Jeaniene Frost Twice Tempted Q&A in Cary, NC + Giveaway!
In conjunction with the release of her new book, Twice Tempted, Jeaniene Frost came to Doll Elvie’s local Barnes & Noble and graciously consented to answer readers’ questions and sign anything put in front of her. As always, it was an entertaining pleasure to hear Ms. Frost, and now Dollhouse readers can read all about it, straight from Elvie to you. Readers who leave comments will also be entered to win an autographed copy of Twice Tempted!
Q: This is your genre – is this the type of book that you like to read? If so, who are your favorite authors?
JF: I do read in my genre; I know that some authors say that they don’t because they don’t want to get influenced by ideas, but I’ve found that it’s actually the opposite. I’ll think I have this great original idea, and then I’ll pick up a book and someone’s done it a lot better than I thought of, and I’m like, damn it! So it’s actually helped keep me from repeating ideas, instead of having the inverse effect. I have a lot of different favorite authors, some in this genre, some in all different kinds of genres. If you want to know all of them, on my website there’s a page called Links, and I have them broken down and separated by genre. Just off the top of my head for paranormal – Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Rachel Caine, Yasmine Galenorn… I know I’m missing about twenty. But I enjoy reading in my genre. It’s a lot of fun; it’s why I started writing paranormal, because it’s what I enjoy to read.
Q: Besides getting ideas from your dreams, as we’ve heard before, where is the weirdest place you’ve gotten an idea for a book, or a situation in a book?
JF: That’s really hard to answer, because I get them from anywhere. Anywhere and everywhere! Sometimes just from driving to and from places. I was driving, I don’t remember where now, and I passed a sign that said “Cathead River.” Now, that could be a perfectly normal term that people know about, but to me it’s like: Cathead River – were there actually cat heads in this river? Or is this a catfish thing? And I’m getting this idea of a terrible cat slaughter, and who would do such a thing? Like, was it some teenager who became a serial killer later… Just from passing an oddly-named sign. So my brain kind of works in that manner. Any little thing can tweak it and give me an idea. I can’t really think of the weirdest place…maybe at a funeral? That might have been where I got the idea that ghouls were in the funeral business, because they eat dead bodies and I thought, “Well, you know. If that species existed, this would be where they would probably congregate, because then they get paid to eat, essentially, because who knows what you stick in the ground?” So yeah, I get ideas everywhere!
Q: When is your next book coming out?
JF: My next Vlad and Leila book, or my next book in general? Vlad and Leila’s next book probably won’t be until next year. No, it definitely won’t be until next year, I just don’t know when next year. My publisher sets my schedule. They won’ t be until next year, and I would say probably later next year, because in between that is another Cat & Bones book, and in between that is a book in a completely new series, unrelated to vampires, and then Vlad & Leila. So I’ve got back-to-back deadlines, and now I’m kind of wondering what I was thinking when I was agreeing to them… But it’ll be fun, because I’m not sure yet if Vlad and Leila pop up in a Cat and Bones book, but they might. I’m kind of teasing with an idea of putting a section from Twice Tempted into the book, and just kind of overlapping them a bit. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but there’s a scene, and Cat and Bones are in that very briefly, and I thought it might be fun to show that from their point of view instead of just the other point of view, but we’ll see how it shakes out. Sometimes I write things, and they don’t end up in the book, and that’s why there’s a deleted scenes page on my website.
Q: Is Ian getting his own book?
JF: Ah, is Ian getting his own book. Maybe. It’s gone from a No to a Maybe. I’m hopeful for Ian after the events in the novella in The Bite Before Christmas anthology. If you’ve read that, you’ll know that Ian found out kind of something important about his past that, you know, has an impact on his future. It might start to push him towards a place where I can make him the hero of a novel. If you’re not familiar with Ian, he’s the… How do I describe…? In some ways, he’s really this horrible, horrible, horrible man – vampire – who does these … who’s kind of like a kid, grown up, and is just totally narcissistic, but amusingly so. But he’s also got so many issues that, if I had written about him before, it would just be… I’ve said it before, and it’s blunt, but it would be violent porn! I don’t want to write that book! But I’m hoping that he can get to the point where he is hero material. So we’ll see. But he’s come a long way! Actually, my original intention for Ian was to kill him in book 2. No, really, I thought it might come to that! But then he stuck around, and he kept sticking around, and…we’ll see!
