I’m pleased to have author Jennifer Turner here at my blog today. Her second Darkness Within novel Eternal Hearts is recently released and today Jennifer is here to talk about the series and the first two books that are released so far.
*And don’t miss your chance to win both books she’s giving away at the end of this post!*
Hi Jennifer, welcome to my place. Let’s start with an easy question *g*. Eternal Hearts is the second book in your Darkness Within series. The first is Eternal Seduction. Can you try to tell in two sentences what these books are about, for those who haven’t read them (yet)?
Holy smokes, Janna! I can barely write a back cover blurb in under 500 words, and all you’re giving me is one sentence per book!? ;) Well, here goes nothing…
Eternal Seduction: Logan Ellis has lived most of her life alone on the unforgiving streets of New York City, and she’s convinced she’ll die there…until she comes face to face with an Ancient vampire, who unexpectedly becomes her last chance to regain one of the most important things she’s ever lost – her humanity.
Eternal Hearts: Toni Tutoro just wants to go home – to the city where she died, to where her human family was murdered, and to a dangerous man she’s never met…who will love her in ways she thought were lost the day her heart stopped beating.
Okay, so I may have stretched the one sentence rule by using creative punctuation…but it’s the best I could do! ;)
Can readers read Eternal Hearts without reading Eternal Seduction first?
I think someone could read Eternal Hearts without reading Eternal Seduction first, but as much as it pains me to say this…I wouldn’t recommend it. I tried extremely hard to go light on some of the world building explanations in Eternal Hearts, partially because the hero and heroine are already supernatural when the story begins, but mostly because I’ve read a lot of reader complaints about how authors tend to rehash the same back story over and over in series books. Unfortunately, I may have made a mistake with my decision, because I think I went too light…to the point that someone coming into the series with Eternal Hearts might feel a little lost without having read Eternal Seduction first.
I have received some good feedback from readers who found Eternal Hearts first though, who said they were confused in the beginning, but there was just enough info throughout the book to stop them from feeling lost…so that gives me hope!
I’ve learned a good lesson from this situation though, and am striving for a much better blend of world building explanations in book 3. I certainly don’t want a new reader to feel lost, but at the same time, I don’t want to drown my “regulars” with information they already know.
Will fans of Logan and Kerestyan (the couple from the first book) see them again in this second book?
Unfortunately, Kerestyan and Logan don’t make an appearance in the second book, mainly because Eternal Hearts actually picks up just a few days after Eternal Seduction ends, and it didn’t seem right to check-in with them so soon. However, you might see them in Ascension: The Revelation, which is the first novella in Vouclade’s trilogy, and you’ll definitely see them again in Eternal Embers, which is Odin’s book.
Early reviews of Eternal Hearts show that some readers who loved Eternal Seduction are less enthusiastic about Eternal Hearts. Do you think this has something to do with the heroines of the books, Logan and Toni, who aren’t much alike?
I do think the somewhat opposing reactions have a lot to do with the how different the heroines of the two books are. Logan is a 30 year old, detached and unrepentant, take-me-as-I-am-or-don’t-take-me-at-all kind of woman, whereas Toni is only 22, and is still desperately searching for a place she fits in.
Toni’s everything that Logan isn’t, she’s caring, compassionate, and she never ignores an opportunity to tell someone how much they mean to her. But on the flip side, Logan has this cool, calculating…almost unshakable façade, that when you compare the two heroines, kind of makes Toni seem a little meek and even whiney on occasion. However, even with all that said, I think both characters have a wide range of strengths and flaws that are uniquely their own.
To be honest, I’m not sure I could’ve created two heroines that are more opposite than Logan and Toni if I’d actually tried. And I’m also not surprised that readers who absolutely loved Logan don’t like Toni as much, or vice versa. If forced into a scene together, Logan and Toni probably wouldn’t like each other very much either. ;)
What other differences are there between the two books that could explain the opposite reactions?
I think there are a few possible causes. First, Eternal Seduction has a very character driven, non-traditional storyline, whereas Eternal Hearts is more traditional as well as more plot driven overall. Second, in my opinion, the two books have very different pacing. Eternal Seduction tends to mover slower for the majority of the book, and then ramps up at the end because some young vampire (and I won’t name names), makes a less than intelligent and rather split-second decision. :) Eternal Hearts, on the other hand, has a steadier pace and is always moving forward. But again, at least in this instance, I think the different pacing is reflective of the heroines. Logan is older, she’s never in a rush because she knows she has to pick and choose her battles, and as her world begins to change, she watches situations develop and doesn’t commit to action until she’s either sure of herself – or is forced to react. Toni is young, she’s lost her family and her home, and she’s constantly struggling to pull the fractured pieces of her life back together, which means she’s always fighting to move forward in an effort to regain some of the stability and security she feels so unbelievably lost without. And third, the heros from the two books are pretty different too. Kerestyan is an Ancient vampire Lord, he’s staunch in his beliefs, regal in bearing, and while he definitely has a sometimes unyielding and very alpha-male personality, he also knows he has all the time in the world to let a situation unfold. But Drake, well…Drake’s young, brash, charmingly arrogant in his own ways, and while he too has a strong and sometimes overly protective alpha-male personality, he also has a humility and humor about him that makes him truly unique.
