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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Author Interview & Contest with Jocelynn Drake

This week I welcome back author Jocelynn Drake. Her third book in the Dark Days series, Dawnbreaker, has just been released. The last time Jocelynn was a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog was back when she had just released her debut book, Nightwalker. So it was great to catch up with Jocelynn again and see how her Dark Days are looking!

Enjoy the interview and make sure you enter the contest to win an amazing prize made up of Jocelynn Drake books!


Amber - Jocelynn, Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here again! Dawnbreaker the third book in the Dark Days series is due out soon! Can you tell us about it?

Jocelynn – Dawnbreaker takes place a couple months after the conclusion of Dayhunter in Savannah where Mira is being hunted by the naturi. They are desperate to capture and destroy the vampire, as she and Danaus are the only ones that could potentially stop the naturi from freeing Aurora, Queen of the naturi, and the rest of the naturi people. While fighting the naturi, Mira is lucky enough to take a hostage that could help her turn the tables on the naturi when she and Danaus finally go to the final showdown at Machu Picchu, Peru. The dawn lies just over the horizon and Rowe is desperate to finally free his wife-queen. The time has come to face the past.

Amber - Dawnbreaker is coming out this month. What's next? More Dark Days or something else?

Jocelynn - More Dark Days! I’m not done creating havoc in Mira’s world by a long shot. Mira and Danaus have many more adventures ahead of them and I can’t wait to take readers on that roller-coaster ride. Book 4 has been handed into my editor and I’m currently in the process of writing Book 5 for the Dark Days series. Our hope is to release both very quickly next summer.

With Dawnbreaker, I’m able to finally tie up some loose ends where the naturi are concerned, but they will be back to cause more problems later in the series. Meanwhile, in Books 4 and 5, I am able to finally step away from the naturi, and focus on Danaus’s past as well as the relationship between Mira and Danaus – and hopefully answer the question of whether there can even be a relationship between Mira and Danaus. I’m hoping to provide readers with a few interesting surprises.

Also, I am happy to announce the titles for Book 4 and Book 5. Book 4 in the Dark Days series will be called PRAY FOR DAWN, while the title for Book 5 will be called WAIT FOR DUSK.

Amber - The covers for the Dark Days books are really good! How much influence do you have in the book printing process, like picking covers, after you hand in your story?

Jocelynn - I actually don’t have much influence over the covers for the Dark Days series, and in truth I’m relieved I don’t. My skill lies with writing and not art. I would be too afraid of messing up a great thing. Before the cover conference, I have a meeting with my editor where we brainstorm potential ideas, themes, and settings. We come up with a list of suggestions for the art department, which they take under consideration. But in the end, it’s all in the hands of the art department, who is absolutely fantastic. I trust them completely to make fantastic covers and they have exceeded my expectations every time.

Amber - What kind of research have you had to do for the books so far? Anything interesting or is research boring?

Jocelynn - For the most part, my research has revolved around settings for the books. So far, the series has gone to Savannah, England, Egypt, Italy, and Peru. Sadly, I have not been to any of those places, and yet I have to write about those settings with authority. I treat my settings as characters in the books. The various locations have to reflect the tone and needs of the scene. I love researching the places that Mira and Danaus will be traveling to. I do a lot of research on the Internet and in travel guides.

So far, my favorite location to research has been Venice because it’s not often that you have to have your characters constantly traveling by boat. You have the great history of the city, as well as the sound of the water lapping against the sides of the canals. I can so easily imagine Mira walking down the sidewalks and striding across the bridges through the vast centuries.

My next favorite is quickly becoming Budapest, which is the main location in the fifth book in the Dark Days series. There is not only an amazing history and architecture in the city, but it is also a cove of interesting little locations. I’ve had a lot of fun researching the place.

Amber - The Dark Days books have done really well. What have been the ups and downs of the series so far?

