Message From The Author
The Joy of Pushing Boundaries
by Kathryn Falk
Fortune favors the bold.
There is always a risk in trying new things, but writing is about risk. How else are writers to discover what they are capable of? What changes they
can make? Wonderful things are happening in the romance industry today; there is an unprecedented atmosphere of lets try it. Writers are branching out to explore new genres and themes and no one has embraced the concept of change like Dara Joy.
The author of seven novels and two anthologies, Joys first book was published in 1995. Knight of a Trillion Stars broke all the rules and created quite a buzz among romance fans, thanks to its unique blending of science fiction and fantasy with red-hot romance. Her debut novel attracted a loyal following, and fans could not wait to get the next installment from this brash new writer.
But wait, they did. For Dara followed up her successful futuristic with a contemporary screwball comedy! High Energy, released in 1996, was received with equal enthusiasm. Dara had accomplished what almost no new author would attempt and only a visionary like Leisure Books editorial director Alicia Condon would allowtwo books in two genres!
Unscathed by the bold move, Dara blended futuristic and time-travel in early 1997 with Rejar, which quickly achieved cult status, winning her an even greater range of crossover readers. Further pushing industry conventions, her next novel, in the fall of 1997, was neither a contemporary nor a futuristic! This time, readers were transported to eighteenth-century England with Tonight Or Never, a move that substantially broadened her fan base to embrace historical readers.
Then in the fall of 1998, another landmark futuristic, Mine To Take
, took the romance world by storm. The spectacular cover, featuring breathtaking model Joe Anselmo as the naked handcuffed hero beside a pensive heroine holding the key, left fans gasping. By 2000 it was back to the contemporary realm with High Intensity, the long-awaited sequel to High Energy.
In a sometimes rigid and traditional business, Dara Joy is one of the few authors to cross genres without taking a pseudonym, and to achieve tremendous success by being true to herself and her vision. Her leap of faith in her readershipinstinctively knowing they would cross over with herhas reaped bounteous rewards. Each title, regardless of genre, has become a bestseller!
While she continues to write for Leisure, in June she makes a hardcover debut with a new publisher (Morrow) and once again pushes boundariesand buttons! This unique story takes place in a Regency world reversed, featuring a female-dominated social hierarchy where the men are assigned a bed price for their innocence and purity, and are auctioned off in a society debut. Dara is as excited as her fans that she has created yet another innovative twist sure to entertain. I caught up with her
in her home state of Massachusetts, where she was preparing for her upcoming book tour, to get the story behind RITUAL OF PROOF
Q: Your new novel blends so many subgenres. How do you describe what you have written? Fantasy? Futuristic? Historical Fantasy?
A: RITUAL OF PROOF is a new kind of story for the new millennium; in a sense, you could say it is its own subgenre as it contains elements of all other genres with its own special twist. I did a lot of reflecting on the romance genre as a whole, and todays woman. I listened to what readers were saying about their books, and I realized I wanted to write a different story that would capture the modern fantasy yet still contain the elements we have loved in past stories.
At the same time, I wanted to invite an audience who has never picked up a romance novel; I wanted to get readers thinking about the nature of our relationships and the traditional role of women in our society. By placing a man in a similar historical situationsomething we are not conditioned to think aboutit becomes much easier to view our own society and its past.
Twisting the traditional relationship elements around and creating a complete world that immerses readers vividly in this premisewithout compromising the masculine and feminine personasleads us to ask ourselves: Would citizens from OneNation (or any world) view us the same way as we are viewing them? The answer would have to be yes, and that makes us think about the roles women have occupied throughout history on this planet. I am not making any judgments or conclusions, I am just opening a window and saying, Look at this view. The picture is very provocative.
Q: Why did you choose to set RITUAL OF PROOF in the Regency era? Would the story have been as effective set in any other time period?
A: The Regency era is endlessly fascinating. Both men and women were extremely restricted by the mores of society. Yet the excesses of titled, wealthy men were overlooked. That setting was the perfect backdrop for this tale. In such a setting, the glaring disparity between the sexes becomes even more thought-provoking with the gender role twist. The Regency era has had an enormous impact on romance, the romance industry, and in turn, our perceptions. This was the place to do it.
Q: Can you give readers some insight as to the kind of world you have created and what you were trying to evoke in readers?
A: Well, the idea is tantalizing, isnt it?
