Thursday, October 22, 2009

Author Interview and Giveaway: Jennifer Rardin

Today we are joined by the gifted Jennifer Rardin.  Jennifer is the author of the Jaz Parks series.  She is here to celebrate the release of the sixth book Bite Marks. 

1. Could you please start by telling us a bit about your Jaz Parks series?
JR: Sure! Jaz Parks and her boss, the vampire, Vayl, are assassins for the CIA. On the face of it their jobs seem pretty simple. Hunt down the bad guys who are trying to rip big, jagged holes in the fabric of America, and eliminate them. There’s even a list! But when you insert monsters, magic, and soul-starved demons into the mix believe me, nothing is easy.

Especially when your father is an ass.

Jaz could tell you all about him, but afterward she’d probably have to shove her fist through a wall. And we wouldn’t want that now, would we?

As for Vayl. Well, he’s just so delectable Jaz finds it a real challenge to maintain the sort of professional relationship the CIA expects from its agents. Especially when his eyes turn green.

2. Bite Marks (Jaz Parks #6) hits bookstores October 29th. What sort of adventures are Jaz and her team in store for in this book?
JR: It’s never good when Jaz starts a mission pissed off, but when Vayl feels the same? Watch out.

Unfortunately they both have to admit that their boss, Pete, was right to cut their vacation short. Because fanatical gnomes are threatening to take down NASA’s third eye-to-the-universe, which is located just outside of Australia’s capital of Canberra.

You may be thinking, Gnomes? What’s the big deal? All they do is stand around my mom’s garden looking adorable—and yet proving themselves useless to prevent the neighbor’s cats from crapping in her mulch!

These are not those guys. Not even remotely related, I’m sorry to say. Unless your mom’s gnomes make a habit of feeding their physically challenged community members to their young. No? Okay, then.

3. If you could describe your heroine, Jaz, in only 5 words, which would you choose?
JR: Loyal- Practical- Vulnerable- Stubborn- Sassy

4. Let’s talk about Bergman. Will he ever find love? He comes up with some incredible inventions. How do you come up with these high-tech gadgets? Have you been contacted by the Department of Defense for some tips?
JR: Bergman is da bomb. In fact, that’s probably how he’ll leave this world—by ordering Jaz to pack his corpse on the tip of a moon rocket and shoot his remains into space.

Will he ever find love? Well, first he has to decide to look for it. Then he has to recognize it when it clubs him between the eyes. I’m thinking his journey could be somewhat hilarious; maybe even more fun than reaching a final destination. But it’s really up to him, and he hasn’t yet clued me into his ultimate personal plans. I can tell you that he returns for Bite Marks and has an even bigger role in Bitten in Two.

My gadgets seem to evolve the way real inventions do—out of necessity and some thought about how practical application can translate into wondrous invention. Luckily I have Bergman to figure out the details, otherwise nothing I imagine would ever work.

I don’t think my stuff is nearly advanced enough to interest the Department of Defense. No doubt they’ve already dreamed up and either instituted or trashed most of what I’ve written about. But it is fun for me to try to outdo them.

5. I read that you are working on the next book, Bitten in Two. How many books are you planning for the Jaz Parks series?
JR: Yeah, actually I just sent the manuscript for Bitten in Two to my editor, so I’m pretty psyched about that. We’re planning one more book in the series so far. I won’t say that I’m going to end it there, but you should have a good idea of where the characters will be heading by the end of that book.

6. I discovered that you are diligently writing your YA debut novel titled Shadowstruck. Care to share any information on the storyline and release date?
JR: I can’t get too specific, because my agent hasn’t even seen it yet. But I can tell you I was first inspired to write it after watching a TV series that followed a group of teenagers through a boot-camp style setting that their parents had enrolled them in because, basically, they couldn’t deal with them anymore and they were hoping the camp counselors could “cure” them of their constant fighting, bitching, and manipulating.

One kid in particular really got to me. He was always ready to throw the first punch. But underneath I could tell he wanted to get his life together. That he could make it all work if he just had the right people backing him up. And what was pissing him off so extremely had as much to do with his crap parents as it had to do with his crap choices.

