Interview with Joleene Naylor

Hello! My name is Katelina, and welcome to Weekend Character Interviews. Instead of interviewing a character this week, Jorick and I have finally overpowered the woman who calls herself our author (You may know her as Jo, the one who rarely bothers to make an appearance at these weekly posts and never answers questions.) Rest assured, Jorick and I are going to make her talk!

Jo - she refuses to update her online pictures because she likes the black hair in this one. Sad.

Katelina: Hello, Jo! About time you dropped in.

Jo: This is author abuse. You’re going to be sorry. Just wait until you see what I do to you.

K: I’d worry if I thought you were ever going to write the next book! Ha! Everyone knows that we come second to your book covers and all of that. Heck, I think you spend more time on that Superpoke Pets game than us.

Jo: That’s not true. Okay, maybe it is, but that’s beside the point. Now, would you mind explaining why I’m tied to this chair?

K: You’re going to answer some questions! In fact, as surprising as it is, some readers even submitted questions for you! To begin with, let’s say that the person reading this is unfamiliar with us and our books (a safe bet, considering I’ve seen your sales numbers). What kind of reader would like these books?

Jo: Hey! We have twelve fans-

K: if you count your mother.

Jo: She counts! She buys a paperback copy! To answer the question, as a reader you have to not hate vampires. You apparently don’t really need to love them (several reviews I’ve had start with “I don’t normally like vampires…”). Actually, I think it helps if you’re not a lover of a lot of the “modern” vampires because mine are kind of old school. They burn to ash in the sunlight. They hiss and growl. They like to hang people upside down and drain all their blood out into goblets.

K: Gross. So, when is the next book going to be out?

Jo: I don’t know! I have a rough draft done, but-

K: But most of it is no good because you changed things and rearranged the order of events and the timing, and what was any good you moved into Ties of Blood, so really you have a rough draft of a quarter of a book.

Jo: You’re a very negative character, do you know that? Okay, fine, I have half of a book rough drafted. But I know some of the other stuff I’m going to add in.

K: And as Yen asked, “How long does it take you to write a book?”

Jo: If I knuckle down and do nothing else I can churn a rough draft out in one month. Then I usually take a month off –

K: or more

Jo: and then go back and reread it and start rewriting and editing and all of that. That’s what really takes the time. Though if I were doing only that and nothing else (marketing, emails, book covers etc.) I could do it a lot faster. I rewrote Ties of Blood last February and the final proofreading was done on the tenth before I uploaded it.

K: That’s because you don’t concentrate. Or, as Juli asked, “You work on so many things! How much time are you able to devote to your latest novel?”

Jo: Ah. Well, yes. Not much. Most days I don’t write anything except emails. I’m hoping to take off October and maybe November from working on book covers and such (except for projects I have already accepted) so that I can really knuckle down to it.

K: You notice there are exceptions. No wonder Joleene and Jorick both start with Jo…

Jo: What? Are you claiming I designed the male lead after me? Puh. I think not. He’s a bit like the hubby, though. In fact, he uses some of hubby’s lines here and there.

K: See? You’re not even inventing your characters. While we’re discussing your lack of originality, here’s a question from Sue, “You make up names, where do you get your ideas?”

Jo: I randomly say names out loud until I find one that sounds good. I have what I call the Tolkien problem; a lot of characters have similar names: Oren, Loren. Katelina, Kateesha. There were some others but I changed them when I noticed it (Anya was originally Sonya – too close to Senya). When I started serious world building this was a problem in some cases. For instance, Claudius’ character felt French, but that’s not really a French 1500’s or 1600’s name (I was able to fix that in my Claudius short story, though 😉 ) and the name Velnya does not exist. If you google it the top results are all me. I’ve started looking up names for some of the old vampires so they’re culturally correct (Eileifr is an example of this – I have no idea how to pronounce it).

rpg group

The aforementioned RP group... yes, it says Harry Potter... see what she used to waste her time on!?!?!

K: God! We don’t care that much! Next question! “Did you know when you wrote the first book – well actually before – that it would be a series?”

Jo: No. I originally wrote it for NaNoWriMo. This is a fun story-

K: Oh no, not this-

Jo: I was in an RP group and another girl who was in it, too, dropped out for the month to do NaNoWriMo. Being the competitive pain in the ass I am, I decided to do NaNoWriMo AND keep writing in the group. It was actually Carolyn who convinced me it was worth finishing and doing something with.