Forus is a sensual world, in every aspect. Women have complete control. Desirable men fetch staggering bed prices. (The hero, Jorlan Reynard, commands the highest price of all. The women of the Select Quarter need only look into his aqua eyes to know what kind of an experience he is capable of delivering) An elite upper class dictates societys mores, much like the ton in Regency or Georgian England. The vices of rich, influential She-Lords are politely overlooked, while certain modes of behavior are expected of menbut not all men. Some men are pleasurers, and their role
is quite different, as you can imagine
There is definitely a feminist perspective here, but there is also a traditional perspective. As we are swept into the story, the same breathless, pulse-pounding aspect that we adore in our love stories rivets us to the pages. The universal question still arises: will these two people be able to overcome their adversities and find their place in the sun (or suns, as the case may be)?
Q: All of your books have been very sensual tales. How does RITUAL, er, measure up between the sheets?
A: I love writing sensual, passionate stories and frankly, this plotline and these characters allowed me to kick up the steam but good. The heroine, Green Tamryn, sparks against this hero and whenever they get together lightning strikes. The pages between the love scenes should be lined with firewall!
Q: Is this the first book of a series?
A: This is not a series, per se, although I would like to go back and revisit this world.
Q: Will readers find the book in the Romance section or the Fantasy section of bookstores?
A: In most bookstores, the book will be up in the front of the store with the new featured hardcovers. I would assume they would also stock them in with my other books under romance, and maybe some in science fiction, as I have a lot of science fiction readers as well. I dont think youll have any trouble finding itbut if you do, please just ask someone in the bookstore to lead you to it immediately!
Q: How has your audience, especially those who are clamoring for another Matrix book, responded to RITUAL so far?
A: The response has been fabulous. I just spoke to [RT columnist] Pat Rouse the other day, and she told me that the buzz is huge. Morrow called me this week to tell me they are getting flooded with orders. I know RT has really gotten the word out, too. I have the best readers in the worldthey are so open to trying new things. They tell me they cant wait to read it. When you have a readership like that, it is a pleasure to write. The Matrix books are continuing toothis is an added course to the eclectic menu!
Q: Now that youve written seven novels and two anthologies, have you settled into a writing routine?
A: I do not have a regular routine when Im writing, for a good reason. Routine can be a creativity killer. Routine sets up pattern; pattern and creativity do not jive well. It is too easy to rely on patterns. I approach each book as if it is my first.
Q: Last month, you told us you had a special project underway
on your website. Can you tell us more about that?
A: Were putting up a special section devoted entirely to the new book at www. OfficialDaraJoy.com with lots of strange, fun ideas coming forth, such as a role-playing online game. Weve animated the cover and its just about ready to go up in its final version; it looks very pretty! Check in for continuing new surprises on the site. Speaking of which, the country count (of website visitors) is now at 51! I heard from readers from Botswana, Africa last week who are avid Matrix of Destiny fans! Other far-off lands include Malta, Slovenia, Brunei and Darussal. The language of romance is truly universal. Ill be on promo tours at the end
of May and most of June, as well as parts of July. And of course, RT will have all the latest news and scoops as well!
Visit romantictimes.com for a special Dara Joy exclusive! Well be posting a never-before-seen excerpt and giving you the chance to win one of 10 autographed copies of RITUAL OF PROOF.
On Her Own Terms
Readers have long marveled at Dara Joys witty wordplay, but for her groundbreaking new novel the usual old English language just wasnt enough. The creative lady broke yet another barrier and conceived some unique slang words for her new universe.
The language of the Regency era was very distinctive. Part of the fun of the era is the catchy slang they used to describe the foibles of their own society. I wanted to invent a new Regency language for this new world that had its roots in our Regency era while displaying characteristics of slang that could evolve over time in a separate, futuristic society.
So, if youre confounded by the idea of partaking of a little hameeri while kloobrothing with friends before doing a joined septille,
youll want to check out the glossary at the back of RITUAL OF PROOF. Meanwhile, heres just a sample of Dara having her way with words:
Blaze-Dragona difficult but beautiful creature of fiery disposition, indigenous to Forus
by-lifelife form that is the by-product of another experiment
Chasing the Velvet Veillooking for sex; promiscuous
crawlsinthedarka night creature best left unexplained, but which makes a damn good soup
damselleyoung, unfastened female from an aristocratic family
joined septillea dance
Male Tragedy Paradox (MTP) affliction that befalls an aroused male
patronawoman who keeps a pleasurer
Ritual of Proofceremony of a mans purity
Slice (Top Slice)the crhme de la crhme of the aristocracy
sparkyoung male prostitute
touchslang for money or sex
velvet petalsexual slang for men
vid-tomesmultimedia, multidimensional books
zipsex (i.e. getting the zip)
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