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I Belong

Author Interview: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

September 13th, 2016 Kristie Posted in Interview Comments Off on Author Interview: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth DurstPlease welcome author Sarah Beth Durst! She’s here today with an interview about her new novel The Queen of Blood! It’s an adult epic fantasy / YA crossover, the first in a new series, called The Queens of Renthia, and it’s about bloodthirsty nature spirits and the women who can control them. If you like novels about the heroine who is the underdog then you’ll want to check out Deleina’s story for the setting is richly wonderful yet terrifying. If you like YA fantasy then you will definitely want to check this one out. The Queen of Blood will be released on September 20, 2016 from Harper Voyager. Read my review here for more information! I can tell you that after reading this interview, I’m already excited for the sequel!

About Sarah:

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of ten fantasy novels for adults, teens, and kids, including Conjured, Vessel, and Ice. Her latest book for kids, The Girl Who Could Not Dream, came out in November 2015 from HMH/Clarion Books, and her next novel for adults, The Queen of Blood, comes out in September 2016 from Harper Voyager. Sarah won the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat.

You can visit Sarah around the web here: Website Facebook Twitter | Tumblr

Want to read more from Sarah Beth Durst?

Into the Wild Out of the WildThe LostThe Queen of BloodIceDrink, Slay, LoveVesselConjuredChasing PowerThe Girl Who Could Not Dream



Dark Faerie Tales: Can you start things off by telling us a little bit about Queen of Blood?

Sarah: THE QUEEN OF BLOOD is the first book in a new epic fantasy series from Harper Voyager called THE QUEENS OF RENTHIA.  It’s about a world filled with nature spirits… but these aren’t your cheerful, frolicking, pastoral sprites.  These spirits want to kill all humans.  Only certain women — queens — have the power to control them.

It was a lot of fun to write.  :)

DFT: Daleina was constantly underestimated because of her inability to control the spirits. What was it about Daleina that had you wanting to tell her story? Why is Daleina a perfect candidate to be heir?

Sarah: Daleina is not a perfect candidate, and that’s exactly why I wanted to tell her story.  She’s not the Chosen One.  There aren’t any prophecies about her.  She has no secret talents.  No one gifts her with a magic sword or amulet.  She’s a mediocre student with only a modicum of power.  But she wants to protect her family and save her people, and she’s willing to work hard to do it.

I wanted to write about a character whose true “magic” is her determination.

DFT: Did Ven only choose Daleina as the heir candidate because she told on him? Or was there something else that he saw in her that made him decide to choose her?

Sarah: He chooses her because she wants to be queen for the right reasons.  To him, that’s more important than possessing raw power.  At its core, this series is all about power — who has it, who wants it, what you do with it, and what it does to you.

DFT: Who is your favorite character in Queen of Blood? Why?

Sarah: Probably Daleina.  Or Ven, my brave banished warrior.  Or Merecot, because she made me laugh.  Or Bayn, because he’s a wolf.  Or…  I don’t know.  I fell in love with all my characters (even the ones I didn’t mean to care about because I knew their fate!).

One of the hardest parts of writing is finishing a book and having to say goodbye to all the characters that you’ve been living with and have fallen in love with.  But one of the best things about writing a series is that I don’t have to say goodbye yet!

DFT: Merecot was one character that stuck with me. Will we see more of Merecot in a later novel?

Sarah: Yes!  I don’t think I can say any more without spoilers, except an emphatic YES!

DFT: Queen of Blood is the first in the series. Can you give us a sneak peek at what we can look forward to in the next novel or novels? I know I can’t wait!

Sarah: You won’t have to wait a full year after THE QUEEN OF BLOOD.  THE RELUCTANT QUEEN (book two) will be out early next summer, and THE QUEEN OF SORROW (book three) will be ten months after that.

THE RELUCTANT QUEEN continues Daleina’s story, plus adds a new main character: Naelin, a woman who (unlike Daleina) possesses immense power, but she refuses to use it because she knows that people who use their power tend to die young, and she doesn’t want to leave her two children motherless.

DFT: What novels/authors did you draw inspiration from in writing Queen of Blood?

Sarah: I think it’s important to try to write the kind of book you love to read.  In fact, I think instead of “write what you know,” the saying should be “write what you love.”

I love the kind of book that sweeps you away on a journey and then brings you back again, maybe slightly changed.  And my favorite authors are the ones who made me fall in love with fantasy in the first place, when I was a shy ten-year-old kid hiding in the library: Robin McKinley, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Tamora Pierce, Guy Gavriel Kay, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, etc.

DFT: The world that you have created in Queen of Blood is equally as beautiful as it is scary. Would you want to live in this world? If so, where would you see yourself in the hierarchy of this world, i.e. heir, hedgewitch, queen, commoner?

