Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest post & Book Giveaway with Jocelynn Drake

Kimberly asked that I try to give a behind the scenes look at the Dark Days series. Let’s see what I can do without giving away too many delicious secrets.

The Dark Days series technically started as a writing experiment. I had been playing around with some strange versions of some fan fiction; playing in other people’s worlds but introducing my own characters. I liked toying with vampires and other dark creatures. They had all the great emotional turmoil, but proved to be more durable than the normal humans. At the same time, I was creating my own vampire short stories, but I wasn’t all that happy with the results. The characters kept turning out too dark with too few redeeming qualities – there was nothing for the reader to really relate to or sympathize with.

So, one day I decided that I would write a short story in first person, but the storyteller would not focus on him/herself but actually tell the story of another character – a vampire hunter with a dark past and even darker abilities. I had the scene all laid out. I knew what was going to happen, what the tone would be, what the setting would look like. And then disaster struck. Mira opened her mouth.

I hadn’t intended for it to happen, but Mira is a larger-than-life character, and as soon as she stepped onto the screen, her personality took over. Mira is the culmination of several characters I had created through fan fiction, short stories, and just idle bits of daydreams I had had over the years. So when she opened her mouth, I knew exactly what she sounded like, what she believed, and how she acted. I knew her like she was family, and maybe in a strange way, she is family to me.

Unfortunately, when I started the story with her, she quickly took over, revealing that she had her own tale to tell, and Danaus was just going to have to come along for the ride, damn it! But I have no regrets. Mira is a ton of fun to write. She’s got a great view of life, even if it is a little dark. I love her relationship with Danaus, even when they are trying to kill each other (and I promise that that relationship will grow even more interesting over the next few books).

But back to the short story. When it was finished, I handed off to a good friend, who quickly read it. His response? He handed it back to me and simply said, “You’re not done yet.” He was addicted to the characters and the world I had created – the greatest compliment a writer could receive. So, I buckled down and I wrote what became Nightwalker and a good chunk of Dayhunter. I fell in love with this world and decided that I just couldn’t keep it to myself. After numerous rejections over a two-year period, I finally landed an absolutely amazing agent, who then snagged me the best editor in the whole world – and no I’m not exaggerating.

I will admit that the naturi were not the original villain in the series. When I finally got a publisher, my editor revealed that she didn’t care for my original villain, so the villain came out and the naturi were created. But one perk of my editor is that she lets me set the pace of the relationships within the series. I don’t like when two opposites just suddenly fall in love and everything becomes harp music and roses. These two opposites have two clashing opinions that they’re grasping to. They need time to adjust and bend a little bit. I like to think of it as a slow burn, and even then there’s no promise that everything is going to work out.

Kimberly asked me one other question that I’m struggling with: What do I want my readers to get out of these stories? Well, the first and foremost is a wonderful roller-coaster ride with some characters that you come to care greatly for. That adventure is the most important. I guess the second is more risky. I want the reader to pause and take a good look at the dark side and how easy it is to make a dark decision for what seems like a very good reason. It’s a slippery slope and every once in a while, we’re all bound to fall.

Looking ahead to the future of the series: I am contracted for six books plus one novella that is slated to come out at the end of August. However, I still have many more stories that I would like to tell. It’s all a matter of how many books my publisher is willing to publish. I hope that Mira and Danaus will be around for many more books. I’ve got a lot more trouble for them to get into. I am also hoping to introduce a couple other storytellers if only so I can give Mira a small break. There have been some requests to hear a book from Danaus’s point of view and I’m trying to accommodate that request. Keep your fingers crossed that my editor likes it.

Visit Ms. Drake at her website: http://www.jocelynndrake.com

Thanks so much for accepting the challenge and sharing with us Jocelynn! :)

In addition to this behind the scenes look into the Dark Days series, Ms. Drake’s fabulous publicist at HarperCollins is sharing a release day set of Dark Days. That’s Nightwalker and Dayhunter! The giveaway is open to readers worldwide and the winner will be drawn the morning of April 28th, 2009, release day for Dayhunter. Just leave a comment here on this post to be entered.

101 comments:

Scott Romanski said...

Thanks for the insight into the mind of the writer. I'm looking forward to reading these books.

Jo said...

Great guets blog! The books sound really interesting! I'd like to be entered please.

joannestapley[at]googlemail[dot]com

HockeyVampiress said...

Great blog and interesting behind the book info. I would love to win this contest!!!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Kimberly and Jocelynn!

Great guest blog!

I loved Nightwalker (it's one of my top picks for 2008) and can't wait for Dayhunter to be released.

Great imagination, wonderful world.

Dottie :)

frivolousone said...

I was instantly hooked when I read Nightwalker and can't wait for Dayhunter to come out. Thanks for the great reads.

Barb P said...

Awesome post Jocelynn and Kimberly. I have wanted to read this series soooo badly. I really would love to win ** GRIN **

scooper said...

Wow. That's great that so many books have been contracted.I look forward to reading what is to come.

Deborah said...

It is my dream to write something as momentous. In the meantime, I read everything by really good writers I can get my hands on.

