Darkness Becomes Her by Jaime Rush

By James M. Tabor

Lachlan McLeod, a man beyond redemption, has a mission: find the beast who put his brother into a coma. He’ll start with Jessie Bellandre, his brother’s girlfriend, who’s harboring a dark, dangerous secret that could get them all killed. Honor is all Lachlan has, and as they plumb the depths of Darkness, not falling in love with her will be as hard as staying alive.

I recently had an opportunity to interview Jamie Rush.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Who is Jaime Rush and where did she come from? (And how do you say “Jaime”)

Jaime sounds like Jamie. The spelling was determined by the availability of the website domain name, LOL. And that it means ‘love’ is cool, too, since I do write romance with my suspense. My real name is Tina Wainscott, and I’ve been published in romantic suspense since 1995. I later moved into psychological suspense, and when I moved back to paranormal romantic suspense, my publisher suggested taking a pseudonym to make the delineation clear. It was fun to come up with my own name for a change.

When and how did you start writing thrillers?  

I’ve always been drawn to the dark side [insert evil laugh here]. Maybe it was the MAD MAGAZINES my dad had around the house when I was a kid, but I’ve been interested in the dark nature of mankind and the weird stuff (paranormal) my whole life. My first story was titled, “Pathways to Death.” It had a castle, puppies, and a witch in it. What can I say, I was seven!

I got serious about writing in my late teens, though it took me until I was twenty-seven to sell my first two books. I studied craft, mastered short stories, and then wrote three full-length novels before that.

Your website opens with a bang—literally. It’s quite impressive. Please tell us how you created it, and how important it may have been for you.

The website designer created these cool flash headers. Because one of my characters has the ability to psychically start fires, I thought flames would be fitting. I liked the idea of seeing some of the cast of the series as well.

Sadly, Flash doesn’t show up on phones and iPads, so it will have to go static.

Let’s talk about DARKNESS BECOMES HER.  Like your numerous other books, it’s a compelling blend of romance, the paranormal, futuristic elements, and truly arresting characters. What drew you so strongly to the paranormal genre?

I’ve always been interested in the whoo-whoo. Ghosts, psychic abilities, all that fun stuff. Initially, there wasn’t a big market for it, other than time travel and a few ghost novels that didn’t seem to sell all that well. My first book was about a woman who’s run off a bridge and dies, but gets a second chance … only it’s in the body of another woman. It was a different concept (and is now out as an e-book reissue, called UNTIL I DIE AGAIN) and readers really liked it. I’ve always tried to make my own way in the paranormal world. I don’t write vampires or werewolves, as I’ve never been interested in those types of characters. But my series has morphed into featuring characters who do become other things using energy and the essence they hold from their ancestors, who come from a parallel dimension.

Technique question: Do you outline, or just jump right in?

A little of both. I do like to have an idea of where the story is going, and I do character interviews, but sometimes a scene will just jump at me, and of course I write it. And the story will deviate somewhat from my initial plan, which is always fun. In the last book I wrote, the characters took an unplanned trip to Alaska!

Without doing any spoiling, can you talk about the “motor” that drives the narrative in DARKNESS BECOMES HER?  

The character motor is really Lachlan’s need to redeem himself for a horrific mistake he made. It drives him to save his brother, and to be willing to sacrifice himself to keep the woman he thinks his brother is in love with safe from the man who is hunting her. Which is the plot engine.

Even though your books deal with the paranormal, your characters are strikingly human. Do you base them on real people, or make them up completely?

I think it’s important to write characters who are like us in many ways … and then not. Jessie harbors something called Darkness inside her, and she doesn’t know exactly what it is. But she feels it’s a danger to anyone she might become close to. At her heart, though, she longs for love, for connection, and to feel safe … like most of us. She cherishes small moments because she could be killed at any time. Readers need to relate to characters, or at least I do.

Living in Florida must offer all kinds of lovely distractions. What are your favorites, when you’re not working?

Lately, the one I’ve had while I’m working is a cardinal that actually lets me know when he wants food. I throw seed outside on a flagstone right outside my office sliding glass door, so activity out there in general distracts me. But this guy will cling to the screen and fly all around me when I go outside to give him (and now his family) some food. It’s such a special thing, I’ve become his slave. He’s even flown upstairs to the bedroom window to get my attention.

I’m otherwise pretty focused on work, (though I live on a golf course!). We go out on our boat as much as we can, and I swim laps in my pool (but that’s sort of working because I also brainstorm the next scene or whatnot while I’m swimming, if I’m not playing with my daughter).

What’s next from your prolific self?

I’ll be wrapping up my Offspring series with a novella out later this year, and then I’m onto a new series that debuts mid next year with Grand Central Publishing. This series is a bigger step into the whoo-whoo with Dragons, angel descendants, and magick. More on that next year!

Your success is obvious and enviable. Please offer some advice for authors aspiring, or just starting.

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is to hold onto the magic that is writing and creating. Trying to get published, being published, and the business in general can really beat you up. It’s easy to get caught up in selling, numbers, and promoting, and lose sight of why you started writing in the first place. Derive your pleasure where you can and keep that part of the process sacred. It all starts with us, the writers, and that seed of an idea and the passion that drives you to sit down and write.

*****

Missing the romance and action of her favorite television shows, X-Files, Roswell, and Highlander, New York Times bestselling author Jaime Rush created her own mix in the Offspring series, from Avon Books. The Offspring: Sexy…dangerous…outcasts. They possess extraordinary abilities, and together they must find the truth and fight an enemy out to destroy them.

Jaime Rush is a pseudonym for bestselling Tina Wainscott, author of eighteen novels for St. Martin’s Press and Harlequin. Contests, sneak peeks and more on her website.

James M. Tabor

James M. Tabor is an international award-winning and best-selling nonfiction author who has also worked in television. His new thriller, The Deep Zone, has been praised as “Like Clive Cussler at his best” and “Right up there with the best from Baldacci, Crichton, Preston and Child.”Brad Thor called him “the new Michael Crichton.” Random House/Ballantine will publish a sequel to The Deep Zone next April.
Tabor earned an MFA from Johns Hopkins University and won the O.Henry Award for short fiction. He was the host and writer of the national PBS series, “The Great Outdoors, andco-creator and executive producer of The History Channel special, “Journey to the Center of the World.” He lives in Vermont, where he is at work on his next novel and a memoir about his days as a street cop in Washington, D.C.

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