Sarah: Renthia is a world of extreme beauty — massive forests, sky-piercing mountains, endless glaciers — and I’d love to live there… except for the fact that I’d probably last about ten minutes before I was eaten, torn apart, or buried alive.

DFT: What is your favorite fairytale/folk tale? Why?

Sarah: Beauty and the Beast.  It’s the first fairy tale I remember reading where the princess wasn’t asleep or dead.  Plus in both Robin McKinley’s retelling BEAUTY and the Disney movie, there’s a magnificent library!!!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!



Available September 20, 2016 from Harper Voyager

About this Book:

An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

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Author Interview: Dance with the Devil by Angela Dennis

September 21st, 2015 Kristie Posted in Interview 1 Comment »

Angela DennisPlease welcome author Angela Dennis to Dark Faerie Tales! Her newest novel, Dance with the Devil, is a paranormal romance featuring lion shapeshifters! This novel is steamy, action-packed and even includes a murder mystery. I really enjoyed the twist on hybrid shapeshifters. Check out my review. Dance with the Devil is the first novel in the Soul’s Harbor Pride series and will be released tomorrow, September 22, 2015 from Samhain Publishing.

About Angela:

Angela Dennis lives in the Midwest with her husband, son, and a sheltie with a hero complex.  When she is not at her computer crafting stories, she can be found feeding her coffee addiction, playing peek-a-boo, or teaching her son about the great adventures found only in books.

You can visit Angela around the web here: Website | BlogTwitter | Facebook


Want to read more from Angela Dennis?

Shadows of Fate Fading Light Piercing the DarknessDance with the Devil


I am so excited to be at Dark Faerie Tales today! Thanks so much to Kristie for having me!

I wanted to do something fun, so I decided to drag Carrick along with me to do an interview. For those of you who don’t know, Carrick is the hero of the first book in my Soul’s Harbor Pride Series, Dance with the Devil. He’s a lion shifter who can kick some serious booty, but also has a heart of gold. I thought it would be fun to question Carrick about his “firsts.” I didn’t tell him that the questions were going to get a little…personal.

Angela: Thanks for doing this interview with me, Carrick. I know you’re busy, what with the Conclave breathing down your neck.

Carrick: My pleasure. So what’s the deal? What are we going to do?

Angela: I’m going to ask you about your firsts. You know, first time you…

Carrick: Okay. That could get interesting.

Angela: Hope so. Now remember, complete honesty. One lie and I’m calling Jillian.

Carrick: Threatening me already? You do know I’m a shifter, right? I turn into a lion. With big, sharp, pointy, teeth.

Angela: Duly noted. But I’m pretty sure Jillian will protect me. And you wouldn’t want to make her mad, especially since you—

Carrick: Okay. Okay. No need to go there. Complete honesty. I swear.

Angela: Good. Let’s get started. When was the first time you realized you were a shifter?

Carrick: Seriously? Isn’t the first question was supposed to be easy?*pauses, closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose* My mom was mage. Growing up I had no idea who my dad was, so I figured I was a mage too. But when I hit puberty, I started having these dreams. I was running on four legs, killing things, eating them. *grins* Creepy isn’t it?

Angela: Um, yeah. So what happened?

Carrick: One day I was in the woods outside the coven’s compound and suddenly I was in so much pain I hit the ground. The pain sucked. It was awful. Next thing I knew, I was a lion. Shocked the hell out of me.

Angela: I can’t imagine.

Carrick: Yeah. It was bad. Thanks for bringing it up. Next question?

Angela: Got it. Moving on. When was the first time you met your father?

Carrick: *sighs, and shakes head* You said this was going to be an easy interview.

Angela: No. I said I’d buy you a bottle of Woodford Reserve afterward. There’s a difference.

Carrick: Whatever. You owe me two bottles.

Angela: Only if you answer the question.

Carrick: Fine.  No one raised me to be shifter. I couldn’t control my beast. The elders in my coven tried to kill me, so my mom helped me run away. She told me about my dad’s Pride. I didn’t have anywhere else to go. He took one look at me and knew I was his. We look exactly alike. He hated my guts, but took me in. Claimed me. Never understood why.

Angela: Your dad was a prejudiced idiot.

Carrick: Yeah. He was.

Angela: So speaking of Jillian, how did you meet?

Carrick: I was closing the bar, taking the trash out around back, when I saw her. It was storming, and she was soaking wet and huddled in the alley. First thing she did was ask me for a job. *shakes head* I can’t believe I thought she was human.

Angela: One last question. I’ve got get going. Lucas is nagging me to write his story, and your brother can be a pain in the butt when he wants to be.  But I’ve got to ask this question. Who was your first love?

