Jennifer Brown and I are doing a blog swap today and I’m thrilled to have her. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and her series has just the right aura of dark mystery. Now, let’s find out a little bit about Jennifer.
J.D. Brown writes Urban Fantasy for MuseItUp Publishing, as well as a monthly “how-to” newsletter column for PDMI Freelance Publishing. She graduated from The International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts and currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. J.D. loves paranormal characters; from vampires and werewolves, demons and angels, to witches and ghost. She is a self-proclaimed expert in vampire and Greek mythology. Her writings are often a combination of suspense and romance. J.D. enjoys helping her fellow writers and interacting with her fans and leads an active life on the web.
How long have you been writing, Jennifer? As in professionally writing fiction? About 3-4 years. I got my first contract in 2011. Before trying my hand at fiction, I flirted with the typical teen angst poetry. I won a couple poetry contests, but I’m still convinced my poems are horrible. LOL. I still have a few of those sad, angst-filled ‘woe is me’ poems hidden safely away.
So, what made you finally decide to get serious about writing? The timing was just right, I guess. Writing has always been my way of coping with emotions and feelings of sadness (I refuse to say depression, because I am happy person 90% of the time, but I struggled with health issues growing up that sometimes got me really down about myself). It was 2008-ish and I was in a really low point in my life. I had two really bad breakups, lost my job, and lost my apartment all in the same year. I had a lot of free time on my hands, but no money. Writing cost nothing, so that’s what I did. I wrote to my heart’s content. I can’t say exactly why a novel came out of me instead of my usual poem scribbles, but it did, and when I was done I had a moment of awe and I just knew that that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
What do you consider your ideal writing conditions. Home alone, surrounded by silence. I can’t even listen to music while I write, it’s too distracting. I’m very comfortable in my own company, alone with my thoughts. I always listen to music while I write, but sometimes it’s just music in my head. When I’m in the story, I’m in the story.
Describe your rituals for preparing to write. Coffee is a must! Sometimes I’ll get a snack too. Actually, I eat a lot more when I’m in the zone and I need to be more aware of that because it can quickly become a problem…
How often do you write? I wish I could say every day, but that would be a lie. I am always doing something towards this career, it’s just not always writing. Sometimes it’s marketing, or plotting a new idea, or editing, or answering interview questions. 😉 But I push myself to write at least 3-4 days a week. As writers we do need to look up and see what’s going on in the outside world.
Are you a plotter, a pantser or some combination of both? I’m a combination, but I think I lean a little more toward pantser because no matter how hard I try to stay organized, something always ends up changing and then my characters take over and all my notes and outlines go out the door. I’m not a writer, I’m just a vessel through which my characters write because they don’t have a physical form.
Name one of your all-time favorite movies, the one you instantly recognize when it flashes across the screen, the one you stop and watch no matter how many times you’ve seen it. There is actually only one movie that I’ll gleefully watch over and over every time it comes on TV. My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Don’t ask me why!
What song makes you want to cry? Wow, I’ve never had this question on an interview before. The song would be “Who Knew” by P!nk. It reminds me very much of a dear friend from high school. Especially the music video. He and I had a very similar story. Although, there are a lot of songs that make me a little teary-eyed. I tend to associate music with people from my past. You’re absolutely right. People, place or times.
Describe one of your favorite characters and tell us who you patterned them after and why. Well Ema (from my Ema Marx series) is actually the only one of my characters who I have an actress in mind for, and that’s Mila Kunis. I adore Mila. I didn’t set out to make Ema like her, but Mila definitely works as far as looks and the ability to match Ema’s personality.
Where do you go for inspiration? I just turn to my own wacky imagination, but when that fails, I do research. My stories are speckled with actual facts and real myths and legends. With so many hundreds of vampire stories out there today, and with every paranormal fiction author trying to re-invent the vampire, it was really important to me to sort of go back to the original vampire myths – and I don’t me the ones from Romania or the Inquisition. I went much deeper than that in my research. My vampire characters actually pre-date Jesus, just to give you an idea of how far back the myths go.
Name an author or authors who never fail to inspire you. Gosh, there are so many…Anne Rice, for sure. She’s a lovely lady all around…Cassandra Clare and Darynda Jones are two more who come to mind right away. They are just wonderful talented women. They know how to tell an entertaining story, they’re original, but more importantly, all three of these women are so faithful to their fans and I think that’s very important.
