I am thrilled to have author Darynda Jones here today for her Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet book tour!
1. Tell us 2 things about yourself that no one knows about you?
Ack! Um, okay, well not many people know that I was in Tae Kwon Do in high school, but I only got as far as my blue belt. And I don’t think many people know that chocolate made me deathly ill growing up, but now I can hardly live without it. I know, weird.
2. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Sure! They are pretty much the same as other writers’. I wrote a manuscript and sent it out to every agent under the sun only to receive rejections from every agent under the sun. So I wrote another manuscript, a YA, but didn’t really do much with that one. (It has since sold and came out in October.) Then I wrote First Grave on the Right. I entered it in the RWA Golden Heart, which is a very prestigious contest for unpublished writers, but I only entered it to force myself to finish the manuscript that sat on my desk half-completed for two years. The deadline drew near, so I hurried up and finished the last half in two weeks, sent it in and promptly forgot all about it. Imagine my surprise when it finaled. No, really. I was stunned.
The GH final forced me to kick it into high gear. I figured if I didn’t take advantage of that situation, I was a fool, so I polished the manuscript and queried agents. Long story short, within a couple of weeks (and after years of countless rejections), I had eight offers of representation from some of the most amazing agents in the biz. It was ridiculously stressful. I had dream agents knocking on my door (metaphorically). Choosing between them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, but I have to admit, I am in love with the agent I chose, Alexandra Machinist. She is like a nuclear powerhouse. I got to meet her face-to-face at the RWA National Conference where First Grave won the Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance Manuscript. Yep, stunned again.
After the win, we had editors requesting the manuscript, so my agent sent it out before we’d planned to and within a week we had our first offer. After a few more houses offered, we decided to accept a preempt from my amazing editor, Jennifer Enderlin from St. Martin’s Press, and I couldn't be happier. Jen and everyone at SMP are amazing to work with. I highly recommend getting published with them. :)
But again, the challenges I faced were the same ones all writers face. How does one get an agent to notice her work? How does one go from the slush pile to published? Every writer’s journey to publication is a little different, but I hope mine will inspire. It took me 7 years of writing seriously toward publication to get published. Don’t give up, but at the same time, don’t be a stubborn mule. Learn the craft. Hone your skills. And realize this is a business. Rejection is nothing personal. Keep striving to do better and persevere.
3. Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?
Charley. Definitely Charley. I swear I channel her at times. She is such a fun character to write. When I am writing a Grave book, it’s like visiting an old friend.
4. What is best writing advice you can give?
As we say in the publishing world, finish the d*#m book. You can’t sell a half-finished book, so do anything and everything to get the book finished. And read! Never, ever, ever stop reading.
5. What environment you write in. Do you use a pen and paper, laptop? Quiet room or music?
I have a gorgeous office in which I could live out my days a happy camper. I write on an iMac that I am furiously in love with, but I also have a MacBook Air for travel that I love almost as much. And I write in utter silence. There is so much going on in my head, music only adds to the chaos.
6. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?
THAAAAAAANK YOOOOOOU!!! That is all.
No, really, readers have made all my dreams come true. How does one person thank another for her livelihood? For her dreams realized? So yeah, just thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you so much for having me!!! ~D~
The fourth in this fun and sexy "New York Times" bestselling paranormal series: "If you enjoy Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, you will certainly enjoy Charley Davidson!" --"Suspense Magazine"In Darynda Jones's "Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet," sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley's last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she's insane. The more they refute the woman's story, the more Charley believes it. In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, has been cleared of all charges. He is out of prison and out of Charley's life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans.
With renewed energy, I pulled back onto Academy— after hitting a
drive- through for a mocha latte— and had just started for home when
my phone rang.
“Yes?” I said, illegally talking on the phone while driving within the
city limits. Scoping for cops, I waited for Uncle Bob to stop talking to
whomever he was talking to and get back to me.
My uncle Bob, or Ubie as I most often referred to him, was a detective
for APD, and I helped him on cases from time to time. He knew I
could see the departed and used that to his advantage. Not that I could
“Get that to her, then call the ME ay- sap.”
“Okay,” I said, “but I’m not sure what calling the medical examiner
ay- sap is going to accomplish. I’m pretty sure his name is George.”
“Oh, hey, Charley.”
“Hey, Uncle Bob. What’s up?”
“Are you driving?”
“Have you heard anything?”
Our conversations often went like this. Uncle Bob with his random
questions. Me with my trying to come up with answers just as random.
Not that I had to try very hard. “I heard that Tiff any Gorham, a girl I
knew in grade school, still stuff s her bra. But that’s just a rumor.”
“About the case,” he said through clenched teeth. I could tell his teeth
were clenched because his words were suddenly forced. That meant he
was frustrated. Too bad I had no idea what he was talking about.
“I wasn’t aware that we had a case.”
“Oh, didn’t Cookie call you?”
“She called me a doody- head once.”
“About the case.” His teeth were totally clenched again.
“We have a case?”
But I’d lost him. He was talking to another officer. Or a detective. Or
a hooker, depending on his location and accessibility to cash. Though I
doubted he would tell a hooker to check the status of the DOA’s autopsy
report. Unless he was way kinkier than I’d ever given him credit for.
I found his calling me only to talk to other people very challenging.
“I’ll call you right back,” he said. No idea to whom.
The call disconnected as I sat at a light, wondering what guacamole
would look like if avocados were orange.
I finally shifted my attention to the dead kid in my backseat. He had
shoulder- length blond hair and bright blue eyes and looked somewhere
between fifteen and seventeen.
“You come here often?” I asked him, but my phone rang before he
could say anything. That was okay. He had a vacant stare, so I doubted
he would have answered me anyway.
“Sorry about that,” Uncle Bob said. “Do you want to discuss the
“We have a case?” I said again, perking up.
“How are you?”
He asked me that every time he called now. “Peachy. Am I the case? If
so, I can solve this puppy in about three seconds. I’m heading down San
Mateo toward Central in a cherry red Jeep Wrangler with a questionable
“Hurry, before I get away!”
About Darynda Jones
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. 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. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.