Carrick: Jillian. She drives me nuts sometimes, but it’s always been her. Even that first day when I thought she was human, there was something about her. I just knew.

Angela: Does she know that?’

Carrick: *shrugs* We done?

Angela: Yep. Let’s go get that bourbon.

Carrick: Right behind you. But I want three bottles. You should have warned me what you were going to ask.

Angela: Then you wouldn’t have come.

Carrick: Exactly.


Dance With The Devil

Available September 22, 2015 from Samhain Publishing

About this Book:

Born to be enemies. Destined to be lovers.

Soul’s Harbor Pride, Book 1

After killing one of her father’s enforcers, half-blood lion shifter Jillian Winters ran for her life, landing in an upscale bar halfway across the country. Her boss, Carrick—a pure-blood shifter—has no idea his barmaid is a fugitive.

When her father’s recklessness puts the Pride at risk, Jillian must return home and assume his place as Alpha. But not before she indulges in a taste of the attraction that’s been building for years between her and Carrick.

Carrick Granger has had a soft spot for Jillian from the moment she stepped into his bar, soaking wet and afraid of her own shadow. He knows she has secrets. So does he. He’s also the outcast son of an Alpha—and now that his father is dead, he, too, has been summoned home.

Thinking they’ll never see each other again, the simmering heat between them ignites like a match to gunpowder. But then the bullets start flying, forcing them to choose—duty to their Prides, or the one person they can’t live without.

Warning: This book contains deception, lies, betrayal, a sexy lion who is determined to claim his mate, and a mating bond that will change the landscape of the Prides forever.

Click HERE to read excerpt

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Character Interview & Giveaway: Stray by Elissa Sussman

May 17th, 2015 Bridget Posted in Interview 13 Comments »

Elissa SussmanI am so excited to have the lovely Elissa Sussman and her character Aislynn on the blog today! Elissa is the author of Stray, which is a wonderful dark fairy tale that I completely adored (read my review here). Stray is the first book in the Four Sisters Series! The sequel Burn will be coming out in January 2016 and suffice to say I can’t wait to read it! To get everyone excited about Burn we have a fun interview with the main character from the series visiting the blog today for a wonderful interview.

We also have a great giveaway at the bottom of the post where one winner will get an annotated copy of Stray! A huge thank you to Elissa for the giveaway!

About Elissa:

Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater.

Her debut novel, STRAY (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins), is a YA fantasy about fairy godmothers, magic and food. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue mutt, Basil.

You can visit Elissa around the web here: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Want to read more from Elissa?


Please join me in welcoming Aislynn to the blog today!

Dark Faerie Tales: For those of us who have yet had the pleasure to meet you will you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your story?

Aislynn: My name is Aislynn, princess of Nepeta. Er, make that former princess. Now I am the fairy godmother to the High Princess Linnea and doing my best to follow the Path I have been given. I have made a vow to control my magical occurrences and remain loyal to Linnea and the advisers.

DFT: Obviously your 16th birthday didn’t go quite the way you planned it to. Instead of dancing the night away with charming suitors you ended up being shipped off to become a fairy godmother.  Out of everything that happened that night what was the biggest surprise to you?

Aislynn: I was shocked that my friend Maris decided to become a stray instead of following the Path and becoming a fairy godmother.

DFT: Unlike most girls in your society you like to eat and you didn’t always act the most proper at times. In some ways being different caused your peers to treat you badly, did this ever bother you?

Aislynn: I didn’t have many friends at my last Academy, mostly because they all knew that I had trouble controlling my powers. It could get quite lonely, but I always had my fairy godmother, Tahlia, who I love dearly.

DFT: You always thought that you would eventually get married but that obviously doesn’t end up happening. What was the one thing you dreaded most about becoming a fairy godmother?

Aislynn: Though I’ve vowed not to let my step falter along my new Path, it has been difficult to accept that I will never see my parents or my former fairy godmother again. I have been told to forget them, but it has been quite hard to do just that.

Stray Elissa Sussman

DFT: Princess Linnea is a very interesting girl and your friendship with her grew over time.  What did you like best about her and what did you like least?

Aislynn: Princess Linnea is very good and generous. She will make a wonderful queen and it is an honor to serve her. If I were to speak unkindly about her, it would only be in regards to her adviser, Adviser Lennard, who has forced her to act in ways that bring her pain.

DFT: Thackery was one of my favorite characters in your story and you eventually grew pretty fond of him yourself :-) ! Out of all his great qualities what do you think is his best trait?

Aislynn: He is very stubborn, which is both wonderful and frustrating. He’s yet to give up on me.

DFT: Throughout your story your eyes are opened to a lot of new ideas that you never thought possible in your society, but there is still much to learn. What is one of the most important things you have learned on your journey so far?