K: That answer kind of makes poor Juli’s question superfluous, huh?  “How long did you play with your characters before you wrote Shades of Gray?”

Jo: Chapter 2 of Shades of Gray is the original chapter one. When I wrote “she was waiting” I had no idea what she was waiting for. (This is where editing and rewriting comes in handy.) Then Jorick appeared just because I was listening to HIM and the Rasmus and was in the mood for something heavy, dark and romantic. Jorick is actually based loosely on Drenkan, a side character I wrote in that RP group. He was the super smoulder, smexy vampire who was dating my main character. (I’ll skip the details because no one cares), but after he turned into Jorick he changed, of course. I find that changing their name changes their whole personality, no matter how much you think it won’t.

K: Blah, blah. We object to that, you know. You could at least pretend that you put some effort into us. Moving on, here’s another one from Juli “Plotter or pantser? Do you create an outline for yourself, or do your characters tell their stories as the chapters progress? If you do use an outline, how closely do you stick to it?” Yeah, right, like she’s that organized!

Jo: hey! I’m organized. Okay, no, I’m not. I guess I kind of have a fluid idea in my head of what I’m working towards, but only to a point. I come up with major events, but 99% of the characters conversation is all them. When Jorick mentioned he had a sister I was as surprised as everyone else.  Or when he explains how he knows Jeda (I was like wow! Really!?) LOL!

K: You had to bring that up. Thanks. Steph asks, How has the idea progressed since it clicked.  Is it still what you imagined or has it taken a 180?”

Jo: I didn’t really have much of a plan, so it’s all a surprise. Except the characters. I had specific ideas for their personalities that didn’t stick. Oren went wrong. Verchiel was just supposed to be a five second mention who got killed (which is why he looks so ridiculous – I never thought I’d have to explain him) – and you can see what happened with him.  I originally had some kind of almost lesbian things in mind for Kateesha and Katelina, but that didn’t work out.

K: What!?!?! Ewwww! Thank God it didn’t! I cannot even believe that!

Jo: Oh, get over it. Next question, or should I ramble some more about that?

K: No thank you! Speaking of Oren going wrong, here’s a question from the aforementioned Carolyn, “Dude, seriously, what is up with Oren?” Yeah, I’d like to know that, too.

Jo: Funny you mention him. This was supposed to be his slot – but he got moved to October. As to what his deal is, he did just loose his wife of 100 plus years a couple months ago, and his children were burned alive in front of him. That’s enough to screw with a guy’s head. Despite the fact that he was supposed to be the modern, with-it guy, he seems to be stuck in some kind of perma-rut. He doesn’t even use contractions if he can get away with it! So, he’s not the kind who handles change well and he’s still in that angry grieving stage. I imagine after he attacks the Guild things will shift. *cough*.

K: I have a bad feeling every time you mention that.  From Ruth, “If you were to start writing this series over again, is there anything you would change in the books or overall plot line for the series?”

Jo: Not really. I’m pretty happy with them. The second book has been called “ridiculous” but I like ridiculous. I also like cheesy. A book review that says “this was ridiculous, cliché and cheesy” is almost a guarantee I will buy the book.

three so far.....

K: That explains a lot. *cough* While we’re on the topic of your writing, this is also from Ruth. “How many books do you think this series will be?” 

Jo: There has to be at least three more – the next one and two to wrap up the mess I’m making in the next one. I’ve kind of figured out how to get myself out of it, though I don’t know how to get from point A to that point (that’s the fun part, huh?) But even if I accomplish that by book six I’m sure something else can happen. Personally I’d be happy to see the series go on forever like Anita Blake’s, though probably with less sex.

K: Like you have that kind of attention span. From Sue, “It’s no secret Katelina becomes part of the undead population, sort of lose some of the whimsey like the food bits. Does Katelina regret that she won’t be able to have kids now?” Hey…

Jo: Heh-heh. She hasn’t made the switch yet. You’d have to ask her about the kid thing. I suspect she might have a twinge now and again about it, but she’s so selfish that I don’t think she’ll notice-

K: Is this bash your characters day? Now I will answer that! I suppose I might, someday, have to make the switch to vampire, but I’m not in a hurry. I like things the way they are. Though kids are something I never put much thought into. Hmmmm…

Jo: This chair is uncomfortable. Don’t make me sit here while you try to think. Move on.

K: Bite me. Speaking of future books, “Will there be a werewolf, zombie or some other paranormal character(s) that show up to play a significant them vs. vampires scenario?”