Jocelynn – I’ve had a lot of fun writing the Dark Days series. I love the dark world that Mira and Danaus inhabit. It’s always a mad race to the end as the bad guy breathes down the back of your neck – and that’s assuming that you know who the real bad guy is. Since the beginning of the Dark Days series, Mira has been forced to face her past with the naturi, take on a more responsible and protective stance than she ever wanted to, let go of people she once trusted with her life, and learn to trust someone she never thought she could. For me, the series is all about control – taking control of your own life and the control a character has over others. It’s also about examining the dark nature of humanity and looking at how far a person can walk into that darkness before they can no longer find their way back.

I’ve always seen the series as having two main characters – Danaus and Mira – even though Mira gets more time in the spotlight. I am hoping to remedy that problem with future books. I’ve had more trouble getting into Danaus’s head. He’s significantly older than Mira and more stuck in his ways. He’s had more than a thousand years of hate accumulated in his heart for nightwalkers, forcing me to take their friendship very slowly. It’s going to have a number of stumbling blocks no matter what happens with them in the future. Danaus also has to face his past in these books, learn the true cost of his powers, and find a way to see the truth in the race that he has hated for so long.

One of the most difficult things with this series has been the evolving plotline. When I started writing the series, I knew how many books it would take, where I was going, and who would be involved. Now that I’ve set these characters loose for three books and one novella, everything seems to have been thrown up in the air. I’ve met characters that I hadn’t planned on and the series has taken a slightly different direction that I originally planned. But that’s okay. I’m loving this roller-coaster ride.

Amber - Something I have always wondered is how authors come up with the names for their characters. How do you pick the names you use in your books?

Jocelynn - I have a book called the “The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook” which I cannot live without. I’ve pulled more than 90% of my names from that book. I choose my names based on the needs of the story, the sound and feel of the name, and sometimes the history and meaning of the name.

Mira’s name is one of the few that didn’t come out of the book. I actually have a story for that one. I had been writing some random stories for a few months before coming up with Nightwalker. The lead female was strong, controlling, impulsive, hot-tempered, and sarcastic (sound familiar?). Her name was Miranda. By the third story, I ran into an instance where I needed a nickname for Miranda, but didn’t want to use Randi. One of my secondary characters opened her mouth and called her Mira. I instantly fell in love and move the newly formed “Mira” over to the Dark Days series

Amber - There are so many online sites eg, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace etc to get in touch with fans. Which sites are you signed up with? Is it hard to keep up with them all? Do you think they are good?

Jocelynn - I currently maintain two blogs – Blogger and LiveJournal – as well as accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. I also maintain a discussion board for my readers. At first, it was difficult to keep up with all of them, and there are some weeks where I post more entries than others. However, I have gotten into a routine with all of them that allows me to keep my readers updated without spending most of my time trapped on the Internet.

I think they are all valuable ways to keep readers tuned into upcoming events and book releases. The key is everything in moderation. A writer can very quickly become bogged down in these social networking sites so that he/she is spending more time posting updates and random thoughts than writing novels. I am guilty of this as much as anyone. There are days where I am spending far too much time on the Internet. However, with my next deadline looming far too close, I am easily able to keep focus on my writing and keep my time Internet limited.

Amber - What is the easiest and hardest part about being an author?

Jocelynn - There are days when everything seems to be the hardest part. There are days when the words aren’t coming, your editor wants you to scrap your favorite chapter, and you’ve still got to pay the bills and finish the laundry. There are days when the real world creeps in on your creative world, and the work just can’t be done. Sometimes, the hardest part is working when it seems like you haven’t got a creative bone in your body. Yet, you still find a way. What’s more, that’s one of the best days. When you overcome those hurdles, you feel like you’ve accomplished the impossible.

For me, one of the hardest things is negative reviews. After years of rejection letters from editors and agents, you feel like you’ve developed a thick skin. You feel like you can take even the most negative comments and it will roll off your back. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. The publishing industry demands that you have thick skin so that you can push through the negativity that will eventually roll through. But in the end, your book is still your baby. You want him or her to be welcomed into the world with warmth and kindness. You want to protect it. The negative reviewa will always hurt a little, but you keep writing, because you are a writer and it’s what you love more than anything else in the world.

