Jennifer Rardin Interview and Giveaway

Please welcome author of the Jaz Parks Series, the incredible, the amazing, Jennifer Rardin!!

Jennifer has a new series out so far consisting of FIVE books, each being released rapidly one after another! I have had the pleasure of reading and devouring books one and two so far and I have to say they were damn good!!

Jennifer please tell everyone about your series featuring Jaz Parks.

I’d compare it to a terrific bachelorette party. Fun from beginning to end, with romantic overtones and yet no icky sex to squash the vibe. Okay, nobody gets drunk until book four (Bitten to Death). And there is that small matter of the violence. And occasional gore. What can I say? Jaz and Vayl are assassins, and damn good ones at that. Necessary characters in a world inhabited by vampires, necromancers, witches, reavers and the like. Yeah, Vayl’s a vampire too, but he’s chosen his own path, one that’s allowed him to live peacefully among humans for over eighty years. He’s unique in a lot of other ways as well, which is why Jaz finds herself so fascinated by him. Hopefully you guys will as well.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Once Bitten, Twice Shy took me two years to finish, but that was because I could only go at it part-time, usually at night before I went to sleep. Now that I’m writing full time, I can generally complete a manuscript in six months. However that’s working intensively, usually seven days a week, from six to eight hours a day. I wouldn’t recommend that schedule long-term and am looking forward to stretching the time-line to about nine months after I’ve finished One More Bite in May.

Did you need to do any research for your books?

Quite a bit. My philosophy is that everything that parallels real life in my books should be as believable as possible, because I think it allows readers to more easily embrace the fantasy elements. My research has run the gamut from the basic rules of belly dance to what word Spec Ops guys would use to call for a medic during a firefight. The most fun bit of research I ever did was to participate in an afternoon of Airsofting with my son and a group of his friends. The guns look genuine, but they shoot soft pellets. Everybody straps on appropriate safety gear and then the games begin. It was amazing how real those guys could make a battle situation feel for me. Very cool of them to let me play.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing book five of the Jaz Parks series, One More Bite, during which Jaz and Vayl fly to the Scottish Highlands in order to take out another assassin. I’m pretty excited about this one, because we’ll have a chance to learn more about Jaz’s childhood. I’m also developing a new urban fantasy series which has got me pretty psyched. It’s a lot different from this one, but still with those elements of adventure, humor, romance and violence that I find so appealing both as a writer and a reader.

How many books will be in the Jaz Parks series?

At this point we’re planning on five books. However if we get a big, positive response to the series, we’re certainly open to doing more.

I think your books would make excellent movies. Is there any talk about turning them into movies or a TV show?

We’ve had a couple of nibbles from movie producers, but nothing firm yet. So fun to ponder which actress could pull off Jaz Parks though. And Vayl—that’s going to take some real charisma. Any ideas?

How do you write your fight scenes? They’re so vivid and real. Do you have to plan it out or does it just fall into place as you write?

My editor helped me a lot with fight scenes by suggesting that I write them as if I was viewing them on a TV screen. Just see the action and then describe it. So that’s what I try to do.

I never plan those scenes out. In the outline it usually just says something like, the bad guys show up and they fight. I will say I find those the most difficult to write. Because they should read really fast, but they go into the laptop like taffy—intricate detail usually involving multiple characters. They’re the scenes I labor over the most. Those and the climactic endings, which generally change several times before I’m happy with them


Do you plot your stories or just go right to the writing?

I did minimal plotting on Once Bitten, which came back to bite me (pardon the pun) in the rewrites. We’re talking massive numbers—I’d say over twenty in all. Once you’re published, you can’t really write that way anymore. Editors need to know the plots for catalog copy and so on long before you’ve ever begun the story, and I’ve found the writing goes faster, from the first draft onward, if I’ve plotted the entire novel from the get-go. Having said that, I should note that I’ve never stuck with the original outline once I’ve gotten into the writing. Stuff happens, you know? Unexpected twists and turns that make a story sing, and if you try to force it away from what it’s trying to become, stick to the plan you started with, the creative juices stop flowing.

Vampires tend to have different rules in every paranormal and urban fantasy novel that I read. How did you decide what will work for your vampires and demons in your books?

Some of my decisions were based on practicality. Should vampires be able to see themselves in mirrors? Well, duh. Eat and drink people food? I figured if some of their body parts worked, all the others should as well.

On the other hand, I couldn’t buy everything I’ve seen vamps do in fiction. Time travel? Nope. Turn into bats? Fly? I just couldn’t go there. My editor requested that I stay with a few of the more traditional aspects of vampirism (no skipping into church, if you please) and I was cool with that. Out of respect for all of those who came before, I felt I should maintain traditional methods of killing them as well.