Aislynn: I have learned that it is not enough to simply believe –there are things that should be questioned, even if doing so is scary and might lead you into the unknown.

DFT: I am so excited to see what happens in your story next! Can you tell us what we can expect to see in Burn?

Aislynn: My new friend, Elanor, will be leading the story in BURN, though I will be spending much time learning from her. We will be sharing a new part of the kingdom and the lives of those who have gone unnoticed by many outside of the Midlands.

Quick Fire Questions: (What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the following?)

Magic? Dangerous

Thackery? Forest green

Your Parents? I fear I’ve disappointed them

Fairy Godmother? Devotion

Happily Ever After? An ending I still hope for



This contest if provided by Elissa Sussman!

One lucky winner win get an annotated copy of Stray!
(US only)

Stray Elissa Sussman

 Available October 7th 2014 by Greenwillow

About this Book:

I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.

Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.

When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.

But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.

After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Author Interview & Giveaway: Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

May 12th, 2015 Kristie Posted in Interview 27 Comments »

Darynda JonesLast week I was honored to be a part of a phone interview with Darynda Jones! Dark Faerie Tales along with nine other blogs (listed below) were able to ask Darynda two questions each about her newest release, Eighth Grave After Dark, and about her series as a whole. The interview is long so it has been cut down for length, make sure to check out the participating blogs for more of this fun interview! The eighth novel in the urban fantasy Charley Davidson series will be released on May 19, 2015 from St. Martin’s Press.

A HUGE thank you to St. Martin’s Press for today’s giveaway! One lucky winner will win the NO REST FOR THE DEAD prize pack which includes a branded coffee mug plus the entire Charley Davidson series!! This contest is for US addresses only.

About Darynda:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author DARYNDA JONES won a RITA Award for best first novel for First Grave On The Right. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Jones lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

You can visit Darynda around the web here: Website | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Darynda Jones?

First Grave on the Right Second Grave on the Left Third Grave Dead Ahead Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet Fifth Grave Past the Light Sixth Grave on the Edge Seventh Grave and No BodyDeath and the Girl Next DoorDeath, Doom and DetentionDeath, and the Girl He Loves


Participating Blogs

Rachel from BittenbyBooks

Shannon from CocktailsandBooks

Kimberly from CaffeinatedBookReviewer

Mary from TheBookSwarm

Scandal from ScandaliciousBookReviews

Mary from BookHounds

Kate from AllThingsUF

Kelly from EffortlesslyReading

Natasha from WickedLilPixie


Moderator: Darynda Jones, author of the Charley Davidson series, is with us today.  Darynda, do you want to give us a quick hello and background on the series and the new release?

Darynda Jones: Thank you so much for being here. I write the Charley Davidson series. It’s about a female private investigator who was born the Grim Reaper. She solves cases for both the living and the dead. The new book, Eighth Grave after Dark, comes out May 19th. It is, obviously, the eighth in the series and we’re really excited about it.

Kate: I was wondering– this might be silly – but, do you come up with the quotes at the beginning of the chapters? Or are they like actual real shirts that you see or signs or whatever? Because they’re hysterical.

Darynda Jones: That’s not a bad question at all. It’s awesome. I actually do not come up with most of them. I come up with maybe one or two a book. But, for the most part, they are real T-shirts and real bumper stickers and real signs and Internet memes that have been forwarded 1,000 times. They’re out there. I didn’t come up with them, unfortunately. I wish I were that clever.

First Grave on the Right

Kimberly: Is Reyes Farrow anyone that you know in real life? How did you come with such a yummy character?

Darynda Jones: Actually, it started out kind of as a different project. When I originally came up with him, I had written—okay. In the first book, there’s the scene where Charley thinks back and where she very first saw Reyes when he was in high school. I wrote that scene years before I actually wrote First Grave, and then I stole it out of this other thing. But that scene was inspired by the lovely and talented Jason Behr, who is just so gorgeous. And that’s where I came up with that. Then I don’t know, Reyes just kind of evolved

Kristie: My question is after the death of Charley’s father in the last book, and she’s so upbeat normally, is this going to really kind of bring her down a little bit for the next book in Book Eight?

Darynda Jones: Actually, one of the things that is helping with that that, because I didn’t want to bring her down very far, between Seventh and Eighth is the longest timeline between books. Eight months have passed when we get to Eighth Grave. So, there’s that. She’s kind of had that time to heal. They’re still trying to find his killer and what’s going on, and they figure that out in Eighth Grave. That’s one of the mysteries that’s going on. But also he’s still there every once in a great while incorporeally, so she still has him in a way. You know, he’s not totally gone. So that’s helped a little bit too. So, yeah, she’s still Charley in Eighth.

Second Grave on the Left

Natasha: You know, I’m going to ask, Mr. Wong. First, where did he come from? And when is he going to speak?

