Jeaniene Frost is a New York Times Best Selling author, whose latest book in the exciting Night Huntress series hit the number #7 spot. The Night Huntress series consists of:
Halfway To The Grave (2007)
One Foot In The Grave (2008)
At Graves End (2009)
Destined For An Early Grave (2009)
Jeaniene has also started the Night Huntress World books – spin off books from The Night Huntress series that feature characters we have seen from Cat’s and Bones’ books. Jeaniene’s début book in the Night Huntress World is First Drop of Crimson, which is released tomorrow. Eternal Kiss of Darkness is the second spin off book, and features Mencheres as the hero. That will be released in July this year. Here is the blurb from Jeaniene’s official website for Eternal Kiss of Darkness:
Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she’s only imagined in her worst nightmares.
At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master Vampire who thought he’d seen it all. Then Kira appears—this fearless, beautiful…human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life, yet sending her away is unthinkable.
But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose between the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.
First Drop of Crimson is released tomorrow – whoo hoo – and Jeaniene kindly agreed to do an interview. Here it be:
The Book Pushers: Jeaniene, thank you kindly for agreeing for this interview and welcome to The Book Pushers!
Jeaniene: Thanks! It’s great to be here and I’m flattered that you took the time out to interview me.
The Book Pushers: First Drop of Crimson is the first book in the spin off series: Night Huntress World. Could you tell us what we can expect in this book, and are there any surprises in store?
Jeaniene: Based on some of the early responses which went along the lines of “Wow, I didn’t expect ______ to happen!” I’ll say yes, there are surprises in First Drop. Readers can expect a far deeper look into the vampire world than they’ve previously seen, for starters.
Half of FDOC is written from the point of view of a Master vampire, whereas the Night Huntress series is only written from Cat’s narrative, and Cat starts out with only guesses about the undead world. So Spade has centuries of experience with things that Cat might not have even discovered yet.
First Drop is also the first full-length novel where demons are introduced. Demonic possession was previously glimpsed in a short story called “Devil to Pay” in the Four Dukes and a Devil anthology, but FDOC offers a much bigger look into demons. Raum, one of the villains in First Drop, is a demon who’s ancient, cunning, and can traverse through realms as well as shapeshift into any person or thing. So he’s unlike any former adversary in the Night Huntress books, and the consequences of the demon’s brands on Denise are something even Spade could never anticipate.
The Book Pushers: Denise has had to endure a lot of heartbreak previously. Do we see Denise in a new, stronger light with her relationship with Spade, or will it be a slowly budding romance that unfolds over time?
Jeaniene: First Drop is not the start of a new series featuring Denise and Spade. It’s a stand-alone novel, so the romance unfolds in its entirety within the course of this book. While writing FDOC, I discovered many layers to Denise. In my mind, she’s just as strong as Cat, but in a different way.
As you mentioned, Denise has been through the worst sort of heartache, but that’s just the beginning of her problems when First Drop opens. Yet no matter how many horrible, twisted things are thrown at her, Denise doesn’t break. She finds herself inner heroine instead. Gotta love that about her.
And of course, Spade is an equally complex, strong character. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Spade when I began this novel, but he still managed to surprise me. I may have developed a serious crush while writing him, but as an author, I take that as a good sign.
The Book Pushers: While writing First Drop of Crimson, what did you do to re-charge your brain between writing sessions?
Jeaniene Frost: First Drop WAS a recharge for my brain. Prior to, I’d written five straight Cat and Bones novels (Five? Then why are there only four out now?? readers might question. Well, my original third C&B novel ended up getting scrapped completely, but I did write it, even though it will never see the light of day). So switching characters – and switching POV’s from first person to third person multiple – was like taking a literary vacation. I love Cat and Bones, but after five books in a row, I needed a break from them. And hey, they needed a break from me with all the torture I constantly put them through, right? *wink*.
The Book Pushers: Will we see any familiar characters in First Drop of Crimson, or perhaps some new characters that will feature in future books?
