Q&A with Darynda Jones

What was the hardest part of writing The Dirt on Ninth Grave?
Trying to figure out how much of Charley’s personality would still shine through despite the fact that she has amnesia! It was really tough. I wanted her to struggle, to be afraid and alone, but I needed her to still be Charley. That balance was difficult.
How many rewrites do you go through before you get to the final draft?
That kind of depends on the book and how bad I’m pushing my deadline. I like to get at least one complete deep edit in before turning a book into my editor, but I edit scenes as I go as well. Then there are revisions and copyedits. I do one last thorough read during page proofs, the last stage of the process for me as a writer, and the last point at which I can make changes.
Have you ever modeled any of your characters on people you know?
Many times! Although it’s usually a characteristic or a physical attribute rather than a complete embodiment of an acquaintance. For example, I have a Deaf kid named Quentin in the series, and while I stole the name from my youngest brother, the physical characteristics and some of the character’s personality were pilfered from my oldest son.
Out of all the books in the Charley Davidson series so far which one would you say was your favorite to write?
I now understand the oft-quoted phrase, “The one I’m working on now.” It’s true. Once you write a book, you kind of put it behind you and move on to the next. To be honest, I hardly remember writing any of them. It’s all a blur.
I do have a scene that sticks out in my mind, however. It’s from Third Grave Dead Ahead and it sticks out because I was scared to death to write it. I didn’t know if I could pull it off, so when I did, I was ecstatic. It’s the torture scene. :)
Other than writing what are you passionate about?
My family, my dogs, my friends, and food. I really like food, unfortunately. But writing is such a strong force in my life. Not just the act of doing it, but studying it. Studying story structure, character development, word choice, other writers and their lives. All forms of storytelling fascinate me and I crave it like air. I can be blown away by a line of dialogue or a razor sharp description or a twist I didn’t see coming. Writers are my rock stars.
Which would you rather do: 'Never write another story or never read another book'?
Holy cow! Really? Okay, this is hard. I don’t think I can NOT write, but reading and writing go hand in hand. There’s a quote by Stephen King that says ‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write,’ and I firmly believe that. If for some reason I absolutely had to choose I would give up reading, because I could get my story fix through movies and television, but that is a cruel question. Hehe.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Besides THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY DARK AND UNDESERVING HEART FOR MAKING ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE? Truly, readers have no idea what they mean to us lowly writers. We are eternally grateful!

About The Dirth on the Ninth Grave ( Charley Davidson #9)

In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

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