Today, we are thrilled to have Jenn Stark with us! Jenn Stark is the author of the new Immortal Vegas series. After reading a snippet of her series in the Twelve Shades of Midnight anthology, I become enthralled with the characters and story. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Stark decided to publish more books in the series. Dana:Jenn, thank you for stopping by! Jenn: Thank you, Dana! You’ve been so amazing since the very first time we’ve chatted, and I’m beyond excited to be here today on your blog… and on Occult Day as well! I mean, seriously, how cool is that? Dana: A-mazing! Dana: Jenn could you tell readers about your Immortal Vegas series? Jenn: Absolutely! Immortal Vegas is an Urban Fantasy series about a Tarot-reading magical artifacts hunter, Sara Wilde, and her adventures to find relics for the Arcana Council, a group of larger-than-life demigods based on the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Sara’s not just treasure hunting for fun, though: she uses the money she makes on the arcane black market to help protect psychic children both from dark practitioners and from other enemies of the “Connected”, or individuals and creatures with psychic and magical abilities. The Arcana Council is based in Las Vegas, which is why the series is called “Immortal Vegas,” but Sara’s travels take her all over the world—from Rio de Janeiro to Siberia to Paris and Rome… and soon, even to Atlantis! Of course, now that I think about it, I think Sara should visit Puerto Rico, too! Dana: Absolutely! Home of the Piña Colada, baby! We would have a blast! Dana: Which of these whispered to you first, cajoled you into writing the Immortal Vegas series: The Magician, Sara Wilde, or the Tarot cards? Jenn: oooo, what a great question! Honestly, I would say it was the Magician. The very first incarnation of his story was a tale called BLACK JACK, and the titular character in that story is very similar to the current Magician. Sara back then still read cards, but she wasn’t nearly as intense as the current Sara is. J Dana: The Tarot deck is such an interesting mold to your series. Did you know how your story was going to revolve around the tarot cards from the very beginning in the fashion they are being presented or did they magically appear in your main character's hands? Jenn: I knew Tarot would play an important part, but its role in the stories has evolved over time. Sara’s on-the-fly use of the cards has been so much fun to develop, and I like the fact that she doesn’t really do traditional reads… who has time to do a full Celtic Cross reading when you are running from bad guys? I also knew that I’d have a council of Tarot-wielding sorcerers, but the Arcana Council takes on additional dimensions with each new story. One member of the council I haven’t introduced yet (but will soon!) is Death. I’m very excited with where that introduction is going! Dana: *jumping up and down* Goodie, goodie! Dana: One of the first things that drew me to your work were the exotic locations and the in your face action-adventure sequences. Each of your books in the series have these amazing opening scenes with an epic Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft adventure flavor to them. Have you visited the locations mentioned in your work? Did you always know you wanted to begin each book with an artifact retrieval mission? Jenn: I have visited some of the locations (I’ve been to the section of Paris I describe, and to the Vatican in Rome), but not others (I haven’t been to Lake Baikal in Siberia, or to Rio de Janeiro). And the artifact retrieval mission to open the books crystallized for me with WILDE CARD. I wanted something to show why Sara is the chosen Finder for the Arcana Council (because she’s really good at what she does!) but do it in a really fun way. Which is why she’s waking up dead people in WILDE CARD and crashing a naked orgy in ONE WILDE NIGHT.JWith an occupation like “magical artifacts finder,” you just never know where the job will take you. Dana: Sara is a tenacious, kick- ass heroine. Her character and powers have developed in so many interesting manners. I find myself surprised each time something new is revealed about her. How different is she from other female characters you have written about in the past? Jenn: Sara has a true wound from her childhood/teen years that shapes everything she does. She’s the first character I’ve written that I’ve been able to explore beyond one book, and that has been completely fascinating for me. All my other characters have had their story told in a single arc, but Sara’s journey is more complex than that. Because she isn’t fully aware of everything in her past (much of which will come to light in book 3, BORN TO BE WILDE), she’s also learning alongside the reader, which helps keep things interesting as well.