Just as a final thought on the question, regardless of my examples above, I think the main reason for the differing opinions is simply reader perception. I don’t think every couple or character in a series will ever strike the same cords with each reader. For example, take the first ten books from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. If you asked me if I loved all ten, I would easily tell you no. I ran to the bookstore to buy all ten as they released. :) I very much enjoyed reading all ten and was always sad when I flipped the last page. But Seize the Night (Tabby & Val) and Night Play (Bride & Vane) will forever stand above the others for me. I absolutely loved those two books, and to this day…I swear the only way I’d part with them is if you pried them from my cold, dead hands. :) So I definitely understand where my readers are coming from when they say they loved one book in my series more than another. And I think as long as my readers still enjoy the story, even if they don’t love every character, then I’m still moving in the right direction.
What do you love about writing? And what do you hate?
What I love 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. :)
As for what I hate…I hate writing sex scenes. ;) I can write five chapters full of gut wrenching emotional scenes in the time it takes me to write three pages of sex. No matter how hard I try, when I reread the scene it always sounds cheesy to me. So now when I finish writing one, I let my hubby, my Mom, and a beta reader or two look it over, and if they say it’s good – I won’t read the scene again unless my agent wants a change. And even then…I might argue! ;)
FYI – My Mom has been an avid romance reader all her life, so if she doesn’t find a problem with one of my sex scenes, I know it can’t be too terrible. :)
Whose story is next? And when can we expect Odin’s book?
Eternal Embrace (book 3) belongs to Oktober and Lydia, which I’m working to secure a late October 2011 release date for. Book 4, Eternal Desires, will then follow in May of 2012. And if I get everything I want (fingers crossed!), Odin’s book, Eternal Embers, will release in October of 2012. Actually, if I really get everything I want…I’ll be at the Romantic Times convention in Chicago in April of 2012, and I’ll have ARCs of Odin’s book with me. :D
Can we perhaps look forward to a male/male couple in one of the future Darkness Within novels?
Hmmm. Let me see if I can summon the grace necessary to answer this question properly. ;)
Will you see a male/male couple as one of the main series books? Probably not. Will you see a male/male couple in one of the novellas? I sure hope so.
Explanation: Much to my dismay, I don’t think the majority of paranormal romance readers are ready for a male/male or even a female/female couple yet. And if I made a M/M or F/F pairing one of the main books in the Darkness Within series, it would mean that particular story has to contain pertinent details that would drive following books in the series. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I wouldn’t want to force those who aren’t comfortable reading a M/M or F/F story into reading one solely because that book contains plot hooks and pieces necessary to understand or follow the overall story arc.
I have great respect for all of my readers, whether they’re gay, straight, black, white, catholic, or atheist, and the last thing I want to do is alienate anyone in any way. So, at least in my opinion, it seems like the best way to give my M/M loving readers what they’re looking for is to do it in a novella. I have a small handful of novellas planned that will run parallel to the series books, but don’t actually connect to the major plot arc driving the series. Meaning, the novellas will have all kinds of insights and info in them, but the important details won’t be anything that isn’t also touched upon in the main series.
Long story short – the novellas are how I intend on getting away with writing stories set in the Darkness Within world that aren’t necessarily “mainstream” friendly. ;) I’ve brainstormed a M/M story, a F/F story, a story that deals with a barely legal 18 year old who’s the victim of human trafficking, and a story that revolves around a serial killer turned vampire. The novellas are where I plan to get darker, dirtier, and turn the horror switch up a few notches. :D
How many Darkness Within novels will there be in total?
Right now, I have roughly 15 books planned for the series. I’ve left openings for more books to be added though, just in case readers gravitate towards a character that isn’t included in those 15. I’m all about giving my readers what they want, so if they start to love a character I haven’t planned for over the course of the series – I definitely want to be able to satisfy their demands. ;)
Thanks so much for your time and insightful answers, Jennifer! I’m really looking forward to the other 13 or more books that are coming our way, especially to Odin’s story. :)
Jennifer Turner’s website | weblog | on Twitter | on Goodreads
Buy Eternal Seduction here | Buy Eternal Hearts here
Read my review of Eternal Seduction here
Jennifer Turner has generously offered to give away (to one winner) a print copy of both Darkness Within novels - Eternal Seduction and Eternal Hearts - and some promo goodies.
All you have to do is leave a comment on this post that says you want in, for a chance to win.
Jennifer will also try to come by today to answer any questions you might want to ask her.
The giveaway is open to readers worldwide, and I will announce the winner on Tuesday, June 7, so be sure to leave your comment before that and don’t forget to check back then or leave a way for me to contact you in your comment or profile.
Good luck to you all!
PS I’m curious. Jennifer said when I asked her about a possible future male/male couple that she doesn’t think the majority of paranormal romance readers are ready for a male/male or even a female/female couple yet (see her explanation above).
What’s your opinion on this topic? Can male/male couples be introduced into PNR series soon (with their own novel, not just a novella) or will the majority of the PNR readers never be ready for them?