Author Interview – Joleene Naylor

1)     What/who were your inspirations for the Amaranthine series?

Lots of anime, ha ha! Seriously though, I was reading the first few Anita Blake books at the time I started Shades of Gray (You can blame Patrick’s grisly death on her and all the gleaming spinal columns). Mainly I was fed up with the books/shows/movies where some plain Jane nobody woman meets a vampire, instantly believes in vampires (sorry, it would take a lot more evidence for me then someone with pointy teeth), and then becomes a kick ass warrior woman overnight (it just doesn’t work that way) so I was determined to try to be a bit more realistic (I mean, you can’t be 100% realistic and have the word “vampire” involved), so I wanted it to take Katelina time to accept the vampires, and time to turn into a kick ass fighter, and all of that. And when they make a big mess? Yeah, cops come. And when she gets hurt? Yeah, she has to go to the hospital and on and on. Of course, as the series progresses there are “fixes” for things – like giving her blood to heal her, for instance – but I’ve still tried to keep it grounded – like I time out everywhere they travel and figure out how they could get there because that’s another thing that irritates me in stories; when characters just sort of teleport from Iowa to Canada.

2)     When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My mom is a writer and poet, so there was never really a moment when I didn’t have it “planned” – you know, those “when I grow up” things we all come up with in kindergarten and repeat through school to keep teachers happy? But I actually stopped writing for a few years after we moved to Missouri, and actually only picked it up again because of a Harry Potter Role Play group I wanted to join (all the cool kids from the fan group were in it!) and things just snowballed from there.

3)     Is there something about you that would be good to know before starting to read your work?

I’m incapable of writing happy stories. Sure, I can make Katelina and Jorick have a happy ever after, but then I have to torture someone else. Someone has to die, someone has to be hurt, someone has to have their heart broken. Miserable stories are my favorite to write (wait until I release the Patrick prequel!), though I pull punches on Katelina and Jorick because a series of misery would be overwhelming, at the same time, there is plenty of it. An Amazon reviewer said: “I have a love/hate for the world…The books are a little depressing due to the dysfunctional relationshps [sic]… but they are sooo addicting! I find the lifestyle she has the characters live to be a downer but it rings so true with life.”

4)     Okay, let’s ask something a little funner. Do you ever fantasize yourself as Katelina and the hubs as Jorick?

Ha ha! He and Jorick actually have some things in common (not the apologizing part – I’d have to beat an apology out of hubby!) In fact I have stolen some of the things hubby has said and given them to Jorick (He’s good with a compliment!) As for Katelina…we’re pretty different. When I found letters to an old girlfriend  of hubby’s (mine were on the computer though and not dated – this was in ’98 before I comprehended the whole creation date thing), I met him at the door and said “Okay, what the f*** is this??” – to which he said they were old…and then he showed me the creation dates and we were good. I’d never sit around moping.

5)     Who are your favorite authors to read?

In a lot of instances, it’s the series I like, not the author (like Harry Potter, for instance.) BUT there are a few authors I adore. The original V.C. Andrews (not the ghost writer – Flowers in the Attic has an awesome creepy vibe I’d love to reproduce ), CG Coppola (she writes sci-fi/fantasy/romance. I have her new one and am taking time off next week to binge on it!), Tricia Drammeh (She writes YA/NA/Fantasy romance. She needs to write a new one so that I can binge!), I could go on, but I’ll stop there.

6)     Who is your favorite character and why?

Verchiel, Micah, and Malick are the easiest to write, actually, so they’re probably my favorites. If I didn’t need to type for them, I could sic them on a scene and just go to sleep, then wake up to pages and pages. They can get other characters talking, because of the way everyone reacts to them, and Malick… well he loves to hear himself talk. And talk. And talk. But, the characters I think are the most interesting…Oooh. That is hard to choose because I think they’re all interesting. Maeko is one whose life I’d like to see, but I probably won’t because she’s hard to write with all the sans, and chans, and samas…I have a very rudimentary grasp of the suffixes, and though I think it’s enough to fudge through a few scenes, I don’t think it’s enough to carry a novel. If I could find a Japanese expert to go over it after I finished it, then I could do it.

7)     Do you listen to music when you write and if so what’s on your playlist?

Yes! I generally listen to whatever my obsession is at the moment, but I have noticed that the music can make a difference. I wrote the last book to mostly James Blunt and Arctic Monkeys, but it was missing a dark vibe. Then I discovered The Dreaming, and got a bit obsessed with them, and BOOM! That did the trick and during the editing/re-writing stage things got a lot darker. I’m not sure I got it as dark and eerie as I wanted, though.

8)     Do you plan to continue writing after the Amaranthine series comes to an end?

Yep. After Goddess of Night I am planning a standalone for Jorick (untitled right now) and then maybe a trilogy of a new character no one has met yet (but who ties in to the usual suspects) though I need to figure out a story for them. I’m also working on a fantasy book with my brother, and a funny vampire book with Jonathan Harvey, the writer of the Terrible Turtles webcomic. I keep telling hubby that I am going to stop writing, or take a hiatus, but I don’t see that happening.

9)     Lastly, do you have any words of advice for up and coming authors?

Edit, edit, edit, edit. And then edit. And then, if you’re like me, ignore that voice that says everything is fine and do another read through. By the time that book hits the stores, you should be so sick of it you never want to see it again. I say this because I did not take my own advice *groan* – I did a second edition of Shades of Gray a few years ago and added some stuff, and deleted some stuff, and rephrased some stuff – and then I thought “Ah, it’s good enough.” Well guess what? I just re-read it (preparing to write book 9) and… it has typos! Probably twenty or more, and the hyphens did something funny. Talk about humiliating! So I fixed them, but in the meantime 10,000 copies have been downloaded with those twenty typos and those screwy hyphens. Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t be embarrassed later. Edit it that final time, even if you’d rather dig out your eyeballs with spoons.

You can check out Joleene at or at her Facebook author page Please comment with any questions you want Joleene to answer.


  1. I collected a couple of questions elsewhere:

    Gaye Pilgrim: Is there a certain era you would like to write about?
    What will you never feel comfortable writing about, besides Japanese or Chinese swords etc.?

    JJ Beesley: If you could publish any story in the world and have it sell, what would it be?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great interview, Joleene! It’s fun to get a glimpse into that brain. I used to watch a ton of anime, but haven’t in about a decade or so. I did turn on Sailor Moon via Hulu for my daughter though, and my son absolutely adores Totoro (both dubbed because the kids are young).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. scooped these up from the party 😉

    Dianne Hunt – Why vampires? Not complaining because I love them, even the sparkly ones. lol

    Lynn Johnson – Who is your inspiration?

    Angela Mary Johnson – If an evil genie offered you 3 wishes, would you take them and what would you do with them?

    Christine Connolly – Can I have a cameo in book 9 as Verchiel’s love interest? :-*

    Yvonne Evans – Other Genres in the future

    Liked by 1 person

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