Jessica Andersen & The Nightkeepers’ Last Stand

Today is an exciting day and also a sad one.  Having Jessica Andersen in the Lair is always a pleasure, but she’s here to talk about Spellfire, the last book in the her wonderful Nightkeepers paranormal romance series.  I love these books, as many of you know, and while I’ll be glad to see the Nightkeepers triumph (at least, I hope they will!), I’ll miss knowing there’s another book ahead.  Spellfire is a Romantic Times Top Pick, with a 4.5-star rating, so the series is ending on a high note.

Welcome, Jessica!  How did you feel when you turned in the manuscript for Spellfire, knowing it was the last Nightkeepers book?

Sad. Drained. Giddy. In dire need of a pool boy bearing a scorpion bowl … yet elated at the same time, because I’m really, proud of this series and how it came around to (in my opinion, anyway) a really satisfying conclusion. 

 It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing these books since 2006 (the launch book, Nightkeepers, came out in June of 2008). So much has happened, both in the world at large and in my own small corner of it, that it boggles the mind. Not the least that the first book acknowledged my fiancé, the last book is dedicated to my amazing husband, and they’re most definitely not the same guy!

I’m love how this last book of the series brings it home. And whenever I get sad, knowing I won’t be writing another Nightkeeper book, I look over at my shelf. It helps knowing that I can visit them any time, both on the page and in my head. That’s the awesome thing about books!

I know I’ll be visiting them on the page again.  Please tell us a bit about Spellfire.

 This is Rabbit and Myrinne’s story … It had to be, really, because even though Rabbit wasn’t in the original outline, the eight-book series wound up not just being about the Nightkeepers’ war to save mankind from the 2012 doomsday, but also about Rabbit growing up (and blowing stuff up).

 He started out as a snotty teenager who just appeared out of nowhere in one of the first few scenes, and tried his darnedest to steal every book along the way. Now he’s all grown up (and then some, rwor!), and his love of self-destruction has the potential for some very big consequences.

 As for Myrinne … well, I know lots of readers aren’t so sure about her as Rabbit’s heroine (I wasn’t either, until I got to know her better), but she’s come a long way, too, baby. She’s finally got the magic and power she’s always wanted, only to find that it comes with responsibilities she never even dreamed of. And where the Nightkeepers are almost always stronger together than apart, it seems impossible to believe that she and Rabbit can put the pieces of their relationship back together before the end date … or that they should even try.

What has writing the Nightkeepers you learned about writing a series?

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Okay, not really, because there’s nothing simple or stupid about these books. However, I did learn the importance of focusing the camera lens on the moments that are most important to the main characters of the current book. Yes, everyone’s lives are marching forward as time passes, and yes, it’s important for me to know what’s going on in the other characters’ lives, but in books as long and complex as the Nightkeeper books, it can’t all fit on the page.

 Also in terms of simplifying, I’m currently working on a trio of books that are set in the same story world as each other, but don’t really have overarching plot connections. Partly it’s because that’s the way these books are writing, and partly it’s because I want readers to pick up one of these new books having never read the prior ones, and be able to dive right in. Which isn’t necessarily true for the Nightkeepers.

While writing this series, you’ve also written the terrific Bear Claw Crime Lab books. How did you juggle these projects so successfully?

Aw, thanks for saying I’ve been successful at it! It was a struggle sometimes, I’ll admit, especially given that I alternated writing the two series.

 Usually I would stop in the middle of writing a Nightkeeper book to write the outline and first three chapters of a Bear Claw book, submit that for approval to Harlequin, finish up the Nightkeeper first draft, submit that to NAL, write the rest of the Bear Claw book, and submit it just in time to do the first round of revisions on the Nightkeeper book. It was crazy!

I think I’ve said it here before, but I’ll say it again: Fonts are my friend. I always wrote the Nightkeepers in Times New Roman and the Bear Claw books in Courier New. It was a visual cue that helped tell my brain whether I was writing a paranormal or a romantic suspense. That, as much as anything, helped me keep things straight!

That’s a cool idea!  Does not having another Nightkeepers book ahead feel strange? 

Everything feels strange right now, but in a good way. After years of writing four to six books a year while also running a small horse farm and freelancing as a science editor—and basically sleeping six hours a night and never taking a day off—I’ve dropped back to writing two books a year, doing a bit more editing, living in a great little house with my hubby and a couple of cats, and taking nights and weekends off to mountain bike and do family stuff. Which is just …weird. But good weird, you know?