Q: I’m glad you didn’t kill him!
JF: Yes, I am, too!
Q: Has there ever been a steamy scene in one of your books where you were kind of blushing as you wrote it?
JF: Well, I’m kind of blushing right now! But when I write any scene, I’m doing it, most of the time, with the thought in my head that this is just for me. Because if I write with the idea that people are going to read it, 1) There’s the insecurity monster that comes out, sits on my shoulder, and says “This sucks. Everyone’s going to hate it. You may as well stop right now. You might want to delete the whole book. The whole thing is just awful.” So I really have to turn that voice off to be able to write anything. Sex scenes goes double, because my parents read my books. My 85-year-old great-uncle reads my books – to my horror, I might add. And has commented on them! “Wow, they’re salty!” So, yeah, when I write certain scenes, I literally just have to lie to myself and pretend that no one else is ever going to read them but me. Actually, before I was published, that worked very well, because no one else was going to read it! I wrote the first three books prior to being published, so one of the scenes I get the most…comments…on is Chapter 32. And when I wrote that, I really did not think anyone would read it, because not only was I not published, I didn’t even have an agent. I wasn’t even trying to get published. So, fast forward a couple of years, I sold the first books, they bought a two-book deal, I turn it in to my editor, blah, blah, blah. And it was a couple of months before it came out that it hit me – rather belatedly – that people were going to read that chapter. And I sent this frantic e-mail to my editor saying, “I need to edit that! I need to tone that back! People are going to think I’m a sicko!” And she emailed back and said, “No!” And I confided in an author friend of mine, Vicki Pettersson – and if you haven’t read her books, they’re awesome! – and I told her “Oh, there’s this scene in this book, and people are going to think I’m a sicko!” and she’s like, “Yeaaaah, they are. That’s all they’re going to think about when they see you.” That’s how she is! She tormented me unmercifully about that. So now I just pretend no one reads it and that helps get me through the day.
Q: Are we ever going to see the payback for what Ian did to Denise?
JF: In the novella in The Bite Before Christmas, one of my characters has been kind of, well… she’s been transformed into a demon. She’s been branded with demon essence, and the demon was a shapeshifter, so she can shapeshift into anything. In my worldbuilding, the only thing that can kill a demon is the bone of another demon. And because she’s been branded and essentially transformed into that, her bones are now lethal to other demons. But the problem is, they need to kill a demon, they need to get that bone, which means they have to hack off her leg. It’ll grow back! But she’s married to another hero in the book, who, if he found out, would not take well to his wife’s leg being hacked off. But the answer to whether we’ll see payback between the characters is – probably not, because they’re still keeping that a good secret. They’re not going to want to share that any time soon, and if he found out, he really would be mad. Even though it worked out in everyone’s favor. So I don’t really see that happening, because, again, Ian is not stupid. He might be a violent slut, but he is not stupid, so he is not going to give that up, and neither will Cat. That one might just stay under wraps.
Q: Are you going to write any more stories set in the world you created for Night’s Darkest Embrace?
JF: That is set in a universe totally unrelated to my vampire world, and it was demons, partial demons, and the original fallen angels. The answer to that is, not reallllly. But some of the elements of that world, the idea of there being, essentially, shadow universes right next to our own, that are accessible only by people with certain special abilities, or if they’re being dragged through by someone with those abilities – that I am carrying into my new series that will be out next year. So it’s not going to be the same world, and it will be very different worldbuilding, but I am building on that same idea of the parallel worlds, because it’s just so neat, the thought of it. And it actually has some basis in science. And granted, I did not do that well in science in school, but the idea of string theory and m theory is actually that there are multiverses existing simultaneously along side this one. We just can’t see them because they’re separated by gravitational barriers. This took me a lot of research until my head hurt. But I was fascinated by that idea, and it still intrigues me enough to pull it into the next story that I’m doing. And if you look at it, there’s allusions to it in Judeo-Christian backgrounds, talking about the layers between heaven and hell, and Earth as well.
Q: Why did you choose to pull Vlad out of the Night Huntress books and give him an entire series, rather than just a stand-alone book, like you did with other characters?
