Author Interview: Jennifer Turner

The Books

11114576Jennifer Turner
1. Eternal Seduction (A Darkness Within #1) | See my review.
2. Eternal Hearts (A Darkness Within #2) | See my review.

Toni Tutoro just wants to go home. Banned from Chicago’s vampiric society after cutting a swath of violence through the city, she must now successfully complete an investigation for the Lord of Chicago to regain the right to live in her hometown again.

To ensure Toni’s safety during her probationary period, Drake Black, a feared assassin, is secretly contracted to protect her. Even with direct orders to keep his relationship professional, and his own personal vow to never get involved with a female vampire again, Drake finds himself drawn to Toni in ways he can’t explain. But unbeknownst to him…he’s tied to one of the people who drove Toni to her night of destruction.

Drake’s legendary heritage holds the key to Toni’s survival and success, but will she be able to forgive his connection to the brutal night that robbed her of those she loved most? Will Drake be able to forget the betrayals in his past and risk taking one more chance? But most of all – can they find a way to reach each other in the darkness?

In this interview, not only was Jennifer kind enough to answer some of my questions (even the ones supposedly everyone asks, like: when are we going to have a book about Odin?) but she was also nice enough to add a spoiler for Eternal Embers (A Darkness Within #5), Odin’s book! Yay! Scroll down to the bottom of the interview to read the preview 😉

The Interview

1. Hey Jennifer! I’ve read both of your books: Eternal Seduction and Eternal Hearts. What made you decide to write paranormal romance in the first place?

Howdy! I’ve always loved vampires and otherworldly creatures. And the idea of being able to create my own world for not only vampires to play in, but other supernaturals as well, was just too tempting to pass up. 😉 Plus, the paranormal romance genre allows for a good dose of horror before the characters find their happy ending, and I can’t imagine ever writing a novel that doesn’t have at least a few mild horror elements in it.

2. The main characters in Eternal Seduction were Logan Ellis and Kerestyan Nelek. Logan is a homeless drug addict who has trouble emotionally relating to the world around her. That’s very unusual – and original – for a paranormal romance heroine. Why this personality for your main character?

The idea for Logan actually came to me while I was standing in the bookstore. I kept picking up book after book where the beautiful heroine had a high paying job/fancy house/college education, and I wondered what would happen if a heroine didn’t have any of those things. I wondered, what if she didn’t have a job, or a high school diploma…or even a home? Then I wondered, what if she isn’t what most people would consider pretty? What if, since she lives on the streets, she isn’t able to shower regularly and is really skinny because she isn’t eating the way she should be? Believe it or not, a lot of my ideas actually come from a good “What if?” session. And that’s exactly how Logan was born. 🙂

3. In Eternal Hearts, the main character is Drake, who we briefly meet in the first novel in the series. Why flip the perspective from Logan to Drake, and why make him the new main character?

Why flip perspectives? Because, to be completely honest, if I had to focus on the same character for more than one book I’d probably get bored and stop writing. 😉 Why make Drake the new main character? Well, there were a few reasons. One, of all the secondary characters in Eternal Seduction, Drake was probably the most emotionally prepared to find his match. Two, Drake lives in Chicago, and the majority of the series is actually set in Chicago. And three, he’s one of my favorite characters, and since he plays such an important role in Eternal Seduction…it just seemed natural to shift to him. 🙂

4. Although mainly dark paranormal romance, your novels also have a great deal of urban fantasy elements: New York City, Chicago, … Was this a conscious choice and if so, why go for the urban element?

The Urban Fantasy (UF) element wasn’t a conscious choice at all. Between you, me, and your readers…I still don’t know what the hell UF really is. 🙂 I’ve heard some authors and readers say UF is basically Paranormal Romance without the romance, yet I’ve heard others say it’s now a genre of its own, where the romance is left out but the hero and heroine constantly face dire circumstances together. Personally, I say if there’s a hero and a heroine, one of which is supernatural in some way, and they make googley-eyes at each other at any point during the story – it’s a freakin’ Paranormal Romance. 😉

5. I have to admit that, probably like a lot of people out there, I absolutely fell in love with Odin right from the start. Is he going to have a book dedicated to him sometime? And if so, when? Or do we find out more about him along the way in the other books.

I can easily say this is the question I get asked the most. 😉 Yes, Odin will definitely get his own book. His book, Eternal Embers, is book #5 in the series, and has a tentative release date of October 2012. But don’t worry, he makes appearances in nearly every book in the series, so even after his book comes out he’ll still be around. 😉

6. What do you love most about writing?

What I love most about writing is the challenge of bringing out realistic character personalities in a world that’s anything but. Creating complex characters that range from just-turned-eighteen to thousands upon thousands of years old, who’ve not only triumphed in their lives, but failed just as spectacularly, is probably what keeps me going when I swear I’ll never write another word. 🙂

7. What are you currently working on? Can you tell us something more about it?

Let’s see…I’m working on the final revisions for the third book in the Darkness Within series, Eternal Embrace, which will release this October. I’m also finishing up the first novella in the Ascension trilogy (Vouclade & Kasey’s story), Ascension: The Revelation – which I hope to release this summer (late August). I’m also working on the final revision of Eternal Desires, the fourth book in the Darkness Within series. And I just recently finished the first draft of Eternal Embers, the fifth book in the series…and probably the most awaited because it’s Odin’s story. 🙂 And I could tell you something about one of the stories, but I’d rather share. 😉

An *unedited* excerpt from Eternal Embers, Odin’s Story (book #5):

“You’re about as arrogant as one individual, human or vampire, could possibly be.”

