Trista Jaszczak Interview
April 25th, 2012
Darkness Falls: Hunted
Welcome to VRB Trista (or should we call you Jazz?)! We are very happy to have you as our featured Indie Author for the day.
Thank you so much for having me! I am thrilled to be apart of Indie Author month and have been looking forward to it!
Would you share a little about yourself and your family?
I just turned 28 and am originally from Hamilton, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. I lived there most of my young life and didn’t leave until I was in my early 20’s. I’d met my, now, husband, and moved to North Dakota to be closer to him. We have two daughters who I hope to pass on a love for reading and writing and two rescued labs who are our other two children.
I see that you are married to the Air Force. Please do thank your husband for his service. You’ve noted on your blog that you are Alaska-bound in a week. Where are some of the places you’ve lived and where would you most like to stay?
I will make sure to pass him the message and thank you for the appreciation! J I grew up in a very close knit family and had a cousin, who is very much like my sister, marry into the Air Force. I followed them every summer, literally, all over the country. From Florida, No. Carolina, So. Carolina and Montana. I also had a grandfather who was an over the road tour bus driver. I got to see the likes of every state except for Alaska and Hawaii. Of all the places I’ve been a few cities have always stuck out to me. Duluth, Minnesota. So beautiful and perfect it doesn’t seem real. Even the frozen over winters when the lake is sheer ice has a distinct beauty. New York City, New York. So huge and bustling and even growing up just outside of Cincinnati I was blow away by the activity and life of the city. NYC at night just takes my breath away. Destin, Florida. Sand so white that it seems almost like snow from a distance and water so green that you’d swear there are emeralds floating in the water. I’ve seen extreme cold (right here in North Dakota) to extreme heat (Key West, Florida in August) so to pick one place I would need a little of all the seasons. Fall is my favorite so I would absolutely need somewhere I could see the radiant changing of the leaves when the trees give the impression they’re in fire! I can’t get enough of the fall.
Hunted is the first book in the Darkness Falls series. Your blog says there are 6 books planned as of right now. Will the 6th book finish the series or will you leave it open for possibly more after?
There are 6 total books planned. But, as I write I have this way of falling in love with my characters. I always leave them open with the possibility of more books. I never like any of my characters going away permanently, so there’s always a chance that Randi and Xavier will be back even after 6 books.
How did you come up with the idea to write this series?
I’ve always had a strange love and fascination with vampires. They’ve been my favorite since I saw Bram Stoker’s Dracula when I was just a kid. When I entered Jr. High I started toying with writing short stories and started playing with the idea of my own kind of a vampire. A special one that I would create. By the time my senior year of high school hit the idea was in full blossom in my head. When an assignment for a short story came up in my English class I pulled my vampires out to play. The teacher was so impressed I was told to “run as far as I could” with the idea. And, ran I did. 6 books later I have my own special vampires that are very near and dear to my heart.
Are the characters of Xavier and Randi based on anyone in your life?
They are not based on anyone from my life, but, the name Randi came from my dad. I try to work in little dedications in my books to those I love. Randi, (Hunted) is from my father. Wanda, (Hunted) is my mother. Val’s (Hunted) name came from a very close cousin. The long gorgeous hair that Matt (Hunted) has is from my very own younger brother. Edward and Vivian (What Lies Inside) came from one of my favorite movies, Pretty Woman.
What was the first thing you wrote, when you knew this was something you wanted to pursue?
Once I was in Jr. High I knew how much I loved writing. I was the only one who never complained when papers had to be written in class. By the time I was in high school I had stacks of short stories and ideas that were penned on everything from scrap pieces of paper to napkins. Once I wrote Darkness Falls, my short story my senior year I just knew that it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. All those nights I stayed away late to lay across my bed and pen out ideas that flowed out of my mind, all those hours spent in study hall carefully creating characters that were real people to me. Right down to bad habits. I was hooked and there was no going back, especially when my English teacher told me to take off with my idea.
Can you tell us a little about your other books available right now?
