Interview Author Darynda Jones + Giveaway

Filed in Darynda Jones , Giveaways , Interview , The Geeky Lover Posted on February 2, 2012 @ 7:00 am 52 comments

We are unbelievable happy to welcome the wonderful Darynda Jones here at Book Lovers Inc today. Darynda is the author of the hilarious and just amazing Charley Davidson series and the latest addition, Third Grave Dead Ahead just released this week. I just finished my copy today and OMG it’S such a great read- I already know it will be in my top 10 of 2012. So yes, we were pretty excited when Darynda agreed to answer our question all around herself and her writing. Please give Darynda a warm welcome and don’t miss your chance to win a great read at the end of the post. 

BLI: Darynda can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Darynda: I’m a full-time writer and the author of the Charley Davidson series. I’ve been seriously writing for about nine years, now, but I consider myself a lifelong lover of writing. My first written piece was when I was five, before I knew how to write. I drew stuff in the dirt and would “read” my stories to people. Lord only knows what they were about. I continued writing stories, but did not seriously consider writing as a career until I was in high school. My best friend and I spent our entire senior year sitting in a corner booth at the local Tastee Freeze, writing our respective novels. Those were great times.

Out of high school, I met and married my husband, Danny. My best creative venture was and is my two sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones boys. They are amazing, but I’m biased. When they were young fellas, I went back to school and received my Bachelor’s Degree in American Sign Language Interpreting. I interpreted for many years and taught ASL and interpreting at a local college.

I did not pursue writing again until after obtaining my degree. I spent a lot of time pondering what it was that made me happy. They say you need to work at what you love, and it won’t feel like work. For me, that is writing. I realized the truth of that, and I have seriously pursued writing as a career, ever since. I love what I do. Can’t ask for much more than that.

BLI: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Darynda: A typical day of writing for me is to get up around eight a.m. I do my usual morning regiment and try to get down to the actual task of writing around nine a.m. I have my cup of coffee  (decaf, now) made. I have a beautiful, bright office with one of my favorite things on Earth: My iMac. When it’s crunch time, I block the Internet; otherwise, I interrupt myself to check my email every five minutes. And when I’m on a deadline, I will work for anywhere from twelve to sixteen hours, stopping only to nap and go to the bathroom.

I am a die-hard plotter. I have three distinct outlines that I work off of when I’m writing a book. I have my method of productivity down to a “t”, and I do not mess with my method. If I want to have a clean writing process with as little trouble as possible, I keep to my plan of action, and I use my outlines. I plot like nobody’s business, and my outlines can be dozens and dozens of pages long. I get very detailed and descriptive and devise my books using a timeline, as well. It helps me maintain direction and flow. Otherwise, I’m off in left field, wondering how the heck I got there.

BLI: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?

Darynda: To me, a reader enjoys reading well enough, but will often find other things to occupy her time, saving reading as a last resort to allay boredom.  A Book Lover is voracious. Her appetites can change with her mood, but she is a loyal fan of her favorite authors, and she looks forward to their new releases like others look forward to air. She simply cannot get enough of the written word.

BLI: Your new release, Third Grave Dead Ahead, is book three in your Charley Davidson series. For all those out there who are foolish enough to not have read them yet: tell us what they’re about? What makes your world tick?

Darynda: The books are about a female character named Charley Davidson. Charley is an Albuquerque, NM P.I. whose father was an APD as detective, as is her uncle now. Since she was the age of five, she has consistently helped these two men solve their cases by using very special skills she was born with.

Charley was born the grim reaper. She is not the cloak and scythe type of reaper. Instead, she is a bright light, beckoning the departed who were left behind for one reason or another to move on through her. There are those passed individuals who have what is commonly referred to as unfinished business, and they call on her to help them finish a task before they go. Usually these particular spirits are murder victims, wanting Charley to find their murderers.

BLI: I adored the humor in your books. They made me smile so much and hell, I admit it they made me giggle like a madwoman more than once. I always wonder how an author actually succeeds in making a book fun without pushing the story into the realm of ridiculousness. Is it an actual effort for you to make the fun flow or do you have to hold back to not cross that border?

Darynda: The more I write about Charley, the easier it is for me to jump into the flow and rhythm that is her attitude and sense of humor. More and more, I allow myself to have Charley say and do the things that are so typical for her, things I would never say or do in a million years. She has certain privileges the rest of us don’t. I’ve had to hold her back a couple of times, but for the most part, I just set her loose on the page and sit back and watch. The messes that girl gets herself into.