Jo: I won’t say no for sure because I never know, but I’m not planning on it. As Jorick asks Katelina, “For the love of all things holy, aren’t Vampires enough for you? Why do you want to go looking for more monsters?”

K: Yeah, they’re enough for me. Unless it was a really sexy, half naked werewolf-

Jorick *appears* What were you saying?

K: Um, nothing. I was saying that you were all the paranormal I need. Heh-heh. Moving on. From Juli, “Who’s your favorite character to write?”

Jo: Well it isn’t Katelina. She usually annoys me. I mean seriously? She couldn’t just ASK where those letters came from?

K: I’m not his wife! I can’t-

Jo: yeah, yeah, whatever. When I found letters that belonged to the guy I was living with I met him at the door with them and the words, “What the hell are these?” Anyway, back to the question.*ignores the really dirty look she’s getting* I have several favorites. I love Verchiel because he’s so fun, but I think there’s a lot more to him underneath it all- like that’s a shell he wears. I’m dying to get underneath that and see what’s lurking there. Micah is also a blast because he just spouts off whatever he wants. He’s like that gruff uncle that drinks beer and scratches himself and uses profane language in front of the nieces and nephews and complains if he has to babysit them, but let someone look at one of them wrong and he’ll smash their skull in. Of course, I enjoy Jorick – especially when he’s annoyed because he’s so funny – and I’m curious about his past. I have the major pieces, but there’s a lot missing. For instance, is Oren his only fledgling in all these years? Oh, and Loren is fun, too, because he’s really that kinda sweet, awkward guy who just says dumb things all the time.

K: All your favorite characters to write are men? What’s with that?

Jo: I like men better. They’re more fun.

K: Well… okay, yeah…  *looks at Jorick* Moving on. From Yen, “What sparked your interest in vampires?”

Jo: My mom always loved vampires. It never occurred to me not to like them. Though, I really fell in love with Anne Rice’s because it made more sense that just biting someone didn’t turn them (You might notice I’ve stolen her turning process to a point). Also they weren’t affected by crosses and all the other stuff I thought was kind of hokey. However, I never agreed with her idea that vampires can’t have sex.

K: Yeah, me either. Heh-heh. *looks at Jorick again*. So, um, oh, here’s one from Steph, “at what age did you know you wanted to write?”

Jo: Hmmm. Well, I always wrote stories (we used to write illustrated books for fun when I was a kid – we were freaks), but I guess high school is when I started to take it seriously because I had a new Creative Writing teacher who didn’t know I was the art kid, so she thought of me as the writing kid, which was pretty cool.

note the mystified expression....

K: If you say so. On the topic of your writing skill (or lack thereof), from Juli, “What made you decide to write in the third person?”

Jo: I just always have. I finally started doing some first person in short stories the last couple of years because it’s saves words to use“ I’ instead of introducing a character (people will accept I with no more details because subconsciously they tend to assign the writer to that character, so less introduction is needed).

K: Okay, okay. Enough. “What are the most difficult scenes for you to write?” Besides all of them?

Jo: Oh, be quiet. This is an easy one – sex and fight scenes! Anything with action in it because my first thought is always “God, this would be easier to just draw in a few panels!” I actually will wander off in the middle of writing them because I get bored.

K: You’re abnormal. Just saying. And while we’re discussing what a freak you are, from Yen,  “Who is your fav author to read?”

Jo: Most of my favorite authors are dead. If you go through Kindle’s free reads you’ll run into a lot of them (Hans Christian Anderson, Edgar Allen Poe, etc.) and of course there’s Tolkien, too. My favorite books are usually fantasy or at the least speculative fiction with at least enough romance hinted at that my imagination can fill in the rest. My genre exception is the real VC Andrews (not her replacements). I like her books because there is such a contrast between the sick twisted stuff going on and the backdrop. Like the shelf of stuffed animals in the bedroom in My Sweet Audrina, or the construction paper flowers in Flowers in the Attic – the little bits of sweet innocence watching over the twisted stuff just makes it THAT much more twisted.

K: Um, okay. Speaking of twisted, “Of the three Amaranthine stories, pick one of your favorite scenes, and tell us why you enjoyed writing it.”

Jo: It’s not necessarily a twisted scene. Hmph. The newest book is always my favorite, so it would have to be a scene with Jorick and Verchiel together. I giggle as I write the two of them going back and forth. Plus, conversation is my favorite thing to write.  Or the Christmas tree. Since that was a last minute addition it’s still new enough that I’m impressed with it. Okay, that is kind of twisted.

