I got an ARC of Nightwalker (released on 29th July) , read it and loved it. As soon as I was done with it I went online in search for more information on this new series and found the author’s website – which is stock full of cool information about the series, the characters and the world building. I got so excited I wrote to Jocelynn Drake and invited her for a chat. My wicked plan was to pimp this book to everyone I know but also to be able to slip one or two questions about the future of the series – but alas, she is smart and did not spoil anything. I guess we will have to wait until book 2 comes out next year! Meanwhile, we still have some very interesting answers on The Dark Days series and about Mira and Danaus, the two protagonists – enjoy!
Oh, and leave a comment to enter a draw to win one of THREE copies of Nightwalker we have to give away–first prize gets an autographed copy from Jocelynn Drake herself! You have until Sunday at noon (PST) – winners will be picked by our Smugglers Sorting Hat and announced on Sunday evening.
The Book Smugglers: Nightwalker is your debut novel and a rather impressive one in my opinion,with a very thought out world building. How long have you been working on it?
Jocelynn: Before getting an offer for publication, the world for the Dark Days series was humming around in my brain for the better part of two years. And then it underwent more revisions and tweaking when I finally landed an editor. What amazes me it that the world continues to grow and surprise me with each book that I work on. It’s a playground for my imagination.
The Book Smugglers: Can you share with us how you got to be published? We see that you work with Investments, how does one go from working with finance to writing about vampires?
Jocelynn: Wall Street and writing are my two passions in life. My day job involves analyzing stocks and sectors and then writing articles about what I find. Wall Street is a dynamic creature that provides interesting surprises on an almost daily basis, giving me plenty to write about.
On the other hand, my first love will always be fiction. I’ve been playing around in the different genres since I started writing when I was 12, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for vampires. I always hoped that one day a book I had written about vampires would be published.
As to getting published, I am largely a slush-pile survivor. After a receiving a respectable pile of rejections, I was beginning to become seriously skeptical of my chances of acquiring an agent. In a last ditch effort, I sent out 5 email submissions to a group of agents I had read about through RWA. Within 24 hours, I had a request for a full manuscript and in roughly a week, I had an agent – and she is simply wonderful! I was introduced to my editor through another author I know, but I didn’t finally land her until my agent sent her a newly revised copy of my manuscript.
The Book Smugglers: The book is the first in a series called The Dark Days and it lays the grounds for the upcoming war between the Nightwalkers and the Naturi – what can you tell us about the two factions?
Jocelynn: The naturi are the original guardians of the earth. Their job is to protect the earth from any destructive forces, and their own survival and strength is dependent upon the health of the earth. Of course, one of the largest destructive forces to the earth is mankind. So, from the naturi’s point of view, the easiest way to protect the earth is to destroy mankind.
Considering that mankind is the main source of food for nightwalkers, they are against such a plan. So, the nightwalkers have been forced into the position of being man’s great protector while still being one of man’s greatest predators. Of course, the naturi have also spent a great deal of time exterminating nightwalkers, so there is a centuries-long animosity between the two sides that may never be repaired even if the naturi weren’t seeking the destruction of mankind.
The Book Smugglers: Do you have the whole series planned out – perhaps even a clear idea of how many books will be necessary to tell your tale?
Jocelynn: I don’t currently have the whole series planned out. I have a couple main story arcs planned out for Mira and Danaus. However, my goal is to create an open-ended world so that any number of storytellers can step forward and tell his/her story. However, I will admit that Mira will probably be my main storyteller.
The Book Smugglers: One of the points that I most loved about your book was the fact that the ubber villains are the Naturi – a common threat to both humans and vampires. The twist is that the naturi are the source for any human mythology regarding fairies and elves but in the world you built they are rather dark and nasty unlike many other representations. What has led you to depart from their usual depiction as mostly begin creatures?
Jocelynn: When I built my world, I needed a creature that was willing to get its hands dirty when it comes to defending what it believes in. Furthermore, if I was going to come up with a villain that was strong enough to take on what a bunch of nightwalkers could dish out, the naturi had to be just as nasty if not more so.
The Book Smugglers: Mira, the Nightwalker that narrates book one is an amazing protagonist. She is strong without being mega ultra powerful. Humorous without being a smart ass. Vulnerable and still connected to her humanity even after 600 years of being a vampire. What was your inspiration to write her?
Jocelynn: Mira is the culmination of a number of characters I have worked on over the past several years. It’s hard to describe writing her. She’s parts of me, and parts of who I wish I was, and parts that I’m glad I’m not. I guess, I’ve been hearing her in my head for so many years that writing her comes naturally. She’s my friend, my protector, and my annoying younger sibling.
The Book Smugglers: Speaking of protagonists, Danaus the hunter with whom Mira has formed an uneasy alliance is a rather mysterious character. I have my own theory that Danaus is one of the Bori, guardians of the soul – am I hot or cold?
Jocelynn: Mwahahahaha! I’m not giving away that delicious secret just yet. But I promise that you will find out what Danaus is in book 2.
The Book Smugglers: A lot of our readers are romance lovers (myself included) and I was wondering if you plan to add some romantic plotlines to your story. I swear I felt some powerful undercurrents between Danaus and Mira – Dare I hope for a romantic involvement between the two?
Jocelynn: I don’t think romantic subplots could even be avoided. Mira is a passionate creature that loves life. To me, that also means being in love and loving other people. I think she will become involved with someone at some point, but I can’t say when or with whom.
The Book Smugglers: We will be cheeky and ask: can you tell us anything about book 2? A title? A bit of the story? A tentative release date? Anything at all?
Jocelynn: Book 2 is titled Dayhunter and is set to be released in May 2009. The bulk of the book will take place in Venice, Italy where Mira and Danaus must survive the cut-throat politics of the Coven (the ruling body of the nightwalker nation) while still finding a way to defeat the naturi.
The Book Smugglers: From your waycool blog and website bio, we see that you are a batman fan, a pop culture maven, and video gamer. You’ve mentioned an obsession with Bruce Wayne, the Gargoyles, and a love for The Muppets. QUICK–what was your favorite cartoon tv show to watch growing up?
Jocelynn: No hesitation – The Batman Animated Series from the mid- to late ‘90s. The stories were fantastic, the artwork was amazing, and the score was a slice of dark heaven.
The Book Smugglers: And finally: if you were stranded in a desert island, which books would take with you?
Jocelynn: Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, any one of my Batman graphic novels, Dark Prince by Christine Feehan, Kim Harrison’s The Outlaw Demon Wails, and anything by Raymond Feist.
The oldest of three kids, Jocelynn grew up and continues to reside in the Cincinnati, Ohio region. She started writing when she was 12, spending all of one summer re-writing the story of Robin Hood in the battered remains of a notebook. While life has brought many changes and surprises, the love of writing and a good story has been a constant. When not writing (which isn’t too often), she can be found with her nose buried in a good book, wandering through the woods with her camera cradled protectively against her body, traveling to interesting locations, or relaxing with her family, who have also remained in the Cincinnati area.
Jocelynn, thank you so much for stopping by and we can’t wait to read Dayhunter!