This week’s FIVE ON FRIDAY guest is author Jocelynn Drake. Jocelynn’s debut novel Nightwalker, was published in July 2008 to critical acclaim. High octane action and suspense are the order of the day in this tale of the Vampire hunter Mira and her encounters with Danaus, a Vampire hunter with his own mysterious past. It’s the Underworld meets Alias. Look for her new book Dayhunter now on sale.
(A note to parents, teachers and librarians: while I write children’s books some of my guests on FIVE ON FRIDAY do not. Many of the authors featured here write both. The purpose of FIVE ON FRIDAY is to give all visitors an insight into the mind of writers and the writing process. So please make your own judgment regarding the age appropriateness of the books discussed here for your children, students or patrons. And as always thanks for visiting FIVE ON FRIDAY.)
You can visit Jocelyn’s website at www.jocelynndrake.com.
When did you know that you first wanted to be a writer?
That’s a somewhat hard question to answer. I actually started writing when I was 12 years old. I spent the summer re-telling the tale of Robin Hood so that it included a strong female lead that could keep up with the other boys. (I still have that worn manuscript and no, no one is allowed to see it.) From there, I never gave writing a second thought. It was part of me, as essential as breathing. I daydreamed constantly of distant worlds, strange people, and wild plots. I wrote constantly, but growing up, I never considered doing it for a living. I knew how hard it was to get published and doubted that I would ever be good enough to be included with those amazing few that ranked among the gods.
It wasn’t until I was in my freshman year of college that I realized that maybe I had to take a chance on writing. I was an engineering major, but hated calculus. However, I was in heaven in my literature classes. At that time, I decided it was time to face facts and stop denying who I really was: I was a writer. My sophomore year, I changed my major to English and journalism. At that point, I finally embraced being a writer and I’ve never been happier.
What book or writer/artist do you feel influenced you the most?
Wow! That’s a hard question, too. I feel like a sponge when I read, taking everything and leaving it to stew in my subconscious. I love Simon Green’s world-building in his Nightside series. I love the character development that Raymond Feist and Kim Harrison create with their respective series. But oddly enough, my moral compass, the dark core of my novels, the sense of duty, honor, and responsibility that fill my main characters is born out of my love for the Batman legacy. I think the stories of Batman from the ’90s and ’00s are pure genius, delving into the dark psychological aspects of Bruce Wayne and the inhabitants of Gotham.
What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?
Due to my currently busy writing schedule, I have to admit that I haven’t done much reading lately. However, some authors that will always have a place on my nightstand include Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson, Rachel Vincent, Neil Gaiman, Raymond Feist, Simon Green, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, and Christine Feehan. Of course, that doesn’t include my growing stack of Batman graphic novels, a copy of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, and Earnest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers (or illustrators), what would it be?
I think the one bit of advice that I can offer is actually the hardest thing to do: don’t ever give up. This is a very hard business to break into and it demands that you develop a very thick skin. However, if you truly love writing, that unwavering passion should be able to carry you through the lean times. Write because you love it. Write constantly, trying new techniques, new voices, and new plot devices. The experience will only strengthen your skills. Just keep writing.
2009 is going to be a busy year for me, actually. At the end of April, Dayhunter, the second novel in my Dark Days Series will be released. This novel sees my main characters Mira and Danaus dash off to Venice, where they uncover a dark plot being twisted by the Coven — the ruling vampire body. At the same time, our heroes must still find a way to stop the naturi from breaking the seal that has locked the race away from the earth.
In late August, I have a novella coming out in the anthology Unbound, which also features Kim Harrison, Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr, and Vicki Pettersson. This novella is titled “The Dead, The Damned, and The Forgotten” and is actually to be a prequel to my first novel, Nightwalker. In this story, we get a look at Mira’s “normal” life because Danaus arrives and mucks everything up.
And finally, Dawnbreaker, the third novel in the Dark Days Series, is slated for release in late September. This novel continues with Mira and Danaus’s struggle with the naturi, but this time, we see the damage wrought by the naturi hitting much closer to home for Mira.
At the moment, I’m up to my eyeballs in book 4 in the Dark Days Series. And this one, kids, is headed in a slightly different direction from the prior 3 books.