K: Kind of!? You’ve ruined Christmas for me! And here’s the last question, from Bonnie, “I’d like to know where she got all that talent from?” Talent?

Jo: You’re just jealous because you don’t have any talent.

K: yes I do.

Jo: What? You can’t cook, you can’t sew, you can’t write, you don’t draw, you’re no mechanic. You fetched coffee all day, then went home and watched TV or went to the bar. You don’t even have a hobby!

K: Whose fault is that? Besides, I do have hobbies. Just not artsy old-lady ones. Now answer the damned question!

Jo: You’re violent. I think Malick was wrong about you. *ahem* Anyway, obviously it was inherited from my poet and painter mother. Dad also has quite an imagination, so he should probably get some of the credit, too.

K: And now you’re going to answer my question! Who is it you’re planning to kill in the next book?

Jo: Well, I’m going to unkill one of them, I know. But at the moment, taking the rough draft in to account… erm… well I can’t tell you who, but I think there’s six or seven semi-main-side characters that get whacked, anyway. Come on, there’s a war going on! Someone has to die.

Jorick: I hate to agree, but she’s right. Otherwise it turns into a kiddy book where all the good guys live.

Jo: Right. Plus I just have too many smeggin’ characters. I’ll need to release an encyclopedia to keep them all straight soon!


K: You’re both sick. Hey! What are you doing!

Jo: And tada! *leaps up* Knots untied. Next time you should get someone who knows what they’re doing to tie me up. I am outta here!

*Jo disappears in a puff of pink colored smoke*

K: Well, that was bizarre. I’d thank her for coming, but what’s the point?

Jorick: I guess we might as well call it a day then, huh? You know, we could go explore that option that makes us different from Anne Rice’s vampires.

K: Hee-hee! *to readers* Thanks for stopping by! Come back next week when Weekend interviews resumes its normal format. Bye!

*drags Jorick out of the room*

If you’re an author and would like your character(s) to be interviewed by me, then check out this very cool page that has all the details:

Leave a comment


  1. heehee. Ungrateful characters! Great job and I learned stuff . How could you ever have thought about killing Verchiel? He is too much fun.

    • I know, right?! He wasn’t supposed to be fun, he was just supposed to walk in and get killed and then the minute he started talking I was in love! hee-hee! ❤

  2. Wow – that was great – lots of info and even more questions pop up in my head – I used to drive grandma nuts with questions. Finally she just said, “because it is!” Good answer. I look forward to book 3 in paperback. Hmmm I think I get the whimsy for my characters from yours…. imagine a double date………. ok I’ll stop now – good stuff!!

  3. I Loved this interview! I think it’s my new favorite!

    Thanks for answering my questions, and one day…maybe…would you mind taking back that generous “e” you keep giving me? I know, I know you’ve got three of them, so you got lots to spare…but I think I was traumatized by an “e” as a small child and I might have to sit in the corner and chew on my hair, if I see that extra letter mock me once more! That letter does NOT like seem to like me. It torments me. ALL my legal documents have had to be done TWICE because of that one extra letter. My driver’s lic, my checks, credit card, my marriage lic, my morgage…the letter “e” and I have been feuding for a while! I should write a children’s book about it! “Juli and the horrible, no good letter E” 😉 He! He! Of course it would NEVER sell. Spellcheck would go ahead and fix it, and then the book would make NO sense at all!

    Have a great day!

  4. Wonderful interview. It was great. I loved it.

  5. Wow! Reading the first half of the interview made me think you’d stepped into my life for a moment.

  6. Really cute!!! I love your books! You’d have to give grandpa some credit too for the imagination. He could tell a good story!

  7. Re: Eileifr – I read it Hey-lay-fr, but I’m Italian, so that’s how I read those letters! 😉 I probably mispronounce all your other names, and it took me 3 novels to get Jorick right (i tended to read it ee-o-rick instead of Jorick – dunno why, J doesn’t exist in Italian, so I should be used to read it the English way…)! 😀

    • It’s better than i do. I read it “EE- lif- fur” and pronounce it out loud as “eeillliffrrrr or whatever” LOL! my mom used to pronounce Jorick as Yorick until i finally PM’d a guy on Myspace who was actually named Jorick and he said it is pronounced Joe-rick – so I don’t pronounce it right either because I say Joor-ick :p


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