I was approached by some fans of Dara Joy this past spring. They wondered whether All About Romance would sponsor a reader Q&A with her this summer, in preparation for the release of Mine to Take, the third in the Matrix of Destiny series early this fall. Dara has been a supporter of AAR in the past, and the first two of Matrix series are Desert Isle Keepers. While it is true that some readers find her writing tends toward the purple, her humorous and sexy style has made her one of Romance's shining stars within just a few years of her debut.
I first interviewed Dara during 1997 and found that although she was rather inscrutable, she was a lot of fun - things got most interesting when I turned off the tape and we could talk about Highlander: The Series. Since then I read and fell in love with High Energy a wickedly funny and sexy contemporary that is being re-released just about now. I've also heard from a number of readers who count Knight of a Trillion Stars (the first in her Matrix of Destiny series) as the funniest romance they've ever read. And, a very good friend of mine is embarrassed to admit she loved Rejar (the second of the Matrix series) as much as she did - her tastes in romance are generally more "important." Last year's Tonight Or Never was a more difficult book for many readers - it seemed to be an "I loved it" or "I hated it" kind of read. Coming next month for Dara and her fans is the third in the Matrix series - Mine to Take.
Dara achieved something unparelleled in the genre with her first four books - each was in a different sub-genre. She's quite proud of that; it goes a long way toward showing her versatility. She plans many more books in the Matrix series as well as follow ups to High Energy, but I'll let you read about that below.
Without further ado, here are the questions readers posed, and Dara's answers as well. They are in no particular order - I just couldn't figure out a way to organize them other than how they came in. Enjoy!
--Laurie Likes Books
In the Matrix of Destiny Series you compare the eyes of your Aviaran heroes to gemstones:
- Lorgin/Krue - Amethyst
- Yaniff - Onyx
- Traed - Peridot
The gems seem to be almost mystical in this context. For example, amethyst is the stone of Royalty and strength - Definitely Lorgin! Did you research and plan this or is it coincidence?
This is a wonderful question! When I wrote Knight of a Trillion Stars (KOATS), it was mentioned that I had purposely laced the book with numerous references, puzzles, trivia etc. to add to the fun and adventure of the story. Many readers tried to ferret out or name as many of these clues as they could find. For example, Deana Jones was a takeoff on Indiana Jones and the clue was that she was about to have quite an adventure. So, too, the scene in the otherworldly bar room was obviously a salute and parody to the infamous Star Wars scene. Some of it seemed familiar to our beleaguered Deana, although she couldn't quite figure out why. In addition to these references, there are numerous cryptograms contained within each book that will lead you to solving many of the mysteries in the Matrix of Destiny. An obvious example of this is when Yaniff cautions Rejar in KOATS to never again attempt the procedure he used to save Lorgin's life. He even prophesies that Rejar will be tempted to do it yet another time. Rejar scoffs at the warning, saying he would never attempt such a thing again. Yet in Rejar's own book, we see that he not only feels compelled to attempt it but almost loses his life doing so. There are levels upon levels of such hints in these books for those readers who like to ferret out details and love discussing them. Hint: You might notice that in Mine to Take that Traed's eyes are now referred to mostly as "Jade" in this portion of the tale.
What is your gemstone/astrological sign? Which character(s) in your Matrix series do you feel most familiar with?
Like many writers, I am a Sagittarius. Somehow, the profession seems to go with the sign-probably because while we have our feet are on terra firma, our sights are in the clouds. In other words we are professional wool gatherers. I would have to say that I am on a first name basis with all of these characters. They are very dear to me.
Have we seen the last of Theardar? And where is the phasing stone he stole?
Ah....another piece of the puzzle to solve! Hmm, yes, where is that blasted missing phasing stone?! Better keep an eye out for it - it just might show up in a most unusual place within the Matrix of Destiny.
Will you give us a hint about Traed's story?
Nope. (evil grin)
Ohhhh okay. Hint: What goes around, comes around.
Do you plan on writing the story of how Rejar and Lorgin's parents meet? When I read Lorgin's story it explained very little about Krue and Suleila, but hinted at a lot of adventure. I hope and pray you do a series like Janelle Taylor's Savage Destiny series.
Already, in these first three books, we have seen bits and pieces of their past and how certain events have affected their sons lives in the present. There is much more to be revealed. In the course of the series, their relationship, both past and present, will be explored further.
Can you share with us who, in some small way, some of these other- worldly characters you have created, are based on? For instance, are you Rejar?
My characters, for the most part, are based on the creative process. They seem to introduce themselves to me and I have a definite sense of instantly 'knowing' exactly who they are, what characteristics they display, etc. This is the basis of a writer's talent. Although, as individuals, all writers (and other artists) have their own methods for producing - some may write detailed character sketches (or may even put their heroes and heroines through Freudian psychoanalysis!), in the long run we all simply draw from our inner wellspring to conjure up the source of our inspiration.
That being said, I am not Rejar – but I do live with him.
Explain more fully the concept of a "familiar," and what significance that might have in your own life.