BLI: Another thing we here at Book Lovers Inc. discussed was how the humor makes the actual topic of death less gloomy and depressing. Was this a reason for you to actually write the books that way?

Darynda: I think everyone has a different reaction to death, and Charley certainly has her own. But I definitely wanted her to see it perhaps differently than most people do. It’s inevitable, unfortunately, but if we can look at it as not the end, but just another stage of our existence, then it wouldn’t be so scary. Life is too short to take seriously. I say be smart about it, yes, but definitely have fun!

BLI: Your heroine Charley is the grim reaper but not at all what you would expect of one. Tell us a bit about her and how she came to have a private investigation company.

Darynda: When I was developing Charley as a character, I wanted her to be sarcastic, funny, ADD, adventurous and prone to getting into trouble. I wanted her to be dangerous, attracted to danger, very female and a rescuer of those in need. Once I decided to make her a grim reaper, making her work for a living as a P.I. seemed natural and necessary. It obviously helps to explain her penchant for solving crimes and getting into trouble. She’s a magnet for bad things.

I conducted research about grim reapers and most of them have the same mysterious and dark persona. They are not necessarily killers or bad; mostly, they are the guides to next world that exists past death. Seeing it that way and feeling that there is something past life on earth, death is not necessarily dark and foreboding. Why should it look the way Charley describes it? Those who’ve had near-death experiences often talk about heading into a brilliant, bright light once their physical body has passed. It makes sense that she be bright instead of dark and foreboding if she is the gateway to the hereafter.

She got started as a PI because of her father, mostly. He is a retired detective from the Albuquerque Police Department. His brother, her uncle Bob, currently works for the APD in the same position. She first helped her father solve a case when she was five. Her abilities to see and communicate with dead people became a tool for father and uncle when they worked difficult cases. Once she grew into adulthood, it was natural for her to become a P.I. Why private investigator over police work? Rules. She likes to follow her own rules, in which there are none.

BLI: Darynda, we know interviews can be a huge pain for authors so we thought we would gift you with something. Today is your chance to ask your heroine Charley about anything that always nagged you about her and we will hope she takes pity on us and actually answer. You’re welcome. *wink*

Darynda: How in the heck can you afford designer shoes on your P.I. income, or lack thereof, missy?

Charley: Ha! I have super, secret sources, and I’m not gonna share. Too bad, so sad for you, lady.

Darynda: Would you let me borrow a pair? Like maybe the Alexander McQueen sandals?

Charley: No way, Jose. Nobody’s tootsies get anywhere near my shoes. What if you have foot fungus of some sort? Can I go now? I’ve got things to do, coffee to drink, pedestrians to veer at with my Jeep. And I’m due to harass Cookie in, like, five minutes.

Darynda: Sure. Go. Fly away. Go beat some evildoer senseless, and she’s gone. Look! She left a vapor trail. Now, back to sensible conversation. Susi, what’s your next question?

BLI: One of my all time favorite characters is your Cookie. Her sense of humor and her coffee addiction make me want to have a Cookie for myself. Tell us a bit about her? How did she come to be?

Darynda: Everyone needs a Cookie! I agree. Cookie evolved from a lady I used to know. When I first developed the character, I knew a woman named Cookie. I stole her name and her appearance, somewhat. The real Cookie had similar personality traits and style. As I’ve continued to write Cookie, her character has expanded, and I’ve purposely chosen to do that. She’s a great friend to Charley, and I think Charley needs a funny, yet steady friend, who’s just flakey enough to accept Charley’s quirks and Charley’s realities, which are very different than yours and mine.

BLI: Reyes is a big topic, not only for Charley but also for some “groupies” who are obsessed with him (e.g. as can be seen on this blog: ). Tell us about this mysterious guy and what makes him so appealing to the female population.

Darynda: Okay, I totally stole this from another interview that asked me about Reyes. It is heart-stoppingly, dead on about Reyes and why he’s so appealing to women. “Reyes is that extremely dangerous being that every woman wishes would gentle just for her.” And he does. Just for Charley, no one else but her. Charley has been created and written in such a way, that a lot of women identify with her. I guess it’s easy to picture oneself as being in her shoes.

