Our ever vigilant BDB guru, Decadence, recaps last Saturday’s online chat with J. R. Ward and Jessica Andersen.
I actually missed the first half hour or so of this chat, so hopefully no one said anything too important before I made it. The first half was dedicated to Jessica Andersen, author of the Nightkeepers series and J. R. Ward’s critique partner. There was a free-for-all in the break, and then the rest of the chat was for Ward.
Erotica author Dalton Diaz was there, but the speed of the chat intimidated her and the ‘chat virgin’ was spared having to answer questions this time at least (this is not a reflection on Dalton Diaz, but the chaos that is a J. R. Ward chat). There was an unusual amount of side chatter as JR had just finished writing Lover Unleashed the day before and she, Doc Jess and her mods were partying before the copyedits come in and they have to buckle down again.
I have paraphrased the questions so I can focus on getting the answers. Any mistakes are mine.
The first question I caught came from Ward herself but is still paraphrased: Rabbit was an instantly fascinating character from the moment he appeared in the first book. Did you always know that he was going to be a pivotal character or was it a surprise?
Actually, and I hate to give you credit, but you totally hit on it. I realised the book was turning into a generational thing with the winikin and the Nightkeepers in different generations, then the twins, but I wanted someone in between, too. So I sat down and channelled my inner pissed off teenager and he took over the books. In the beginning I would have said he was a bit player, but now the whole series is about his life.
What was the hardest part of writing for you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years as a writer?
The hardest part of writing for me is a little different for each book. In Blood Spells it was tough because it’s a very hard look at a relationship that’s just flatlined, which is real and not much fun. So it was tough for me to pull back and smooth over the tough stuff in between. JR nailed me for not always being down and dirty in the relationship trenches in this book at least.
In 5 years I hope to be on JR’s butt.
Can you give us a hint on the next series? (I’m kind of fuzzy on this question, I’m sure I missed something from earlier, so that will affect the answer.)
Blackwater. There’s nothing official yet.
There’s a novella coming about a pair who haven’t been in the other books but will feed into the main storyline for Storm Kissed. Timewise, it’s between Storm Kissed and Blood Spells. It’s on my site under Crystal Skull.
Jade did sort of show up … she’s really under the radar most of the time, then WHAM! There she is.
Did you know Brandt would be chosen over Rabbit? I love Patience and Brandt.
I thought Brandt was a red shirt (as in Star Trek, the extras in an away party who typically wore the red uniform frequently died on the mission), but he refused to die and he wanted to fight for his family. I knew Brandt would be chosen but not that Rabbit was first choice.
I’m sure that the question was who would she fight alongside, but the answer is more a shag, marry or flight alongside?
I would do Dez, marry Lucius and fight beside Strike.
Would you like to write a series where you could use your scientific background?
My early Intrigues had a lot of genetics and science in them, but readers seemed to get a kick out of the Bear Claw CSI books. So that’s the next 3 Harlequins starting May 2011.
How many books will there be in the Nightkeepers series?
9 books and 1 novella. The last 2 books will be back to back in Fall 2012.
Jox and Hannah FINALLY got together. Who decided it was time, them or you?
Ooh, good question. That’s what gets me weepy. That and Strike watching them drive away. I didn’t know that was going to happen. I was halfway thru the book and like, ‘It’s time. They deserve it.’ It’s the middle of the series so it seemed right to let them have their time together. He was the first one on the page in Nightkeepers and brought Strike.
Can you tell us more about Rabbit?
In the next book he loses a friend and Anna gets a message from beyond the barrier. Not telling which friend. Or the message.
Yes, Myrinne has been voted Most Likely to be Sacrificed by Keeper Fans, I get it.
Dalton Diaz sidenote: She uses her cover model as her avatar, so people often assume she is the model and send her boob pics.
Would you like to throw a ball at Fenway? (This was directed to both JR and Doc Jess, but only JR answered.)
Hell, yeah. But I’d probably trip off the mound and land draped on Doc Jess.
Before I start answering questions, I just want to tell you all something. Doc Jess read Lover Unleashed and got on the phone on Monday and we talk for 1½ hours about the book. She gives all this great feedback, then she tells me I’ve made the best typo ever: ‘For all of his life, Vishous had been fucking his pants.’ (Before Jane, obviously.) Man, a set of leathers never had it so good.
Have you left out a scene you later wished you’d included?
Something I didn’t put in the books? Like Fritz polishing the table in his underwear? I think I’m going to wisely take the Fifth on that and try and get Fritz out.
Will Wrath and Beth’s novella have Beth’s needing or start with the child already alive?
First of all, the novellas are not scheduled yet, so I don’t know when they’re coming out. The Rhage and Mary one should be done in about a month, and then I’ll start Wrath and Beth. I’ll let folks know when my pub gives a date. The rest is all KR (KR = Keep Reading). I can’t wait to write it.
How significant was Matthias’s death in Crave? Will his duality give him leverage to help Jim at the end?
You will see him, I believe, in future books and the hows and whys are a KR but there are no coincidences.
Can you give us a hint about Qhuay?
Qhuinn and Blay will be in Lover Unleashed and Saxton proves just how much he loves them both *sniff* (Yes, she really sniffed – Decadence)
How can we get signings in places such as New York, where it relates to the series? Would we need to contact your publisher?
I’d love to go but I don’t travel much anymore. The book schedule keeps me at home; otherwise, I don’t make deadlines.
Is Manny related to Butch?
The ‘BROTHER’ reference is not just to Payne and I’ll leave it at that. (She chats in capitals so I still don’t know if it was ‘Brother’ or ‘brother’, but mentioning Payne makes it more likely to be ‘Brother’.)
Have you had TV or movie offers?
We’ll have to see. I’m just focusing on the books.
Does V go into a downward spiral over Payne, and do his choices affect the Brotherhood as a whole?
Yes, he goes on a downward spiral, but his choices affect him and Jane and Butch more than anything else.
I read somewhere that the original contract was for 10 books. Will there be more?
The original contract was actually for 3 books and right now the series is open ended so as long as people keep reading and the Brothers keep talking and the good lord keeps me above ground I’d love to keep it going. It became apparent there were more people.
What did the Brothers do for Halloween? Is V a Mac or PC?
Not much, they’re not really into it.
V hates Mac. Anything with i in front of it? He despises. Not sure why he no like Apple. It’s so weird and I mean that. I figure he might be into … I duno.
Does Payne have the Scribe Virgin’s light? Or a different power to V? Will she replace the SV?
KR big time. I don’t know who comes next for the first time in the series.
Will Saxton get a HEA?
What can you tell us about Rhage and Mary’s novella?
Rhage and Mary are in a hard spot at the beginning of the story but it’s so beautiful to watch them become parents. My editor cried when she got the end of the outline.
Anything on Murhder?
Murhder has another side to him. I’ll leave it at that.
Will Saxton get his heart broken? That was an awesome song (referring to Qhuinn posting Clint Eastwood by the Gorillaz on the message boards).
I have to give you a KR on anything related to Blay and Qhuinn, and Saxton is a part of that. Look for the Gorillaz in the book.
Why was Butch crying? Was it V? (This must have come up at the beginning because I missed it.)
Let’s just say his heart was a little broken, but it’s OK in the end. He just had to do something that just … killed him and he got emotional about it. Something to be there for someone you have to go to places that are devastating for you. Especially if that someone is V. That’s all I can say. You’ll understand exactly what I mean if you read the book.