But as a writer your attempt is to offer readers, if not something new, at least a unique perspective on a subject. So then the decisions begin to base themselves on contrasts. How do your vampires who are monsters differ from Vayl, the one vampire who is controlling his monster? And what does that mean for him and Jaz?

I adored the scenes with astral projection, when the soul leaves the body to travel elsewhere and then returns to its body after. I have always found this so fascinating and I think you did a wonderful job with it. How did you go about writing those scenes? Any research needed for it? Do you believe it is possible to astral project in real life?

Thanks so much! I always think it’s cool to see which scenes people pick out as their faves.

I didn’t research for astral projection specifically. But when I was younger, for a while I became fascinated with near-death experiences. That is, people who’d died and then been brought back. So I’ve read a few books on that theme and heard quite a few first-hand accounts, one from a close family member. So that figured into the process somewhat.

I wasn’t sure people would accept that Jaz could separate from herself in the way I wanted her to. So my effort was to make it seem as real as sitting down to breakfast. Do I believe it’s possible? I tend to think anything’s possible, but to suspect anyone who publicly claims some amazing ability. Maybe that sounds like an oxymoron, but my sense is that wondrous gifts are rare, and their owners only share the news with people who know how to keep their mouths shut.

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

If I could be a superhero, I would be Hilariousgirl. (Your Stephen Lynch fans are probably rolling on the floor right about now.) Seriously, I’d like to be able to crack people up every time I opened my mouth. My “day job” would be a blast—people would pay just to hear me stand on a stage and talk. Have you ever heard anybody laugh until they snorted? It’s a riot! Plus, think about it, you could foil any sort of crime, because people can’t function when they’re laughing so hard they’re trying not to pee their pants.

What authors and genres do you enjoy reading?

I love reading Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Ursula K. LeGuin, Charlaine Harris and (early) Laurell K. Hamilton. I’ve also read a lot of Tom Clancy and everything by James Clavell. My favorite romance writer is Maggie Shayne.

I prefer urban fantasy, fantasy and science fiction with an occasional dose of mystery and horror for variety.

Is there anything else you would like to tell your readers?

Thanks to all of you for joining the Jaz adventure! My third book, Biting the Bullet, is due to be released February 11. Bitten to Death will follow on August 12 and One More Bite will appear on bookshelves March 2009.

Hope your 2008 rocks!

Jennifer Rardin

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview Jennifer! Good luck with your series and I can't wait to read Biting the Bullet!!


Jennifer will be answering readers' questions between 7 and 8 pm Central time Monday January 7th. (IT is today the 7th, sorry for the typo originally)

Please post your questions now and tomorrow for her to answer them. Jennifer will also be giving away the first two books in the series, Once Bitten Twice Shy and Another One Bites the Dust to one VERY lucky commenter. The winner will be picked Tuesday January 8th.


Visit Jennifer Rardin's site here

Buy Once Bitten, Twice Shy here

Buy Another One Bites the Dust here


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Jennifer and Rachael!!

    Where did you get idea to write the Jaz Parks Series? Where did you get the names (Jaz & Vayl) they're very unique! I love them. :)

    For the possibility of having the books turn into movies - what authors would you like to play Jaz and Vayl?

    And hey! your third book, Biting the Bullet, is due on my 20th birthday! (which would make a great present, hint hint to my friends, hehe)

    Fantastic interview, Rachael!!

  3. And another question! Jennifer, when you're writing a book, do the characters do what you want them to do or do they just do whatever they want? I mean if you have a spefic action for someone and then all of a sudden, the character ends up doing something else?

    I hope that makes sense! LOL.

  4. No question (well, not right now), but I would like to be in the running to win the goods, please ;-)

    Have a lovely day! :-)

  5. Jennifer, if you were turned into a vampire, what do you think your first reaction would be? Horrified or pleased? Please elaborate or fantasize :)

    Oh, and I've also posted about this great giveaway on my blog : A Book Blogger's Diary

  6. Excellent interview, Rachael and Ms. Rardin!

    Ms. Rardin, you said that the writing of your books take anywhere from six months to two years - what do you do to keep yourself motivated to write?

  7. Hi Jennifer & Rachael...great interview! :)

  8. Hi! I certainly enjoyed reading your interview! I have read great things about your books. This is the first interview I have seen and read, though! It is so interesting to read about various authors and their approach to writing. Thanks,Cindi

  9. I'm definitely gonna have to get these books. I meant to with my last order but forgot, but when you mentioned them on the BoB contest, I wrote them down to remember (note to self: remember to read your reminder notes.)

    Great interview!

  10. Hi everybody! Keep your questions coming! And please tell your friends about this interview and giveaway. Jennifer will be here tonight to answer questions.