Darynda: Okay. First, I’m not telling; and second, we learn everything about Mr. Wong in Eighth Grave. His entire story comes out. I will say it was so funny. One of my beta readers was reading the book before it went to my editor, and she sent me this e-mail that was just, oh, my God, over and over and over and over. She’s like I just got to the part about Mr. Wong. I’m so in love. It was just the greatest thing. So, I think that–I think you will be pleased. I think that the readers will be pleased because he turned out to be a very, very neat person.

Rachel: My question is what is your favorite scene from any of your books?

Darynda Jones: My favorite scene, I actually have one, and there’s a reason. It’s actually, believe it or not, and this is going to sound kind of morbid, but it is the torture scene in Third Grave Dead Ahead. The reason is because I knew going into that book that that scene was going to happen. I knew from the time I was writing First Grave that that scene was going to happen, and I had just worried over it and worried over it because I didn’t know if I could pull it off. So, when I pulled it off, and I–you know, it’s not perfect, but I did okay. I was just so thrilled that I pulled that scene off and that it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. It’s kind of like when you go to draw something, and it never looks quite like you want it to, you know? I just really wanted this scene to have a certain feel to it and then have a certain emotional turmoil. So, that is actually to this day my favorite scene because it was my first really true obstacle.

Third Grave Dead Ahead

Scandal: If someone were new to your books, like a paranormal rookie let’s call them, what would you want them to know or take away from the Charley Davidson series? How would you introduce them to it?

Darynda Jones: I would introduce them how I did whenever we opened, that it was a female investigator who was born the Grim Reaper. But, I would also add that they’re more lighthearted than most paranormal books. And they’re more humorous. Charley is completely irreverent to almost every situation. She doesn’t take a lot of things too seriously, except for her job to help people and to help the departed be on their way. So probably something like that, just to let them know ahead that it’s not quite as dark as others, but, it has dark moments.

Shannon: My question is going to kind of throw out that I have read Eighth Grave. So, Charley’s not quite as funny in this book as she has been previously in the series. Is that impending motherhood? Is it just she’s growing more comfortable with her marriage to Reyes? What brought all that about?

Darynda Jones: Basically, I’m a plotter and I plot every book down to every last moment before I start writing it. I could not get this book figured out. I had the hardest time with Eighth Grave. Basically it was due and I was still working on the outline. I’m hoping that my editor doesn’t actually hear this, or my agent. I just had the hardest time figuring this book out because I knew all the stuff that was going to happen, and I felt like this is kind of the end of a period of time, and Ninth Grave is going to be like a new beginning in a way. So I wanted to bring in everybody I possibly could and to revisit these characters that we hadn’t seen in a while. I flat could not figure out how I was going to do that. I was sitting there talking to one of my assistants, and she happened to mention—If this is too much of a spoiler, we’ll edit it out. But she said, you know, Uncle Bob and Cookie need to get married, and this light bulb, oh, my God. Why did I not think of that? So that’s how I started the book, opened with their wedding, and that way I could bring everybody in. I don’t know why that didn’t even occur to me. So then I’m figuring that part out and then trying to figure out how I’m going to stall everything else that I had planned for this book. That’s honestly what it was, is that it took me so long to figure the book out, and I didn’t have as long to write it as I normally do. When you have to rush a book, you’re not as clever, you’re just getting the facts down. So I feel that the book suffers for that, and I do apologize. But, I like your explanations better.

Shannon: Well, because her tone totally works. I–just with everything that happened in the book, you would expect the tone to take–I was like, oh, I hope she doesn’t lose that little sarcastic wit that she always had with everything else that happens.

Darynda Jones: Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you. I’m glad.

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (#4) by Darynda Jones

Kate: I was wondering since now you mentioned that you’re a plotter, how far ahead do you plan your plot? Like, how–and how many books do you have planned for Charlie?

Darynda Jones: When I was writing Sixth, I came up with Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth. I had the main ideas for those. Normally, I don’t really go that far ahead. It’s normally when I’m writing the previous book, that’s when I kind of come up with the next one. I’m working on Ninth right now, and actually just a couple days ago came up with the main plot of Tenth. When I wrote First, I had First, Second, and Third all figured out. So it just depends at where I’m at. How long is the series? It’s ongoing, and we don’t know how far or how many we’re going to have. But I will say that I do have an ending. I know how I want it to end, the whole series, and I have a spinoff planned too. I’m hoping that even when Charley does come to an end that I can do the spinoff. But I will say also that I love writing Charley, and I hope that she doesn’t end for a long time. I hope people don’t get sick of her because I love writing her.

Kelly: So, are there any parts in the series where you’re like I can’t believe I just wrote this? Like, will anyone like it?

