Friday, November 21, 2008

Interview with Jordan Summers

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Jordan Summers. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Red. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Red is a near-future, post-apocalyptic fairytale based loosely on Little Red Riding Hood.

Red is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It’s the heroine’s nickname in the book. It doesn’t come from her hair color. It comes from how much blood she spills on the job.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

It’s what I like to read and watch in movies. Seemed rather natural given my love of monsters or creatures that people consider monsters.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea for the book came from one question. What if Little Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Wolf turned out to be the same person?

What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?

My book of angels, book of demons, encyclopedia of vampires and werewolves, and a crypto-zoology book. I like them because they have a lot of good information about the mythology behind various creatures. I also read things like the mating habits of wolves and lions, etc. It helps when creating beings that are more animalistic than the average human.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I actually really liked my lab created vampire, Raphael Vega. He’s got a quirky sense of humor.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?

I actually ‘hear’ a character first in my head. Sometimes I know who’s talking, while other times it takes days to figure it out. Once I have enough dialogue written down, then I may go back and do character sheets. I do find interviews helpful, when I’m stuck in a story section. That said, I do them a little differently. Instead of asking interview questions, I ask specific characters to tell me the story from start to finish. (ie what happened?) It helps that it’s in their point of view because everyone sees things differently. Information I might not have had pops up during these types of interviews.

Well, the world you develop affects every character inhabiting it. Not necessarily their development, but certainly their actions. In my case, the dead world that Red lives on is harsh. Food is scarce, so the wild animals who managed to survive will hunt anything. That includes people. You can’t survive long without supplies. There are communal bathing areas in most cities, so modesty doesn’t really exist. Most people have been genetically modified in the womb to withstand the higher radiation levels from sunlight. There are certain things in my Dead World books that are simply a way of life and my characters accept them as such.

How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I build my world through characterization. The characters ALWAYS come first in my books. I don’t use props like maps, charts, or drawings. The world blooms around my characters, not the other way around.

For example: Red began speaking to me first. When I met her, I knew she was scared. Something had woken her from a deep sleep. I didn’t realize the book was set in the near-future until she reached over to her steel nightstand and grabbed a laser pistol. At that point, I interrupted her and asked where she was located. Turns out she was inside an officer’s dorm room at the International Police Tactical Team headquarters. Could’ve knocked me over with a feather. *g*

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Several. The authors who got me interested in writing are Virginia Henley, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Johanna Lindsey. I loved their early work. Still do. I was also inspired by Lynn Viehl, Angela Knight, Lora Leigh, Christine Warren, Lori Foster, Simon Green, John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, and Kelley Armstrong.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Bookseller mailings are by far the most successful promotional tool in my opinion. I bought Pat Rouse’s list and sent advanced reader copies to several booksellers. I also sent out bookmarks. I’ve been surprised at the response I have received via email from them.

What do we have to look forward next?

The second book in the Dead World trilogy, SCARLET will be released in June 09. It will be followed by CRIMSON in November 09. The third and final book wraps up the love story that started in RED.

Thanks, Jordan Summers!

To celebrate her book release, Jordan is offering a free ebook of Atlantean’s Quest: The Arrival to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


Jordan Summers finished her first book in 2002 and immediately entered the ‘Daphne Du Maurier’ contest. The novel finaled in the single title mystery/suspense category and later was a finalist in the ‘Finally a Bride’ contest. She wrote her second book, Atlantean’s Quest: The Arrival that same year and sold it to Ellora’s Cave in October 2002. She’s written nine books for Ellora’s Cave and has enjoyed success with her Atlantean’s Quest Series and her Phantom Warriors’ series.

Missing the thrill of writing contests, Jordan entered the 2003 Lori Foster/ Kensington Brava contest and won the Reader’s Choice. The win led to a multi-book contract from Kensington Publishing. She also won the 2005 Harlequin Blaze published author contest. Her Blaze book, OFF LIMITS came out in March 2008. Jordan went on to land a three-book deal with Tor in October of 2006. RED is the first book in her new trilogy and was released November 4, 2008. It will be followed by SCARLET in June 2009 and CRIMSON in November 2009.

Check out author’s website at . Buy Red at


PamelaTracy said...

I'm so proud of you. What a great interview!

Jordan Summers said...

Thank you, Pamela. :)

Tina LaVon said...

Great cover, Jordan!
We miss you at the DR meetings. It is so nice to see that your career has taken off.

Thank you for stopping by MCTT.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jordan,
Thanks again for stopping by the blog. Question for you. Is there anything your editor made you take out or that you had to delete in the final version of the book? I love the twist on the fairytale and can't wait to get my hands on it.

Karin said...

Jordan, the interview was great. I really loved hearing more about the world within Red. Since Red as the first to speak to you, who was the last? And how did that character alter the view of the world in the book?

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Wow, I love the question of what if LRRH and the wolf were the same person -- that's such a great way to start a book!

Laurie, wondering if any of your others have comparable starter questions?

Carol Webb said...

What a wonderful and original concept. I'm hooked.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jordan Summers said...

Thanks Tina. I miss you guys, too. :)

Jordan Summers said...

Kim, Sorry I've been away for a few hours. I got caught up in copyedits. :/

To answer your question, no. I actually had to add more world building to the book, but she didn't ask me to take anything out. She loved the fact the book was 'morally ambiguous'. *ggg*

A lot of people seem to be shocked that I got away with having so much violence in the book. I think that would've been a problem if I was going for 'shock value' or if the graphically violent scenes didn't move the plot forward.

Jordan Summers said...

Karin, The last character to speak to me was Raphael Vega. He's a vampire with a dry sense of humor. He added the only comic relief in the book. *g*

Jordan Summers said...

Laurie, With this series, I'm trying to come up with starter questions or statements, since the original caught so much attention. For example the second book in the Dead World series is Scarlet. On the front cover there's a statement: If you aren't afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf--you should be.

Crimson will have a similar tagline...once I think of one. LOL!

Jordan Summers said...

Thanks Carol! Thank you all for having me. It's been a pleasure. :)

Sasha White said...

YAY Jordan!. I'm so excited about RED, I'm starting it tomorrow!

Jordan Summers said...

Sasha, I hope you like it. :)