Dana: I’ve become a bit obsessive with The Magician aka Armaeus. I find his heritage beautifully intriguing and refreshing. In my mind’s eye I kind of see him as a cross between Sendhil Ramamurthy and Olivier Martinez. He is such an alpha male character and it brings this strong sexual undercurrent to the story. Was making him so dang hot and dreamy intentional or did he evolve as you wrote the story? Jenn: OMG, I completely love your comps! When I first envisioned the Magician, I viewed him as a youngish, superhot incarnation of Naveen Andrews—definitely exotic, definitely sensual, in keeping with his French-Egyptian background. And as to his sexual undercurrent, there’s a particular brand of magic based on, well, sex—and I’ve always known that that would be Armaeus’s power base. It absolutely makes him fun to write, but also compelling because he has wounds as well that can only be healed with the help of another person. And only healed in a particular way… Dana: *drooling* Yes! Naveen Andrews is wonderful too. Dana: Many of cards have been revealed to us in the series so far? Will we meet the Joker soon? Jenn: You have already! The Joker of our modern playing deck is the ONLY Major Arcana card that made the leap from the Tarot decks to today’s cards. All of the Minor Arcana made it – The cups became hearts, the wands became clubs, the pentacles became diamonds and the swords became spades. But only the Fool, or Trump 0 of the Major Arcana deck, made it to today’s cards, as the Joker. The Fool is Simon, and he’s mentioned in GETTING WILDE and has a more involved role in WILDE CARD. So far, we’ve met the following members of the Arcana Council: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, and The Devil… and we’ve heard about The Emperor, though we haven’t met him yet. (But we will soon!). Dana: How interesting!!! Simon is a hoot! Can't wait for more. While reading your series I would look up information on the Tarot Decks. I find it fascinating. Dana: Do you know how many books there will be in the series? Jenn: I honestly don’t—I decided when I put out book 1 that I would wait to see what reader response was. I knew I would have at least three books beyond the prequel novella ONE WILDE NIGHT—those books are GETTING WILDE, WILDE CARD and BORN TO BE WILDE. However, I thought that might be as far as the series went, if readers didn’t care for Sara’s adventures. So far the series seems to be finding readers, which absolutely thrills me! As a result I’ll have at least one more book, WICKED AND WILDE. After that, we’ll have to consult the cards! I like to think that as long as there is magic in the world, Sara will have a job to do. :)
Dana: Have you written other books or series? Jenn: I have! Under the pen name Jennifer McGowan, I also write Young Adult historical romance about royal spies in Elizabethan England. Those are published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and the series starts with MAID OF SECRETS. In addition, I write New Adult contemporary romance as Jennifer Chance, with a series published by Random House/Loveswept (the Rule Breakers series, starting with ROCK IT) and an Indie-published series (the modern royals Gowns & Crowns series, starting with COURTED). So, I stay busy! But I truly love to write, so that works out. Dana: I had no idea you had so many. I'm taking notes so I can stalk you work right after this interview.
Here are some fun rapid fire
questions for you?
• Your personal theme song? “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters • Chocolate or vanilla? Mmmmm, Chocolate… • Favorite cartoon? Thundarr the Barbarian. Because I rock it 80’s style. OMG mine too! I wanted to be his magical Princess girlfriend! *sigh* • Guilty Pleasure? Reading about or watching the NFL when I should be working. • If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it? “…And Miles to Go Before I Sleep.” (part of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost) • Does your computer have a name? It does not! Poor little computer. • Favorite food? Pretty much anything Mexican. Which I haven’t eaten in SO LONG since I seem to be perpetually dieting. • If you could go on a road trip with any author (dead or alive), who would you choose and where would you go? I would go on a trip with J.R.R. Tolkien, straight to Middle Earth.
Thank you so much for
stopping over Jenn!
We can’t wait to have you back and to read more in the