The easiest part? Spending the day with two of my best friends, Mira and Danaus.

Amber - What kind of films do you watch? Any favourite TV shows?

Jocelynn - When it comes to films, I am an action junkie. I love fast-paced action and massive explosions. I don’t get to watch much TV because of my busy schedule. However, I do try to catch Mythbusters and Ghost Hunters every week. Another favorite show is Top Gear. It’s a car show out of the U.K. that has three fabulous hosts that keep me laughing though the entire show. I’m quickly becoming a car fanatic because of this show.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Jocelynn - I would be a vampire. I love their sense of power and control. I like the hard edge to their personalities. While sex appeal is frequently associated with vampires, I have always been attracted to a vampire’s power and strength. It’s about having a new sense of control over his/her surroundings in a chaotic world.

Amber - Thank you for coming back to visit Amberkatze's Book Blog! I hope you will come back next time you have a new release!


Contest Time!

I asked Jocelynn if she would like to run a contest and she said -

Let's do one big prize: Signed copies of: Unbound, Nightwalker, Dayhunter, a signed cover flat of Dawnbreaker and a little surprise bonus swag.

I am extremely envious! You guys are really being spoilt this week!

That is three signed books and extras!! For one lucky person Christmas is coming early!

However I have to make you work for this one. No easy questions! This week to enter the contest you have to up with a book title for Jocelynn's Dark Days series. You only have to read through the interview to see which ones are coming soon so I am looking for new ideas.

No Title = No entry!

The usual rules apply!

Earn another entry for each place you link this contest on the net. Make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries!

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

I can offer more prizes if my Amazon Associates account gets more money!! So please make sure you order at Amazon.com through the links around the site and help keep the contest coming!

The contest will stay open until Sunday 18th of October 2009 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.

If you are claiming a prize, have emailed me and have not heard back before the 7 day limit is up then post a comment here on the blog. Your email may get sucked into my spam filter.


tawndam said...

ummm... How bout Running with the Red Moon

Anonymous said...

Hi :)
Thank you for having Jocelynn Drake here today & thanks to Jocelynn for sharing. It was an EXCELLENT interview!
My title suggestions for Book 6 are:


All the best,

jeanette8042 said...

Awesome giveaway!


Tynga said...

I fail at these creative things but here are my ideas:


DarkEvader (haha also sounds like Dart Vader!)

Shadow Parrier

Light Seeker

Ok that's enough lol

Thanks for stopping by Jocelynn, it's always a pleasure to read you!

Ellz said...

Great interview. Congrats Jocelynn on turning in your next book. I know you are ciked! Here are a few ideas for titles..
Under The Moonlight

Elie of Ellz Readz

Abigail said...

Great interview!(and I love your witch-y header).

My title suggestion is:

Forever Sunset

I posted this in the Contests & Giveaways section on my blog


AllThingsUrbanFantasy(at) gmail (dot) com

buddyt said...

I am not aware of the usual contest rules but if this is open internationally them please enter me.

My suggestion " Shadows of Night".



Kimberly B. said...

I suggest "Duskchaser". Thanks for the great giveaway!

booklover0226 said...

I'm not creative but I'll give it a shot..

Dark Tryst???

Tracey D

Jen D. @ Not Now...I'm Reading! said...

Thanks for the great interview and contest!

My title suggestion would be Fear the Night.


Curling up by the Fire said...

I like "Night Fighter" or "Shadow Fighter".

Thank you for having Jocelynn here today. I loved her first two books and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Daelith said...

Thank you for the interview.

Dead of Night

Unknown said...

Moon Burst


Sweeter the berry said...

Dark One

mverno said...

duskstalker mverno@roadrunner.com

Anonymous said...

I'm terrible at these..

Anonymous said...

