Jordan Dane – The Interview
After award-winning romantic thriller author Jordan Dane sold her first three books in auction to Avon/HarperCollins in June 2006, her debut title NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM held more significance. Everyone heard her scream! And this went double when she sold another three-book series in May 2007 without having one book on the shelves yet.
Ripped from the headlines, Jordan’s gritty suspense plots weave a tapestry of vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Her first back-to-back releases are planned for Apr, May and Jun 2008. Jordan and her husband now share their Oklahoma residence with an intelligent canine and two cats of highborn lineage.
In spring 2008, take a front row seat to suspense with Jordan Dane’s NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM, NO ONE LEFT TO TELL, & NO ONE LIVES FOREVER.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jordan Dane to Welcome to Hell…
Jordan Dane: Hey Glenn—Thanks for taking an interest in my work and for supporting a new author. Your pop culture blog is great. I often poke fun at Paris Hilton, Britney Spears (a veiled spoiler from the first book in my new series), Oprah and others in my writing. Welcome to HELL, is right.
How did you start writing? What inspired you to do this for a living?
JD: I secretly like to mess with people’s heads and challenge myself at the same time. This may be a theme I haven’t explored yet. Hmmmm.
I always wrote to tell stories. I find the written word fascinating—that symbols or marks on paper can stir such emotion from a reader who is willing to be drawn into a story. What a cool thing! Author Lee Child said recently that it’s not about writing what you know, but writing what you fear. And that really resonates with me. We can all tap into those fears and trigger something in others. Empowering!
What are your favorite authors, books, influences?
JD: Lately, my favorite authors are Robert Crais and Dean Koontz. Crais has a humanity and humor to his writing that I love. I never saw my writing style in anyone else, because I was too close to it, but after reading Crais, I saw where I wanted to be. And Koontz is a master storyteller and I love his use of metaphors and similes. With Koontz, I never skim. Both these men get better and better.
Every writer’s most dreaded question – where do you get your ideas?
JD: Real life, baby. You can’t make it up as good as you find it in the papers. My mind is constantly working ideas, even when I don’t know it. Really spooky sometimes. Can you say borderline schizophrenia? I channel characters in my head until one of them surfaces loud enough to force me to write their story down.
Tell us about the protagonist of NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM, Becca Montgomery, and how are you and she alike – or unalike?
JD: I believe every author infuses a bit of their worldview in every character, including the bad guys, which really scares me. I wanted to portray an emotionally wounded cop who has to still deal with life and her job, even after her world has come to a grinding halt after the death of her sister. A friend once told me what it was like after her sister was murdered without the killer found. Her personal disclosure always stuck with me and I’ve delved into this theme more than once in my first series. It’s an undercurrent.
We all need reminders of what’s important, but Becca let her job come first and later regretted not paying more attention to what mattered most—her family. Family is a theme of this book. And in the end, I’m always amazed how brave cops can be. She’s much braver than I am.
But her smart-ass nature? She got that from me.
What kind of research did you do into the subjects of teenage prostitution and human trafficking for the novel?
JD: The idea of human trafficking came from the Natalee Holloway case and the online speculation that she was trafficked since Aruba is close in proximity to Venezuela, a country heavily involved in the crime. I read a lot of personal testimony on the internet regarding other girls and it set the scene for the graphic world I created in San Antonio, my old hometown. I also wanted to show that this is a crime that can happen anywhere, including the U.S. It’s an appalling crime that happens everyday—the modern day slave trade. And because of the multi-jurisdictional aspects, it is hard to prosecute. This story was my way of shedding light on the crime.
Officially your genre is considered ‘romantic suspense’ but I find it to be more in the vein of straight thriller. I want to know what you would call it and why.
JD: Ah, very good question. I didn’t want to be encumbered by any particular genre when I wrote this story. I’m not a follower of rules, per se, when it comes to the creative process.
I made a decision to write the type of story I wanted to read. And since I love mysteries, crime fiction, police procedurals, humor, forensics, and romance, I thought this would be a good story to try it all. The difficulty came in blending the bones in the wall mystery with the suspenseful pace of the human trafficking story line, but as a writer, I love a challenge. I’ve been referring to my style as romantic thrillers, but I’m not sure that says it either.
How do you write? Do you have an outline and know the ending ahead of time, or are you a ‘seat-of-the-pants’ writer who makes it up as you go along?
JD: I’m a pantser. I just write it and see it in my head as a movie unfolding. But as I get more contracts with deadlines, I’m finding I may need more structure. Today, I’m storyboarding my book #5 THE WRONG SIDE OF DEAD, part of my Sweet Justice Series. I hope this works. I’m such an impatient writer, usually only wanting to discover my story and characters as I go.
What is the best advice you’ve been given as a writer? The worst?
JD: I read some blogs and pay attention to discussions on my loops, but I don’t really seek outright advice much. I’d rather learn by trial and error. I think you learn best by your mistakes so I’m not afraid to make them. I will say that all my life’s experiences have contributed (good and bad) to the success I’ve had with this endeavor. Makes me feel brilliant in hindsight, but we all know that ain’t true.
Sell your book. Give us the top three reasons to pick up NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM.
JD: If pressed, I’d say:
* I push the envelope of genre to find my unique place in the publishing world, developing a cross genre voice that I hope is strong and fresh.
* My story is layered with the gut wrenching emotion of flawed yet compelling characters, each searching for their version of redemption.
* The setting of San Antonio, told by a former native, becomes a character in this story, an atmospheric thrill ride the Texas tourism bureau would not make into a brochure.
Hey Glenn—Thanks for asking such thought provoking questions and for supporting a new author. And keep dragging us through the hell of pop culture. Someone has to do it.
Thank you, Jordan, for coming by to chat with us here. As you can see from last entry’s review of NO ONE COULD HEAR HER SCREAM I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.