For reasons known only to the Big Guy upstairs, NYTimes and USA Today Best Selling author Darynda Jones won both a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT. But even before that, she couldn’t remember a time she wasn’t putting pen to paper. When she was five, she would pick up a pencil and notepad, scribble utter chaos onto the page and ask her mom to read her masterpiece aloud. Thankfully, her mother would play along. Later she wrote plays for the neighborhood kids, made up stories for her brother as he played cars, and fell in love with Captain Kirk. Those raging, seven-year-old hormones only fueled her imagination, prompting her to create fantastical stories for Barbie and Ken to enact. Ken was such a bad boy back then.
After years of being repeatedly sent to the principal’s office for daydreaming in class, she managed to make it to high school where she almost finished her first manuscript. Sitting with her BFF in a corner booth at the local Tastee Freeze for hours at a time, she wrote a post-apocalyptic story about a group of teens who bore a remarkable resemblance to the members of Van Halen and were trying to escape the tunnels of a huge government fallout facility decades after World War III had destroyed the surface of the earth. It was a science fiction version of The Warriors and destined to be a classic.
Life was good. Writing was good. Then she graduated and the real world came crashing through. She forced the dream aside in favor of sustenance and shelter, got married to a local rock star, and had at least two kids that she can think of, the oldest of whom was born Deaf, probably to spite her. When he was five, she packed up her boys and moved to Albuquerque to put him in a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program. The rock star stayed behind with the business, and they took turns going back and forth on the weekends to see each other for seven really long years.
While in Albuquerque, Darynda decided to see the cup half full and go back to college while she still had enough brain cells to make it worth her while. After graduating Summa cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Sign Language Interpreting, she moved back to her hometown and got a real job. Several in fact, mostly teaching at a local college and interpreting pretty much everywhere. Based on personal experience, she does not recommend having more than three jobs at any given time.
But bit by bit, the desire to write needled its way back to the surface. Unable to squelch it any longer, she started writing seriously again in 2002 with one goal in mind: A publishing contract. Unfortunately, she sucked. Thank goodness practice makes almost-perfect and three complete manuscripts later, she won that Golden Heart, landed an amazing agent and sold to St. Martin’s Press in a three-book deal.
She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press, the Charley Davidson series and the Darklight Trilogy. She hopes you enjoy reading them as much as she enjoys writing them.
Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
What are you reading right now?
I am reading the most incredible book!!! It's called City of Lights by Keri Arthur. Wow. Just wow. I'm only 50% in but I am loving every second of this book. It's post-apocalyptic science fiction, paranormal, fantasy, supernatural, sexy... It's just everything speculative rolled into one well-written adventure. It's so hard to get completely lost in a book these days, but Miss Arthur certainly did just that.
Ubie has become Jim Beaver in my mind's eye. I adore him. But I could see Jeffrey Dean Morgan (in my wildest dreams) or Matt Leblanc or Steve Zahn playing the part as well. I think Ubie needs to be able to be "all business" with a bit of goofy in him, and these actors fit the bill to a T.
If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be and why? (feel free to time-travel on this one—it can be any author, living or dead)
Wow! Thank you for throwing in the time travel option, because my number one girl is, of course, Jane Austen. I'm not sure she'd appreciate my sense of humor with the time difference and all, but I'd kill to co-write a story with her.
What’s your favorite line from a book, television show or movie that you wish you’d written?
Oh, gosh, there are so many! The best ones seem to be the simplest and yet have the biggest impact. You just don't see them coming. Like when Joe Morelli says, "Nice dress. Take it off." in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Awesome! And, yes, I wish I'd written it.
The zombie apocalypse has hit (as we all knew it would one day). Which TV or movie characters do you want as part of your crew? (no superheroes…that’s cheating)
Rick and Daryl, of course, along with pretty much the whole gang. What other show on television has that many badass female characters? Carol, Maggie, Michonne, Sasha, and Rosita, not to mention all the others who have come and gone. An amazing show. I'd also take Chris Wolfe from The Accountant because that boy can fight. He's also really good at math. And he's pretty. As is Jon Snow. Yes, I choose him, too. So, I take it Star Lord is out of the question?