In their fantasy lives, women tend to imagine alpha male heroes. Reyes is the quintessential alpha male, the ultimate fantasy man. He is dark, mysterious, dangerous, brooding, and even savage; however, where Charley is concerned, he would literally move hell or high water for her. That’s what makes the bad boy good.

BLI: What can we expect of Third Grave Dead Ahead?

Darynda: Third Grave definitely ups the ante. I purposely chose to increase the danger quotient in this book. The suspense level is bigger, the mysteries that must be solved are more involved, and Charley is being pushed further than ever before. In order for her story to be more believable and thus, expanded into future episodes, she had to take greater risks and be put into more dangerous situations. I believe it will surprise people when they read Third Grave, the depths of danger that Charley finds herself in. One reader just told me she was so stunned by one scene she had to put the book down just to digest what had just happened. I THINK that’s good. Right? lol

BLI: Will there be more books in this series? How many books are planned?

Darynda: This will be an ongoing series. St. Martin’s Press recently bought 4 and 5; so, I have at least two more books to write. But right now it is still very open-ended. I’m thrilled. I would love to continue the series, as well. I love writing the Charley Davidson stories. They are so much fun. Charley is a great character, and I believe she should be able to have a very long life. Thankfully, my editor agrees!

BLI: We read on your website about your 3 upcoming Young Adult titles, all three to be released this year. The titles suggest that they also have something to do with Death. Are they set in the same world as you Charley Davidson titles? Tell us a bit about what readers can expect.

Darynda: First, the original release date planned for the first in the series has been pushed back to the fall of this year; so, that will automatically change the release dates for the other two. I don’t know those dates, but as soon as I do, I will post the information on my website. Oh, and a warning to readers, these books are not the same as the Charley Davidson series, though they might be similar in tone.

Second, I’m very excited about this YA trilogy. I love reading YA, and I’m so happy that SMP believed enough in my YA work to purchase this trilogy. The first title in the series is Death and the Girl Next Door. It involves three high school friends who lives and world is irrevocably changed when the Angel of Death starts high school in their small town. Additionally, they discover a member of the Nephilim in their midst. A battle ensues between the forces of good and evil, with these individuals in the midst, and they are literally fighting to close the gate that allows evil to escape onto our plane.

BLI: What is next on your schedule? Anything else we should keep our eyes open for?

Darynda: I am currently writing Fourth Grave. Then I will have copy edits and page proofs for the YAs and the next in the CD series. I still have to write the fifth one and the third in the YA. So, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m happy for it. It’s exactly what I want to be doing.

BLI: Now to the mean questions: Can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?


  1. Charley’s feelings would be very hurt, if you don’t.
  2. I can’t stand it when Charley cries.
  3. I’m afraid of what Reyes would do to me, if Charley were to cry. For the love of God, don’t let that happen.

BLI: Can you summarize Third Grave Dead Ahead for us twitterstyle (140 characters or less)?

Darynda: One missing woman, a mysterious omen, lots of angry bikers, and a sexy bad boy who risks everything, including Charley, to prove his innocence.

BLI: What do you prefer writing: YA or adult titles?

Darynda: I refuse to choose! Don’t make me choose! No! I won’t do it! LOL! Love them both with a fiery passion. I’ve actually written YA much longer than adult, but wouldn’t trade either for the world.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Susi! I had lots of fun with your questions. I hope you and your readers enjoy the answers.


Because we here at Book Lovers Inc. love this series one lucky commenter will win her/his choice of a Charley Davidson title.

All you have to do is leave a question or a meaningful comment for Darynda or tell us what you think Charley does to get all those awesome shoes.
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, February 11th, 2012; and we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!!!!

About Susi

Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

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Join the Discussion
  • theresa February 2, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I think Charlie takes the shoes in exchange for dealing with all the weirdo ghosts who seem to follow her around! lol

    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      LOL! You could be right, Theresa.

  • aurian February 2, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Thank you for the interview ladies, it was fun reading it. I have only read the first book so far, but enjoyed it, and plan on picking up the second soon. I totally loved your answer about being a Book Lover, and agree with it. This is the first time I read something about your YA books, and even though YA is not my thing, you tempt me to pick them up.
    My question: If Charlie is the light people go to, does she ever meets the Dark, where the bad guys go to?

    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Thank you so much, Aurian! I wrote the YA long before I started the Charley series. I hope it does okay. LOL. And you are definitely thinking in the right direction. There will be a meeting. It will be dark. And dangerous. And thrilling. 🙂

  • JenM February 2, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I’ve been waiting for the first book to be released in paperback and now that it is, it’s at the top of my wishlist. I think Charlie must have solved a case for a shoe store owner and her payment was unlimited shoes.