Mine to Take explores the Familiar nature in great detail. Through Gian, we see a reactive race of beings who rely on instinct to survive. Like their counterpart the cat, they have dichotomous characteristics.: playful and mischievous on the one hand, deadly intent and sensual on the other. Their ability to Transform themselves is highly significant. Like Familiars, we, too, continually 'morph' during the course of our lives. Change precipitates growth.
I loved Tonight or Never! Are you planning any other straight historicals?
Thank you. Tonight or Never was so much fun to write! The characters were all completely skewed and oblivious to it, Chloe was wonderfully bold and John...well John intrigued me. He was so very different beneath the "Lord of Sex" legend...and yet one could say he earned the title honestly. Yes, I would love to do more historicals! I have several just waiting to be told.
How old is Yaniff anyway?
I would ask him but it seems kind of rude, I mean he is a seventh level wizard. Have to show some respect. But maybe (hint,hint)...we might find that out during the course of the series.
What advice would you like to share with those of us who are aspiring writers?
How much space do I have here? Okay, if I have to condense this down there would be three things to start with:
- Write the story you want to write.
Don't ever let anyone tell you what you 'should' be writing. Write that special story, the one you know you have to tell. Remember, "Rules for creativity" is an oxymoron.
- Write the story the way you want to write it. Never let anyone dictate style to you. Continually learn your craft, but always let your inner voice guide you.
- Write the story. Enough obsessing already! Start typing!
Will there be a sequel to High Energy? It seems there is a set-up for a sequel there.
Yes, there will be a sequel! Rumor has it that Tyber has been recently sighted and he seems to be up to his usual...ahem...lessons.
Laurie once reported that you plan at least one High Energy sequel. She said you wanted to do a Nick and Nora Charles-type story for Tyber and Zanita. She also reported you might write about Mills and Gregor in another sequel. Do you plan to write a book about Mills and Gregor? I got the feeling while reading High Energy, that you were setting up a story focusing on them.
Mills and Gregor and Cody will have a story. Talk about chalk and cheese...well, they do say opposites attract. Yep. Gregor is attracted and Mills is definitely opposed. Maybe appalled is more the word? Guess he just rubs her the wrong way. . .
I don't have a time frame yet for you but as soon as I do I will let you know.
When will the third book in the Matrix of Destiny series be published? I keep checking on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. According to amazon.com, the next book is called Dangerous Goods. Will that be a sequel to High Energy?
The third book in the Matrix of Destiny series is Mine to Take and it is a November release (although it will probably show up in stores sometime beginning to mid-October) AAR has already received a review copy, so keep checking for updates! Gian will be growling his way to you around mid-October. Not to worry, he purrs nice, too. Dangerous Goods will not be my next book.
I really enjoyed My One in the Lovescape anthology. Ms. Joy really has a way; she can make her heroes strong, sweet and oh-so-sexy all at the same time. I loved when Trystan realized that his and Lois's child would be so small that they would have to protect it after it was born. What a man.
One of the things I loved about Tyber Evans was that he realized that Zanita didn't see her own vulnerability and he set out to protect her without making her feel powerless. Please forgive my barbarism, but I loved the part when Tyber kicked Zanita's attacker's ass (well, not his ass precisely). Sorry, but the man had it coming.
Okay, enough with the worship, although I could go on. Do you have any plans to write more novellas in the near future? I unfortunately couldn't get my hands on the Night Before Christmas anthology.
One last request: please continue writing your heroes without a lot of internal conflict. I like internal conflict as much as the next reader, but it does get tiresome. It's refreshing to have a hero with his s--t together.
I probably will do some more anthology stories in the future when I can fit them in between books. Santa Reads Romance is the story in the Night Before Christmas anthology. This book was reissued in limited quantity and may still be available through such resources as Amazon Books or Leisure's 800 line. I understand the Lovescape anthology is extremely difficult to find now.
When is Traed's story going to be published? What is his special talent going to be?
I don't have a pub date for Traed's story yet. In the meantime, if you just gotta have a "Traed fix", he has quite a large role in Mine to Take.
Special talent? One might say that he has perfected brooding to a fine art. Of course, there is that way he gets after he kicks a door shut... Now there is talent!
Do you have a newsletter or web site?
Not at this time, although I am looking into it. However, my publisher, Leisure Books, has a wonderful new web site (links to all publishers can be found here)! They keep up with my latest releases, news, e-mails etc. and its a fun site with lots of good romance links. This coming month they are having a special contest for Dara Joy readers! Five winners will get an autographed advanced copy of Mine to Take.
Have you ever published under another name? If so what? I just want to make sure I don't miss any of your books.
Nope. No other names. This is the whole ball of wax.
For some reason, I keep worrying about the death of one of the lead characters at some point in the Matrix of Destiny series. Would you ever do that?
This concern shows me that you care very much for these characters and that means a great deal to me. Unfortunately,I cannot give away any of the plot details in the Matrix of Destiny and either way this question is answered does just that. I can only ask that you take the adventure with me and see what happens....
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful readers for their support, kindness, and friendship. The romance community is a vast and varied family, which has room for all of its unique children. To me, this is the true strength of our genre.
||Dara Joy interview - 1997