The second book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Rebel series, Wicked Bite is out now. Master Vampire Ian and his lovely and somewhat reluctant wife Veritas are back at it and the demons are running amok! Jeaniene took some time out of her incredible world building to join me in a conversation I’m so happy to share with you today!
Donna: As a huge fan of the Night Huntress series, Ian was always the character I couldn’t get enough of. He’s so broken and I love a good old broken hero in denial, especially one with a precarious piercing! Needless to say, the Night Rebel series made me giddy with excitement. Thanks for taking time out to chat.
Jeaniene: Thanks so much for having me, Donna!
Donna: I’m just going to jump right in with a little Ian worship, it’s what he deserves. When you introduced Ian way back in the Night Huntress days, did you have any idea the beast you were creating when he walked into your world? As a little primer for those who may not be familiar with him, how do you think he’d describe himself?
Jeaniene: When I first introduced Ian while writing One Foot in the Grave, I thought it would be great drama to show Bones (the Night Huntress hero) having to slay his vampire sire in order to protect Cat (the Night Huntress heroine.) However, by the time I got to the scene where I’d thought Bones and Ian would duel to the death, I realized that Ian wouldn’t insist on dueling with Bones because Ian didn’t want to kill him. Oh, Ian was furious that Bones betrayed him, but not enough to murder him for it. It was my first inkling that I’d had Ian pegged wrong.
I’ve been wrong about Ian time and time again, and if he were to grab the microphone now, he’d say that everybody underestimates him, and he loves that. It’s allowed Ian to flit through the books as a smartass vamp tramp who people think they have figured out, while all along, Ian’s been hiding big secrets and even bigger abilities (and I’m not even talking about what he can do with that infamous piercing, heh.) So, how would Ian describe himself? “Everything you’ve heard about me is true…and yet you still don’t know the half of it.”
Donna: Needless to say, a mate for Ian needs to be remarkably special. I say this with all of the love and affection I have in my heart but Ian is a piece of work. Veritas is an absolute perfect match for him. You write such strong heroines, it’s always been a favorite aspect of your books. Veritas is powerful beyond measure, good to her core and has a loving heart she’s denied for a lifetime, all essential qualities for a person pairing up with a Master Vampire as…ummm, unpredictable as Ian. Who or possibly what life event inspired Veritas, a genuine force of nature?
Jeaniene: When I first introduced Veritas as a side character in the Night Huntress series, I saw her as tough-as-nails, millennials-old vampire Law Guardian, but I didn’t think much more of her than that. A brief appearance in my sixth novel revealed that Veritas had intriguing secrets when she alluded that she and an Egyptian death god had had a history together. However, it wasn’t until my seventh book, when Veritas plowed through enemies with enough force to send body parts flying, and Ian’s reaction was “Am I the only one who has wood over that little vixen?” that I had an “Aha!” moment about her and Ian. Every other character who saw what Veritas could do was afraid of her. Ian was…well, as you see, he was the opposite of afraid 😊.
That got me thinking about how Veritas had she ended up as a Law Guardian, what her history was with the ancient Egyptian death god, and why she had gone against the vampire council to help save Cat’s daughter in Up From The Grave. Answering those questions to myself brought me to the heroine you meet in Shades of Wicked, and yes, Veritas is a force of nature, quite literally at times.
Donna: The world building and mythology behind the Night Huntress world has always fascinated me. However, it feels like you genuinely stepped it up a notch with this spin off series. How do you manage all of this in your mind? Where does it come from? How do you even sleep with all of that amazing detail running around in your head at night?
Jeaniene: First, thank you! Second, yes, I broadened the supernatural world quite a bit in the Night Rebel series. Before, there were just vampires, ghouls and the occasional ghost or demon. Now, there’s all that plus natural-born witches, a whole demon hierarchy, netherworld deities, other strange celestial beings, and even a Simargl (like a dog with wings.) How do I manage all this in my head? *grins* No idea. It did feel like I was putting my brain in a vice and squeezing every drop of imagination I had out of it with this series at times.
As for sleeping, that’s easy: my lazy butt loves to sleep. I sometimes get ideas from dreams, too, and if you think what I write is fantastical, I wish I could let you peek into my dreams. I swear, my subconscious seems to be much better at creativity than I am. I can’t even write most of it because it’s too outlandish.
Donna: Your love of mythology is obvious and much appreciated, have you always been a fan? Do you have a particular tale that pulled you in?
