Jennifer: First thank you so much for agreeing to answer a few questions today at The Book Nympho. For those that have not read the awesomeness that is the Charley Davidson series, can you give us a quick intro to it?
Darynda: Thank you for having me! As you’ve probably guessed, the series is about a female PI who was born the grim reaper. She solves mysteries for both the living and the dead. She has a best friend-slash-receptionist who is the coolest sidekick a grim reaper could ever hope for, a dark and mysterious lover who gives her more trouble than he’s probably worth, and an associate in the form of a skip tracer who once tried to have her committed. Along with the rest of her circle—some alive, some not so much—she attracts trouble like a wet floor attracts a lawsuit. But she does it with style.
Jennifer: I love reading Charley when I need a break from some of the darker Urban Fantasy books I read. Is it harder for you to write the humor and snark that the action scenes or are you a smart ass at heart like Charley and Cookie?
Darynda: Hahaha! I must be a smart ass at heart because I love this stuff! It's actually harder for me NOT to write snarky at this point. I have to tone it down in other projects and that is so much easier said than done.
Jennifer: Every gal should have a friend like Cookie. Is she modeled after someone you know in real life or did she just happen?
Darynda: I think everyone should have a Cookie. Cookie, is mostly from my imagination, but she was physically based on a friend of mine. I will base characters on people I know sometimes, just for a reference for physical characteristics. I like to combine people too. Like maybe the physical traits of someone combined with the sense of humor from someone else. If I ever find a Cookie, I’m going to kidnap her and force her to do research and go to the post office for me.
Darynda: While I'm not sure he'll talk, per se, he does have a major role in future events. However, because of the nature of an open-ended series, that role may not come to fruition any time soon. Let's just say that he is in Charley's apartment for a reason and it's a whopper. I have a spinoff in mind, and he is a pivotal character in my new world. And thank you! I completely agree. I love it when secondary characters aren't just wallpaper, but play important roles and are endearing. That is my goal.
Jennifer: Charley is the first grim reaper I’ve ever read about. Where did that idea come from? And will she always be the only one? I mean come on; there are a lot of people dying to meet her. (Yeah that pun was corny) It would be helpful if she could share the job with someone.
Jennifer: I think the titles of the books are so fun, with using grave in each one. Do you get to title the books or is that left up to your editor/publisher?
Darynda: I title them, but I usually give my editor a few choices and she will choose. Fourth Grave was actually given to me by the incomparable Jacquelyn Frank one sleepy post-conference morning while she was waiting for the shuttle to the airport. LOL.
Jennifer: Do you see an ending in site for the series? In other words, do you have a number for how many books we can expect?
Jennifer: I’ve listened to all of your books on audio and love the narrator, Lorelei King. Do you get to give any input on the choice of narrator for your books?
Darynda: I didn't with the Charley books, but let me tell you, Lorelei was my favorite narrator anyway. When they told me they got her to this series, I was completely over the moon. Like "scream and jump up and down in my office" over the moon. I would have chosen her if they'd asked. It's fate! AND!!! She also does the Darklight series. She's amazing!
Jennifer: Reyes is one of my favorite sexy anti-heroes; I love that he is not a straight up good guy. Who do you envision (actor, sports star, rock star, etc.) when you write him? Cuz come on, a guy that can make you organism and not even physically be in the room. WOW
Darynda: Isn't he yummy??? When I wrote the high school scene in First Grave, I envisioned actor Jason Behr, and I think he could play Reyes with all that entails, but when I write him, I really just see Reyes. He has formed so solidly in my mind, it's hard to see anyone else. Still, Jason…. :)
Jennifer: You not only write the Charley Davidson series but you have also started a YA series. What can you tell us about it? How different is it writing YA than Charley?
Thank you again for having me!!!!
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.
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
(Charley Davidson #4)
by Darynda Jones
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 blame him.
“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 case?”
“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 exhaust system.”
“Hurry, before I get away!”