Last, but not least, tell us about your current WIP. Dark Heirloom follows the misadventures of a young woman named Ema Marx as she stumbles fangs-first into the world of vampyrism. She has no idea how she became a vampyre, but she’s convinced the guy who kidnapped her is the culprit. Yet he keeps asking her how it happened. All they know is Ema will play a key role in the future of vampyre lives…that is, if she can manage to control her bloodlust without dying of embarrassment first. Dark Liaison is the sequel where Ema has to fight a major baddy that she accidently unleashed. Right now I have a free web serial on my blog titled Athena’s Oracle that is a prequel to Dark Heirloom. It’s a romance that features two of the characters from Dark Heirloom, Leena and Jalmari, and kind of chronicles how their relationship started and how the seeds leading up to Ema formed. I’m also working on the third book in the series, Dark Becoming, which I can’t say much about at this time, but I’m having a lot of fun continuing Ema’s story.
• Muse It Up Publishing
• Amazon (Print and Kindle)
• Barnes & Noble Nook
• Kobo Books
• Book Depository
• Official Dark Heirloom Vampires Store (signed print copies)
Excerpt from: Dark Heirloom
A scream tore from my throat. The rapid slap of my sneakers against asphalt echoed through the alley. Wind ripped my hair and coat back as if trying to halt my escape. A chain link fence rose in the distance as I neared the end of the alley. Shit. I could have sworn this one opened to Clark Street.
I froze. My heart pounded in my ears. Tears fell as I closed my eyes. Please, please, God…
His heinous laugh drowned out my ragged breath. Caught at a dead end, I had no choice but to turn and face him. He stood in the shadows, the darkness of his attire blended in with the night. Only the glow of his emerald-colored eyes gave him away.
Think, I shouted to myself. What does he want? My purse? My money? With a shaky hand, I pulled my wallet from my bag and flung it at him. He shifted his weight, dodging the wallet in one simple move. I stared like an idiot as it landed in the gutter behind him. Why is he chasing me if he doesn’t want my money? What else could he want?
He grinned, bearing a set of abnormally sharp, fluorescent-white teeth. Who the hell is this freak? He stepped toward me. My fists clenched as I stepped back. He took another step forward. My back pressed against the cold metal of the fence. Tears blurred my vision and fell as ice melted through the back of my coat. Chills rolled down my spine, sending a quiver to my lip. I swallowed the lump of panic building in my throat. “Leave me alone!”
He kept advancing, his eyes locked on my face, his gait slow with one foot in front of the other, like a cat. I shoved a trembling hand in my purse in search of my pepper spray. He snatched my wrist and yanked me to my knees. The contents of my purse spilled and scattered.
“What makes you think I want anything from you?” he sneered.
My chest heaved as I pushed myself up. From the corner of my eye, I glanced at the mouth of the alley, now behind me.
He scoffed. “You think you can run? Go ahead, mouse. Run.”
I was almost to the street when a thick shadow dropped from the sky. Two rock-solid fists shoved my chest. I fell backward. My head hit the pavement. Stars danced in the periphery of my vision as I struggled to sit up, but my limbs moved in slow motion.
Two hands, each finger adorned by a silver ring, gripped my shoulders and lifted me. My back hit something solid and cold—a brick wall. My feet dangled above the ground. He held me at eye level; his sour breath churned my stomach as his face inched closer to mine.
“I know what you’re thinking.” His voice was deep, smooth, as he rolled his R’s. “You’ve done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, once you kill one rat, you have to kill them all. Even a little mouse like yourself.”
My blood drained at the utterance of the word kill. I squirmed in his grasp. “Please, don’t hurt me.”
He clenched my jaw with one hand as his fingernails dug into my skin. I cried not from the pain, but from fear.
“Would you like to know a secret?” His hot breath caused bile to rise in my throat. “Only you disgusting rats can see our eyes glow. I’m sure you knew that already. I’m sure your mother told you the stories. I’ll bet you didn’t listen to her. I bet you thought they were just fairy tales and bad dreams, hmm?”
I had no idea what he was talking about. I concentrated on finding a way out of his grip, hoping his guard would slip while he continued his monologue.
“You know, when you find one rat, there are a dozen more in the nest.” He tightened his grasp. “Where’s your rathole, eh little mouse?”
“Let me go!” Pain manifested in every inch of my face. My jaw throbbed and my head spun. A stiff ache cut through my spine. Fear and cold shook my core. Exhaustion weighed down my struggling limbs. I just wanted it to end.
He studied my face for a moment, a frown tugged at his lips. “Very well.”
He released my jaw then reached back under his jacket. The sound of sharp metal being unsheathed pierced the night as he drew out a long silver dagger. My eyes widened at the emblems engraved on every inch of the blade and handle. I recognized them as Norse in origin. I also recognized the precise way in which he held the dagger level with my left rib cage. He’s going to stab me in the heart.
It’s been great to have you here, Jennifer. Please come back and visit again soon. Those of you who have stopped by, please check out my interview on Jennifer’s blog today. http://authorjdbrown.blogspot.com