Darynda Jones: Oh, absolutely. Oh, yes. In fact, I have to tell you. There’s a huge scene in Eighth Grave that I was absolutely terrified to put in there. I thought this is too much. It’s too much. It’s just ridiculous. Nobody’s going to believe this is really going to happen. When I sent it to my editor, I asked her. I put little notes in my manuscript to her, and I’m like, okay, this next scene, you got to be honest and tell me if it works or not because I’m really iffy on it. I’m kind of on the fence. She wrote me back, and she said that she loved it. It was so exciting. So it’s in there, I’m hoping that it doesn’t freak anybody out. There’s probably one scene a book that I really worry about and that I wonder if I didn’t really screw up and it’s going to be the end of my career type thing.

Fifth Grave Past the Light

Kimberly: You’ve answered some of this because you said you’re a plotter. And you said you knew what you were going to do in the third book and that kind of thing. But, from the beginning of the series, has your–has the series changed from what you originally intended? Is–has it veered off in any direction maybe because of the characters?

Darynda Jones: It actually has. It’s changed immensely from my original idea. Basically, it was just going to be Charley doing her thing and solving mysteries, and it really wasn’t going to evolve as far as paranormally and the supernatural world. The more books I wrote, the more I kind of dipped into that and gave a little bit more and gave a little bit more. The readers were just so fantastic and it was like the bigger the world got, the more they loved it. So it’s really evolved, even with Charley. I’m working on Ninth now, and it’s getting bigger and bigger and I’m hoping that it just continues to grow. But definitely the supernatural worlds that I’m putting in were not originally part of the plan as far as where Charley was from and what she really is.

Kristie: I have kind of a two-fold question. You mentioned a possible spinoff in the future. When will that spin–in your planning, how far away is that spinoff going to be? And who is it going to feature? And is that character one of your favorite characters throughout this series? Or is this somebody that you’ve grown to love?

Darynda Jones: I haven’t been telling people this, but, I love that you asked it. I do want to do it someday, so I thought maybe if I put it out there people would really want it. My plan was to have both the Charley series and the spinoff going at the same time, but because of timelines it wouldn’t have worked. Even my agent was against it. She was like no, you’re just going to have to wait until the Charley books end and then do the spinoff. Of course, the way my mind is so chaotic and all over the place, I’m already working on the books for this spinoff that can’t happen. I will say that from Eighth Grave they happen probably about 19 years later, if that gives you an idea of who it might be about. It’s Charley and Reyes’s daughter, and it’s her story. It does feature a character who I’ve introduced who I’m absolutely in love with. Osh, or Osh’ekiel, is going to be in it too. So that’s going to be their books later on down the line. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sixth Grave on the Edge

Mary: I was a huge fan of Dead Like Me. Were there books that inspired you to write Charley or TV shows?

Darynda Jones: I don’t know as far as books. You know, believe it or not, this is going to sound horrible but I didn’t really read that much paranormal before I got published in paranormal. Now I read almost all paranormal, I love it so much. But I didn’t really read it before then. Honestly, I read historical romance, like, forever. That’s all I read. I’ve written since I was little, and I realized growing up that I have always written either paranormal or science fiction. So I don’t think hardly any of my stories were just normal. I think that’s part of it. Also, just a general love of anything paranormal. I’m a huge fan of Joss Whedon. I love Buffy and Angel and all of them. When I originally came up with Charley, that was my plan. I wanted just an ordinary world, an ordinary woman, with a little bit of Buffy in her. Of course, that has grown and expanded. But, if anything I would probably say Buffy.

Seventh Grave and No Body

Natasha: If you could hang out with any of your characters for a day, who would you choose and why?

Darynda Jones: I would love to say Reyes, but I’m happily married for 32 years now. So, I better not. It would be a tossup between Charley and Cookie. I would say probably Charley. I love Cookie to death, I absolutely adore her. But Charley because if she were real, could you imagine what you could learn from her and just seeing into her world? It would be insane.

Eighth Grave After Dark

Shannon: You always make great–such great secondary characters in this series. I mean they almost have sometimes more of a center stage than Charley or Reyes do. Do you think if you didn’t have those strong secondary characters the series would be like it is today?

Darynda Jones: Oh, absolutely not. I think secondary characters are so important. It’s interesting that you mention that because, you know, writers can get in trouble when they fall more in love with their secondary characters than their main ones. Their secondary ones kind of overshadow and take over the story. So there’s kind of this line that you have to keep there, this balance that you have to keep in the story to make sure that they don’t take over. I mean Charley and Reyes, as wonderful and awesome and hot as they are, I just think the series wouldn’t be nearly what it is without Cookie and Uncle Bob and Garrett and Mr. Wong and Amber and all of them. They all make this incredible force, they all play off each other so well, and I just love writing them. I love figuring out what they’re going to do next. So, I would say definitely not. They’re very important.



