If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
This is a great question. I tend to write myself woven into every character to some extent, which is really scary when you read my bad guys. (Maybe I should invest in a shrink.) But as an author, I pull from my life's experiences to create my voice, plus add a heavy dose of imagination. And I change voice for each character when I'm in their unique point of view. (I call this `channeling my characters'. Yes, I hear voices and they can get me up in the middle of the night.)
But I have to say that the one character that I see myself in most would be Jessica Beckett, my Fugitive Recovery Agent in the new romantic thriller series I'm writing now-except she's much braver than I'd ever be. She's scarred both physically and mentally by her past, yet her inner strength is so resilient. Her scars are the imperfections in us all. But one of her most endearing traits is that she's a real smart-ass. Normally, I fall in love with my male characters, but this woman has stolen my heart on so many levels.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I'm an eclectic reader-everything from literary work to espionage thrillers-though I lean toward any subgenre of crime fiction. My library is HUGE! I have many favorites listed on blogs, but two that I love are Dean Koontz and Robert Crais. These men keep getting better and for me, picking up one of their books is like slipping into comfortable sweats in front of a warm fire with something chocolate melting in my mouth.
And I've been getting into Allison Brennan's work lately too. She's another one I follow, but riddle me this, Batman? How can such a sweet mother of five small kids write about depraved and ruthless killers as effectively as she does? She amazes me. And she's such a nice person too.
Who or what influences you when you write?
Real crime-definitely. Unfortunately, real crime can be truly heinous and surpass the imagination of any fiction writer. I allow it to influence me, but I temper the world I create for the reader by resolving the crime I write about (to some extent). Not every criminal gets caught in my upcoming books, however, since I believe life isn't black and white. The real crime influences (for NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM) are on my website in a Q&A format.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
My life is weird. I'll admit it. I get up early with my husband (who makes me breakfast BTW) so we can chat, read the paper, and when I need to, we talk about plots. I write from around 9am until 4pm, then hit the blogs and chat with my online friends before dinner.
Then I usually edit the work I've written that day when I'm in bed-or I read other people's books. I edit and edit, layering in the emotions and discovering the character's motivations as I go. When I'm done with a project, I rarely have to go back over it. I can write a book from concept to final product in a range of 6 weeks to 4 months. And when I'm done, I'm `jonesing' to get into another book. Stories fill my head and I feel a strong pull to the computer. Very strange!
When I wrote SCREAM, I did it during the 6-weeks I was home recuperating from major surgery while on medical leave. (Yes, I sacrificed a body part to sell.) When I was done, I knew I had something. You can read about this in my FIRST SALE story on my website.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I don't believe in writer's block, but since I don't really plot (I have frequent flyer miles by the seat of my pants), I take a break until I clear the plot question or the character motivation in my head and do other things. The last time this happened, I found my plot resolution while watching `Gleaming the Cube', an awful movie with skateboarding featuring a young Christian Slater. My husband now asks me, "Honey? There's a Christian Slater movie on. You want me to record it?" Someday I might do a writer's workshop on the six-degrees of Christian Slater.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
God YES!!! I sold three more books to Avon in May 2007 and I just finished the first book in that romantic thriller series. I'm so excited about it. Here is a sneak peek of the first book and at the thriller series:
"An illusive web of imposters on the Internet lures a deluded teen from her Alaskan home and launches a chain reaction collision course with an unlikely tangle of heroes. This is the initial driver to a new 3-book series from suspense author Jordan Dane and Avon HarperCollins. With an international setting, these romantic thrillers will focus on the lives and loves of three women-a bounty hunter operating outside the law, an ambitious vice cop, and a former international operative with a mysterious past."
I used to live in Alaska (10 years) and I love that the story weaves in and out of that setting. And I really think I've hit a break through in my writing with this book (#4) that I'm tentatively calling Web Lies. It's an ambitious plot and very fast paced, based on a real crime that happened in 2004 in Florida. My cast of characters is AMAZING and fun to write. I love being in their world. I'm plotting book#5 this week-feeling like I've come home to old friends. This series electrifies me.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
My next two books are coming out back to back through Avon Harpercollins - NO ONE LEFT TO TELL (May 2008) and NO ONE LIVES FOREVER (Jun 2008). These two books are linked. FOREVER is the sequel to TELL and I loved this whole story. TELL was actually the first suspense novel I ever wrote (preceding SCREAM) and it won or placed in many national writing competitions. Although these books are fairly standalone in plot, they're best read in order so you get to understand my hero Christian Delacorte and his journey. I love dark brooding men and Christian was my first-and you know what they say-you never forget your first.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I am a freak for research and have done some crazy things. I have technical advisors on every book for different areas of study. I love authenticity, so I trained with my local cop shop, spending over 45 hours learning about what they do. Two highlights were range day where we blew up stuff with the bomb squad and shot various weapons AND I did a ride along with an on-duty officer at night. On my range day, the lieutenant teaching the class (the technical advisor on my book) knew I wanted to use a flash-bang grenade. He set one off near me so I'd know what it felt like. (The guy was a real kidder.) When you read NO ONE LEFT TO TELL, my next book in this series, you'll understand what I went through to get it right. And my lieutenant advisor became a secondary character in that book-playing a cop named Lt. Sam Winters.
I've also met an amazing weapons expert that I've used on a couple of books now. NYT bestselling author Cindy Gerard uses him too. He's an aspiring author that I enjoy and hope to see him in print one day. (We read for each other.) He added an extraordinary amount of authenticity to my jungle action scenes for NO ONE LIVES FOREVER (my Brazil story) and he's got a great background for me to draw from. In earlier years, he has involved in hostage rescue and now he's a paramedic and fireman. I find it easier to stretch my story plots because of the depth of his background.