"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
PNR Attractions 2006
Spotlight on Upcoming Paranormal Releases
J. R. Ward
J.R. Ward is the USAToday bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She lives in the South with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.
PNR: How long have you been writing? What inspired you to choose writing as a career?
J.R. Ward: I've been writing since I could hold a pencil. My mother has loads of short stories and partials and full manuscripts that I put to paper when I was young. I wrote all the way through high school and college and law school. It wasn't until I was working as a lawyer in Boston that I sent something into an agent. My first book was published in 2002.
It never dawned on me that I could write full time. I just didn't think I would be so lucky. I love writing. I love getting up in the morning and knowing that I have books to work on. I love getting to spend so much time in my head. So I guess you could say I'm following what inspires me.
PNR: Do you have a strict writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
J.R. Ward: I have a very strict writing schedule. I draft in the morning then I take a break and come back to it in the evenings. This is every day: weekends, holidays, birthdays, sick days. When it’s deadline time, I work around the clock to get the job done.
As for my free time, I'm a gym rat so I hang around weights and machines a lot. :) I am also pathetically devoted to my dog. And I’m a sucker for pop culture.
PNR: Most authors are avid readers; what is your favorite genre to read? Favorite authors?
J.R. Ward: I love to read, but I don't get to do it very much anymore. If I’m laying down a first draft on a book, I don't read anything. I don’t want my voice to get swayed in any way. If I'm through the first draft, then sometimes I’ll pick something up, but usually if I’m awake, I want to be writing. I do love romantic suspense. Suz Brockmann, Elizabeth Lowell, Karen Rose and Shannon McKenna. I’m also into historicals; Laura Kinsale comes to mind. When I decided to try and write vampires a couple of years ago, I stopped reading paranormals altogether. Now, I'm back to reading them recreationally as long as they don’t have vampires in them.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
J.R. Ward: For me, the hero has to be compelling, the heroine has to be his equal and whatever journey they're on has to amplify the changes they inspire in each other. Then the pacing has to be strong. The descriptions have to plug you right into scenes so you can look out of the characters' eyes. The words have to be chosen with care and precision. And there has to be that special, indescribable flow within all the moving parts of the plot, something that just takes you away.
PNR: Why do you think the vampire is such a popular character in the paranormal romance genre?
J.R. Ward: Vampires are incredibly compelling both as heroes and antagonists. They are powerful, dark, dangerous, and sensual. The lore around them is commonly known so people have a connection of sorts to them in real life. And then there is the way they sustain themselves. The hunger, the hunting, the need... it's all very enticing.
PNR: Readers and reviewers are raving about your new series, could you tell us about what inspired the idea for the series and your plans for the Black Dagger Brotherhood?
J.R. Ward: First of all, I'm so very grateful for the support the Brothers and the series has been given. <g> I've been blown away by the reaction. As for the inspiration, I’ve always been a horror fan, so it’s no surprise that eventually my love of romance got tangled in my affection for the dark and eerie. But I have to say, I don't know where the series came from. One day, it just landed in my head. Or shall I say, over two thousand pounds of male vampire came into my head. It was wild... the world the Brothers live in was fully formed: all the rules and the conflicts and the players, it just came to me in one giant rush. And yes, their names, too! <g>
There are ten books in the series at this point, two of which concern folks that will be introduced along the way. Then there are more Brothers and also subspecies within the world I would love to explore.
PNR: In DARK LOVER, your hero and heroine, Wrath and Beth burn up the pages and capture the reader’s heart, could you tell us a little about their development?
J.R. Ward: I loved Wrath and Beth together, I really did! Like the rest of the series, they just came to me, but I can tell you why I think they work. She’s strong enough to stand up and give him the what-for. At one point, he tells her no one has ever talked to him as she does. And that's the key. She’s not afraid of him, as most people are. And on the other side, Wrath holds the answers to all her questions. He’s what she’s been searching for though she didn’t even know she was looking. Together, they work.
PNR: The intensity of the sexual scenes is quite hot in DARK LOVER, is it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
J.R. Ward: It's gotten easier! <g> When I first started writing romances, I found love scenes very difficult to pen. But now I don’t fight it. I just let them flow as any other scene would and I push all my inhibitions out of the way: I don't let the subject matter hinder me anymore. My job as a writer is to put what’s in my head on the page as faithfully as I can. That includes the love scenes.
PNR: How do you feel the sensual/erotic genre has affected the paranormal romance genre?
J.R. Ward: I think the trend in romance in general has been toward hotter books and the paranormal genre is no different. I like passionate romances, personally. I think though, that one of the best things about paranormals is the world building. To the extent that the passion enhances the book, it's great. But it shouldn't detract from the world building.
PNR: Your contemporary work written as Jessica Bird is very popular, what made you decide to write in the paranormal genre? Which genre is your favorite to write?
J.R. Ward: Well, as I said, the Brotherhood showed up in my head and demanded to be put down on the page. What I love is balancing the dark, raw quality of the Brotherhood books with the contemporary writing. It's great to go back and forth between the two. But as for my favorite, the Brothers are what drive me the hardest. They are the compulsion that keeps me up at night.
PNR: Please tell us about the projects you are currently working on, and what readers can expect to see in the coming months.
J.R. Ward: Right now, I’ve just finished Zsadist’s book, LOVER AWAKENED. I'll be starting Butch’s story next. Then it’s Vishous and Phury.
There are two Black Dagger Brotherhood books coming out in 2006: LOVER ETERNAL (Rhage’s book) in March and LOVER AWAKENED (Zsadist's) in September.
PNR: Thank you for taking time out to talk with us; where can readers find out more about your upcoming projects, and how can they contact you?
Featured in this Issue:
DARK LOVER - In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing their enemies, the lessers, more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood....
The only purebred vampire left on the planet, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed—orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate—Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead....
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn't there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both....
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover—for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.
Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. Her faith in miracles was lost years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves.
Get ready for Z's Story!
LOVER AWAKENED - In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her.
Writing as Jessica Bird
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