Jeaniene: There’s no particular tale that pulled me in because I’m a fan of mythology as a whole. I played with ancient Egyptian mythology in previous books, and I used the mythos of the “mark of Cain” as the explanation for the source of my vampire race all the way back to my first novel. But I wanted to branch out beyond it in this series, and of course, there’s no shortage of really cool elements with Greek mythology, not to mention the lesser-known Sumerian gods, goddesses and creatures going back to my heroine’s origins in ancient Mesopotamia. One day, I’d love to incorporate some Celtic and some Norse mythology, too. There’s such richness to draw from when you dive into mythology.
Donna: Would you be willing to give even the slightest hint or tease for what you have in store for Ian and Veritas? I would never give anything away to the readers but holy cow, the gold dusted glimmering being at the end is whoa boy, a lot!
Jeaniene: The next novel, Wicked All Night, picks up only a week after Wicked Bite ends in the series timeline, and that glimmering being you mentioned starts causing trouble right away. Veritas and Ian will have their hands very full with that, plus with issues concerning the vampire council (can’t say more or it would spoiler), and with other upheavals. So, they won’t be settling into a comfortable married life anytime soon.
Donna: There’s a deeper message in this tale. I love Veritas’ back story, how she works to accept herself, her differences and the underlying theme that being born different doesn’t make you bad, even though some may treat you as an outcast. That feels quite timely and relevant in today’s world, is that a deliberate parallel?
Jeaniene: When I first started writing in 2003, my heroine, Cat, struggled with being rejected and feared because of her differences. Seventeen years later, my heroine, Veritas, struggles with all that and more because some of Veritas’s differences make her “illegal” in the vampire world. Inclinations to fear and/or reject people who are outside a majority-determined norm has, sadly, always been timely. I hope that one day, it won’t be. But yes, there are parallels between Veritas’s struggles and the struggles that too many people face today. You don’t have to look far to see people being bullied, rejected, ostracized, or worse simply because they’ve been classified as “different” or the “other.”
Donna: Can you share an interesting fact about yourself that might surprise your readers? It could be deep or silly – your call, just something they might not know about you.
Jeaniene: I’ll go with silly: I can have entire conversations with my dogs. It starts out mundane, like, “Who’s the best boy? You are! Who’s going to get a walkie soon? You are!” But then, I’ll get more involved. Like, “You want to sit on the couch? I’m sitting on the couch. You’re right, let’s get a blanket. You want a snack? Let’s get a snack. You feel like a cookie? Of course, you do. I want a cookie, too, but I can’t have one since I haven’t lost that holiday weight yet. You’re lucky you’re furry. No one criticizes the size of your ass when you’re furry…” And on and on.
I sometimes forget myself and have these weirdly involved conversations when I’m walking the dogs in the neighborhood, too. You can imagine the looks that I get from the neighbors when that happens. This is why being an author is such a perfect job for me. Working out of my home limits the amount of times that I can embarrass myself in public 😊.
Donna: After all of your books, has your personal definition of success changed over the years?
Jeaniene: Oh, yes. First, success to me was about getting published. Then, when that happened, it was about hitting a bestseller list. Then, when that happened, it was about hitting a bestseller list again. Then, when that happened, it was about hitting higher on the bestseller list. Then, when that happened, it was about trying to write more books, faster. As you see, I kept moving the goalposts of success, until I felt like I wasn’t measuring up no matter what good thing was happening. That must-try-harder mentality wasn’t inspiring, either. Instead, it ended up sucking the joy out of what had always been my dream job.
Now, I’m trying to be more about balance. Do I still enjoy what I’m doing? Am I still able to have a life while doing it? If yes, then that’s success.
Jeaniene Frost’s second book in the Night Rebel series, Wicked Bite is out now. We are thrilled to announce Ms. Frost is giving away a signed copy of Wicked Bite to a special Frolic reader. Enter to win in the rafflecopter below!
Some promises are meant to be broken…
Veritas spent most of her life as a vampire Law Guardian. Now, she’s about to break every rule by secretly hunting down the dark souls that were freed in order to save Ian. But the risks are high. For if she gets caught, she could lose her job. And catching the sinister creatures might cost Veritas her own life.
Some vows are forever…
Ian’s memories might be fragmented, but this master vampire isn’t about to be left behind by the woman who entranced him, bound herself to him, and then disappeared. So what if demons, other Law Guardians, and dangerous, otherworldly forces stand against them? Come hell or high water, Ian intends to remind Veritas of the burning passion between them, because she is the only person seared on his mind–and his soul…
About the Author:
Jeaniene Frost is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Her works include the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, the Broken Destiny series, and the new Night Rebel series. Jeaniene’s novels have also appeared on the Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal, ABA Indiebound, and international bestseller lists. Foreign rights for Jeaniene’s novels have sold to twenty different countries.
Jeaniene lives in Florida with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. In addition to being a writer, Jeaniene also enjoys reading, writing, poetry, watching movies, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.