This giveaway is provided by St. Martin’s Press!

One lucky reader will win a branded mug plus the entire Charley Davidson series!
(US only)

MugandSeries Charley Davidson

Eighth Grave After Dark

Available May 19, 2015 from St. Martin’s Press

About this Book:

Sometimes I wonder if the purpose of my life
is to serve as a cautionary tale to others.

Charley Davidson has enough going on without having to worry about twelve hellhounds hot on her trail. She is, after all, incredibly pregnant and feeling like she could pop at any moment. But, just her luck, twelve deadly beasts from hell have chosen this time to escape onto our plane, and they’ve made Charley their target. And so she takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. Of course, if hellhounds aren’t enough, Charley also has a new case to hold her attention: the decades-old murder of a newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows of the convent.

Add to that the still unsolved murder of her father, the strange behavior of her husband, and Charley’s tendency to attract the, shall we say, undead, and she has her hands full…but also tied. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders like evil sentries, so Charley has been forbidden from leaving the sacred grounds. Luckily, she has her loyal team with her, and they’re a scrappy bunch who won’t let a few thirsty hellhounds deter them.

While the team scours the prophesies, searching for clues on the Twelve, for a way to kill them or at least send them back to hell, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. Their presence is comforting. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….

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Author Interview: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

March 18th, 2015 Kristie Posted in Interview Comments Off on Author Interview: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Paula StokesWe are so excited to have the wonderful Paula Stokes on the blog today! She is the author of the upcoming young adult mystery novel Liars, Inc. This novel will be released on March 24, 2015 from HarperTeen. Paula was gracious enough to stop by and answer a few questions for us. Want to know our thoughts? Read Bridget’s 5 star review for Liar’s Inc. here!

About Paula:

Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions. She’s the author of THE ART OF LAINEY, INFINITE REPEAT, LIARS INC., and several other forthcoming YA novels. When she’s not writing, she’s kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula loves interacting with readers. Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

You can visit Paula around the web here: Website | Twitter | Facebook Instagram

Want to read more from Paula Stokes?

The Art of LaineyLiars, Inc.Infinite RepeatNew Music


Dark Faerie Tales: To start things off will you tell us a little bit about Liars, Inc. and where you got the inspiration to write it?

Paula: Liars, Inc. is the story of Max, Preston, and Parvati—three kids who sell cover stories and forged permission slips to their classmates. Then Max sets up a cover story for Preston to go meet up with a girl he knows online and Pres never comes home. Preston is a U.S. senator’s kid so the FBI get involved, and when they find Pres’s body, Max is suddenly a murder suspect. Did he do it? If not, who’s framing him and why?

I had the initial hook of “kids sell cover stories and one kid disappears which gets the main character in trouble” all the way back in early 2010. It just took me a year or so to figure out what happened to Preston and then work out all of the characters’ motivations. I’d say it’s inspired by years of reading Christopher Pike and Dean Koontz. [Fun fact: I dedicated the book to Dean Koontz.]

DFT: Max is a very laid back type of guy that tends to go with the flow. He doesn’t put much effort into many things, but he is actually a really smart guy and can be very resourceful when he needs to be.  What do you think is his best quality? What do you think is his worst quality?

Paula: I would say Max’s best quality is how loyal he is—both to his friends and family. He might talk some crap about his mom, but underneath you can tell he’s really protective of the handful of people he’s let into his world. He’s also resilient. He gets dealt crappy hand after crappy hand throughout his childhood and the book, and yet he doesn’t ever fall apart and quit functioning.

His worst quality is probably his distrust of the system. Max lies to the FBI repeatedly—a bad call—because the system has failed him in the past and he doesn’t believe the federal agents want to help him. [Note: There is a change to the final book where Max does eventually reach out to Agent McGhee for help when he realizes he’s in over his head.]

DFT: Parvati was probably my favorite character in the book.  She is a no nonsense type of person with a very witty personality.  I loved that she never took crap from anyone and didn’t care what others thought of her.  When creating her character did she ever take you by surprise or did you know exactly what you wanted her to be like from the very beginning?

Paula: Parvati is my favorite too. I’m so glad you like her! It’s funny. She started out like a spy-obsessed version of one of those wild Indian girls in the movie Bend it Like Beckham, but evolved throughout the writing process to become so much more complex. I just let her go in my brain and recorded the things she did as she did them. When she basically licked blood at one point, my editor was like O_O But I kept it because it felt right. The same for her swimming laps in her party dress in Preston’s pool, even though it’s cold. I think that scene is where I realized she had some psychological issues in addition to just being reckless and a bit odd–knowledge that only made me love her more.

