INTERVIEW by @_Shoe_Girl_: Darynda Jones, Author of the Charley Davidson Series (@Darynda)

 Jena emailed me saying that she nailed me an interview with Darynda Jones, one of my fav authors!!  I was SO EXCITED!  Not only did I get an ARC (advanced reading copy) of Third Grave Dead Ahead, but I got to interview the author!  Yep, I was very excited!  Here’s how it went:

Heather From Pure Textuality [Heather]
– Hello, Darynda!  First off, I want to say “HI!”, and thanks for taking the time to do this interview (it is my 1st!).  I have to admit, “paranormal” books are not my typical read, however upon browsing one day there was nothing by my “usual” authors that caught my eye, so I grabbed First Grave on the Right.  OMG.  I read it in one day.  Amazing book.  I gave it to my daughter to read and she also loved it, so much so that she used a gift card from Christmas to go buy Second Grave on the Left!  We were BOTH excited (probably overly so) when Jena informed me that she scored me an ARC of Third Grave Dead Ahead.  I tell EVERYONE about this series, insisting they MUST read them.  You totally opened me up to a new genre and a BIG thank you for that!!!  Now that my geeky-star struck rambling is under control, I’ll get to the questions!

I read the bio on your website….I have to say I really got a chuckle out of the Barbie & Ken scenario!  “….raging, seven-year-old hormones only fueled her imagination, prompting her to create fantastical stories for Barbie and Ken to enact with plots that were horridly inappropriate to repeat in polite company.”  You must have really kept your parents on their toes!  Do your kids share your imagination?

Darynda Jones [Darynda]
– First, let me say hello to you and all of the fabulous readers out there, and I want to say thanks for having me here. It’s quite an honor for me. Second, you made me giggle over the Barbie & Ken scenario from my past. I wrote that bio for my website and then promptly forgot all about it. It’s so funny to hear it like this, in an interview. Glad you liked it, though. *LOL*

