I'm sure many of you have already read his vampire for hire series (Moon Dance, Vampire Moon and American Vampire) and if you haven't, I hope you'll check them out.
J.R. was kind enough to offer to do a Q&A for my online book club in about two weeks' time (final date to be announced). So, if you aren't a member of my online book club, please friend me on Facebook and you can access it there.
Here's what J.R. Rain had to say!
HP: Hi, JR, and welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm really excited to introduce your books to my readers! So, I have to admit that I haven't yet read one of your books but they are next on my list. I've heard nothing but glowing reviews about them from my readers! I'm really excited to delve into them. Is there a particular book I should start with?
JR: First of all, I already love all your readers. And second, that’s a good question. I would imagine many of your readers would want to start with Moon Dance, which is the first in my “Vampire for Hire” series. But I’m also currently writing eight other series, three of which are with the great Scott Nicholson! Moon Dance is my most popular book by far, and is a great introduction to my writing, I would imagine. It has some mystery, humor and lots of supernatural.
HP: So, I read on your website that you used to be a private investigator which sounds incredibly interesting! Can you tell us about the craziest thing you ever encountered? Or is that top secret?
JR: It’s all top secret and I’ll probably go to jail, but what the hell...I’ll take my chances! Kidding. Let’s see, my craziest case was probably going undercover at a big department store on the West Coast, where we uncovered a massive theft ring that extended to many different countries.
HP: How did you decide to write paranormal romance?
JR: I never did! I swear. My books just ended up there. Actually, I always think of myself as a mystery writer first. I wrote Moon Dance back in 2003, back when Anita Blake was just getting popular, and way before Twilight was published. Actually, I had never heard of another mystery series that featured a vampire as a lead, and so I ran with it. My inspiration for Samantha Moon was “Bewitched,” truth be known. (Get it, Sam?) I was always so intrigued that a full-blown witch could secretly live in a suburban neighborhood. So I asked myself what steps would a vampire need to take if she were to live in a typical neighborhood...and Moon Dance was born. Interestingly, it never occurred to me that I was doing something unusual by writing from a female’s perspective. I just knew that the book would be more interesting if she was a soccer mom, private eye and vampire. Back in the day, many publishers rejected it because there wasn’t enough romance in it, and I would always say, “That’s because it’s a mystery novel...and how could there be much romance in it if she’s trying to hold together a marriage that’s falling apart?” Well, publishers are interested in it today, but I have no desire to sell it. I’m quite happy publishing my novels straight to Kindle (and other ereaders) and having total control.
HP: What type of dog do you have?
JR: She’s a basenji/doberman mix. Basenjis are the barkless dog from Africa, the ones that look a bit like a dingo. Her name is Sadie, but her nickname is Booger Butt.
HP: If you weren't a writer, what other job would you want?
JR: I would have been an archaeologist...or would have just kept working as a P.I. I have a degree in anthropology, and I always thought it would have been cool to work in a cultural museum. But not as cool as writing about vampires and ghosts.
HP: I read on your website that you used to write screenplays? Which do you prefer, screenplays or books?
JR: Ultimately, books. But screenplays do have their place, too. For me, the structure of screenplays allow for tons of action, which can be a lot of fun. I might write more screenplays someday, and just publish them directly onto Kindle. Kindle is a new market for screenplay authors, many of whom are great writers, too, but you would never know it because their original screenplays were badly botched by producers, other writers and actors. And what about all those great screenplays that never got made or never sold because of a silly temporary trend? So screen writers...publish your screenplays on Kindle! There’s a market for them. I’m proof.
HP: Can you tell us about your Vampire for Hire series?
JR: It features Samantha Moon who works the night shift as a private investigator. She used to be a Federal Agent for HUD, which is a little-known agency that tracks down loan frauds and such, especially those frauds committed against low-income families. But when she encountered a “change” in her life, she was forced to quit her day job and work nights. I once dated a federal agent, and boy oh boy did I hear a lot of great stories. (Of course, I think she liked some of my stories, too.) Basically, the stories are about her coping with her new life, all while tackling some pretty wild cases.
HP: What’s your favorite part about being a writer?
JR: Day hikes in the woods. Seriously. Which boils down to: Freedom.
HP: If you had to be one of your characters, who would you be and why?
JR: Ha! Well, I’m already one of my characters. Jim Knighthorse is based on me...except, as I like to say, he’s bigger, badder and better. He does the things I always wished I could, says the things I always wanted to say, and kicks the ass I always wanted to kick.
HP: Are you a night owl or an early riser?
JR: I am an early riser; that is, if I want to get my best work done. Without discipline, I would stay up until 5:00 a.m. and then sleep all the next day, which isn’t a good recipe for personal development and success.
HP: Do you have any advice for other authors who are just starting out?
JR: Treat writing seriously. Learn the craft. Buy books on writing. Take writing classes. Writing classes are a blast. You get to hang out with other writers and talk shop. Give yourself a self-education in the art of writing. Practice with short stories. Then graduate to longer stories. Read like crazy. Mimic your favorite writers in the beginning, and then branch out once you discover your own voice. With Amazon and Nook you no longer need to go with traditional publishers, but that also means your writing will be instantly critiqued by readers. So make sure you’re putting out there the best possible product. And the way you know you’re putting out the best possible product is to properly teach yourself the craft.
HP: How did you get started writing?
JR: I always wanted to work for myself, even back when I was a kid. I was always making stuff, trying to discover what it was that I wanted to keep on making for the rest of my life. I built everything from skates to skis to furniture. It wasn’t until I “made” my first book when I was 12, that I realized that I was onto something. I never thought of it as “writing” in the beginning. In the beginning, I made books as surely as I would have made a wooden fruit bowl, which I made a few of back in the day, too, haha. I was hooked on writing from the beginning and my fruit bowls fell by the wayside, although I think there are still a few of them out there.
HP: Do you have a particular favorite of your books or series?
JR: I guess I would have to say my novel The Body Departed. It’s a short novel about a ghost looking to save his soul, and it came out far better than I could have possibly hoped.
HP: Can you describe an average day in the life of JR Rain?
JR: I wake up at 6:30, feed my dog, make coffee, eat breakfast, walk the dog, meditate, and then start writing at about 8:00 a.m. I will write off and on all day long until about 7:00 p.m. During the day, I will always go to a coffee shop and read and drink another coffee, along with a scone (a pastry product that I like to poke fun of in my books). I may also take my dog on a hike in the woods or a walk along the beach. I will also squeeze in about a 30 minute nap somewhere. I generally write between 6-10 pages a day, although that number can go as high as 15 on a good day. I hit the hay at midnight every night.
HP: It seems like you've written a million books, LOL. What is the final count?
JR: Ha! I don’t know...let me count, hold on...15 novels, 3 short story collections, and 2 screenplays. I also have about 10 omnibuses (which are collections of my own books or books with other writers). I have 9 books scheduled to be written this year. Oh, and I also have 9 children’s novels that I will be publishing in 2012. I wrote these novels between the ages of 12-19. So I’ll clean them up and publish them under a pen name.
HP: Thanks so much for taking the time out to talk with us, JR! I wish you tons of luck (like you really need it) with your career and I look forward to reading your books soon!
JR: Thank you, H.P. You are awesome, and so are all your fans. :)