Tuesday, May 13, 2014

INTERVIEW: Jana Denardo

Today we're talking to the lovely Jana Denardo who comes to us in her walkabout hat! I once said you should listen to Jana 'cause she knows what's what. I stand by that assertion.

Hello Jana and welcome to "Home of the Sweetness" <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!

Introduce yourself by telling us the favorite thing you’ve ever written—regardless of publication status!

That is such a hard thing to answer. If I’ve finished it, I have an affection for it, but if I had to choose it would be Kept Tears, my novel that just came out a little while ago. It allowed me to not only work in an urban fantasy world, one of my favorites, but also I was able to deal with some of the real issues veterans face. That was very important to me. I’m also very fond of a vampire story of mine (non-erotica) which was the first novel I ever wrote that I felt was good enough to share.

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with 13-year-old yourself right now, what would you say?

If you still insist on going to medical school, insure your hands this time. Also that yes, high school sucked but college will be so much fun. Just hang in there. It gets so much better.

What is your biggest, most wildest, most extreme writing dream or goal? No dream is too outlandish.

I would like to make enough to pay off my medical school loans (so this means I’ll need to write the next mega-hit).  But seriously, (well that was serious but rather dull) I would like to write something that people would remember and love for generations, something that might inspire a high level of geekery.

Describe yourself using song lyrics.

If you're coming with me you need nerves of steel
Cause I take corners on two wheels
It's a never-ending circus ride
The faint of heart need not apply
Mi Vida Loca over and over
Destiny turns on a dime
I go where the wind blows
You can't tame a wild rose
Welcome to my crazy life  (Pam Tillis – Mi Vida Loca)

What is your superpower? What is your Kryptonite?

Being absolutely geeky to the point I’d fit right in with the guys of The Big Bang Theory (and maybe prove to them there are girl geeks). Kryptonite? Honestly, for all my science background, calculus and stats turn me into a helpless pile of goo.

But my biggest Kryptonite is editing. Oh yes, I do it and I’m better for it, but nothing turns me into a two year old throwing a tantrum faster.

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)

Aaron relented, but only because of the shield. He’d never had outdoor sex before, imagining too many pitfalls like ill-placed twigs, biting insects, and people stumbling in, but it was hard to resist the bragging rights of “I had sex in faerie land.” He’d have to ask what the real name of this place was. He sat on the blanket and kicked his shoes off. “You’re entirely bad for me.”

“This is not news to me.” Rhys tossed his shirt into the grass as he joined Aaron on the soft blanket. He brushed his lips against Aaron’s softly at first, then got more demanding. He let his fingers stray under Aaron’s shirt, artfully dodging the burn scars and staying on the much more sensitive, undamaged flesh. “It makes me more exciting, doesn’t it?” he asked after coming up for air.

“Sometimes too exciting,” Aaron replied, thinking about his confrontation with the nixies. Better them than some orc, he supposed. Aaron fumbled to open Rhys’s trousers, skimming his finger over the soft skin of his belly before following the trail of golden hair down to the coarser triangle of hair.

What is one mistake you’ve made during your writing career that you’ve learned and grown from?

Promotion. I’m still really fumbling and trying to feel my way through this. I’m not convinced that I do the best job even though I try.

How do you think you’d handle yourself in the zombie apocalypse?

Oh I’d do well if I can find a place to bunker down. I’m a good shot and I’m already a food hoarder. In fact I would probably bunker down inside a CVS or Walgreens so I’d have access to all the good meds I need. I’d have to seal up that drive-up window though.  And I have little compunction about tripping people into the path of incoming zombies so I can make good my escape. Now if they’re the fast zombies I might be in trouble. I don’t run.

What is the most RANDOM thing to ever inspire you?

I would have to say the time one of my cats dug a hole in an attempt to hide from an incoming stranger, but that would have been a children’s story. I’m most often inspired by settings. I’ve done a lot of traveling and living in different places, and that usually inspires the backgrounds of my stories.

Would you continue to write if writing made you physically ill?

Let’s see, I already have several major chronic illnesses. I doubt I would notice one more. I feel pretty confident it wouldn’t stop me at all. Slow me down, maybe, but not stop me.

And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds?

The ones belonging to my friends because they love them very much. One has a whole hot dog pack of them.

~ ~ ~

Having left most of his arm and his self-confidence behind in the Afghanistan desert, young veteran Aaron Santori has enough on his plate learning to use his prosthetic arm. Attending graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh makes life both interesting and challenging. Mentally, he's ill prepared for meeting Rhys Edwards, a young-adult novelist from Wales and everything Aaron could want in a man. Between the scars from the explosion and his PTSD, he’s reluctant to date. Ready or not, though, Aaron finds himself jumping into the deep end of the relationship waters.

What Aaron couldn’t possibly know is that Rhys isn’t human at all. As a prince of the Tylwyth Teg, Rhys is fae, with a list of enemies he’s accumulated over the past few centuries—among them a former lover, Morcant, who is back to make Rhys’s life miserable. An unwitting pawn in their Machiavellian fae politics, Aaron only knows he’s falling in love, never suspecting love might be his death sentence.


Easing his topcoat over his prosthetic arm, decked out to look like it ran on steam and gears, Aaron glanced into his mirror and felt handsome again. Ever since the war had taken his arm, he felt ugly until he got into character. He went to his favorite club, where they had monthly steampunk events. In his steampunk garb, he was like a wildly colored creature emerging from its chrysalis.

Even the miasma of fog rolling off the river didn’t dampen Aaron’s spirits as he went into Steel Spirits, a club that hosted a steampunk evening once a week. It was a step back into a time that had never existed. Scanning the bar with its low light levels, Aaron spotted men in topcoats and Victorian adventuring gear. Women swept by in bustles and ruffles, hats decorated with flowers, birds and gears perched merrily on their curls.

Aaron checked his pocket watch and sighed when he realized he was early. It would be a while before his friends arrived. By some karmic synchronicity, Aaron spotted one of the hottest men he’d seen in, well, ever. Shoulder-length honey-gold hair framed his pale face. The graceful bow of his lips drew Aaron’s gaze. The man’s costume was simple: some sort of mad scientist. The stranger might not be gay. That didn’t mean they couldn’t be friends. For that matter, there hadn’t been any lovers since he returned to the States. He barely had any friends left in his life. Either they had moved since college, or they didn’t know how to handle everything he’d had to deal with since the war.

Lacuna Coil’s music gave way to Abney Park as Aaron crossed the club. He watched the man yawn and thought he saw a hint of fang. Wrong club for that, though pointy teeth could be his imagination. Aaron wanted to talk to the man, but he could barely remember how. It had been so easy before the war, when he’d been whole. Now he was nothing but scars, and just thinking about talking to a good-looking guy made him sweat.

He took his topcoat off. Aaron had designed his dress shirt to be short-sleeved on the side of his prosthesis so it could show off the gears and brass work he had sheathed the nonmoving parts in. Besides, coatless, he could show off the embroidered pattern of his vest. Slinging his coat over his good arm, Aaron decided to take a risk and be the man he was before Afghanistan. He walked over to the handsome stranger. “Hi, I’m Aaron Santori.”

Available from Dreamspinner Press (ebook) and Dreamspinner Press (paperback)

About the Author:

Jana Denardo's career choices and wanderlust take her all over the United States and beyond. Much of her travels make their way into her stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and mystery have been her favorite genres since she started reading, and they often flavor her works. In her secret identity, she works with the science of life and gives college students nightmares. When she’s not chained to her computer writing, she functions as stray cat magnet.

Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her



  1. Thanks for having me over!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! <3 I adore you, Jana Denardo!