PopWrapped: Paranormal Romance author J.R. Ward has stated in some Fever forums that BURNED is her favorite in the entire series. As an individual who could no sooner choose her favorite book in the Fever series than she could her favorite child (until I read it, and she’s right), I find this to be a very bold statement. What do you think sets this volume apart from others in the series?
KMM: Thank you! It’s hard for me to define what others find so different about BURNED but most of the people who’ve read it early told me the same thing JR said, that they liked it better than all my prior books, SHADOWFEVER included. Some said they loved getting the different character’s points of view in such depth, others said it was because Mac & Barrons were back and they’d been missing them ever since SHADOWFEVER ended. Personally, I think what sets BURNED apart is that I used narrative devices in the novel that allow a more intimate look into the FEVER world than I’ve ever given before.
PW: In your last novel, ICED, you chose to tell your story through Dani’s voice instead of Mac’s, whom had been our narrator from the beginning. What made you change the point of view in ICED, and why did you choose to go back to Mac’s voice for BURNED?
KMM: First let me say that I’ll never talk in detail about future books again. When I pitched these books, I only plotted the first installment and trusted the second and third books to present themselves. And they did. Just not as I’d thought they would. I will never muscle a story and try to force it to conform. If it’s right, it flows. If it doesn’t flow, it’s not right. Whenever I write, I look for the best possible point of view for the story to unfold from. POV as a narrative device may be the most powerful tool a writer possesses. It allows the author to do things that intensify the immediacy and intimacy of the reader’s experience. There was no better point of view from which to tell this segment of Dani’s life than Mac. I certainly couldn’t do it from Dani’s point of view. I tried other voices. None of them were half as effective. Mac and Dani have a deeply emotional bond. Dani loves and idolizes Mac and Mac adores Dani. That sister-bond theme is intrinsic to the entire series. There was no way I was stepping into one of the Nine’s heads to write Dani in BURNED. None of them have the reciprocal love, respect and anguished relationship that Mac and Dani share. There was only one choice to advance the story that worked the best way possible. Bring Mac back. And wherever Mac goes, Barrons isn’t often far behind. I was always going to have to bring Mac back…I just hadn’t grasped how soon I would need her. I couldn’t take Dani through her necessary changes without Mac being part of them—without undermining everything this series is about. Once I accepted deviating from how I’d originally planned writing it, I was astounded by how much better everything about the story worked when I ran the plots concurrently.
PW: Speaking of Dani, thanks to your generosity with teasers, we know that she’s in Faery for at least part of BURNED. Will we see Dani at all, and will she and Mac finally return to their former “peas in the Mega-Pod” glory?
KMM: You will absolutely see more of Dani. Mac and Dani are both primary protagonists. That does not mean that both get equal first person point of view page space. It means that both stories are of equal importance to me and I treat them both as primary heroines with their own hero’s journey. As far as peas-in-the-Mega-pod go (God, I love that kid!) you’ll have to keep reading!
PW: Can you tell me something, ANYTHING about the fate of our favorite druid co-ed, Christian? He was one of my favorite story lines from ICED and I cannot wait to find out what he’s been up to.
KMM: I’ll let Christian speak for himself: “I see the ghosts in Dani’s eyes. You’d have to be blind not to. I want to chase them as nothing can chase mine. I want to keep her from ever changing into something so terrible as I’ve become. I want to shelter her from the hard truth that life takes from you, whittles away at your hope and scrapes the flesh from bone and leaves you so changed you can’t even recognize yourself in the mirror anymore. I want her to always be Dani as she is now but the thing I was becoming got so fucked up about it. I hope the last action I chose to make as a free man cancels some of it out.”
PW: Another intriguing but maddeningly vague (in the best way possible) storyline in ICED was that of Dani’s mysterious and brilliant “friend,” Dancer. Will we learn more about the dark secrets he’s hiding (which we know about thanks to Kat’s emotional telepathy)?
KMM: Not in BURNED, but you will eventually learn more about Dancer.
PW: Is there anything you’d like to add about BURNED that I haven’t touched on? Anything at all—your dedicated and loyal fan base would surely enjoy any closing thoughts or teasers you may be willing to offer!
KMM: Don’t skip the glossary…there are things in it that I’ve not told you. And if you’d like to read the first few chapters, you can preview them at Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook! I’m going to step away from BURNED now and focus on Moning’s career in general.
PW: When you’re writing characters that are as complex, enigmatic and, sometimes, downright terrifying as Barrons and his men are, what is your state of mind? Do you ever find yourself feeling the effects of the dark world you’ve created?
KMM:To me, reality is bizarrely malleable and almost…insignificant. I live in my fiction and, like dreams, they often seem more real, more pertinent, and certainly preferable at times. When I’m writing, I detach. My assistants and family have learned the hard way that when I’m deep in a book, they can talk to me, I’ll answer and to all appearances, genuinely appear to be present, yet later have absolutely no memory of our conversation. But I could quote verbatim what I wrote that day. I suspect I’d be happier living with Barrons than living where I do…
PW: It’s no secret that your books are heavy on the sex, which is one of the reasons that I and other readers love them the most. I know the impact that they have on me (let’s just say my husband REALLY likes it when I immerse myself in the Fever universe). Are your descriptive scenes based on personal experience; do you ever find yourself needing to step away and, um…compose yourself?
KMM: LOL, thanks! I love writing sex scenes. Sex is such a stupendous part of life and, well, I am a Scorpio.
PW: Which character in the Fever universe do you relate to the most?
KMM:Half Unseelie king, half Barrons: half-mad and voracious for life.
PW: What advice would you give aspiring novelists trying to break into the business?
KMM:Want it more than you want anything else in your life, keep your butt in the chair and never give up. Read incessantly and write even more. Gene Fowler said: “Writing is easy. All you have to do is sit and stare at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
PW: You have always been so amazing when it comes to being present and involved with your fans, from conventions to the upcoming signing in Newport, KY; what has been your most rewarding fan experience thus far?
KMM:I’ve had so many! Meeting fans that, over the years, have become my friends. Walking into a signing and seeing the same faces I’ve seen many times before, just as excited as they were the first time we met. Hearing that my books helped a reader through a difficult time in his or her life always thrills me. I believe a good story shines a light into the darkness of a turbulent world, illuminating a safe path, teaching while it entertains. Seeing the tattoos of “Hope strengthens, Fear kills” is always a joy to me. But I think more than anything, the most rewarding part of my job is seeing how many close, loving, enduring friendships have sprung from a shared love of my series. It makes me feel like I’ve put something good out into the Universe. What more can I ask? Thanks for having me, Dani! And thank you, Karen, for taking time out of your grueling schedule to give your fans a special treat.