Here are a few:
Haunting Possession
Eternal Twilight
Sinister Stranger
Shadows of Twilight
Deathdream Hauntings
When the Moon is Full
Shatter dead
Waking Shadows

Chelsea S said...

I think the title Darkness Unraveled or Hours Till Sunrise would work.


-- Chelsea

Ina said...

Hi Jocelynn!
Great interview - can't wait to read more from Mira and Danaus!

my suggestion: LOOK FOR SHADOWS


Tynga said...

I am wondering, will Jocelynn actually take a look at these suggestions?

Alicia0385 said...

Ok so I have a few Ideas.
If it is going to be a book mostly about fighting then I suggest

Fist Spark of Death
Rival the Shadows
Fires Wake
Abandoned Flame

If it is going to be about Danaus and Mira's realtionship then I suggest

First Blush
Passion Flame
Shadows Obscured


Lilixtreme said...

Dark Flame
Fire Desire
Dark Shadow
Fire Element

I wonder if I can come back with more!

Lilixtreme said...

+1 tweeted about contest: http://twitter.com/Lilixtreme/statuses/4819524648

+1 posted contest on my sidebar: http://lilibethramos.blogspot.com

Llehn said...

How about Haunted Twilight?

Asylumgirl said...

Shade of Night

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

Blodeuedd said...

Hm hard
Twilight thief/Twilight catcher
Morning comes
Afternoon farewell

Carol EL said...

Mist Marauder is my contribution. jelly15301@gmail.com

Calliope said...

I love Mira! She was so kickass and I hated seeing her bubble shatter in NIGHTWALKER.

As for titles...


Sage Ravenwood said...

Wicked Awesome giveaway!

As for titles:


Thanks for the opportunity! Indigo

Anonymous said...

Light Dodger?? I'm not good with names.

wanda f said...

shadow chaser
midnight hunter

Chris Einhaus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Einhaus said...

Title suggestion: Uncover the Night

Posted contest/interview at:

souldolphindream said...

let me think now

Un-night life
dark dealings
night dwelling
light of the blood

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I like Early Mourning. Thanks!

SiNn said...

so many good ones really il try it

Moons Embrace

arcanic shadows

untill the sunsets

Tammy said...

Darkness at Sunset

Bella said...

What a completely awesome interview! And such a generous giveaway! Thanks very much. Tough question though!

Moonrise Mystery
Finding the Sun
Mayhem at Moonset
Phase of the Moon
Sunset Surprise
Walking on the Moon
Moon Magic
Red Moon Rising

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/b42bella

and FB'ed: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?id=100000106635073&ref=profile

Karrie said...

Darkness to the Light

Shawna L. said...

Shawna Lewis

How about~


I tweeted http://twitter.com/theblindcupid/status/4925684929

I posted on my bloghttp://booksaremoviesinthemind.blogspot.com/

I posted on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/posted.php?id=1259591812&share_id=154774206157

erma said...

My title would be Dark Days ahead.

Ellie Wright said...

How about "Shadow Rider" or "Ride the Shadows"

Thanks for the giveaway.
eswright18 at gmail dot com

saturdaynightfever said...

Darker Shadows


Vickie said...

Shades of Dusk

I have absolutely no idea why it's taken me so long to read this series! Must remedy soon...

Gabriel S-J. said...

Great read, great contest!

Dot S.(ladeetdareads.wordpress.com) said...

Really enjoyed this interview. My title:
Through The Dark Night

Anonymous said...

My title suggestion is The Vanquished Moon. garrettsambo@aol.com

lilyk said...

My suggestion is Hope for Twilight.

whitewolfreads said...

How about "Darkest Night" or maybe "Star Seeker"? Great interview.

Jess S.


plhill2000 said...

How about-Twilight Huntress.

Roseann K. said...

Wonderful giveaway. Thanks!

Oneangel said...

Seeking the Darkness

john ferris said...

My suggestion is Fear The Night.
john ferris

Unknown said...

This contest is now CLOSED!

Please check out the winner announcement on the main blog page to see if you won!

Thanks for entering!