Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jocelynn Drake - Author Interview, Book Giveaway

The Great Awakening approaches . . .
After eons in exile, the naturi have broken their chains and now roam the Earth bent on revenge. It is the sworn duty of Mira, the Fire Starter, to protect the nightwalker race—though even she may be powerless to withstand the horrific onslaught. As Mira and her brave lover, the vampire slayer Danaus, stand ready to do battle, thousands of winged shapeshifters darken the skies. The war of ultimate extermination has begun, and the battleground is Mira's home turf.

The humans don't yet recognize the doom descending upon them. And the nightwalkers will surely perish unless they unite with outcast naturi who claim to want peace. But these unexpected "allies" are the same demons who have long worked for Mira's destruction—and in these darkest of days the lines between friend and foe will blur treacherously before the bloody end of all things.

Book Name*:Burn the Night
Release Date*:06/28/2011
Genre:*:urban fantasy

Author Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Born and raised in Northern Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, I have been an avid reader and writer for most of my life. However, I never really expected to be able to pursue writing as a career. I had always heard how hard it was to get published so I generally kept my stories to myself. I started college as an engineering major but changed to a double major of journalism and English after my first year because of a deep hatred for calculus. While at times I miss science, my love of the written word runs deeper. I still live in a small town in Kentucky near my family with my two cats and my addiction to video games.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was about twelve years old and I had just finished reading a wonderful retelling of the story of Robin Hood. I loved the story, but had walked away wishing that there had been a strong female character that could keep up with all the boys. I spent that summer sitting on my bed, rewriting the story of Robin Hood in an old notebook so that it included a strong, fearless female character that could keep up with Robin Hood and the rest of his merry band.

From that moment, I was hooked on writing. I spent almost all of my time creating stories about high school romances and fantasies about elves and mermaids. I wrote down whatever came to mind, never believing that I could one day do it for a living. For me, there is just this deep love of wondering “what if?” I need to daydream about places and people and creatures that may have never existed but in my mind. I love the written word and the way certain perfect combinations can draw an emotion out of a person you’ve never met before. That kind of power is intoxicating.

What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process?

I think one of the most surprising things was the amount of work that had to be done beyond just writing a good book. For years, my entire focus had just been on the art of storytelling and I never considered until I was preparing for the release of my first book that I had to pull together information for a website, launch a blog, invest time in social networking, complete interviews, guest blogs, answer publicity emails, and travel to conventions for signings. While I enjoy all of it, the first time around was very overwhelming. I didn’t think people would be interested in me, just my book.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

I wish there was some magic formula that I had come up with to help develop my plots. When I was working on the Dark Days series, I knew what the long-term overarching plot line was going to be and I knew a number of general plot details of how I was going to get there. But when it came time to for plotting /outlining each book, there was a lot of Post-It notes on the wall. For some books, I would drag my office chair into a spare room where I had cleared a wall and I would sit in the middle of the room, staring at that wall while trying to think of what Mira and Danaus would do next. With my new series, the plotting has been much more fluid and I’m making notes along the way of things that I want to do for the next book.

As for my character development, I write some character descriptions and mini-scenes that don’t appear in the books so that I can spend some time with my major characters before launching them into a book. My development of the characters is much looser as I try to give them room to grow and change as they appear in scenes. Sometimes, it’s just conversations I have with them in my head that allows me to get to know them better. It’s been very hard to say good-bye to the Dark Days crew now that I have finished the series. We’ve been together for a long time.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

As an Urban Fantasy writer, the elements that I think are most important are strong plotting, deep character development, and an excellent grasp of the language. I try to write stories that are heavily plot driven while having engaging characters that readers will feel for. At the same time, I strive to wrap the reader in a fantastic world that they are reluctant to leave.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Now that I have finished Burn the Night: The Final Book in the Dark Days series, I have turned my attention to the first book in my new series that is tentatively title the Tattoo Artist. Set in a world filled with mystical and mythical creatures, humans have started to turn to tattoo artists in an effort to get a little help in life. By adding a potion to the ink that is used in the tattoo, the artist/potion stirrer can give the recipient things like good luck, love, or revenge – for the right price. The book follows Gage and his friends/co-workers as they struggle against their dark pasts while trying to keep up with the interesting customers that stroll through the front door.