Barbara said...

Great giveaway! I'd love to be entered!

Mishel said...

OMGoodness!!! I so totally need these books!

Blodeuedd said...

Too good to be true :D
Yes I am in.

blodeuedd1 (at) gmail (dot) com

Eva S said...

I'd love to read these books!! Thanks for the great giveaway!

Jessica said...

OOHH!! I am so looking forward to Dayhunter! I can't wait until the end of the month!

Ruth Schaller said...

I liked Nightwalker, so I'd love the chance to read Day Hunter! Sounds fabulous!

Tez Miller said...

Would love to be in the running, please! Unfortunately, I don't think Australian rights to the series have sold yet.

Jessica Kennedy said...

Jocelynn is great! Love these books!

Kim Zielke said...

This looks like an interesting series. I am totally into the kick-butt female lead characters lately and this seems right up my alley. This will definitely have to be on my to read list.

Kim Zielke said...

This sounds like a great new series for me. I've been reading a lot of books with great kick-butt lead female characters, so this seems right up my alley. It will most definitely be on my to-read list. Thanks for the insight!

Calliope said...

I read Nightwalker and loved it - can't wait for the sequel!

christin said...

This sounds so great! Thanks for an awesome giveaway!!
christinbanda@yahoo.com

azteclady said...

Hello, Ms Drake!

These books sound like a great read (thank you, Kimberly!) and I would love to have my name in the drawing.

Best of luck on release day for Dayhunter!

tetewa said...

I'm always looking for new authors and series to read, these sound great count me in!

Maija P. said...

This sounds good. I'm especially interested in seeing Mira and Danaus's relationship grow in the upcoming books!

Maija P.
chayanna82(at)hotmail(dot)com

Nicole said...

The books sound great and I'd loved to be entered into the contest!

donnas said...

Thanks for the great guest blog. Its always cool to hear from the writers directly. I loved Nightwalker and cant wait to get the chance to read Dayhunter.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

nightdweller20 said...

Ooh these covers look so awesome! I really want to read these!

jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

Jennzah said...

i love Jocelynn's storytelling. it's dark and sexy. :D please enter me!

Kara said...

I've been wanting to read this book for awhile now - please enter me in the contest.

donna said...

I have read the first book and I can't wait to get my hands on the next in the series.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Awesome guest post. I love the idea of how Mira and this world was formed. So cool.

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time now so I'd love to be entered. If not, I will be getting it at some point, b/c after all, Joceylnn is from my hometown in a way. :)

-Lauren
lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Cathy M said...

After reading the excerpts, I've added this series to my wish list.

mindy said...

wonderful guest blog and thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

Lady Roxi said...

Love to have this.

Thanks,

darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

Heather said...

What a great contest!!! I loved the blog, and I've heard nothing but awesome things about the books. Sign me up :)

kathy55439 said...

Sounds great thank you for the contest

Valorie said...

I would love to know what series' you wrote and played around with fanfiction in!

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Fantasy Dreamer said...

I have these books on my wish list. Read about them awhile back, sound great - goosebumps great!

Erika Lynn said...

this is a great guest post and I have read nothing but great things about these books.

sports dot erikalynn at gmail dot com

AllyKatt said...

How nice it would be to win the pair of novels. I have heard nothing but great things about these book and they are on my short list of book to read. Thanks for the chance to win

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

silverhartgirl said...

These look like great reads.
great guest posts

Kytaira said...

I haven't read these books yet but they sound great! Thanks for a wonderful guest blog.

Heidi V said...

Thanks for the review!

heidivargas [at] live dot com.

Christine said...

What a fantastic guest blog. I have had Nightwalker in my TBR for so long... I feel so badly that it has been sitting here unread for so long! Especially since it was so well received. Maybe the upcoming release of Dayhunter will give me the pressure I need! ;)

jwx4 said...

I'm adding these books to my must read list.

Stacie said...

Thanks for the chance!

Silent Raven said...

Those surely sound as great books. I'd love to read them.

Nickolay said...

These look like awesome books. Thanks for the chance

jason@allworldautomotive.com

Brooke said...

Why oh why is my TBR list sooo long.. hehee...It seems that for every one book I read I had added three...

tatertot374 said...

Thank you for a great giveaway! I would love to win.
Thank you!
tatertot374@sbcglobal.net

Kat said...

Love the way you decribe how Mira came to be! I've had characters that started, well, talking back to me, telling me their story and leaving me to just type it out. I actually love it when that happens... much more intriguing. Also good to hear that there is the possibility of life after fanfic writing... (hope for future!)

Can't wait to pick up Dayhunter!

Pissenlit said...

This was one of the best guest posts I've read in awhile. The way you talked about your books has really made me want to get my hands on them! Also, pretty covers! I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for these!

Debs Desk said...

Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9(at)verizon.net

Anonymous said...

please enter me, i havnt read this author yet. and would love to \

gypsywitch36@yahoo.com

Jocelynn said...

I just wanted to give a very big thanks for everyone for their great comments! I really appreciate the love. I hope you enjoy Dayhunter. It was a lot of fun to write.

