Welcome to The Romance Dish, Jaime! Congratulations on the release of TOUCHING DARKNESS, the third book in your Offspring series. Will you tell us a bit about the series and TOUCHING DARKNESS in particular?
The series is about a group of twenty-somethings who live ordinary lives but possess extraordinary psychic abilities. They are the Offspring of parents involved in a mysterious experiment gone awry. Sexy…dangerous…outcasts… They are being hunted by the government and others like them. Together they must find the truth and fight an enemy out to destroy them.
That sounds fascinating! Should the Offspring books be read in order?
As with all series, I think readers get more by starting at the beginning. That said, I've written my series with new readers in mind, so they're caught up pretty quickly but without a big info dump. My goal has always been to wrap up the initial arc within three or four books, with the rest being more standalone. TOUCHING DARKNESS wraps up one part of the arc and BURNING DARKNESS (Feb 2011) wraps up the government arc completely, answering the question about where the Offspring got their abilities from. And now, with book 5, the plot isn't related to that arc but merely springs off from it. So it's nice for new readers coming in, because they don't have to digest a lot of backstory.
What's the most important thing we should know about Nicholas and Olivia before reading their story?
Nicholas is a hero who embraces peace, so it's the hardest for him to realize he's in the middle of a war in which he has to choose sides—and fight. Plus neither side is black or white. And it's tough for him to realize the woman he's in love with is on the wrong side! As for Olivia, she thinks it's Nicholas who's on the wrong side, and facing the truth means losing something very important to her.
Sounds like lots of delicious conflict!
How many books are planned for this series?
I'm contracted for six books, and I've just finished the first draft of book 5. I could go on for a while, I think, but that will depend on sales and demand. With this last book in my contract, though, I could easily write any one of three more people's stories!
I’ve seen the Offspring books described as paranormal, romantic suspense and urban fantasy. How would you describe them?
Whatever you call them, they sound fascinating!
I create playlists for each character on iTunes. I then separate the songs into categories, such as the songs that capture the character, intense emotional music, and sexy music. That's a fun part of creating the story, because the music speaks to the character. Whenever I'm writing a particular scene, I go to the point of view character's playlist and find the right songs. I have a small portion of the list posted on my Myspace page: Myspace: www.myspace.com/jaimerush. Some of the songs:
I Don't Want To Be In Love—Good Charlotte
Rainy Monday—Shiny Toy Guns
All Over You—Spill Canvas
What types of books do you enjoy reading when you’re not busy writing your own stories?
When I want something fun, I read Janet Evanovich's Plum series. I read, of course, urban fantasy and romantic suspense, and I read spiritual growth books as well. I just finished The Tao of Pooh.
I'm a huge fan of the Plum books too and I agree, they certainly are fun! I hadn't heard of The Tao of Pooh so I checked it out. What a wonderful book!
Jaime, you’ve also had a successful career writing under the name of Tina Wainscott. Will you continue to write under that name as well as Jaime Rush?
For now I'm pretty busy writing my Jaime books. As Tina, I ended up writing psychological suspense, but I'm really enjoying going back to my paranormal roots. I have always straddled the line of paranormal/not so weird, writing about things that could be true (psychic abilities, near death experiences, etc.). I find myself expanding into bigger paranormal elements with my ideas, and future Offspring books will reflect this as well. For instance, one character, Cheveyo, surprised me by shapeshifting. I hadn't planned to write creatures. But I went with it!
I try to "stop" throughout the day, just taking a moment here and there to look outside or even walk outside (though the humidity is a killer). I believe life is about those moments when we clear our mind and connect with nature/God/whatever fulfills you. But honestly, it's hard to take time off. For instance, I finished my first draft of book 5 last night, and I'm already plotting a new story. I've got to force myself to take time and read and chill out between books.
The RWA National Conference is coming up in a couple weeks. Will you be attending? One of the highlights of the conference for readers is the literacy book signing. For what authors would you stand in line to have a book signed?
Unfortunately, when they had to change from Tennessee to Orlando, that put it out of the picture for me. I know, you'd think being in Florida would be the opposite, but I summer in North Carolina now. Those 9-month humid summers … ugh! Authors I love to talk with … well, I always go over and say hello to Heather Graham during group signings, and a handful of my other author friends. I don't feel a need to get a book signed; it's the talking that I enjoy.
I know what you mean about the Florida summers. I remember them well and am happy to now be living in the Carolinas.
Aside from the aforementioned "forced" downtime, I am already thinking about the next Offspring book. I'm also playing with some single-title ideas just to keep things fresh.
Thank you so much for patiently answering my questions. Is there a question you’d like to ask our visitors?
I love hearing about what kind of hero turns readers on. I'm getting that paranormal romance readers love dark, dangerous heroes. What are you thoughts about them, and what are you tired of?
Okay, readers, now it's your turn. Leave a comment and you could win one of EIGHT copies of Jaime's new book, TOUCHING DARKNESS, generously donated by Avon Books. Restricted to U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses only.