Nerd Girl Mini-Road Trip

Release-Day Appearance with Jeaniene Frost


Guest Wench Jennifer and I had a girl's night out this week, when we drove a couple of hours to meet Jeaniene Frost, author of the Wench favorite Night Huntress and Night Prince series, at the appearance celebrating the release of Twice Tempted. We made this same trip back in August for the release of Once Burned, and I'm sure that we will continue to make the trip whenever Ms. Frost does release day signings at Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. She is that wonderful. Jennifer and I are both firmly entrenched in other series right now, and Vlad demands one's full attention, so we'll be getting to him later, but look for a thorough review of Twice Tempted by Wenches who are completely enamored by Vlad and the book, next week.

Now, click through to read all about what Jeanine Frost had to say, about world building, character names, and some of her intriguing characters that we can't get enough of.




Be prepared!
Jeaniene Frost signings are really half book signing, and half book club discussion. She starts by telling a little about herself and her books, and then takes audience questions, making it feel like you're having chat. And if no one is ready with a question, she will call on random audience members to ask a question. So when you get to meet JF yourself be prepared. You'll thank us later. Like many of us, Ms. Frost has long been interested in vampire tales, and recalls watching them when she was young. But she remembers seeing and reading Dracula and finding the title character much more interesting than the "hero" of the story, VanHelsing. Dracula's loneliness, his capacity for love, and his sacrifices were intriguing, and shaped the subjects she writes about today.

Vlad, the Fiery Hero


So many Draculas, only one Vlad!
The hero of her last two books is the very same character that she found intriguing years ago, but with a unique twist. When she began writing her Night Huntress series, Ms. Frost vowed that she would not be writing about Vlad Tepesh, in any form. That historical figure has been done so much, what could she possibly add? However she is an "organic" writer and she is sometimes surprised by where the story takes her. So when Bones muttered about the "showhound" showing up at his house in At Grave's End, it took her by surprise. And she took it out, still refusing to write him. She had vowed, after all. But she did some research and realized that there was, in fact, a new way to look at the legend, and accepted that she could do him justice. Essentially there are two versions of Vlad Tepesh in the historical record: one is the German account, which is what Western audiences most often see and is what Bram Stoker used to create his Dracula. The other version is the Russian-Romanian account, which paints the Prince of Wallachia quite differently, as a ruler who did whatever he needed to do to keep his people safe. And that made Ms. Frost realize that his harsh background, and staggering responsibilities surely created a lonely Prince whose ethics were colored by the time and conditions in which he lived. Which makes for a fascinating character study.

On Writing in her World


How Ms. Frost creates her magic!
Ms. Frost talked a bit about world building and character names. Her original idea for the Night Huntress was based on a dream she had about a vampire yelling at a half-vampire for leaving him then hiding from him for several years. That one dream led to a number of questions that needed answering in order to create a fully fleshed-out world. There are vampires and half-vampires ― how are each created? Why was she running from him? Questions led to answers which led to more questions, allowing Ms. Frost to create her world. Names are also an important part of the writing process, and she found that vampires often change their names to reflect some aspect of their personalities. When she comes up with a name she often Googles it, to be sure it hasn't already been used, and she has found than Stan Lee ("Curse him!") always writes the coolest names.

Bones, Perfection on Legs


Oh, Bones, you perfect, perfect man
She knew Bones's name pretty quickly, but she doesn't remember exactly how it came to her. She knew, however, that she needed to explain to readers why he chose it, so that we would understand. For me, the line he says when he's explaining his name to Cat, always sticks with me: "From bones I rose, and Bones I became." Yeah, we definitely understand.


Oh, yeah, he's earned
his swagger
She was asked how soon in her writing process she knew that Bones had been a gigolo. His confidence had to come from somewhere and it was a combination of surviving for over two centuries and being extremely good at what he does. When writing Bones, Ms. Frost researched the era in which lived, specifically court transcripts from Eighteenth Century England. She had to figure out what he had done to be sent to the New Wales Penal Colony and then what had caused him to have to commit that crime. She found that conditions for impoverished citizens were absolutely dreadful, and Crispin would have had few options for survival. Being raised in a brothel, his main profession would have been pretty natural, and supplementing that with pickpocketing would have been common. However, rising above his impoverished early years and grim circumstances would have given him confidence along the way. She reflected on the fact that it would have been likely for a young male prostitute to serve both men and women, but Crispin was going to be her hero, and she chose to whitewash him just a bit. However, being as successful as he was with ladies, both before and after his death, would certainly be reason enough to "give him a little swagger in his step."

Justina, What a Bitch


Before I discuss what the amazing Ms. Frost had to say about Justina, I have to tell you that she is the single character who I cannot stand in this series. I blame her for every bit of Cat's prejudices and insecurities, for Cat & Bones being apart for too many years, for Cat's trust issues, and, well, I could go on. I think she is a nasty, hateful person and I have little tolerance for that. Despite their actions in the second book, I really like Ian and Annette, and Ms. Frost is incredibly talented to be able to make me change my mind about them. So I am confident that she could change my mind about Justina. And I think she probably will, based on her discussion of Justina this week.

Most Wenches hate Justina...for now
Pointing out that she knows what Justina has been through, even though we don't, she told us a very cute story about her mom realizing, and stating, that Justina is a bitch, then looking at her as if to ask if she were patterned after Mom. She laughed and said that she is not patterned after anyone. Ms. Frost understands why so many readers hate her, but she loves her, because she knows her heart and history, and she knows why she is the way she is. She reminded us that Justina had been glamored to believe that vampires were demons, and that her child was half-demon, yet she chose to keep her and raise her anyway. Justina had to make some difficult choices in raising Cat, and living with her judgmental parents probably didn't help matters. The things she did and the choices she made hardened her and made her the person we see. Okay, I understand. But I still hate her for now. She may give Justina a novella at some point, so that we can see who Justina really is.