But I didn’t want to write about that world, you know? I wanted to create my own place. Different conflicts. Scarier monsters. Even bigger odds that would force a fighting-type to figure out where he stood and where he should (or even if he could) draw the line. So this story is about a 15-year-old detentionmeister who has to rescue his little sister from a man who can make his shadow real.

7. Is it hard to make the transition from adult to YA?
JR: In some ways, yeah, it is. I find myself questioning where the line is on pushing the romance, and if I’ve crossed some boundary in the violence/gore arena. But in the end I know who I’m writing to. They’re smart, sophisticated people who have limited patience for junk. As long as I keep that at the front of my mind, I should be okay.

8. What is currently on your TBR pile?
JR: Right now I’m reading The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller. My TBR pile is unbelievably tall and tippy now that I’m writing full time. Because I used to read at night, before bedtime, and now even those hours are filled with work. So here’s an abbreviated list of what’s on the pile:

The first four books in the Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik
Orphan’s Destiny, Orphan’s Journey & Orphan’s Alliance by Robert Buettner
Hal Spacejock: Second Course by Simon Haynes
Dead to Me by Anton Strout
The Awakened Mage by Karen Miller
The High Lord by Trudi Caravan

9. What is your favorite way to unwind after a hard day of writing? Any guilty pleasures?
JR: Supernatural, baby! ( I am so obsessed with that series it’s not even funny! Go Dean & Sam!! And no, they are not a guilty pleasure. That would be a big bowl of homemade cookie dough (minus the egg, because Salmonella is scarier than vampires!) and a glass of milk. Scrumptious!

I think I am the only person on the planet who doesn't watch that show!  Jennifer thank you so much for visiting use today.  Congratulations on your new release and on those to come!

Giveaway time!  I was strolling through my favorite bookstore the other day and found a brand new copy of Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Parks, book 1).  If you have not read this series yet, here's a chance to start. 

This contest is only open to followers.

To enter, please leave a question or comment for Jennifer. 

For an extra entries, post a link to this contest somewhere (sidebar, post, facebook, twitter, where ever you go).  I will give one entry per link, be sure to leave me a link for verification.  

I am going to open this up everyone!  The giveaway will end October 29 and I will post the winner here on October 30.  Good luck!


Book Whisperer said...

Definetly sign me. I would love to add this to my collection this is my favorite series, but I still do not own the first book.

clenna said...

Hi Jennifer - I too am an Indiana gal (Marion, IN).
I was wondering if your teen age kids give you ideas for your books?

PS I'd love to read your books.

Milka said...

Count me in!


Tynga said...

Hi Jennifer!
You series have been on my wish list for a while, but I haven't started yet. Orbit sent me a copy of Bite Marks (it was a total surprise), so I need to ge tmy hands on the first 5 books first lol.

Please count me in fr the giveaway, it's gonna be a step in the right direction ^^

Raspberry said...

I liked knowing what was on your TBR pile - it gives me an idea of what inspires you. It looks good, by the way. :)
On my sidebar:

Linda Henderson said...

I would love to win this book, it sounds like a great series.

seriousreader at live dot com

cfisher1504 said...

Please count me in..I am a follower
I love reading about Jaz and cant wait to read about her latest expoits!!!
cfisher1504 at gmail dot com

Jennifer Rardin said...

Best of luck to you, then, Book Whisperer. Cool story about the first book's cover. It was originally supposed to be the one you see on the UK version, with the red lips trailing blood (, but was later changed to the one you see on the site now. Love them both!

Hi clenna! Go, Indiana! My kids don't so much give me ideas as keep me straight with the speech patterns and attitudes of their generation, which is really just as important.

Cool deal, Milka!

Hi Tynga! That's pretty cool, but I agree. Though the books are written to stand alone, they do progress as far as character growth and relationships are concerned. So it's a great idea to start with "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."

It does, Raspberry. Definitely nice to know great stories await me.

Thanks, Linda.

You rock, cfisher1504.

D. Q. Davis said...

I love the book series ever since I read the first book. Rardin's style of writing always draws me in and keeps me on the edge of my seat. It's such a joy for me when the mailman delivers my books. The only thing I hate is the wait in betwixt, lol!