DFT: Correct me if I am wrong but to my knowledge all of your previous books were told from a girl’s POV, but Liars, Inc is all told from a male’s POV.  What made you decide to do a male POV this time and out of the two which did you find easier to write?

Paula: I wrote a 100-page novella called INFINITE REPEAT from Micah’s (THE ART OF LAINEY) POV. I try to challenge myself in a different way with each book, and for LIARS that challenge was male POV. I really like books with boy POVs and thought this story would appeal to both genders and that the plot worked well with a guy narrator. They’re both equally easy for me to write, but I do always give boy-POV stuff to multiple male beta-readers for feedback.

DFT: I love that Max and Parvati are an interracial couple it gave their relationship a unique diverse twist.  Other than to give your book diversity was there a reason you decided to feature an interracial couple? Are they based on a real life couple or just totally made up?

Paula: They’re totally made up. I made Parvati Indian because when I first got the idea for the story, the characters that appeared in my brain were this kind of plain boy who quickly got in over his head and his awesome girlfriend who used her legal/military knowledge to help him. I knew his girlfriend had that knowledge because she wanted to be in the CIA someday, and one thing that irks me about CIA books/movies is overreliance on Caucasian characters. The real CIA recruits people of color heavily because they blend in better when stationed in certain overseas locations. Also, I really like the name Parvati :-)

LiarsInc web res

DFT: If you can without spoiling anything can you tell us what your favorite scene to write in Liars, Inc. was and why?

Paula: As someone who generally despises flashbacks, it’s bizarre to say my fave scene is the flashback when Max meets Parvati for the first time in Preston’s pool. I just love that moment. There’s no Instalove or anything, but both characters affect each other on an subconscious level. Max is attracted to Parvati’s looks, sure, but there’s something about her that encourages him to be bold. It’s like she makes him feel strong. And although this is far from apparent in the book, she’s in the pool basically engaging in self-harm, trying to replace emotional pain with physical pain under the guise of “survival training.” And yet when she says “Sometimes I think I’m the worst sheep of all” she gives Max a tiny flash of who she really is that she’d normally never show anyone. It’s like he makes her feel safe. I don’t know. It’s fascinating to think about how our random interactions with people imprint on our subconscious.

DFT: Liars, Inc. was darker and sexier than your previous young adult books. Did you originally plan for it to be darker or did it just turn out that way as you wrote it?

Paula: I knew from the beginning it was going to be darker and sexier. Believe it or not, my next book, VICARIOUS, is even darker. But then I follow that up with a romantic comedy so that my LAINEY readers won’t feel too betrayed ;-)

DFT: I really enjoyed the mystery you weaved in Liars, Inc. and loved that I was kept guessing till the very end.  Did the plot ever surprise you or did you know exactly what was going to happen when you started writing the book?

Paula: I’m a huge proponent of outlining, especially when it comes to mystery books. Sure, I adapt my outline as I go, but every substantial revision means resetting all of the clues and red herrings so it’s best to have a plan. Because of this, the plot was almost entirely set before I start writing. I pulled out one twist during drafting and a half twist at the last minute in edits, but otherwise I knew how it was all going to play out. I did change the ending sequence several times, but not the identity of the killer or the motivation for the crime, etc.

DFT: As of right now Liars, Inc. is a standalone novel but I can’t wait to see what you come out with next.  Can you tell us anything about what you are currently working on or what we can see from you in the future?

Paula: I want to write a Parvati-POV novel so badly it pains my insides, and I have a twenty-page outline and eighty pages of text written for that, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you see something called KILLERS, INC. or SPIES, INC.  someday. However, for anyone dismayed by the ideal of a companion book, it doesn’t mean LIARS would cease to be a standalone. All of my Paula Stokes books will be standalones in the sense they will be complete stories with satisfying resolutions. That’s just how I roll ;-)

I’ve got a slew of things in the works, but VICARIOUS (TorTeen) is tentative for March 2016 and BAD LUCK CHARM (HarperTeen) for Summer 2016.

VICARIOUS is a high-tech mystery featuring two Korean stunt girls who record their sensory neural impulses while doing adrenaline-fueled activities and sell them like virtual reality simulations. The older sister vanishes and the younger sister has to track her down using clues from the neural recordings and the real world. I’d recommend it for fans of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and the movie INCEPTION.

BAD LUCK CHARM is the story of a girl who is the only unscathed survivor of a string of accidents and decides she must be cursed—that people who get too close to her wind up injured or dead. She keeps to herself until her mom forces her to join a school activity, and that’s where she meets Jordy, a “golden boy” junior tennis pro who doesn’t believe in bad luck. The two of them team up to test her curse, with predictable and unpredictable results. Good for fans of THE ART OF LAINEY and SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE.


LiarsInc web res

Available March 24, 2015 from HarperTeen

About this Book:

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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