In Twitter Fashion, use140 characters or less to sum Burn the Night for us.

Burn the Night sweeps readers into the final fight to protect the nightwalkers from exposure to the world as they struggle to take down the maniacal Queen of the Naturi.

How did you come up with a story that was such a whirl wind of events?

Burn the Night ended up being one of the easiest books to write, but the hardest to end. The book is the culmination of events from the five prior books leading up to this final showdown : The Great Awakening. This book finally gave me the opportunity to take a closer look at the naturi, particularly Rowe and Nyx, sister to Aurora. It was also my last chance to give Mira and Danaus some time alone before she had to face down both her former mentor Jabari and her father Nick. While the book is constantly driving toward the final fight, I was hesitant to end it. I didn’t want to say good-bye to these characters and I honestly wasn’t sure if I should give Mira a happy ending. I’m not exactly known for happy endings. I’ll let readers discover what I finally decided.

How long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way?

Sadly, I honestly don’t remember how long this one took to write. I would have to guesstimate about six months, but it might have been less. I heavily outline all of the books ahead of time, which helps to cut down on the potential for writer’s block along the way. However, I tend to get stuck at fight scenes. They generally need some intricate choreography and I need to have it all planned out in my head before I can type anything into the computer. This tends to slow me down by a day or two.

Will we be seeing a following book to this story?

Burn the Night is the final book in the Dark Days series. However, I’ve got a couple things in the works at the moment. The first proved to be a surprise to me as it seems that I wasn’t quite willing to say good-bye to the Dark Days world just yet. I have finished a novella that is actually a prequel to the entire series. The Dark Days series mentioned an intense relationship that Mira had with Valerio a long time ago before she met Danaus. In the books, it’s obvious that there is a lingering tenderness between them and a number of my readers request a look at Mira’s past with Valerio. The novella is set about 200 years before Nightwalker and details a short adventure between Mira and Valerio, which I think gives a good insight into their relationship. I don’t have a release date yet, but it will be available only as an e-book. Keep tuned in to my blog and Twitter for updates on its release.

I am also hard at work on the first book in a new series. This is a totally new and exciting world. After working in a closed/hidden world, where humans were in the dark, I decided to throw the doors open on this one. In this world, magical creatures live along side of humans, but they are all lorded over by powerful witches and warlocks. In an effort to get ahead in this world, many people will turn to the tattoo artists, who, for the right price, can give you love, luck, or revenge with the right tattoo and potion. The series centers on a skilled tattoo artist and his co-workers as they struggle with their hidden pasts and the interesting customers that come through the door.

How did you come up with the character Mira?

I had been playing with this female character that had been dancing about in my head for a while. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with her so I placed her in some fan fiction just to see how she would behave around others without having to go to the trouble of creating an entire would. I wrote three stories (which will never see the light of day) where she changed from a witch, to an elf, to a vampire. Her name moved from Miranda to Mira, and I found myself getting addicted to the sound of her voice in my head. I knew her like she was my sister or my daughter.

I always must ask, If you could pick one actress to portray Mira on the big screen who would it be and why?

I have to admit that I am a huge fan of all the sci-fi/action movies that Milla Jovovich has done and I think she would do an excellent job as Mira. She’s frequently played smart alec, strong and yet fragile characters, which I think is a fantastic fit for Mira.

Was there anything you find particularly challenging when writing this book?

“The End” was pretty hard to type. Though, after all the emotion of the book, I think a part of me was glad that it was finally over.

Actually, I have a rotating point of view in this book. There are two storytellers, and both are speaking from first person, which made it somewhat challenging to make it clear for the reader at the start of each chapter who was talking.

What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book?

Excited. Thrilled. Elated. I have loved the covers for all of my books, but I think Burn the Night is ranking at the top at the moment. I’ve always wanted them to capture Mira with a fire ball and it has finally appeared on a cover!

Follow this Author And Her Books:

Jocelynn Website:
Her Blog:

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