Getting to your questions, now, I kept my mom on her toes, for sure. Of course, I had four siblings, and I was right in the middle of my brothers and sister. My mom had several reasons to be on her toes, and since my father died a year or so before that, she remained on her toes most of my life. I think the fact that she had a daughter with an overactive imagination was the least of her worries, but it definitely gave her a chuckle or two from time to time.
My two boys, also known as the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys, are imaginative in their own way. They’ve been making their own movies for a couple of years, now. They both love dirt bikes, motocross, guns and zombies. Their dad, my husband Danny, has been helping them turn all of those things into movies. They can be pretty entertaining, the boys and the movies. And the zombies! We can’t forget the zombies. 
Heather – How did you come up with the idea for First Grave on the Right?  
Darynda – One morning, a few years ago, I was lying in bed waiting for my turn in the shower. I had been kind of sick, so I had been taking some medication and was snuggled down in the comforter daydreaming. I had been inhaling deeply, due to the menthol infused fumes coming from my vaporizer, and I was dwelling on the perfect literary heroine.
I’d been pondering on how to create the perfect heroine for some time. I knew enough about the New York literary world to know my heroine would have to be really special in order to catch their attention, and I wanted to come up with something that hadn’t been done before. Lying there, warm and toasty, breathing deeply of menthol she came to me. Charley Davidson (originally named Harley), and she was a grim reaper. It built from there I’m glad to say.
Heather – Did you know you wanted it to be a series when you first got the idea, or did that just happen as you were writing?
Darynda – I knew what I wanted as I developed Charley’s first adventure. I knew, in my heart, her story could go on forever. In fact, I was brainstorming future ideas while building her first story; however, it was necessary to write First Grave as a stand-alone. Agents and editors may love successful series, but they prefer their introductions to new authors to come from a single project. I geared her in that direction, with the fervent hope that she would be picked up through a multiple purchase. My first sell was with St. Martin’s Press for my first three titles, happily allowing me to continue Charley’s story. 
Heather – I know that the series is at least going up to book five.  Is that going to be the end, or is the series open-ended at this point?
Darynda – I hope it’s not the end. My desire, as is my editor’s, is for Charley to continue on, and I will as long as they let me. Believe it or not, it’s up to the readers, as well as up to the publisher. If those two resources want the series to continue, it will. I continually have ideas developing in my head for Charley. She could have a very long life, and I would be perfectly happy about that. I love Charley. I love writing about Charley. I am not ready to quit her any time soon.
Heather – I LOVE Charley.  She is someone who I would love to be friends with in real life!  Her sarcasm is amazing, and I totally feel her on the coffee addiction.  Plus, she’s a shoe lover….a girl after my own heart.  Did you pull these traits from yourself/someone you know, or did they just seem to fit Charley?
Darynda – I hear that a lot. People often tell me they love Charley and feel a kinship with her, and I am so glad for that. It means I’ve done something right. I don’t know that she’s pulled from me. Although, she’s says things I would love to say. She’s very gutsy and fearless in a way I could never be. I think she was born out of my desire to create the perfect heroine. Basically, I took influence from my favorite heroines and melded them into Charley. So, you may be able to see bits of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stephanie Plum and Lorelei from The Gilmore Girls. I wanted a heroine who was hilarious, irreverent, kick-ass, klutzy, smart-alecky, tough, vulnerable and seriously flawed. Charley is fabulous combination of all those things and more.
Heather – The guys:  Reyes, Swopes, & Donovan.  I love them all (especially Swopes…..the way he purposely annoys Charley just cracks me up).  Which one is your favorite, if you had to pick one?
Darynda – Wow. That really is a tough choice. They are all the type of men I have an affinity for in real life and in my fantasy life. There are characteristics in each of those men that I just love. For instance, I love the way Swopes pushes Charley’s buttons. I purposely chose that type of interaction between them because I believe Charley needs to have someone push her buttons. She needs to have her methods and intentions questioned. Swopes is the perfect foil for her. Donovan is that alpha, outlaw character women love to fantasize about, including myself. He was fun to create and use in her story. I like that he challenges her intentions for Reyes. Reyes is the absolute dream, and he is the one I would have a hard time walking away from. In real life, he would scare me senseless, especially knowing what I know about him. I would be quivering in my shoes, but I would definitely choose to stand there and watch him as long as I could, as long as he’d let me. LOL
Heather – I just noticed that your Assistant’s last name is Swopes?  Coincidence, or did you use her last name on purpose?  Was she psyched?  I would be!
Darynda – Ha ha. The choice was absolutely on purpose. My assistant is also my best friend, and we have known each other since we were fourteen. We spent our senior year of high school writing our first novels together. In addition to our friendship, her family has been tight with my family for years, especially once I had kids. They have been madly in love with my kids since the Mighty Jones boys first came into existence, so bringing the Swopes Family into Charley’s family seemed natural. My assistant was very honored to know Garrett Swopes was named after her and her family and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Heather – I must say, Rottweilers are my FAVORITE dogs, and as soon as I have a house w/enough room and land, I will get one.  Do you have one?  If not, how come you chose that particular breed, instead of Pitbulls or German Shepards to use in the books?
Darynda – I do not have Rottweilers, but I adore them. They are beautiful dogs. I can’t really tell you why I chose Rottweilers over Pitbulls or any other type of dog. They just seemed the natural choice, the right dog for the situation. My husband and I are the proud owners of a golden American Pitbull named, Dooley, and he’s wonderful. We love him like he’s one of our children. Oh yes, we have a Shih Tzu named Snickers. She is obviously smaller than Dooley, yet she rules the roost and being closer to the ground, she’s dirtier. That’s the difference, for me, between large dogs and small dogs. By the way, Heather, I hope you get that house, yard and dog, soon. Good for you, when you do.
Heather – As an author, what are your feelings on the eBook craze?  Good thing or bad thing for the industry?
Darynda – I love eBooks. I agree with other readers; there is something wonderful about holding a book in your hands and reading from its pages. You establish an intimate relationship with what you’re reading. I love books of all shapes and sizes and types; however, eBooks are equally wonderful. They’re a great way of getting your material into the hands of readers, and isn’t that the point of being an author? I think the change is unavoidable. It’s happening, and we need to adjust to technology’s presence. Periodically a new technology is created that has the potential to permanently change the face of the literature and readership landscape. Accusations were made years ago with the proliferation of computers and DVDs; yet, books remain with us. Books are being purchased, borrowed and rented, and they’re being read. I feel that eBooks simply change the format in which our written works are being sold and read. If it helps independent authors, that’s okay, too. If the material is good, it’s worth being out there. If it’s not, it won’t draw from what everyone else is doing. 
Heather – Besides the fourth (Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet) and fifth books, are there any other upcoming releases?
Darynda – I hope so. As I said earlier, I’ve got loads of ideas in my head for future Charley books. I am currently working on the fourth in her series. I will have copy edits to do for the second in my YA trilogy, then copy edits on Fourth Grave and writing Fifth Grave and the third in the YA. series I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me; however, I’m not ready for it to end any time soon. I like this work. Writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do and Charley was a gift; she is a writer’s nirvana. So let her books keep coming.
Heather – Well, I could ask a million questions, however, I’m sure you are quite busy!  Thank you sooooo much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview!  I look forward to your upcoming books, you can be sure I’ll grab them ASAP, and will be spreading the word on them!!!
Darynda – Thank YOU for having me!!! This has been fun! 
So, if you haven’t already checked out Darynda’s books, go grab them!  I will most definitely be re-reading them sometime in the future.

First Grave On The Right:
Click here for hard cover!
Click here for paperback!
Click here for Kindle!
Second Grave On The Left:
Click here for hardcover!
Click here for paperback!
Click here for Kindle!
Third Grave Dead Ahead (Released Today!!!) :
Click here for hardcover!
Click here for Kindle!

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Coming Fall 2012!!!
Check out Heather’s reviews from this series:
First Grave on the Right
Second Grave on the Left
Third Grave Dead Ahead

Message from Jena:  Thanks again to Heather!  Check out her site at or follow her on Twitter @_shoe_girl_! 

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  1. That interview was so much fun to do!!!! 🙂

    1. I’m glad you had fun! 🙂 It’s a great piece! 🙂

  2. Thank you so much, guys! That was too fun!!!!

    1. Glad you had fun! We might have to pick your brain some more when Fourth Grave comes out! 😉

      1. Absolutely!

  3. Congrats!!!
    Heather, great interview!! I also am quite hooked on this series.
    It seems Jena is pushing us as bloggers and ISN’T IT GREAT. I’m interacting much more (I have a bit of social anxiety disorder), and loving it. Although most of it is still through the computer, lol.
    Darynda sounds just a bit like Charley. We need more Charleys in our lives.

    1. Thanks! Darynda is SO funny! No wonder she easily keeps Charley’s story going! And, Jena is GREAT….I love what she is doing for all the readers (and us)!!

  4. […] Darynda Jones, Author of the Charley Davidson Series […]

  5. […] Click here to check out my interview with Darynda (from Jan 2012)! […]


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