Cat and Vlad


It's always interesting to me how little people ask about Cat at these events. I'm just as guilty, but Bones is my favorite character in all the urban fantasy series that I love. Anyway, someone asked about Cat's relationship with Vlad, which led to a very interesting discussion. I never really understood what Vlad wanted from Cat, what connected them so strongly. Ms. Frost pointed out that Vlad and Cat just got each other from the very beginning. Cat noticed at their first meeting that Vlad chose the seat closest to her, just to piss off Bones. More importantly, it amused her that he did so. It was never sexual for Vlad, as he told her in Destined for an Early Grave, but he could always use another friend. And for Cat, Vlad understood the darkness inside her, and her pain, more clearly than any of her other friends ever could. That kind of friendship, unspoiled by adding sex to the mix, is rare and precious when it occurs.

Ian, That Sexy, Smarmy Bastard


Readers want more Ian???
Of course we talked about Ian. When the first Ian question came in, Ms. Frost said that she is going to start carrying a jar with her to appearances and ask for a dollar every time someone wants to know when the Ian book is coming. She also said this was interesting, because she was originally planning to kill Ian in book two! This is the third time I've seen her, and previously she has simply said, "maybe," to inquiries about Ian getting a book. This time she said that events from the latest novella, Home for the Holidays, show that he may be ready to settle down and be hero (or anti-hero) material. That novella, as well as the past few books in the Night Huntress and NH World series, have shown us that Ian is deeper than his cavalier attitude would have us believe. Because we now know more about Ian's life before being shipped to the Penal Colony, we know that he had a difficult human existence, but also that he has a hole inside that he has worked to fill with unique things and people, and he may now be realizing that he needs to fill that hole with more substantial things like friendship and love. She also said, again, that she knows who Ian's love interest will be, when he is finally ready for one...and it's not Justina. She said that anyone whom Ian is interested in for the long run has to be stronger than he is. It will not be a human, and it will not be a weaker vampire, because he would just chew up and spit out a woman like that. Quite literally. I am pretty certain of who this mystery woman is, even more so after this discussion, and I can.not.WAIT. Because Ms. Frost can dissemble all she wants ― we are getting an Ian book, I have no doubt!

Oh, we're getting an Ian book!

There you have it, Saucy Reader―that's the scoop from Asheville. Are you pleased with what Jeaniene Frost had to say about her world and her characters? Do you have a burning question that hasn't been answered yet? Sound off in the comments below!


*All images courtesy of tumblr.com

Comments

  1. We're getting an Ian book!! Even if she won't admit it, I agree that it's been in her mind for awhile now. But, no hedging on her part is one step closer!!

    And, sweet Lord, those Colin gifs are going to kill me.

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  2. I like 'Night Prince' books so far. I'm a bit jealous you guys got to meet Jeaniene but it's overshadowed by how happy I am for you because I know how much you like her books.

    Vlad has always been my favorite (next to Bones...duh). When it comes to leading women in the series, I must admit Cat was an acquired taste while Leila was my instant favorite.

    I do love Cat and Vlad being friends and I hope we see it more. ;)

    I always disliked Justina, but I could understand her, trauma does that to people and not many know how to handle it.

    Ian is sort of interesting to me (don't kill me :D) so I'll read his book too, but I'm mostly interested in getting more Bones and Vlad.

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  3. Love this post. Especially because I just finished Twice Tempted and it was the best book I've read in 2013. So far. And I don't know what to do with myself. Go back to the first page and start it over? Go even farther back and read Once Burned too? This post was like a little painkiller. Thank you.

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  4. Awesome post Barb! I love what Ms. Frost had to say about the characters!

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  5. This post was really informational! Oh, how I love Jeaniene Frost!
    I also have a feeling who Ian's love interest will be. :-)

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  6. Ha ha, I had not considered what Jeaniene Frost's mother might think of Justina! I love her books and am so envious that you got to meet her...again! I had lost interest in her stories lately, but Twice Tempted has definitely rekindled my enthusiasm! What a fun book! And now I'm hopeful that there will be more fun books from her because she is looking ahead to her Ian book. (It took me a long time for me to like him, but given what she has done with Vlad's character, I look forward to seeing where she will take Ian's.) I'll have to try to fit in a reread of Night Huntress so I can speculate about his HEA.

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  7. Jennifer ChloeJaneApril 1, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Great post, Barb!

    JF is not just a great writer, she's very entertaining and you can tell what an intelligent and genuinely nice person she is. She's so down-to-earth! I loved how even though it wasn't quite time to start yet, she came out to sit with everyone because, "she was lonely."

    I did pause in my other series (even if Barb is disappointed in me LOL)to start Twice Tempted and yeah, it's fantastic! I couldn't put it down last night and am more than half way done. I couldn't stop thinking about it all day!
    And Barb, you forgot to tell everyone how awesome my sweet potato fries were at dinner! :)

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  8. Love, love, love your post and the gifs. I am half way through TT and it is sooo good! I liked Ian from the first time we met and I look forward to his book.

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  9. As much as I loved Twice Tempted (and I can't wait to read it again), I'm so excited about an Ian book.

    And, oh my, Colin..

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