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A Moment with Joleene Naylor

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Dan: Tell us about Ashes of Deceit?

Joleene: Ashes of Deceit is the fourth book in the Amaranthine series and it’s about *drumroll* vampires! I know, I know, half the world is tired of them but the other half still likes them.

Dan: What sets your most recent release, Ashes of Deceit from other vampire books?

Joleene: There seems to be a modern misconception that vampires are for teenagers; mine aren’t. Also the new convention seems to be to avoid conventions, but my vampires are kind of a throwback to the more traditional vampire. They snarl, they fight, they burn up in sunlight. There’s probably a few cheesy lines but hey, write what you like, as they say. Also, there is romance in them, but I wouldn’t particularly call them romance (until recently they were categorized as such on Amazon because it was the only category that had paranormal in it – now they’re under Fantasy- Paranormal – yay!). The romantic parts are important, and there are adult situations, but there are a lot of vampire battles, too. I know romance novels sell better, so I am probably shooting myself in the foot with this answer.

Dan: How is the book doing so far?

Joleene: Pretty good, actually. No triple digit sales, but it sold more in the two weeks of its release than any of my others did in their first two weeks. Shades of Gray, the first in the series, does the best overall but it’s also cheaper. I know this means that not everyone who starts the series goes on to read it all, but hey, at least they gave it a shot.

Dan: Any future releases readers should be aware of?

Joleene: The short story collection Vampire Morsels will be released later this month. It is a collection of 17 short stories about some random characters from the series who didn’t get enough “face time” in the series. I hope to have Patrick – a novella set before Shades of Gray opens – out before fall and I also plan to have the fifth book in the Amaranthine series, Heart of the Raven, out in December 2012 before the “apocalypse,” but it might not make it until January or February.

Dan: Are you reading anything right now, or have you read anything recently that is worth mentioning?

Joleene: I recently finished The Russian Idea by Steve Evans, and I thought it was quite interesting. Right now I’m reading Three Hoodies Save the World by Roger Lawrence – from philosophical thriller to YA!

Dan: Does music inspire or motivate you to write? If so, what kind of music?

Joleene: HIM is always good for vampire stories, as are Rasmus and Placebo. There’s also an amazing song by a German band, Down Below, called “heal” which *I* think sums up Jorick and Katelina’s relationship. Or maybe that is wistful author syndrome ;)

Dan: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite novels?

Joleene: Here’s where I have to admit the truth; my favorite novels and authors are fantasy. (ha!) I do like Anne Rice’s vampires, though I have some issues with how she presents herself online, but as far as most other vampire books go, I can take them or leave them.

Dan: Are you one of those people who don’t own a TV? Do you have any favorite TV Shows? Favorite movies?

Joleene: We have a TV, though I try to stay away from it because I can easily lose hours to it. The only TV shows we’ve watched lately are Dr. Who and NCIS, though I’d like to get back into Merlin and Game of Thrones. I am an anime freak, and my favorite movie of all time is animated – The Last Unicorn. Of course, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is epic (so looking forward to the Hobbit!). I could go on ;)

Dan: At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Joleene: Art and writing always went together for me. When I was a kid my brother and I used to write and illustrate our own books for fun. Yeah, we were weird children. But, I decided I wanted to be a “writer” for its own sake in high school. It just took me awhile to commit – which is not unusual. Fear of commitment is one thing I share with my protagonist.

Dan: Tell us about your writing process.

Joleene: I randomly write. Then I go through, hack it to pieces and rewrite it. Then I edit it three or four times, send it to the beta readers and then rewrite massive chunks again (for instance this latest book saw three chapters completely change) then I edit it some more. I would edit forever if I didn’t set limits because there comes a point where you have to let it go and say “this is it”.

Dan: Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

Joleene: Not really. Mainly I just like the way they sound. Though I’ve run into some trouble because I made a lot of them up and then later had to try to find where those names would have been used (Jorick, for instance, turned out to be a Dutch name, so my vampire hero had to originally be from the Netherlands). This was a problem with a few vampires; the name Velnya doesn’t exist, and Claudius decided he wanted to be French, so it took some creative work to make them fit into historical slots.

Dan: How do you define success as a writer? Have you been successful?

Joleene: Success is when you find someone you don’t know commenting to someone else you don’t know about your books. This happened to me on a blog where a very sweet lady named Angie (who I had never “met” before) wrote a nice review of my first book and a second person I did not know left a comment saying they’d heard of the book and had heard it was good. The next step is when someone you don’t know starts a fan group for the series. I’m still waiting for that one.

Dan: Do you have words of wisdom about writing that you want to pass on to novelists and writers out there who are starting out?

Joleene: Write what makes YOU happy. We are a culture that celebrates uniqueness, and yet no one is so unique that they are the only person who likes a given thing. If you like it, someone else does, too, so there is a niche for your work. Oh, and also remember to edit. Please, please, edit. When you don’t, it makes everyone look bad.

Dan: What should readers walk away from your books knowing, feeling?

Joleene: When they get done it would be nice if they thought “Wow, that vampire is hot! (I don’t even care which one)” but really I just want them to be entertained. There are enough novels out there that want to change the world. I just want to pass an afternoon. That may be an old fashioned concept on entertainment vs art, but, like the quote in the new Avengers movie, “People might just need a little old-fashioned.” And I think its success proves that. It’s great to have movies and books that trash the genres and turn things on their heads, but sometimes we all get sick of that. Sometimes, we just want to see someone get their butt kicked and know the hero is going to save the girl.

Dan: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Joleene: Thanks you so much. You guys are awesome!!!

Bio: Joleene Naylor grew up in southwest Iowa surrounded by soybeans, corn, and very little entertainment – so she made her own. In her spare time she is a freelance artist, book cover designer, and photographer. Her current projects include the fifth novel in the Amaranthine series, and The Terrible Turtle Conspiracy, a web manga collaboration with writer Jonathan Harvey. Joleene maintains blogs full of odd ramblings and hopes to win the lottery. Until she does, she and her husband live near Bolivar, Missouri with their miniature zoo. However, unless she starts buying tickets she may never win anything.


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Shades of gray
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Legacy of ghosts
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Ties of blood
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Ashes of deceit
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