I currently have two titles out and one on the way. Darkness Falls: Hunted is my introduction of Randi, Xavier and an out of this world love with a few surprises in between. What Lies Inside is my story of Lilah. When she caught her fiancé and maid-of-honor of in the most compromising position she walks out starting a life of her own. Buying and renovating a small house to be filled with antiques, she has no idea that one possession in particular comes with a few added extras. Ghosts. Ghosts who need her help. She’s sure she’s losing her mind. Especially when she agrees to help them. She has no idea just what kind of roller coaster she’s been thrown onto, but when she meets Johnny Cowell her regrets seems to fade. Loverboy is my up coming title with a tentative June 2012 release. Loverboy is a rising name in New York City. He’s getting his 15 minutes of fame. He’s filling newspaper headlines; chatter on the subway, even the news. He’s getting his 15 minutes because he’s the city’s newest and most lethal serial killer. With a love for younger women, he enjoys sexual humiliation, torture and murder. But, when he takes Charlotte Murphy from Central Park he has no idea just how much of a fighter she really is. When Charlotte escapes, though banged up, bruised and mentally damaged, she’s alive. She’s whisked away to the hospital for treatment and placed under police protection. When she meets Nick Andrews, she’s out of it but coherent enough to know he’s a man. And, how can the police think of sending a man to protect her? But, something extraordinary happens. Nick begins to grow on her. She gets close to him. Now, not only is she playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Loverboy but she’s fighting to regain her life and her heart from Nick.
I read on your blog about the loss of your friend Dallas years ago. I think writing the story, “Going Through Hell” is a wonderful tribute. Do you feel it has helped you heal, in a way, by sharing the story with everyone?
I just hit the 10 year anniversary for Dallas’s death on February 21st. For the longest time I tried to think of ways to keep his memory alive forever. I never wanted to forget him, what he looked like, what kind of person he was and what he stood for. I knew that penning our story would be the best way to do it. But, it took me years to gain the courage to write it. I began penning down the ideas last year. I wanted some details from mine and Dallas’s precious time together but at the same time, being a writer I had to throw in a plot with many twists and turns. Going Through Hell is the story of Noelle and Landon. At 17 she loses him to a drunk driver and realizes that just how much he meant to her. At that point in her life she really begins going through hell. A string of horrible relationships, including being abused and raped. She feels that there’s no sense in trying to love. Until Landon’s older brother, Declan opens her eyes. When it’s completed and published, it will be dedicated to Dallas. I just hope that this really does his life justice. If people could have known him the way I did, they would have seen someone who was created so special and wonderful that he was a gift to this world.
What made you decide to go the Indie route as opposed to working with a publishing house?
I’ve always been independent. I’ve never liked anyone telling me how to do things. It was always my way or the highway. After all, these are my precious thoughts penned down. Since my works are so special to me, I wanted total creative control. With going the Indie route I do have control over everything. My work is my work.
What are the pros and cons of being an Indie author?
The best thing to me is having complete creative control. There’s no one behind me saying, “Maybe you need to this. Maybe you need to do that.” My work is mine. The most difficult to me, is that I take care of everything myself. I play the part of not only author but agent in most cases. It can be difficult getting your name out there. Many people know Stephen King, James Patterson, and Stephanie Meyer. Even though the reviews I’ve been getting back for Darkness Falls; Hunted are better than I have ever hoped for, not many people know who Trista Jaszczak is.
What advice would you give to a fellow writer that was thinking of becoming an Indie author?
Keep moving forward. 3 years ago if someone would have told me that the first in my series would be published, I would have nicely told them they were out of their minds. I constantly reminded myself to keep moving forward. To keep writing and to never give up hope that one day my set of eyes wouldn’t be the only ones to read my words.
Which of your books is your favorite? Why?
Each and every one of my books holds a special place in my heart. It’s hard to narrow it down to just one. But… Going Through Hell, since it’s my dedication to Dallas. Loverboy, because I want to spread that message to victims of assault and violence that they are not alone, that I found myself subject to that and you can move on and continue with a life. And, the Darkness Falls series because my vampires were the first characters that I really fell in love with. They were the first ones that I couldn’t let go of, which is why there are 6 books.
Why did you choose paranormal romance for your writing voice?
I just love to write. The ideas that I write are ones that have in some way stuck out in my head. Ones that completely take over until I start writing. In a way, I didn’t choose it, it chose me.
Do you consider your books to be in the Young Adult genre?
The Darkness Falls series I would consider to be in the Young Adult, even though Randi and Xavier and significantly older. What Lies Inside and Loverboy are a little more on the adult side, but I would say that any young adult could read them. When I was younger I remember reading books that were out of the Young Adult genre and enjoying them just as much.
Thank you so much for visiting with us today. Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your current/future fans?
I just have to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. My goal in life is to write books that people can really enjoy. Ones that they can find themselves wrapped up in and when the book ends they feel as though they have lost an old friend. It’s not every day that people give an Indie author a chance, so those who have read and plan on reading my work I cannot thank you enough. It means the world to me that you’re willing to give an unknown a chance. Thank you.