Odin wrinkled his nose. He might have been crude every now and then, might have been boastful on occasion…but he’d never been called downright arrogant before. And the way she’d said it, how she’d sneered the insult at him, her lips curled like the universe itself agreed with her every word.

He narrowed his eyes and turned to stare at her. “You’re the last person who should be calling anyone, human or vampire, arrogant. You walk around with a chip on your shoulder like the world and everyone in it owes you something.” He motioned around them. “You’re the arrogant one in this room, not me.”

She returned his glare with a searing hatred he hadn’t felt in years. “You don’t know me. You don’t know whether this world owes me something or not. Don’t think I don’t know what your last name means, or what comes with it. You’ve been handed your vampiric existence on a silver platter. Bloodstained it might have been at times, but handed

nonetheless.” She uncoiled from the chair and stalked towards him, still keeping a good ten feet of space between them. “Tell me one time, give me one example of when something in your life wasn’t orchestrated or fixed by your precious father.”

“You think everything in my life’s been perfect just because Stefan Nelek is my Sire?” He took a moment to laugh. “You have no idea what it’s like to be a member of my family. I haven’t had anything handed to me. I’ve had to stand on my own on more occasions than I care to count.”

She didn’t back down. “Name one.”

He folded his arms over his chest. “Early autumn, year of our Lord 1109 A.D. I broke from the Napoli army and stopped to water my warhorse in a small fief outside of England. It’d been raining for a week straight, mud was caked on my horse, my armor…damn, it was all over everything.” He relaxed his arms when the memory burst to life behind his eyes, as though he was living it again. “But the rain had finally stopped. I remember looking up at the full moon and thinking it was nice to see something other than swollen black clouds. And the smell.” He closed his eyes. “Damp earth, crisp leaves, and smoky fires burning in the hearths of the tavern and homes scattered about. I swear that smell doesn’t exist anymore.”

He opened his eyes to see her standing a little closer, head tilted slightly. Her beautiful blue eyes had relaxed, no longer stinging his skin like red-hot daggers. “Continue.”

He nodded, surprised by her tone. The word didn’t sound like an order this time, but more of a request. “I handed the reins to a young boy who offered his service, then headed towards the tavern. I could hear the laughter and singing from down the street.” He smiled as the haunting melody drifted through his mind, but let it fade when the sound that followed sent cold tingles racing up his spine. “I was only a few feet away from the door when I heard her scream. It cut through everything. The terrified edge to it…the desperate, almost hopeless pitch. Before I knew it, I was running between homes, following the ghostly echo.

“In between two merchant’s storage barns, in this thin, dark stretch of ground, I saw three figures hunched over. At first I wasn’t sure what they were doing. I didn’t know if they were men or children, but when the tearing of cloth rent the air, mingling with muffled cries…I knew exactly what was going on.”

Odin shifted his stance and stared down at the carpet. “Her hair was tangled with chunks of mud, blood smeared across her pale shoulders. They’d torn the bodice of her peasant gown nearly in half. The skirt bunched around her waist. I’d no more than unsheathed my blade, ready to return all three men to whatever depraved God made them, when pain exploded in my back. I remember seeing the glint off the tip of the blade as it punched through my breastplate; remember the large arm circling my neck from behind, holding me back the way a parent holds a child. Effortless. Easy.

“I should have known he’d be there.” He fisted his hands. “Enemies, true enemies, always know where you are. They’re always watching, waiting for ways to lay you low.” He shook his head. “Demetrius. That bastard always knew how to draw my attention. He forced me to watch as his men defiled her. Kept his blade steady, skewering my chest as they abused her. The more I fought against his Ancient power, the more brutal his men were. Eventually…I just froze. For the first time in my life I was afraid to move. I was terrified of what they’d do to her next.”

Odin pressed the heels of his palms against his eyes as a nauseous feeling churned his stomach. He grazed a thumb across his bottom lip as a bitter smile spanned his mouth. “The scar on my bottom lip was his last gift to me that night. He told me to remember it. Told me that every time I looked at myself, he wanted me to remember I was just a Nelek Child…just a flawed copy of a relic who should have died millennia ago.”

He dropped a hand and raked the other through his hair. “I remember what he said…but I remember her even more. She couldn’t have been much more than fourteen. The image of her climbing to her feet after Demetrius and his men had vanished, clutching the scraps of her dress to her chest. The tears staining her cheeks, how the crimson fingerprints seemed to glow against the bare skin of her thigh. Every single shred of innocence her eyes should have held was gone. And it was my fault. I failed her. I should have been able to save her…at least help her.”

Odin fisted his hands again, so hard he felt his fingernails digging, burning crescents into his palms. “But in a moment where I wanted nothing more than to weep for her, for what I’d allowed to happen to her, she stood strong behind her tears. And what I remember more than anything, is hearing her say thank you before she disappeared into the night. I recall the sting of her quiet voice as she thanked me for helping her when—”

“When no one else would.”

Odin’s entire body tensed as the quiet voice from so long ago enveloped him. He slowly raised his eyes, finally realizing why the icy blue set staring back at him seemed so damn familiar. No mud tangled Dahalia’s golden hair this time, no blood stained her soft, pale skin…but those eyes, as tear filled now as they were then, hadn’t changed in nearly 900 years.

The Author

Jennifer Turner lives in Bowling Green, Ohio, with her husband, twelve year old daughter and two cats. She regularly claims one of the aforementioned takes far more work than the others to maintain – but she won’t share which one. She’s the middle child between two brothers, and the favorite child of her parents. Of course, that’s always subject to opinion. Jennifer began her writing career as a self-published romance author, but is now represented by Robert Gottlieb, Chairman of Trident Media Group. Visit her website.

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