"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
J.R. Ward is the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. Following a career in hospital administration, she now 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.
An Interview with J.R. Ward
PNR: Welcome back JR, when we last spoke with you in January 2006, DARK LOVER had recently released and fans were eagerly awaiting the release of LOVER ETERNAL. You have been very busy since then; could you tell us what you have been up to?
J.R. Ward: First of all, thank you for having me back! For the past two years I've been mostly focused on the Brothers which is a total blessing- they fill my days and my nights in the best possible way.
PNR: You have received numerous honors, including several PEARL nominations and awards, and a great deal of reader admiration for your writing. How does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
J.R. Ward: I’m very very very grateful- and a little astounded. I have to say, though, that I am constantly focused on trying to keep the quality of writing as high as I possibly can. The readers have been very kind to me and they (and the Brothers) deserve nothing less than my absolute best. So while I feel lucky, I’m also always aware that you must constantly work to earn the support you are fortunate enough to receive.
PNR: Congratulations on the September 2007 release of LOVER UNBOUND from Signet; this is the fifth story in your much loved Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Readers, including myself, were riveted by the depth of pain and sacrifice that has shaped Vishous, and by his edgy yet poignant relationship with Jane. Could you give us some insight into this unusual bonding?
J.R. Ward: I think V and Jane are a case of like attracting like. They both have scientific minds and strong personalities. Vishous is not an easy male- he’s reserved and arrogant and wildly intelligent. Jane is great with (and for) him because she’s really not intimated by him- she’s had to work with Manny Manello! I also believe, because Jane is a healer at heart, she has the kind of innate compassion that is necessary to deal with someone who’s been through all V has been. Plus she understands his close relationship with Butch.
PNR: Readers are excited about Phury’s story in LOVER ENSHRINED, released June 3, 2008 from Signet. Could you give us a sneak peek at Phury and Cormia’s story?
J.R. Ward: Phury and Cormia! What a pair! Oh, I love them together. Hmm... I can’t really say too much about them without giving away too much. As usual, the book is very complicated and with a lot of layers (it better be! the manuscript’s 639 pages long! LOL) so it’s hard to take any one part out without having all the details spill free. But I can tell you that Phury’s book is very romantic- because he is very romantic.
PNR: You have been complimented on your masterful world building. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a contemporary setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and series, and making it believable for readers? Do you write your characters to fit the world you have created or vice versa?
J.R. Ward: Thank you, but you give me far too much credit I’m afraid! Truthfully, I don’t feel like I created anything or do anything consciously. I see what is in my head and put it to the page- the world just is and comes out as it does. I honestly don’t get a vote about where the series or the folks are going so I can’t control a thing. If I do try and pull a manipulation, it never works out so I gave up even trying quite a while ago. As for the believability issue for readers- that is about making sure that I do my job as an author properly and provide appropriate context and description and dialogue. The world is whole in my head, and it exists within our human one, so I need to show what I see so the reader feels plugged in.
PNR: The series is an action packed thrill ride which is rivaled only by the depth and emotion of the characters; do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
J.R. Ward: I feel like the books are character studies. They are really about the evolutions that the people go through. The plot elements all serve to change or reveal the people they effect.
PNR: You write wonderfully complex characters that readers really connect to; could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
J.R. Ward: Again, I don’t experience it as if I create anything or anyone in the world. My favorite, if I had to pick one, is Zsadist. He and I just clicked and of all the heroes I’ve ever written about, or probably ever will write, he is my number one (although I love them all!) Vishous, hands down, was the most challenging to write about. He and I didn’t get along all that well during the writing of his book. Let’s just say, he and his voice are very reserved- he didn’t want that story getting out.
PNR: Have you been surprised by the direction your characters have taken the series? How much control do they have over their own story? Or should I ask how much control do you have? J
J.R. Ward: That would be NONE for me and the control thing! I am surprised often- and also daunted. I see things in my head and I’m like... er, just how am I supposed to write that!!
PNR: Do you have any plans for a female member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood?
J.R. Ward: Payne, Vishous’s twin, gets her own story- and she does end up in the Brotherhood- so that’s a big yes!
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the hot love/sex scenes that readers demand?
J.R. Ward: I think my books are hot, but not over the top. I just write what I see and the Brothers are very sensual and sexual- and that comes through in the writing.
PNR: There is something about a “Bad Boy” that makes our hearts race, and you have combined that with one of the most popular of supernatural beings, the vampire. Why do you feel that readers are attracted to that bad boy image of a hero? The vampire?
J.R. Ward: I can only speak for myself as a writer and a reader. I like males who are powerful and strong and slightly evil because they’re unpredictable within their heroic storylines. Bad boys have a moral compass- but it’s their own. This means that their solutions to problems, whether they’re mortal ones or matters of the heart, are... creative and surprising. Plus bad boys are hot. Straight up.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
J.R. Ward: I think paranormals offer writers endless opportunities for character development- you’re so free to explore new worlds and experience fresh and different and exciting things. You are limited only by the internal rules of whatever universe you’re in. I love paranormals and am thrilled that the stories that are in my head are in the genre.
I have no plans right now to write anything other than paranormals- but you never know! I didn’t expect to write about vampires and symphaths so who can tell what the future holds.
PNR: Ok, this is where I pump you for information. Who will be getting their own story? How many books are you planning for the series? Any big surprises? Can you give me any inside information, just between us (wink)?
J.R. Ward: LOL! The Brotherhood series is open ended. Rehvenge is after Phury and then there’s a whole host of folks who want out of my head- John Matthew, Tohrment, Xhex, Payne, Lassiter, Blay, Qhuinn, Trez, iAm... so God willing I’ll be busy for a while! And there are always big surprises- some of which are transformative for both the individual in question and for the world.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
J.R. Ward: Phury’s LOVER ENSHRINED came out the beginning of June and then the Brotherhood compendium is out in October. After that, it’s Rehvenge’s LOVER AVENGED in the winter and I’m not sure who is after that- but the Brothers will let me know!
PNR: Thank you, JR, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
J.R. Ward: Thank you SO much for having me! My website is www.JRWard.com and you can access my message boards through it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Buy it Now!
BDB: Book 1
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....Buy it Now!
BDB: Book 2
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. 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. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage's protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone...Buy it Now!
Includes a brand new, never-before published, short story starring Zsadist and Bella!
Prepare to enter the dark, passionate world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and get up close and personal with each of the Brothers.
aka Jessica Bird
June 3, 2008
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. And now, a dutiful twin must choose between two lives...
BDB: Book 6
Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.
As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself- she sees the emotionally scarred male behind all his noble responsibility. But while the war with the Lessening Society grows more grim, and tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, Phury must decide between duty and love.
September 25, 2007
BDB: Book 5
Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous son of the Bloodletter possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father's war camp, he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time- until a destiny he didn't choose takes him into a future that cannot include her.
March 6, 2007
BDB: Book 4
Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. And if he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers.
But fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him.
September 1, 2006
BDB: Book 3
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 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 each other begins to overtake them, 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....
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