Jeaniene: There are both new and familiar faces in First Drop of Crimson. Readers will see Mencheres, Ian, Cat, Bones, and Fabian pop up as side characters. New characters are also introduced in FDOC, but if I tell you who might make appearances in future books…well *evil grin*, then readers will know in advance who lives and who doesn’t, which would spoil the fun of finding out.
The Book Pushers: What made you decide to make the Ghouls intelligent, and not just raving beasts?
Jeaniene: Much like the original idea for the Night Huntress series, ghouls just showed up in my dreams one night with their supernatural tendencies in place. So from that, I knew they were just similar to vampires in strength, speed, appearance, intelligence, and control. The only difference was their diet. I still would like to write a novel featuring a ghoul hero, even though I can practically hear my editor screaming in horror at the idea. Ghouls are not her favorite creature.
We had this huge conversation when she first read ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE about exactly how much, um, other sustenance a ghoul could eat before readers would get disgusted. I didn’t see the difference between ghouls eating the occasional person versus werewolves eating the occasional person (and I STILL stand by that opinion ;). But my editor’s point was that readers could more readily swallow – ha! – werewolves eating people while still considering them sexy because werewolves ate while in another form, whereas my ghouls never altered from their human appearance.
Here’s a snapshot into that conversation (if you’re squeamish, you may want to skip this part):
Me: But my ghouls are MUCH more civilized than werewolves. They don’t eat people while they’re still alive and screaming like some werewolves do. Ghouls wait until a person’s dead and then cook up some parts with seasoning and sauces. Really, it’s just like what people do with beef or pork, and once you filet, season, and sauté something along with veggies or potatoes, I doubt it looks much different than –
Editor: STOP! *gagging noises* Are you trying to make me a vegetarian??!
So after this long conversation, we came up with the formula of ghouls indulging in the occasional Homosapien consumption along with frequent helpings of raw animal meat. And at the end of that chat, my editor told me she was skipping dinner. For the next several days.
*grin* Was it wrong of me to be amused by that??
The Book Pushers: What’s your favourite creature in the Night Huntress world – the being you have the most fun writing about?
Jeaniene: I write the most about vampires and they’ve been my favorite creature since I was a kid, so I’ll have to give the Fanged Ones a nod. There’s so much flexibility in vampire mythology that it leaves a lot of room for imagination.
I will say that I’ve had fun adding ghosts and ghouls to the usual vampire equation, too. And as I mentioned, in recent stories I’ve added demons into the mix. That opened up a new realm of possibilities that was very exciting for me. Squaring a vampire off against a demon opened up a ton of new things in terms of conflict, powers, and peril – all fun stuff when you’re writing.
The Book Pushers: Do you have a Pre-Release Disorder? We have heard of some – like a certain nameless author you know well *hint, hint* – going into hiding. Are there any oddities that occur when a new release of yours is imminent?
Jeaniene: Me, suffer from pre-release anxiety that results in odd behavior? Never! Just pay no attention to the tin foil wrapped around my head. Or the mindless rocking back and forth while screaming.
Seriously, during the time leading up to release, I’m a bundle of excitement mixed with nerves. With every new book, I can tell readers unequivocally that I loved the story. What I can’t guarantee is how many other people will love it. As authors, we know not everyone will like our books. That’s called variety of opinion and it’s a good thing. But it’s also never the goal to disappoint readers, even though tastes vary and it’s a statistical impossibility for one book to make everyone happy. So the combination of knowing some readers will share my love for the story is exciting, but the knowledge that, inevitably, some readers will not is a bit of a bummer. That’s why, pre-release, I’m giddy…but I also have the urge to throw up. Sounds a little like pregnancy, doesn’t it?
The Book Pushers: What type of scene is the most challenging for you to write: Love scenes, fighting scenes…?
Jeaniene: Both of those are equally challenging, because they involve incorporating every aspect of the character’s feelings amidst a series of specific movements. No, I’m not being cute by saying that. Whether writing a sex scene or a fight scene, there’s action involved that has to have a smooth flow from the cause to the effect, all while balancing the character’s physical and emotional responses.
