BNR: Can you tell our readers a quick summary of what Jessica Rules the Dark Side is about?
BF: In the first book, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, average American teenager Jessica Packwood learns that she’s a vampire princess by birth – and destined to marry Lucius Vladescu, a mysterious, sometimes dangerous, Romanian vampire prince.
The sequel picks up the narrative after Jess and Lucius’s wedding (which you can read on my website, bethfantaskey.com). It tells the story of Jessica’s adjustment to life as a true vampire princess, living in Romania with scary old “Elders” and trying to run a castle, even though she can barely speak the language. This time, she’s the one who feels completely out of place, just like Lucius did in the first book. And when Lucius – who is still something of a mystery – is accused of destroying an Elder, Jess finds herself even deeper in over her head.
BNR: Before Jessica Rules the Dark Side, you released the story of Jessica and Lucius' wedding. Why did you decide to write their wedding? Why on your site instead of in a book/novella?
BF: I wrote the wedding before my publisher gave the go-ahead for a full sequel. I wanted to show my gratitude to everyone who asked to see Jess and Lucius get married by giving them the story they wanted, for free.
Writing the wedding on-line also allowed me to give fans of Jess and Lucius a chance to actually take part in the wedding as “bridesmaids.” Over the course of several weeks, I held polls on where the ceremony would be held, what Jess’s dress would look like – even if Jess and Lucius would kiss or bite each other to seal their union. Then, when the votes were all in, I wrote the story that readers asked for, posting new chapters every other day. It was incredibly fun and a great way to get to know the people who loved the book.
BNR: What can we expect differently in Jessica Rules than from Jessica's Guide?
BF: In the first book, Jess is always confident. But in the second book, that confidence is tested, and she has some really difficult moments of self-doubt. I don’t try to make big philosophical points in my novels, but I did like showing how Jess fights back to regain not only her initial self-assurance, but a new regal presence.
And, of course, Jess’s best friend Mindy has a voice in the sequel – as does the new hippie/surfer, Italian vampire Raniero.
Aside from those things, the sequel is a lot like the first book. I wanted readers to laugh again, and get caught up in some passionate romances.
BNR: What songs or movies do you relate to Jessica and Lucius' romance? Mindy and Raniero's?
BF: I’m always reminded of Jess and Lucius when I hear music by Apocalyptica, Evanescence, and groups with similar haunting sounds. On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, I think of Mindy and Raniero when I hear pretty much anything by Jack Johnson or a song like Mika’s “Love Today.” They’re definitely a “lighter” couple.
I don’t usually relate any movies to them. I’m definitely more inspired by music.
BNR: Will there be more books in store for the characters?
BF: I’m not really sure. I have ideas, but a lot depends upon how well Jessica Rules the Dark Side is received. It’s not entirely up to me.
BNR: If you could spend a day with your characters (from the Jessica series and Jekel and Hyde), what would you like to do with them?
BF: Lucius Vladescu – horseback riding in the Carpathian Mountains
Jessica Packwood Vladescu – Get a tour of Bucharest and Lucius’s hometown of Sighisoara
Mindy Stankiewicz – Have her help me with my hair!
Raniero Vladescu Lovatu – Surfing lessons would be fantastic
Jill Jekel – Mix up some trouble outside the lab with her alter ego
Tristen Hyde – Listen to him play piano... I love musicians!
BNR: Is there one genre that you would like/wouldn't want to write about that you haven't yet?
BF: I grew up loving mystery novels, and I’m still a huge fan. I think that would be a fun genre to try someday. But right now, I’m happy writing romantic fiction for young adults – and anybody else who wants to read my books!
BNR: How has the Jessica series changed your way of writing?
BF: I don’t think writing the series has really changed my habits – although I definitely learn things with every book that I write. Does that make any sense? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have my “style” of writing, but I feel like I’m always learning about things like pacing, plotting, etc. Maybe I don’t even realize how I evolve, because it’s gradual.
BNR: If you could be a character in a book or series, who would it be and would you take the same actions as them?
BF: I’d be Nancy Drew, driving around in my sports car and solving mysteries with my best friend. And, no offense to him, but I’d break up with wishy-washy Ned Nickerson. He’s a nice enough guy, but a girl like Nancy needs a boyfriend who brings a little more excitement to the table.
BNR: Are there any new projects on your plate? Could we get a hint?
BF: I do have a project in the works, but it’s too new to give details. I will say that it’s a romance with a new kind of paranormal hero and new twists. I hope that’s enough!
BNR: (Bonus) Do you have anything you want to do for the new year?
BF: I am this close (holding thumb and forefinger teeny distance apart) to finishing a Ph.D. that I’ve worked on for seven years. I really, really want to wrap it up this spring and be Dr. Beth Fantaskey. Wow, would that shock a lot of people – including me!
Where you can find Jessica:
It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?Giveaway item: One copy of Jessica Rules the Dark Side
Requirements: 13 years or older
How to enter: Fill-out form below
This giveaway will end on January 15 at 11:59pm EST!
Thank you to Beth for taking time out to stop by BNR and to let us do this amazing interview/giveaway! If you would like to read my review of Jessica Rules, click here and go here to check out Jessica and Lucius' wedding!
Peace and Fangs,