Thanks
~Jocelynn Drake

wendy said...

You wrote a really good review...please enter me.

madamerkf at aol dot com

Lori said...

Please enter me in the drawing.

Thanks
Lori
lannoe@yahoo.com

Cecile said...

Hey!! How are things going?! I hope good! Enter me in the contest for sure... looks like a great read. And awesome behind the scenes post! Cecile

Carmen R said...

I loved Nightwalker and can't wait to get my hands on Dayhunter.


hdtermite at yahoo dot com

I Heart Monster said...

I wanna read them :o)

iheartmonster{at}iheartmonster{dot}com

Karen W. said...

I enjoyed the guest post, and I really liked NIGHTWALKER so I'd love to read DAYHUNTER!

olympianlady said...

These look like good books. Please enter me. Thanks!

tiffanyak1986(at)hotmail(dot)com

Abby said...

Great post, I love behind-the-scenes peaks at books I've read and enjoyed. Dayhunter is on my "to buy" list.

lilbabypug said...

please enter me. I would love to give by boyfriend this book for his birthday. thanks

em18966 said...

These books sound great. I would love to be entered in the drawing. Would be happy to post a review on my own blog if I win!!
em18966@live.com
http://horrorandfantasybookreview.blogspot.com/

RachaelfromNJ said...

Great interview! Sounds fantastic. Please enter me in the contest!! :)

VioletReads said...

Ooh! These look like fun! Thanks for letting me know about them!

angelshimmery said...

Interesting interview. Love hearing authors talking about their work.
Please enter me into the contest.

Llehn said...

These books sound like something up my alley! I would be looking out for them!

Lesley
lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Marie said...

This sounds great! I would love to read it.

marielay@gmail.com

S.M.D. said...

Oh, this sounds like a good deal :). I'm totally in.

Thanks for the cool giveaway and the guest post.

(email in my profile).

Karolina said...

I'm surprised (and delighted!) it is possible to open this contest from outside of the United States & Canada :) I'm used to the idea of having no possibility to win anything.

Anita Yancey said...

The book sounds good. Love to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

blackroze37yahoo.com said...

wow would love to win both these books.

KorynMarie- said...

Awesome interview
Would love to win those books!

Michelle said...

Wonderful! I'd love to get my hands on either of these books. Thanks!
mmillet at gmail dot com

Chris said...

Sounds like a very intriguing new series!

Deedles said...

Great giveaway. The books look like great reads.

Bloodxredxeyes said...

I loved the first book though I have to say that the ending made me mad. Not that it wasn't well written, it really was, I just don't like when a character I've become connected to it used. I can't wait until the next book!

Michelle G said...

I read the first book and look forward to the second. Please enter my name in the contest. :)

M

bridget3420 said...

I'd like to enter.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

Gwen said...

Great to hear from the author. Both books sound very interesting.

Gwen

yarnedy(at)hotmail.com

fiaminggiory said...

I would love to win these, they look great!

frivolousone said...

Oh...pick me, pick me.

Elena said...

These look like two absolutely fascinating books. I love the story of how you came to write them.

Please count this as my entry into the contest.

nhertel85 said...

I would love to win!!

nhertel85ATyahooDOTcom

rhi.hart said...

Nice author pic! I hope for one as good one day :)

rhi.hart at gmail.com

CrystalGB said...

Great post. Jocelyn's books sound good. :)

tina werner said...

looks very tempting! thanks for the chance to win!

stampitchick at yahoo dot ca

ChariDee said...

I'm game, but I honestly stand no chance with all these interested entries. I LOVED the first book! Haven't gotten the second one yet!

Fantastic Book Review said...

I just want to say I have the first book and I loved it and I have already pre-ordered the second book. I have the second book listed on my blog as Noteworthy Releases.

Glowstars said...

I've not yet read either of the books, but they're definitely on my list. I'd love to win the set.

M. said...

Hi,
my first time here, wandered in via Literary Escapism.

the books sound intriguing.

ediFanoB said...

Kudos!
What a awesome guest post.
So far I didn't read a book by Jocelynn Drake but this guest post is so mouth watering that I can't withstand to take part in the giveaway.

Good look to all participants.

ginnn7 said...

great guest post, made me want to read the books even more. i want to meet Mira, hear what she has to say. thanks

bbricke said...

Awesome post. I loved the first book and can't wait for the next 2.

Wanda said...

Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.

wandanamgreb at gmail dot com

Wendy said...

Hi, Jocelynn! I've heard tons of good things about your book so I can't wait to read them. Loved your post. :)

Cheers!

Carolyn said...

Hey Jocelynn,
Thank you for the contest. The books series sounds amazing and I would love to have a new series to read. I love kick ass women in books. Anyways thanks for the contest. I hope I win. It would be wicked.
Carolyn H.

MarnieColette said...

Thanks for wonderful insight on how Mira evolved. Please enter me.

Thank again.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I would love to win. I've been looking for some new series to read.

delitealex2006@yahoo.com

meghanstrain said...

What a great contest! Count me in!