  11. Hi Wendy!

    I love vampire stories. Have since I was a kid. And finally my husband talked me into writing one.

    So I started from the vampire's perspective, figuring I'll put him in a situation where he's doing what he does best--killing. But in a way that's sanctioned by the government. New twist, right? So I'm rolling right along, and all of a sudden this smartass, wisecracking voice starts knocking around in my head, demanding to be let out. Which is when I realize this story is more than just Vayl's. Plus, it can only be told properly from one viewpoint--thus, Jaz Parks gets her way yet again.

    The names came from a sense that I wanted something sharp sounding and easy to remember. Other than that, they just sort of bloomed, organically, from my bubbling brainpan.

    Actresses for Jaz: I think Renee Zellweger can pull off the attitude, but probably not the physical stuff. Maybe Keira Knightley or Jennifer Garner?

    Actors for Vayl: Johnny Depp would be my first choice, followed by Heath Ledger and Damian Lewis.

    When I'm writing well, I'm in the character's head, so they do what they're supposed to. Which means, no matter what I had planned originally, the action that happens on the laptop is always better and what I stick with.

    Thanks for the terrific questions, Wendy!

  12. Hey Tez,

    Good to see yer smiling face! Take it easy!

  13. Dear abookworm,

    I'd be flipping freaked out if I were turned. Then depressed. Then horrified. Repeat as needed.

    Yeah, I'm too attached to my family to think eternal life on this rock would be any sort of fun. And none of them are interested in the vamp lifestyle. I've definitely hitched myself to a group of daylighters!

    However the IDEA of a long, long life wherein you would have the opportunity to travel the world, explore multiple careers, meet thousands of people and delve into mysteries most human minds only brush against appeals to me big-time.

    Thanks for the question!

  14. Hi Jennifer! Great answers! I still can't decide who I would want to play Jaz and Vayl in the movies..

  15. Hey there T.C.

    How do I keep myself motivated? Well, I'll tell ya, fear has always worked best for me. Fear of: missing deadlines, disappointing readers, putting off the publisher, failing outright. Yeah, this all keeps me at the keyboard pretty much every day.

    But it's a miserable way to go.

    So what I'm finding is that, if you start with a compelling story and characters you love--it's like going to work with a bunch of close friends. You can't wait to get there. You're sorry to leave at the end of the day. There's an excitement, a passion even, that makes you rub the lid of that laptop before you open it every morning and think, "I freaking love this job!"

    I don't mean to make it sound easy. Every day I wish I was a creative genius so I could just throw down some wildass plot that would make your head spin. The work's intense, challenging and always makes me feel I'm at the very edge of what I'm capable of producing. But then, I guess that's why I'm never bored.

  16. Hi Kimberly,

    Thanks for tuning in!

  17. Hi Windy Cindy,

    I appreciate your kind words. Hope you give at least one of the books a try.

  18. Hi Chari-dee,

    You're cracking me up. I'm always forgetting stuff too. The other day I went to SuperWalMart wearing my house shoes. Luckily they have hard soles and look like moccasins, so I got away with it. But, gawd, it's pretty sad when you forget to change your shoes! (Yeah, my mind was on my latest book, "One More Bite." It always is now. Four months to deadline is not long for all the stuff I need to get done! But I'm super excited about it. Witches and ghosts on the same pages? Yeehaw!)

  19. Thank you so much for coming Jennifer! It was such a pleasure to have you here and have all our questions answered. I can not wait to read Biting the Bullet and all the other books in your series.

    I think the idea of another series is an awesome idea, but I am also in love with Jaz's series so I REALLY hope it lasts for MORE then 5 books. I'd love to read more about Jaz.

    Good luck with your writing and thank you again!

  20. I can picture Jennifer Garner and Heath Ledger. Those two work for me. Even though for some weird reason, even though I know it couldnt happen, I like the idea of Buffy and Angel! LOL

  21. All this talk REALLY makes me want to go reread Once Bitten Twice Shy and Another One Bites The Dust, again! LOVED them so much!!!

  22. Thanks for having me RachaelfromNJ. It was a blast!

  23. You're welcome Jennifer, thank you!

    Everyone thanks for coming and I will draw a winner for the first two books in Jennifer Rardin's series Once Bitten Twice Shy and Another One Bites the Dust, tomorrow Tuesday January 8th.

  24. Oooh, I can definitely imagine Jennifer Garner playing Jaz!

    Thanks for answering all my questions, Jennifer! :)

  25. I know I'm too late for the contest, but I just loved reading this interview. Great job, both of you.

  26. Too late for the contest but wanted to stop by earlier and lost track of time.

    I did however blog you.



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