I'm extremely excited to welcome Jeaniene Frost to the blog today! I couldn't be more thrilled to have her here as her Night Huntress series is one of my all time favorites, and one I ultimately refuse to lend to anyone for fear they may "lose" (aka steal) my personal copies. Instead, I drag them to the bookstore so they may buy their own. I want to say a huge thanks to Jeaniene for taking the time to answer my questions, and I hope you all enjoy the interview.
Bones has a glorious English accent, is that the accent you find most attractive or just the one you thought would suit him best?
I’ve been a fan of English accents ever since my crush on Billy Idol in the late eighties, so I knew Bones would have one back when I was first thinking about his character. The other accent I’ve liked for a very long time is a French accent. I finally get to indulge my love of French accents with the vampire character, Gregor, who shows up in Destined for an Early Grave. I’m sure that won’t be the only time I have a French vampire in my series. It was too much fun writing in my second-favorite accent.
Is there significance to the color green for the vampire eyes? What made you choose green over another color?
Even though I only have one dog now, I used to have cats and ferrets. Both those animals’ eyes flash green in the dark when they catch the light. I always thought that looked a little otherworldly, so when I wrote my vampires, I gave them the glowing green eye effect, but with the ability to turn it on or off at will.
The Cat and Bones books have such fun, fully developed side characters. Do you find it easier to write them than the main characters at times?
Sometimes, yes. Certain side characters come very easily to me, like Vlad, Ian, Justina, Spade, and Mencheres. I’m familiar with their personalities and I don’t have to wrack my brain to come with dialog for them. Other side characters are a little more secretive in their motivations, so they can require some pauses for contemplation in their scenes. I think it’s obvious that I get very attached to my side characters, having written the Night Huntress World novels in order to showcase some as protagonists. I really enjoyed the opportunity to let readers know more about them instead of just seeing them on the sidelines in every story.
Of the four published Night Huntress novels, what is your favorite Cat and Bones moment?
I couldn’t name just one. I couldn’t even name just ten. I love some of their scenes for their banter, some for the drama, some for the sexiness, some for the emotional revelations, some for the paranormal action, and some even for the grief. Plus, Cat and Bones have grown as a couple throughout the series, so what might have been a very pivotal moment in one book would later be overshadowed by something in another novel, but to me, that doesn’t make the prior moment less important. Just different based on where they’re at in their lives.
Did you come up with the nickname “Kitten” first and then name her Catherine, or did you have Cat/Catherine in your head from the beginning which then lead to “Kitten”?
When I started Halfway to the Grave, I only had Cat/Catherine in my head. I never even though of Bones giving Cat a permanent nickname, let alone that it would be Kitten. The first mention of Bones calling her that was something I spontaneously wrote in the scene where Bones was taunting Cat by saying she looked more like a Kitten Tweety than a Cat Raven. Then, in their other scenes, Bones kept on calling her kitten (note the little “k”), but not as a taunt anymore. As a form of affection. Finally, when I was through writing HTTG and realized Bones had rarely called her Cat, but called her kitten repeatedly, I quit fighting it and went back and replaced all the lower “k’s” with upper ones. So I guess you could say Bones chose her nickname instead of me *wink*.
Is there any one book of yours that has been the most work? Either took the longest to write, required the most revisions, etc.
Halfway to the Grave was the first novel I ever completed, so as you can imagine, it needed a LOT of work. I don’t even know how many times I revised it from the initial first draft to the version that was eventually sold to HarperCollins. One Foot in the Grave probably had the most editorial revisions, but I ended up trashing 95% of my original third novel because I changed my mind about a plot point that affected everything in that book. My editor never even saw the original version of At Grave’s End. Once I rewrote it from scratch and submitted it to my editor, it needed only a few revisions before it became the version that’s on the shelves today. I’ve been lucky *knocks wood* that my last four books haven’t needed major revisions. Maybe I’m finally getting the hang of this writing thing, lol.