D. Queen D.

Milka said...

Great interview, I would like to read your book Jennifer. :)
Count me in to the giveaway!


Zita said...

Another excellent interview, Jennifer. Can't wait until Oct 29!


Melody said...

Good Interview, look forward to reading your books. Put me in for the contest.


Melody said...

Good interview I look forward to reading your books.
Please put me down for the contest.


Kat Duncombe said...

looks good!

Celeste said...

I love your books! Can't wait for this next one to come out! Thanks so much for writing them!!

Wicked Lil Pixie said...

I just had to say, I added Jennifer to Myspace today and she is one in few authors I have encountered in my long Myspace history that actually said HI.

Kudos Jen

Rebecca said...

Hi Jennifer,

I liked seeing your TBR list. I've never heard of any of those books before. Thanks for sharing.

Misty said...

I've actually never heard of this series.
My question for Jennifer is one I often ask writers, or think about asking them, just because I am curious.
Jennifer, how much of *you* is there in Jaz? Would you call yourself "Loyal- Practical- Vulnerable- Stubborn- Sassy"?

Of course I am a follower. :D


K said...


I have anxiously been awaiting Bite Marks, to the point that I have been asking my book seller about it until I go the actual release date.
My friend gave me a copy of once
bitten twice shy for my birthday and after reading it I had to go buy the rest. So excited for the new one but PLEASE PLEASE don't say your only planning one more.

Amber said...

I LOVE this series. I'm obsessively reading it. We have the new one in at work but we can't put it out yet and we're not aloud to read the street date books til they come out, and I'm itching to read it now! I would love to win a copy of the first. I'ts an awesome awesome series. And Jaz is my fav. new heroine!
-Amber Hall

Jennifer Rardin said...

How sweet are you, D.Q.? Thanks!

Awesome! When you're done, drop into my website and let me know what you thought, okay?

Thanks, Zita. Me either!

I appreciate that, Melody.

Thank you, Kat.

Great to hear, Celeste!

Well, Wicked Lil Pixie, I just want you guys to know that I value my fans. You're the best, and you deserve the best!

Thanks, Rebecca. I feel the same about other people's lists. It's always great to get new ideas when the reading runs a little stale.

Great question, Misty. At times I could use any one of those words to describe myself. But I'm really nothing like Jaz. She's a lot more torn than I am, much less patient, and prone to violence. She's more like my offspring.

You're just terrific, K. Keep that bookseller of yours on her toes! Though I'm only contracted to do one more book in the series, I'll certainly be open to further novels if there's enough demand for them.

Yay, Amber! I had no idea you guys didn't get a sneak peek. Where's the perks, dern it??

Pam said...

Vampire spies? Sign me up!

I'm already following

melacan at hotmail dot com

jeanette8042 said...

I've never read the seires but it sounds interesting! I love all the covers too!

Llehn said...

I love the title Bitten in Two! It's so clever! How much control do you have over your titles Jennifer?

I'm now following.


Jennifer Rardin said...

Awesome, Pam!

Thanks, jeanette8042. I love them too. In fact, I was sending some materials out related to my upcoming book tour, and I realized I was excited to be able to put the "Bite Marks" cover on them. Orbit's art department is just crammed with creative geniuses!

Thanks, Llehn! We decided early on to include some form of the word "bite" in each title, as a direct reference to Vayl. But also in a broader sense referring to the conflicts that take place in the stories, both personally and physically. They all usually bite in some way! Anyhow, "Bitten in Two," was my idea, so I'm glad to hear you like it. "Bite Marks," is also mine. The rest of the titles were more of a group effort. So I guess I have a lot of control as long as no other books are out on the market with very similar titles and nobody else can think of anything better!

throuthehaze said...

I have never heard of these books before but it sounds like a great series!

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Monica said...

Im in. I am a new follower and I posted this on my contest page, you can check here:


DawN said...

I love the books!

I bought three sets of the books for x-mas presents! :)

- dawN

Jennifer Rardin said...

Thanks, Raelena. I hope you have a chance to give them a try!

Wow, DawN, that's just ubercool! Thanks a million!

Jenny N. said...

