I also have 3 copies of Dawnbreaker to give away to some lucky commenters thanks to the generous folks at HarperCollins/EOS. Details of the Giveaway can be found at the end of the post.
Jocelyn will drop in to answer questions, so if you have something you want to ask her about the new book, the series or her writing life in general, here's your chance.
A big warm welcome to Jocelynn Drake!
SFG: Dawnbreaker is the third book in the Dark Days series. Can you give us an overview of the theme of the series and hit a few highlights for new readers?
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.
SFG: Mira and Danaus are incredibly engaging characters. How did you go about creating them and what do you have planned in their future?
Mira was the result of many short scenes that I wrote playing around with different character ideas. She changed from being a witch to a vampire to an elf. Her personality shifted as the scene needed it and her background dictated her actions for each event. I worked with her for close to two months before I finally started writing Nightwalker.
Danaus, on the other hand, came a little slower to me. I knew that I needed a vampire hunter that was very strong and very experienced. I needed someone who could go head-to-head with a 600-year-old vampire and survive. He danced around in my subconscious for a few months until inspiration finally struck. I was flipping through a video game magazine when I saw a picture that screamed to me: DANAUS! I ripped out the picture and ran back to my computer where I started writing. Once I had the image in my head, the rest of his character came pouring out of my brain. I still keep the picture on my wall next to my desk.[SciFiGuy Note - I snuck the photo at the left from Jocelynn's Gallery page - yep it's beside her desk - isn't the Internet a wonderful thing!]
What do I have planned for their future? Chaos and violence, my friend. Chaos and violence.
SFG: Your bio says you live in the Cincinnati area, yet you have set Nightwalker and Mira’s home in Savannah. Why Savannah and the south?I will admit that I originally planned for the series to be set in Cincinnati, since it was a town that I grew up in and knew intimately. Unfortunately, another author, who shall remain nameless, (*cough* Kim Harrison *cough*) beat me to Cincinnati. And since this author who shall not be named and I have the same editor, I couldn’t sneak by with Cincinnati. So, I needed to stay in a zone that I knew I would be comfortable writing in. In other words, I needed a modestly sized town in the south. West and north offered up a different mentality I didn’t feel that I could adequately replicate. However, I’ve lived my life in the south so it’s something I felt that I could be comfortable writing in.
Savannah sang to me because of her lengthy history, old tales, and great ghost stories. It’s a quiet piece of earth that offers up a fabulous setting for any book. Between visits and research, I’ve truly fallen in love with Savannah as much as Mira.
SFG: What kind of research did you do preparing Dayhunter? Did you travel to any of the locations featured in the novel?
I would have loved to travel to all the exotic location that Mira and Danaus get to see. Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t permit it. I do a lot of research when it comes to writing the Dark Days books. I have to know the locations, this style of the architecture, the composition of the streets (pavement vs. gravel vs. cobblestone), and I have to know local cultures and traditions. It generally involves many hours on the Internet and perusing my growing collection of travel journals and guides. For Dayhunter, I spent a lot of time learning the canals and travel times between the various islands. I learned the different building styles between the islands and tried to get a feel for which were the most crowded. For Crete, I also managed to grab a few travel TV shows along with my journals so I could get a clear feel for the island.
SFG: You also have a prequel novella (The Dead, The Damned, And the Forgotten) out in the Unbound anthology which just released. How does it fit into the story arc?
“The Dead, The Damned, And The Forgotten” is a novella that is set roughly a month before the beginning of Nightwalker, the first book in the series, and it offers readers a glimpse a Mira’s world before Danaus arrives and creates chaos. It gives readers a good look at Mira in her natural habit as Keeper of her domain. You get a clearer view of her sense of responsibility as well as her distance from her own kind. I think the novella is a great way to ease into the series if you haven’t picked it up yet. And if you have read the series, the novella will introduce you to some characters that will be making another appearance in both Dawnbreaker and Pray for Dawn, which is the fourth book in the series.
SFG: What can readers expect after Dawnbreaker? What are your series plans?
Dawnbreaker works to tie up some loose ends in regards to the naturi and, of course, make some new problems for Danaus. The goal of this book was to complete the initial story arc that was kicked off with Nightwalker, and that was accomplished for the most part. There are still two loose threads dangling in the wind for the naturi, which I hope to complete in an upcoming book. Dawnbreaker also raises some new questions about Danaus, which will be answered in Pray for Dawn.
Looking ahead, Pray for Dawn has been completed and I am putting the finishing touches on the rough draft for Wait for Dusk. Both are tentatively scheduled for release in summer 2010. I am currently contracted for a total of six books in the Dark Days series, but I am hoping to keep the series going well past that. I am looking to dig into Danaus’s past, Mira’s origins, as well as the Liege of the nightwalker nation and the Great Awakening. Many awesome things are still to come.
SFG: In your path to becoming a fiction writer what influences led you to write urban fantasy?
Before I started working on stories in the urban fantasy genre, I was reading books from Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Simon Green, and Christine Feehan. Going back even farther, I have been an avid fan of Raymond Feist, Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett. I always knew that I would eventually find a home in fantasy, but I just never expected it to be in urban fantasy.
SFG: How has being a popular and successful novelist affected your career as a financial analyst? Any interesting workplace anecdotes you can share with us?
Not as much as you might think. There isn’t a great deal of overlap between Wall Street and vampires. Most of the people that I work with in the industry are completely unaware that I lead a double life, which is kind of fun. It affords me a degree of anonymity, as well as gives me a chance to make a name for myself in the financial world. Most of the time when a fellow analyst or reporter discovers my other life, they kind of give a double take as if it’s too unbelievable for them to take in.
I don’t have much in the way of interesting anecdotes. Most days it’s just me and my computer as I look over the stock market digging for new trading ideas. The strangest interview I’ve had was with a reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper. As soon as I answered the phone, he asked if I was the Jocelynn Drake that wrote vampire novels. I inwardly cringed, afraid that people we going to start tracking me down at work to get information about my writing life. I said “yes.” He said he enjoyed my books and then proceeded to grill me about the stock market for the next 15 minutes. So sometimes, my writing life does leak onto Wall Street.
SFG: If you were a character in your own series and it was a Naturi, which of the five clans would you be from and why?
Oooo... hard question. Well, I guess since I’ve already got Mira in my back pocket as the Fire Starter, then my favourite naturi clan would be the wind clan. I love their wings and their different types of wings depending on .... well... I’ll get into that eventually in a book. I also love their ability to control the weather. I love it when Rowe stands with his hand reaching into the air as he calls down the lightning. What a rush that has to be to be so in tune with Mother Nature and her raw energy!
Thank you Jocelynn for spending some time with us. Here's wishing for every success for Dawnbreaker!
- To enter, leave a comment or question for Jocelynn.
- If you don't have a specific question for Jocelynn, visit Jocelynn's website and come back and tell us a fact or tidbit you learned about the series from the Dark Days History Page.
- Canadian or US residents only please.
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- Blog, tweet, post, etc., about the interview for an extra entry.
- Giveaway ends Tuesday, September 29 at 11:59 PM EST.