darynda to the quick quizzing blogspot today. It’s great to have you here as my guest and I’m hoping to meet you at the inaugural Booklovers Convention at NOLA.

Thank you so much for having me! I hope we get to meet, too. Yay! 

First, can you tell us about your latest release and whether or not it posed any particular challenges to you as you wrote it?

So many challenges. So, so many. 

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave came out in January, and it was the hardest book (out of 17) for me to write thus far. There are several reasons for this, but they all pretty much revolve around the fact that it was the last in the Charley Davidson series. Having to tie up all the loose ends, bring back all the principals, and tell a story that is both fun and harrowing to the most amazing readers in the world proved to be more daunting than I thought it would be. While it was most definitely a challenge, I had a blast doing it and I will miss Charley and the gang like crazy. I will admit, I cried while writing it. More than once.   

Oh that’s so relatable. You won’t be the only one to miss Charley’s adventures. It’s always a bit of a hollow feeling as a reader when a series comes to an end—an ‘I want to read it but I don’t’ type of experience because once that final book is read, that’s it! Of course it’s the end of Charley but not of Darynda’s books, so that’s the consolation and we can always go back and read the series again!

You’ve described yourself as always having written since you were a child and I laughed when I read you used to write plays for your Barbie and Ken dolls to act out J. After graduating with a Degree in Sign Language Interpreting and working really hard in three jobs, what was the defining moment when you decided to pull out all the stops and forge ahead with your writing career?

That moment actually came fairly quickly after I'd graduated. I was reading an interview with a writer and he said, "Think about it. If you write one page a day, at the end of the year you will have a complete novel." For some reason, that struck me to the core of my being. It made the whole "writing a novel" thing seem so much more attainable. So, I set my sights on a publishing contract (which took me seven years and three manuscripts to obtain), rolled up my sleeves, and began my first novel. 

At that time, I was only working one job, so I had more time. I did six months of research before beginning, and four months after that, I had my first completed manuscript, a historical romance called A Thief and a Liar. It will probably never get published, but it was so much fun to write. 

I’m sure there are thousands of manuscripts at the back of filing cabinets around the world written by authors who are now publishing sensations. It’s all part of the process.

You’ve been married for about 30 years (to the same guy!! J) including seven years where you lived in different towns so he could continue the business and you could have your son educated through a special Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in another town. You’re obviously qualified to write romance when you were able to survive the “separation”. When you’re writing your characters, obviously there’s sex appeal, but what else do you believe the two most important elements that make the romance believable and enduring?

What a great question! Yep. Hubby and I just celebrated our 35th anniversary, poor guy. I would say the most important elements to any relationship are trust--which IMHO encompasses faithfulness, honesty, unconditional support, and selflessness--and communication. Without those things, a relationship is doomed to fail, unless it is based on lies and both parties are okay with that. I am not.  

Understandable!! I’m nine years behind you – our 26th rolled around this year and you’ve summed up my views too!

Your career has been studded with thrills and accolades. Is there any one particular moment that you’d love to relive?

Well, I love reliving the moment I find out I've hit NY Times again. Or USA Today. Or Wall Street Journal. Like, I really love that stuff. I'd love to win another RITA, but there are so many more things I'd like to do as well. I'm sticking with moving forward and seeing what else I can conquer. hehe

May all your aspirations come to fruition!
What’s next for you as an author?

We just sold a new series to my publisher, a trilogy about a female sheriff named Sunshine. These books will have the humor and sexiness of the Charley books without the paranormal aspects. Straight mystery. I think the first book will be called A Bad Day for Sunshine, and I'm having a blast writing it. And then, of course, I want to write a Charley spinoff about Beep and Osh. I can't leave her fans hanging. THE SHOW MUST GO ON! :) 

Sounds fabulous. Thanks again for being on the blog, Darynda.

Thank YOU for having me!!! 

For more information about Darynda and her riveting stories, please visit her website:

I hope you’ve enjoyed the interview today. Thanks for visiting.

I have a pretty hectic publishing schedule in the next few weeks with a release April 4th, Edits due April 8th and another manuscript deadline for April 15th. With the three Australian Romance Reader Association (ARRA) signings I’ve also had in March in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, I’m going to need a couple of weeks respite from this blog. I'm then heading off to the Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. So, my apologies, but there'll be quite a gap now between blog posts. I’ll be back on June 1st with my special guest author, Nalini Singh and hope you’ll join me then.

Until then, Happy Reading!

Best wishes,
Alyssa x


About the Blogger:
Alyssa J. Montgomery is an Australian contemporary romance author who is published by Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia). She also 
writes medieval romance as Alyssa James.



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