This sounds like a great series. I havent read it yet so hope I can win the first book. I'm a follower of yours.


Cherry said...

Dear Jennifer,

Do you ever get writer's block? What do you do if you do?

I'm a follower.
Re-posted your contest at:

Mishel said...

This series always grabs my attention when I'm browsing through Barnes. However they never seem to have the first book. I should have just bought it online but I don't use my brain all the time lol. I'm definitely interested in starting the series.

I really enjoyed the interview! I love the way Jaz sounds and the tension between her and Vayl sounds exciting =D

A question for you though Jennifer - Did you always have an interest in writing? What was your dream job when you were a child?

It's always fun to hear what author's wanted to be when they were little - from ballerinas to airplane pilots, it's cool to hear the different answers.

Thanks so much ladies,

mishtakes AT gmail DOT com

Mishel said...

I also posted a link to this giveaway on my sidebar (

Thanks again,

mishtakes AT gmail DOT com

Sheere said...

Great interview! I havo some questions too!

What is your YA favourite book? And an adult one? Which one would you recommend to the world?

+1 tweeted

+1 sidebar

cait045 said...

Hey Jennifer, I haven't read any of your books yet but they sounds very good. I can't wait to start.


Jennifer Rardin said...

Hi Cherry! I wouldn't call it block, because I know I have somewhere to go, but sometimes I get stuck trying to get there. I might write myself into a sticky situation or corner my characters so tightly that they won't move until I realize I shouldn't have put them there in the first place. Usually my best bet is to immerse myself in the characters and the story, and really begin to ask myself what I would do if I was one of them in that situation. It also helps to do the things that totally relax me, because that's when I write best.
(For some odd reason I've found that hot showers inspire my best ideas.)

Thanks, Mishel! "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" just came out in mass market this July, so hopefully it'll be a little easier for you to find. I just saw it in Borders yesterday. I've been interested in writing since I was about twelve. But I think my first dream job was probably (predictably?) veterinarian.

Thanks, Sheere! That's a tough one, but probably my all-time favorite YA book is "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L’Engle. I also just read "The Summoning" by Kelley Armstrong and really loved it. And I think the whole world should read "The Stand," by Stephen King.

Hey cait045, I really appreciate that! Hope to hear from you after you get the chance!

I forgot to mention that I'm starting The Great Midwestern Book Tour (Plus Tennessee)! this Sunday, so if any of you are close by I'd love to have the chance to meet you personally. Here are the links for more information on my stops in:

Champaign, Illinois
Sunday, November 1

Lebanon, Tennessee (near Nashville)
Saturday, November 7

Evansville, Indiana
Saturday, November 14

Aurora, Illinois (near Chicago)
Saturday, November 21

YA Vampire Books said...

Sounds like a great book series with great characters! It's def. on my wishlist now!


Rosie said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. I haven't read your series yet, but it's definitely up there on my list of to be bought!!

rosie0512 @ hotmail . com

Anonymous said...

"fanatical gnomes" now that sounds like a story that I'd enjoy. Can't wait for your YA book. Already have it on my must buy list.

Jennifer Rardin said...

Thanks for considering it, Sara. I appreciate that!

Hi Rosie! It's been a pleasure. If you get a chance to dive into the series, let me know what you thought, okay?

Cool deal, alterlisa! I just send "Shadowstruck" to my agent. She is the be all, end all judge, so cross your fingers!

Justine said...

To Jennifer: I'm glad to know that you love Supernatural BECAUSE IT'S THE BEST SHOW EVER! Sam and Dean are beyond awesome! Oh, how I love them.

And to Ellz: Please do watch the show! It's fantastic and really epic :) You'll love it.

+1 linked on the sidebar here


Jennifer Rardin said...

Absolutely, Justine! All I want for Christmas is a DVD of Season 4! Woot! (Between my daughter and me, we've got 1-3 covered!)

elnice said...

I am so far behind. I need to rent them and have a Supernatural marathon! Ohh, maybe make a party out of it and invent a Supernatural drink, any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Throw my name in the hat.
I follow up on Twitter.
I watched the first season of Supernatural but for some reason never put it on my record list on the DVR. Will have to check and see if they have it at the video store.

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