    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      LOL!!! That’s funny. Thanks JenM!

  • Gena Robertson February 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I don’t know how this series slipped by me! It sounds absolutely wonderful, and I’ve now got it on my MUST read list. I’m definitely intrigued and can’t wait to get started!
    Great interview!

    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you, Gena!!!!! Hope you enjoy!

  • Lesley D February 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

    That’s so interesting that you studied ASL! Does that ever come into play in any of your stories?

    I’ve been wanting to read the Charley Davidson series since it first came out and everyone said it was so funny. I love books that can make me chuckle!

    Great interview, and thanks for the giveaway!

    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you, Lesley! There is one tiny scene in Third Grave where ASL comes in, but I want to do a bigger story with a Deaf kid. My oldest son is Deaf and I’d love to feature some of the lessor known aspects of Deaf culture. Anywho, thanks again!

  • Viki S. February 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for the interview. I don’t know how I just found FOR I HAVE SINNED but thank you. Would it be okay to print out a copy so I can let my 74 yr old mom read it? She shocked me when she told me how much she enjoyed FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT. She now wants my copies of your books :).

    I’m thrilled that you have a YA series coming out. I like to mix in YA with my normal adult reading. There really are some wonderful YA series out there.

    Thank you so much.


    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Absolutely, Viki! And give her a kiss for me!!! That is too sweet. Thanks for sharing with her and for stopping by! ~D~

      • Viki S. February 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm

        I sent it off to her in yesterday’s mail. I haven’t told her about it either so it should be a nice surprise for her. Thank you so much :).

  • Lisa (Lisa's World of Books) February 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Great interview. I am excited to see that you are going to have a YA book out and I got a chance to learn alot more about you.

    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you, Lisa!!! I’m excited for the YA to release. Hope you enjoy it!

  • miki February 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks you for this interview, i’ve learned that milday bought teh rights for a french version of your book, do you have a idea when the will publish them?

    As for the shoes…a form of payment by the ghost she help^^

    all teh best


    • Darynda February 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      LOL, Miki! Thanks for stopping by! And the release date still isn’t on the Milady site. I keep waiting! LOL.

  • Julia February 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Charley…and shoes…i think she’s friend with Carrie from Sex and the city and she is borowing her shoes

  • Ashley February 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Midway through book one and laughing constantly. Was pretty sure I was going to get fired for reading at work when she says ” I went down like a drunk cowgirl line dancing to Metallica. ”

    Best one liner every.


  • Samina -Escapism Fanatic February 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I have read Charley Davidson since when the first book came out and was hooked since. I am really excited about the new YA that is coming out as I am sure will be great.I mean whenever I pick up anything written by Darynda, I am guaranteed it would be entertaining.
    Well the shoes hmmm… I think they are presents from the ghost who lives in Charley’s apartment.I think he has a secret crush on her and is just shy when she is around.

  • Mel S February 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    What a great interview! I just picked up First Grave last weekened and now I can’t wait to start reading! The YA series sounds like fun as well…I think I have just discovered a new favourite! 🙂

    As for where Charley gets the shoes from…is there some sort of grim reaper special on designer shoes that is kept hush, hush for obvious reasons? 🙂

  • blodeuedd February 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I loved book 2 😀 So funny! And mmm Reyes. I need another dose of him soon!

    Something I noticed first now was the color theme of the books. Any idea what color book 5 might be? Lol, yes my brain is empty of questiosn

  • LSUReader February 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Like Susi, I love the humor in this series. And the characters are just wonderful. I’m looking forward to reading Third Grave, especially since I was a bit miffed over Charley’s actions at the end of Second Grave. I’m hoping she has redeemed herself. Thanks for a fun interview.

  • Danielle West February 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I just started First Grave On The Right and I am really liking it. Charley is hilarious and the covers are so lovely 🙂

  • Barbara Elness February 2, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I think the Charley Davidson series sounds fantastic and although I haven’t had a chance to get started on it yet, it’s definitely one I want to read. I think Charley gets all those great shoes by being a savvy shopper and finding great deals. 😀

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  • Jan February 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Love the books! First Grave was released here in Dec and was lucky enough to get a copy. Any idea when Third Grave will be released in NZ

    My review

  • Mary Preston February 3, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I have the books on my wish list. I must get started soon. All just fabulous. I want the shoes!!