JF: Because I had more story in my head than one book could contain. That’s pretty much how I decide what to write. When I started my main series with Cat and Bones, I started with the idea, with the dream that I had had of a half-vampire arguing with a full vampire about why she’d left him years before. And that scene, when I started writing Halfway to the Grave, I didn’t realize then, but that scene doesn’t take place until the second book. I thought it was only going to be one book. But by the time I was a hundred and twenty to a hundred and thirty thousand words into it, and I was not even at the point yet that had originated the idea, I knew that this story is not even close to done. So that became multiple books. And halfway through writing that, I knew I wasn’t going to be done in two novels, either, and Vlad was the same way, Vlad and Leila. I already knew that it wouldn’t fit into two books, the story that I had for them. So I went to my publisher and I said, “I want to do two books with these characters. What do you think?” And they said okay, and then when I was half-way through writing Twice Tempted, I realized, I’m not done, and unless I make this book gargantuan, I’m not going to be done in the second book. So that’s how their story became a trilogy. And I’ve been happy that reader response has allowed me to do that, because publishers are these really strange creatures, who go by these things called profit and loss statements, and, you know, business decisions. So if readers had not responded so well to Once Burned, I might have had to wrap up Vlad and Leila’s story sooner than I wanted to. But because Once Burned got such a great reception from readers, I’m able to tell it in the entirety that I want to tell it in. So, thank you all for that!
Q: Would you ever do a story set in North Carolina?
JF: An entire book? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve yet set an entire novel in just one place. I’ve had my characters visit North Carolina in a couple books. In the first book, they go to Charlotte and Blowing Rock, as a matter of fact. And they went to the university. So, I’ve touched upon this area, but my characters travel – much to the consternation of my publisher’s marketing department! Because they would like to be able to say, “Okay, the setting is this area,” like, for example, Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. It’s in Ohio, and 9 times out of 10, that’s where it is. And so they can pull local Ohio newspapers to do cover junk and they can do all kinds of neat things and they can promote it to Ohio audiences. And then they come to my books and ask, “Okay, what’s the setting?” “Well, it starts out in Romania, and then they go to Atlanta, and then they go to Florida, and then they go to Chicago, and then they’re in Indiana…” And then they’re just like, “Oh, never mind.” So it’s just how it’s worked out. One day, I will write a stationary novel, but it’s not today yet.
Q: Tell us about your new series.
JF: It’s going to be supernatural. They’re calling it New Adult, which is the genre that’s been coined – it’s not YA, and it’s not full-grown people… This is why I don’t do marketing, by the way. ”It’s not YA and they’re not full-grown – read it!” Actually, New Adult is supposed to cover from about 18-22, which, you know, was a dead zone for publishing for a lot of years, because YA they pretty much wanted it to be set in high school, and adult, they wanted to be set, most of the time, post-college, because they said most adult readers aren’t going to be terribly interested in the hijinks of the late teens and early twenties. It’s actually funny because, when I first wrote Halfway to the Grave, Cat was 19, and I had to age her up to 22 because of that reason. They were like, “She’s too young, that story is way to explicit for YA and she’s too young for adult readers to connect with her.” So I aged her up accordingly. And years ago, I had started this book, wrote the first couple chapters of it, and had my agent shop it around, and it got roundly rejected from every reputable publisher, for the same reason. My heroine was 18, but she was not in high school. And the content, they said – it wasn’t the sexual content! – but they just said it read too adult for teenagers, and she wasn’t in high school, so they said the YA readers aren’t going to connect to it, and she’s too young for adult readers to connect to it. So that was back in 2008, and I shelved it because they basically told me, we’ll publish it if you change everything. And I said, “I don’t want to,” because I write what’s in my head, and if I’m not really emotionally attached to a story, I am a lazy, lazy, lazy person. I will never invest the time to get it all out. So for that reason, it sat on file in my computer for years, until last fall, when the New Adult swains started taking the self-pub world, by storm I guess you could say, hitting the bestseller lists and getting the publishers’ attention. A publisher came to me and asked, “Do you happen to have anything that falls in this area?” and I said, “Well, hell yes, I do!” And that’s how that happened. I’m really excited; this is a story that’s been sitting in my mind and on my hard drive for years. My heroine is young; she might end up being a little older than 18. She might be 19 or 20, depending on circumstances, because I’ve expanded the world in my head since then, but it will be a paranormal, they’re calling it New Adult, and it’ll be kind of like these books. It’s a romance with a lot of action/adventure, darkness, and people getting killed. It’s fun for me to write.
Thank you so much to Jeaniene Frost and a special thank to Doll Elvie for the for sharing a copy of Twice Tempted with our followers!