Interview with Jolene Naylor
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How hard it is to find good beta readers! I finally achieved a perfect line up with Ashes of Deceit. It’s all a matter of clear, concise feedback.
Where did you get ideas for your books?
I steal – erm, I mean borrow ideas from everything; people I know, things I see on TV, places I’ve been, anime, you name it.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Discounting anything before I was 17, I’ve written eight to completion (four of which will probably never be published.) My favorite is actually one that I will never publish because it needs too much work (the writing is not so good). Some of the characters were based on people I knew at the time, and the events on things that were happening at the time. The book was really a long therapy session, I imagine, but I have a lot of complex emotions and ties to it.
What do you think makes a good story?
No. There’s sex, strong language, violence, adult situations and gore. In fact I’ve had reviewers refuse to promote the first book because of a scene at Claudius’ stronghold. I don’t recommend them for a YA audience.
Are they Paranormal Romance?
There is romance (the most romance in the series is in the second book, Legacy of Ghosts) but I wouldn’t say they were primarily a romance series. To me they are simply a vampire series with a little bit of everything in them. Everyone is welcome to call them what they want, though.
Excerpt From Ashes of Deceit:
At the back of the lobby was a locked wooden door. Without a hint of remorse, Jorick kicked it in. He led Katelina to the room beyond where they found another door. Despite her objections, he kicked it, too. They moved from room to room, leaving a path of destruction behind, until they came to a door that didn’t give immediately. Jorick knocked on it and considered the sound. “Interesting.” Before she could ask what was interesting, he kicked a hole into it and peeled away the wood to reveal a heavy metal door underneath.
“You’re not planning to just kick that one?”
“Actually…” He winked at her and gave it a solid kick in the center. The door bent. A second kick made it buckle so that he could swing it open with some effort.
Super vampire strength.
They followed a set of stairs to a cement room rimmed in metal doors and security lights. Yellow caution stripes were painted on the walls and block letters announced “Authorized Personnel Only,” and “Warning: Dangerous Specimens”.
Jorick surveyed the words. “Either they had high hopes or Kale isn’t their first brush with a nonhuman entity.”
“You don’t really think so? Not in Michigan?”
He shrugged and sniffed for Kale’s scent. Katelina still wasn’t used to the idea that vampires could smell one another, or that they had a sort of sixth sense that told them when someone was nearby. But then there were a lot of things she wasn’t used to.
Katelina followed Jorick’s gaze. The door at the back of the room was covered in diamond shaped warning labels. If not for the seriousness of the situation, they would have been comical. One had an injured hand with blood dripping from it crossed out, while a second showed a pair of swirly eyes and warned against “vampire hypnosis”. A third showed the black silhouette of a human head with large white fangs where the mouth belonged. “Warning: Vampires may be more dangerous than they appear. Exercise caution at all times”.
“My God, Jorick, where would they get a sticker like that?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps they made it.” He ran his hand around the door and then, with a shrug, tried the handle. It swung open on silent hinges. “Someone forgot to lock up.” Though he joked, his eyes held guarded caution.
There was a switch just inside the door. Jorick pressed it and fluorescent tube lights snapped to life, illuminating another cement room with yellow and red warnings. The middle of the back wall was thick plexiglass, like a window in a zoo cage. Inside, she could see Kale. He stood with his palms pressed against the glass. If she hadn’t known who it was, she might not have recognized him. His blonde hair hung limp around his haggard face and his skin cleaved to his bones. She knew the cause: lack of blood. She’d seen the effects before, though they had been worse.
Kale regarded them with a mixture of curiosity and animosity. His eyes glittered dangerously in his shrunken face, and Katelina thought of Jorick’s warnings. Maybe she should have stayed in the van.