One of the things I love about your books is that you're not afraid to take risks in the telling that might pose challenges for you and possibly for the reader. JRtDS has a lot of interesting challenges that I've been wanting to ask you about.
As a sequel Jessica and Lucius are now married and facing their roles as royalty together. Was it difficult deciding what boundaries needed to be put in place for them as a couple since this is a Young Adult novel?
I expected it to be a pretty big challenge – especially since so many readers asked to know what happened on Jess and Lucius’s wedding night. (I wrote the story of their wedding for my website, and it ends with Lucius closing their bedroom door after the ceremony.) Ultimately, though, as I wrote that scene and others in which Jess and Lucius are alone together, it didn’t seem that difficult to express their passion without being graphic. I focused on the emotions passing between them, rather than a lot of physical description, and I think it came out pretty intense, without being inappropriate for younger readers.
In JRtDS the chapters alternate between the perspectives of Jessica, Lucius, Mindy, and Raniero. Were any of the characters hard to switch into or especially easy?
The characters are all so real to me that it was very easy to switch between their voices. At a certain point in the story, it became more like “channeling” than writing.
Romanian is an important language throughout the storytelling of JRtDS. Did you learn the language as Jess did or through some other means?
Actually, I don’t know any Romanian. I would use translation websites to try to express what I wanted the characters to say, and my publisher was nice enough to hire a Romanian translator to polish it up.
How totally cool? It sounded so authentic to me. I'm so impressed!
With Lucius locked away during most of the story Jessica has to sink or swim on her own. But thanks to modern crime solving techniques and help from her friends she steps up to the challenge. Did you intend to make a statement about being strong as individuals for a stronger marriage or was that just my observation run amok?
That’s not just your imagination. I did want to make a point about how Jess, always a strong, independent girl, suddenly finds herself in an incredibly scary, overwhelming place – and naturally starts to rely upon her husband, who was trained since birth to rule the world she’s just entered. For awhile, neither one of them realizes that Lucius’s strength is becoming like a crutch to Jess – which actually makes neither one of them happy. Relationship becomes much stronger again when Jess regains her power.
I temporarily removed the wedding chapters so I could edit them and rewrite certain parts. (I wrote the wedding quickly, posting new chapters every other day, so they needed some editing.) Anyway, my web designer is working hard to get them back on my website as soon as possible, and I understand that my publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, plans to release them in some form, too, either for e-readers or on their website. I would say check my website, bethfantaskey.com, after January 1. And I’ll post on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as soon as they’re available. (bethfantaskey.com, facebook.com/beth.fantaskey, twitter.com/bethfantaskey, bethfantaskey.tumblr.com)
I'm sure that after reading JRtDS fans will want to know what you have planned next? Another Jessica book? Will Mindy and Raniero have further adventures? Something completely new?
Right now I’m working on a new story with new characters, but I would like to at least do another short web-based story about Jess, Lucius, Mindy and Raniero, as a second “thank you”to everybody who’s supported the books. I purposely left some loose ends at the end of Jessica Rules so I could do another interactive reader event. I’m very grateful to readers who ask for more of the story, and like to have a way to express that. ☺
Thank you so much again for being here Beth and answering my questions. Watching your authoring career over the past several years has been lots of fun and I look forward to seeing what this new project is when the time comes!
Dear readers, you can currently get Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side for FREE on Kindle or for $8.99 in paperback. Beth's other novel, Jekel loves Hyde is also available in multiple formats.