  • SharonS February 3, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Okay, Reyes sounds like the perfect book boyfriend. I haven’t read this series yet, but it is on my TBR list. The covers are fabulous with the bright colors. Question: When you were little, where did the monsters hide?

  • sienny February 3, 2012 at 6:51 am

    read the first two books, and can’t wait for the third book. and since i also a shoe lover, though i always put a heavy chain on my urge to buy every time i saw a nice pair of shoe, i really wanna know what charley does to earn her shoes 😀

  • Victoria Zumbrum February 3, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Thanks for the giveaway. I have been wanting to read this series. I think Charley earns alot of money for her shoe. Please enter me in contest.

  • Julie W February 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Hi Darynda! I know about your Grave series, of course, and I absolutely LOVE it, but I had no idea you have a YA series!! Since I know I love your writing from reading the Grave series, I can’t wait to read your YA series! Thanks so much for the very fun interview, and the very awesome giveaway 😀
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  • erinf1 February 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Thanks for the awesome interview!!!! I’ve read such positive, awesome buzz about this series. I was so excited to get the first 2 books but I’m bummed cuz I’ve had no time to read them!!!! We are due for a snowstorm this weekend, so I’m going to use that as my excuse to dive in 🙂

    For the wonderful, awesome author: how many books do you see/hope for this series?

  • Joanne B February 3, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I can’t wait to read this book. I think Charley would do whatever she had to do to get all those shoes. Who wouldn’t. Shoes are great. They make us happy.


  • Kim February 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for the great interview. I think Charley checked out the local morgue for her shoes, then opted for the nearest Neiman Marcus instead.

  • Teri C February 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    yes! I just picked up first grave in MMpaperback and I loved it! This has been a fantastic heroine and for shoes, I dunno how she does it but they are great to read about.

    terilhack at yahoo dot com

  • Kaya H February 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I love the series. I was lucky to pick up the first two books at the library but I found out they are not getting the third, but I love Charlie’s character and her haunting past. Third grave will surely be fantastic. Thank you for the giveaway and the amazing series.

    kasuranna at yahoo dot com

  • Dee Feagin February 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    The best part of this interview? Finding out there will be two more books to come. Color me happy.

  • bn100 February 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I enjoyed the interview. All the books sound very good.

  • Tamsyn February 4, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Love the interview. I haven’t read the series yet but it sounds great and most of the comments are very positive about it. Will you be planning many for books for this series? I definitely need to check on it.
    BTW, thanks for making the giveaway international.


  • Pamk February 5, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Great interview and if she’s like other women she works her a$$ off to get those fabulous shoes.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  • Heather February 5, 2012 at 1:04 am

    I haven’t read any of this series, but it looks interesting!

  • Alaina February 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    i love this series! cant wait to find out how reyes reacts after the bombshell in the last one!!

  • Rachel Vessar February 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I had heard of this series but hadn’t had the chance to read it yet. It sounds very good and I hope to get started very soon. Thanks!

    Rachel V

  • donnas February 7, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I think she gets the shoes from a secret friend she has in the fashion industry and gets the sample pairs.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  • Amel Armeliana February 7, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I just read the first book in this series and love it. Can’t wait to read the next book. About the shoes, I think Charley is a shoes collector. I love the shoes she wore in first grave on the right cover. Maybe Charley could tell me where she bought those? 😉

    • Amel Armeliana February 7, 2012 at 1:33 am

      Oh, I forgot my email, amel(dot)armeliana(at)gmail(dot)com

  • aretha zhen February 7, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Wooww, heard so many good things about this book but haven’t got a chance to read it , must read it ASAP so I won’t hurt charley’s feelings. Hmmm Charley got her shoes from all the people that she’s been helping and from secret admirers that secretly love her:D

  • aretha zhen February 7, 2012 at 1:48 am

    SORRY forgot to put my email

  • Sariah February 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I have been wanting to read this series! I have the first one on my TBR list. Thanks for a chance.

    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  • newan February 8, 2012 at 2:10 am

    great interview and great book
    can’t wait to read this series

    sjdlampung1 at yahoo dot com

  • JessS February 10, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I really have to read this series, I’ve read such good things about it! Your three reasons to read it are really very persuasive, especially number 3, Reyes sounds quite awesome.


  • Kim February 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Forgot to say that this sounds like an interesting series.

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