The Night Huntress books are always finished in one sitting for me and I have a strict “don’t talk to me" policy when reading them. What’s the last book you couldn’t tear yourself away from?
DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE by Terri Garey. It comes out summer 2011 and my editor sent me an advance copy a few weeks ago. I picked it up intending to just read a couple chapters a day over the course of a week, but I had the book finished within twenty-four hours because I couldn’t put it down.
What’s the most romantic scene you’ve ever read (outside of your books)?
I remember being very moved by a scene with Jamie and Claire in either Dragonfly in Amber or Voyager – can’t remember which – where Jamie is acknowledging that he was born for the role of leadership whether he wanted it or not. Then when he asked Claire was she was born for, she replied, “I was born for you.” It was so simple and yet so poignant, because Claire was not a passive, weak, or clingy heroine. She was ballsy, brave, and smart, plus she had a calling as a doctor that not even horrible extenuating circumstances could alter. So it was Claire’s complexity and independence that made the scene where she says that to Jamie so terribly romantic. If Claire had been a weak, damsel-in-distress heroine, her statement of “I was born for you” would have lacked emotional punch for me. Considering how strong she was, though, such a tender, open admission hit me right in the heart as a reader.
I think everyone has their own little reading quirk when it comes to their books. Some people don’t like to break the spine of a paperback, some love or hate to dog-ear pages, and some take the covers off hardback books before they read them. Do you have any reading quirks?
Oh, I am a freak when it comes to not creasing spines, and I always have been. When I was a teen and my sister got mad at me, her form of revenge would be to crease the spines of my paperbacks because she knew that would make me hit the red zone (and it did!). I’ll loan books to friends/family with the warning that if the spine comes back creased, they won’t get to borrow any more books from me. However, even though I have literally hundreds of bookmarks in my house due to me giving them away at conventions, I still dog-ear pages. Don’t ask me to explain the logic; I never pretended to be sane :).
Ever read the last page of a book first? Which book? Ever written the last page or chapter of a book first?
I never read the end of a book first. I know a lot of people who do, but that would ruin the story for me. Not knowing what’s going to happen is half the fun when I read. When I pick up a book by an auto-buy author, I won’t even read the back description because I want to be surprised as much as possible. As an author, though, I have written bits of the final chapters out of order. I’ve written bits of the middle out of order, too. If I get a strong impression of a scene, or even a few lines of dialog, I’ll write it out ahead of time so I don’t forget the tone of it later.
If you could interview any author, who would it be and what would you love to ask them?
Living author would be Dean Koontz, and I’d want to ask him so many questions. Like, how has he managed to stay sane and creative while being in the business so long, just for starters. I’ve been a fan of Koontz’s since I was a teen and he’ll be at the Romantic Times convention next year. If you see someone shadowing him in a not-so-stealthy manner, that will be me.
I’m sure you get this all the time so I apologize in advance for asking, but I can’t help it! Did you ever think that a single chapter of one of your books would gain such notoriety? A friend of mine said that Chapter 32 has practically become its own verb, and I have to say I agree!
Snort. You could say that I never expected Chapter 32 to have such positive notoriety. As I’ve mentioned in other places, I wrote it before I even began to shop my first novel, so I never thought anyone would read it but me. Then when that book eventually sold, I felt sure it would be censored in editing, but it wasn’t. Then a few months before One Foot in the Grave released, I panicked at the thought of the masses reading Chapter 32 and emailed my editor saying I wanted to rewrite it to make it less smutty. My editor politely refused to let me change anything. Sure, there’s a segment of readers who didn’t care for it, but since the majority of comments have been “write another one, Jeaniene!” my editor was clearly right in her decision, heh.
Oh, but I told my parents I never, ever wanted to hear their opinion on it.
Thanks so much Jeaniene! If you're interested in learning more about the Night Huntress series and any of Jeaniene's other works, you can find her here: