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Jennifer Rardin Bibliography & Interview

Jaz Parks Novels (in reading order)

LoveVampires Interview with Jennifer Rardin

Jennifer Rardin on Jennifer Rardin

Jennifer RardinWhen I'm not writing fast-paced stories starring kickass heroines and mysterious vampires, I tend to spend my time trying to prove my wild theories. Like that the road to true enlightenment is paved with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and lined with bookstores. And that if I run at least a mile every day I'll live long enough to vacation on the moon.

Jennifer Rardin on Once Bitten, Twice Shy

I'd compare reading Once Bitten, Twice Shy to riding a monster bullet train. In fact, fans have told me they were compelled to gobble it up in a single sitting. So, I'm wondering, should we stick a warning label on the cover? Do not read unless you've stocked up on granola bars and grape Kool-Aid. And maybe consider cozying up near the bathroom for the duration. That way . . . you know.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy Cover PictureThe novel introduces you to Jaz Parks and her boss, the vampire Vayl. They're CIA assassins who've been assigned to squeeze information from, and then terminate, a plastic surgeon who uses children's charity funds to rearrange terrorist's faces. The plot quickly develops intricacies when Jaz and Vayl discover they're targets themselves. In addition readers find that tragedies in our heroes' pasts have lassoed them so tightly it's a wonder they're not constantly falling on their faces. But that's why you love them. They're fighters. Survivors. Pros.

How do your vampires differ from the traditional (Dracula/Bram Stoker) variety?

A few of them have managed to avoid the whole damned-for-eternity path traditional vamps walk. I'm not saying they're saints. But some, like Vayl, have found ways to protect least a portion of their souls. These are the ones who are trying to blend, to live among humans, most of whom would prefer to see them take a short stroll in the sunshine.

I break tradition in other ways as well. My vamps can see themselves in mirrors. When they're up and moving around, their bodies work just as ours do, so they can eat, drink, and make love. They can't change into bats or fly. And beyond their typical vampiric powers they each have at least one unique ability called a cantrantia.

Vampires are hugely popular in our culture. Why do you think that people have such an enduring interest in vampires?

I think the fascination lies in the blood. If we were into long, boring essays by aspiring professor types we could probably find reams written on that very detail. But maybe it's too basic to cheapen with a lot of talk. So we'll just say there's Power in blood. Beauty in its function. Vulnerability in its loss. Intimacy in its sharing. We recognize that. And we can't seem to turn our backs on creatures whose survival depends on it.

How many Jaz Parks novels do you plan to write?

Twenty-two and a half. Kidding! We have five planned at the moment. If readers respond by buying the series in masses and droves we'll seriously consider expanding it. Especially if we figure out what droves actually means.

Many would-be authors never see their work in print - how did it happen for you?

Biting The BUllet Cover PictureI wrote Once Bitten, Twice Shy over a period of about two years. After I'd rewritten it to the point where I couldn't find one more word to change that would improve it, I bought a copy of the 2006 Guide to Literary Agents and made a list of agents who were willing to read fantasy works. I took about a month to write a compelling cover letter, and another couple of weeks to pull together a snappy synopsis, and then began sending out queries. At the same time I started writing another book so I wouldn't go nuts waiting for something BIG to happen.

It took over a year for me to find my agent, Laurie McLean. I guess that's what happens when you start with the A's! Anyway, I signed with her in late spring of 2006, and by August of that same year she'd sold my first novel as well as two as-yet-unwritten books in the same series.

Yeah, every single day I realize exactly how fortunate I am.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? In particular ones who are interested in writing urban fantasy?

Tons, but so we can all stay awake for the rest of the day, I'll try to keep it brief. Probably the most important piece of advice I could ever give you is the phrase I had taped to my old computer during the writing of Once Bitten, Twice Shy: He who stays, plays. This is something my husband's assistant coach used to tell all of their freshman football players every year. Something he learned from his own experience. Stick around. Never give up. Persist - and you will get in the game. It's true. I'm forty-two-years old. Once Bitten, Twice Shy was the fourth novel I'd written. But it was the first anyone ever wanted to publish.

Another saying I like to keep in mind-and I'm sorry I can't remember the originator, is this - What most people call genius is really just pure hard work. You have to put in the time. Pour your passion into every word. And when it's done, totally remove your ego from the piece. Let it become a product you want to sell, and really listen when you're lucky enough to find a reader who will give you honest feedback. Then be willing to change it. A lot. Because every time you do, it will improve. I probably rewrote Once Bitten, Twice Shy twenty times. It is not the story I began with. It's light years better than I imagined it could be. And I'm glad.

Which authors/books do you think have had most influence on your writing style?

Stephen King and James Clavell have had the greatest influence on my style. The two authors who've most influenced the way I think about writing are Chaucer and Dickens.

What are you currently working on?

During the day I'm plotting One More Bite, the fifth book in the Jaz Parks series, and I'm working on the pitch for my next urban fantasy series at night.

Another One Bites The Dust Cover PictureI'm also looking forward to the release of Another One Bites the Dust, the second Jaz Parks novel, which comes out in the UK December 6, and in the States on December 12. I think you guys will like this one. Jaz, Vayl and their crew must recover a vital piece of biotechnology that's been stolen by an ancient Chinese vampire-who they also have to kill. But, of course, their missions are never as easy as they sound. Especially with the psychic and the sci-guy at each others' throats and Jaz's nightmares turning out to be as hazardous as her day-job.

Who is your favourite author?

Michael Crichton

Who is your favourite fictional vampire character (from either books, comics, TV or film)?

It's got to be Deacon Frost from the first Blade movie. Remember that monster? Definitely one of those vamps you love to hate.

A big "thank-you" to Jennifer Rardin for taking part in the author interview. To find out more about Jaz Parks visit Jennifer's website.
18th November 2007

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