Author JK Beck granted SciFiChick.com with an exclusive interview to talk about her current series – the Shadow Keepers!
Can you tell us a bit about the Shadow Keepers series?
Sure! The series is set in and around a paranormal judicial system that’s been in existence since pretty much the beginning of time. Nowadays, the system is hidden within our own judicial system. In the United States, for example, it’s a secret arm of Homeland Security, but the only humans who know its true purpose are those at the highest level of our government and the few select humans who work for the PEC (Paranormal Enforcement Coalition).
What is different about the Shadow Keepers series that sets it apart from the other urban fantasy/paranormal romance novels?
Well, obviously all books take the spin of their author, and that’s a uniqueness right there. As for these books, they’re very dark and gritty, and are peppered with paranormal characters with their own moral compass that may or may not be in alignment with how humans would perceive the world. The stories are also told from multiple points of view, which isn’t that unusual, but it’s a something I enjoy both as a reader and a writer!
How did your idea for the paranormal judicial system come about?
I don’t remember the exact aha! moment, but the fact that I love, love, love writing about paranormal stuff meshed fabulously with my background as a litigator. Once I had the idea, it was totally an “oh! Duh!” moment.
Your vampire/daemon idea is different from others as well. Do you feel like you need to break from that traditional vampire mythology when writing your stories?
No. I just write the story that I want to tell and to read. The daemon concept came about because I wanted more accountability, for lack of a better word. I’m a huge Buffy fan, but one thing that struck me early on (episode 2, I believe) was Giles telling Xander that his friend (Jesse?) was no longer Jesse. There was an external force—a demon—coming into the bodies and doing the vamp thing. I wanted to explore the concept of the darkness coming from within, not from the outside. Vamping flipping a switch, if you will, and turning up the evil.
Are there just the 3 planned for the series?
Nope!!! An ebook (SHADOW KEEPERS: MIDNIGHT) is coming in May, and then three more coming back-to-back or close together after that! WHEN PASSION LIES is first, then WHEN DANGER HUNGERS and WHEN TEMPTATION BURNS!
What are you working on next?
I’m working on the next three—plus a few other things I have on my plate….
With several books out at once, do you find any time for yourself to read for pleasure? If so, what are you reading?
In fits and starts, yes. I’m listening to Franzen’s Freedom right now, and I’m reading The Iron King, which is really excellent. I re-read all the Harry Potter books between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I’m planning on starting in on a pile of Wodehouse soon.
Do you feel like you have a new split personality with JK Beck? Was a pen name the publisher’s idea?
LOL! A little bit, but it’s a good kind of schizophrenia And it was a dual decision. I’ve been writing primarily urban fantasy as Julie Kenner for the last 5 or so years, and with a much lighter tone. The last single title romance I wrote was in 2005 and was very tongue-in-cheek. So it made sense to launch the new series with a new name since these are most definitely romances, and not quirky or light.
You have written such a variety of genres, styles, and moods. Do you have a favorite?
I really don’t—I’ve had such fun with everything that I’ve written. I do enjoy first person quite a bit, but there’s a freedom that comes with third person as well. I guess my favorite thing is being able to write in a variety of styles and genres.
Has the dark paranormal romance been a natural progression of your writing style?
I think so, yes. I love reading darker books, and I love tackling deep themes, so the progression really does make sense. That’s not to say I’ll ever give up lighter and quirkier, but even with the lighter touch, I like to delve into deeper issues. It really boils down to the best way that a story and characters can present themselves. The characters and plots in the Shadow Keepers world wouldn’t work if told from a quirky authorial voice. But I have a lot of ideas that wouldn’t work in a darker, more serious tone. So ultimately, it boils down to content.
Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I’d love for folks to stop by on the website, facebook or twitter! You can find me at www.jkbeck.com and link to various other social networks from there!
Thanks for having me!