Example 1: Spade vaulted forward on his belly, slicing into every bit of flesh he made contact with as he made his way into the freezer. Hard forms landed on him in a pile. Spade kept an unyielding grip on the knives in his hands, ignoring the pain from the stabs where his vest didn’t cover him, and slashed out with relentless purpose.
Example 2: His mouth covered hers, swallowing her gasp as he pulled her to him. Spade’s tongue probed past her lips in sensual demand, making heat scorch up her spine. She opened her mouth, groaning at the sensual flicks of his tongue combined with the hard feel of his body pressed along hers.
Both scene segments have high emotions, physical stimuli, and another person’s actions causing additional physical and emotional reactions. Only difference is one scene is a fight to the death and the other is the start of a love scene, but all those elements still have to be present for both to be realistic. When writing dialogue or other interactions, I don’t have to concentrate so much on every move the character makes, or the cause-and-effect physical response of the other character like I do in fight/love scenes.
The Book Pushers: Since you know Spade so well, we thought you’d be privy to this sort of information. 😉 Does Spade do Briefs, Boxers or Commando?
Jeaniene: Spade would wear boxers. High-end fabric, too, like silk. He’s probably the most refined out of my characters, though he’s far from a dandy. Because of his background – titled lord turned convict turned Master vampire – Spade was an interesting character to write. He had such extremes in his circumstances and in his personality. Put Spade in any fancy restaurant and he’d know the best wine to order…but he also wouldn’t hesitate to break that pricey bottle and cut someone up with it, if he had to.
The Book Pushers: What combination of characters – and if you could bring in other characters from other books – would wreck the most havoc upon the world? 😀
Jeaniene: I don’t think the Night Huntress world could handle additions from characters or species that exist in other fictional realms, lol. There would be untold mayhem if Melissa Marr’s faeries existed alongside my vampires, ghosts, ghouls, and demons. Or if Ilona Andrews various shapeshifters, necromancers, gods, wizards, and magic came to visit. What’s great about reading in the paranormal genre is its diversity; you can choose from demons, faeries, angels, vampires, werewolves, succubae, dragons, gargoyles, witches, ghosts, druids, elves, mermaids, trolls, sirens, and more, all set up in whatever particular world an author showcases them.
And what’s great about being an author in the paranormal genre is getting to mix and match creatures according to what you want to exist together, under the rules you create for them. It’s a blast (and if only I had half as much control in real life…)
The Book Pushers: Will readers need to be current on your Night Huntress series before they read First Drop of Crimson?
Jeaniene: Not in my opinion. While current readers of my series will probably get some deeper context in First Drop because they’re already familiar with the world and characters, it was written for first-time readers to be able to pick it up without difficulty. I actually think it’s more “first time” friendly than my Night Huntress series because readers aren’t missing important chunks of Cat and Bones’s relationship by starting at, say, book three versus book one. This is the first time Denise and Spade take center stage and the first time sparks really fly between them, so new readers aren’t missing anything crucial from events in the past Cat and Bones books.
The Book Pushers: We saved this for last: Will there be a chapter 32 in First Drop of Crimson? *grins*
Ha ha, you had to ask, didn’t you? Okay, I’ll never exactly duplicate the events in the infamous Chapter 32 because then readers would scratch their heads and think, “Haven’t I already read this before?” But, Chap 32 lovers, fear not: First Drop of Crimson is a sexy book. I might have even blushed a few times while writing certain scenes. Does that answer your question?
For anyone interested watching the book trailer for First Drop of Crimson, you can go here to check it out:
And you can read the first 20% of First Drop online at HarperCollins here:
Thanks again so much to everyone at The Book Pushers for having me!
And that concludes the interview. Big thanks again to Jeaniene Frost who totally rocked it!
And yes, once again giveaway time. 😀
I’m going to be giveaway three copies of First Drop of Crimson, and it’s open internationally – to where ever The Book Depository ships – which is nearly everywhere.
To enter the giveaway, answer this question in the comments below: If you could combine a kick ass fighting team, that consists of other characters from other books, who would they be?
Giveaway will close next Monday night, GMT time.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.