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Some readers, author Jayne Ann Krentz notes, will only read her contemporary novels. Others are drawn to her late Victorian-era stories, written under the name Amanda Quick. And then there are those to whom Jayne Castle, another Krentz pen name, speaks most loudly. But Krentz hopes to change readers' preferences.
"In the course of my career, I didn't set out to build two or three audiences, but that's what I've done. And a large portion of my audience doesn't cross over, and I understand that on one hand." But she'd still like to see them make the time-travel jump, at least in their reading habits. "I do the same kind of core stories and core characters under all three of my names. And I've always felt that if you liked my characters under one name, you'd like them under another."
To that end, she's created a new series that will jump -- at least for now -- from her Quick books to her contemporary novels, though the author isn't ruling out a jump to the future sometime down the road. The new series, called the Arcane Society, began in last year's Quick historical novel, Second Sight (out in paperback in March), and is moving to a contemporary Arizona setting with this month's White Lies (Putnam), written under Krentz's own name. Each book will tell the story of a member of the Arcane Society for the psychically gifted. In White Lies, Claire, a human lie detector, becomes the prime suspect in her brother-in-law's murder. To clear her name, she relies on help from Jake Salter, who has his own psychic challenges.
To allow the series to develop and move in different directions, Krentz has decided that, for now, each story will have its own hero and heroine with his or her own psychic power, and there won't be a continuing set of characters. Also, she says, the parameters and specific details about the society are "mysterious enough that I can invent whatever I need to to make the books work.
"A lot of the stories will deal with the problems the psychic powers give to the characters," she continues. "The really interesting part is how they affect your life -- how the hero and heroine have to learn to deal with the extraordinary abilities." They will also have a murder mystery to uncover as well, since that's one of Krentz's hallmarks regardless of story era.
Krentz says she created the Arcane Society because she enjoys adding a psychic twist to her tales. "I've dabbled with it throughout the course of my career, but this is a full-court press," she says. "I've always written what I love to read. I've always loved psychic stories, and it works well for me and for other readers like me because it's a natural extension of intuition, and most women do believe in intuition."
When asked if she's had any psychic experiences herself, Krentz replies, "I think we all do all the time. We just don't think about it, we don't go down that dark alley." She adds, "When all the senses are open and you're searching for danger, fundamentally that's where intuition springs from." -- Faygie Levy
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