 As for writing-weird, yes and no. It’s strange not to be in the Nightkeepers’ world anymore, but at the same time, I’m in such a different mental space than I was when I started writing these books. The writing I’m doing now is better for who I am now, if that makes any sense.

Besides, if and when I feel the urge to cause some literary mayhem, Mayan-style, the new opportunities in e- and self-publishing might give me an outlet to write, say, the stories of Patience and Brandt’s twin boys, all grown up in a near-future storyline …

Is there anything in particular you would like readers to take away from this series?

This is definitely one of those ‘you can see the author in the stories’ deals, as each of the books deals, in one way or another, with the concepts of being an outsider and finding your place in your community, family, and/or relationship.

 It’s something I’ve struggled with most of my life, and something I think lots of us can relate to. I can’t say that I’ve come up with any great take-home on the topic, but if my last few years are anything to go by, I can say this: huge, tremendous, die-for-you love—the kind that we write about and read about—exists, even for an outsider. And you don’t have to be a magic user to find it.

 What are you working on now?

 Ahh, that’s the question, isn’t it? Well, I guess I can ‘fess up now, because there’s an excerpt of the new book at the end of SPELLFIRE.

 I am … wait for it … going West! Yep, writing as Jesse Hayworth, I’m going to be doing contemporary Western romances about a Wyoming cattle station-turned-dude ranch, the three-generation family that runs the place, and the guests that come through. The first book, SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE, is in production for a June release from Signet.

Although it’s a departure from the Nightkeepers and Intrigues, I think some of the same voice comes through in the strong heroes and heroines. In this case, though, they’re working on their own little corners of the world rather than trying to save the whole thing. 

Thanks as always for the opportunity to celebrate the new release with the Banditas!

 For more about Jessica and her work, visit her website.

Jessica is giving away a copy of Spellfire to one commenter today.  So tell us, what series have you enjoyed, and what did you find satisfying about their conclusions?  If you read westerns, either contemporary or historical, which ones do you like, and why? 

 

 

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Comments

65 thoughts on “Jessica Andersen & The Nightkeepers’ Last Stand

  1. 1
    Fedora says:

    Wow, wow, WOW! I can’t believe this is the conclusion for the Nightkeepers, Jessica!!! I recall your first visit to the Lair, with the first book!! Zowie!

    Thanks for the terrific interview–how funny that the visual cue of the fonts helps you keep your stories straight ;) Love it!

    As for series… I love a whole lot of them, so let’s see… one I did find memorable was the Ellen Connor Dark Age Dawning trilogy–I did feel like the series built and then resolved well, but like many good series, I hated to see it end! And other series I’m still eagerly waiting for the next installments…

    I DO read westerns, both contemporary and historical–one of my favorites is still Stacey Kayne’s Wild trilogy. And I’m still working my way through Beth Williamson’s backlist :)

    Best wishes with your new direction–looking forward to following you there, Jessica!

    • 1.1

      Hi Fedora! I remember that first visit, too … I believe you may have gotten the rooster that day? (Which left me going ‘what rooster?’ Ha ha)

      Crazy, isn’t it, that the series is over … sad, but happy too. Glad to hear there’s some Western love here in the Lair!

    • 1.2

      Hi, Fedora–Congrats on the GR! I read the first Ellen Connor and liked it a lot. Haven’t gotten to the others yet. Aside from Jessica’s Bear Claw books, which are set in the west but not westerns in the ranching sense, I’ve read very few westerns, but I do like them.

  2. 2
    Mary Preston says:

    Go west. I love Historical westerns. My favourite book is LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry. I had to buy a second copy I wore out the first reading it every year.

    I haven’t read a lot of series – the last series I finished reading was THE HUNGER GAMES & before that HARRY POTTER. (My daughter said YOU MUST READ, so I did.)

    What I need from any series ending is satisfaction.

    • 2.1

      Hi Mary! Yep, I’m going West :)

      My hubby came with a dogeared set of every Louis L’Amour ever written (two copies of some, I’ve noticed), some of which were handed down to him by his English teacher Granny, so it’s a proud tradition here in Casa H.

      I’ll confess I haven’t read the Potter books, but hubby and I (prompted by a week-long lack of cable following the latest storm) are in the midst of a Potter film fest. He hadn’t seen them, and I’ve only seen up to #6, which is on tap for tonight. It’s been a nice diversion, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends (in the film versions, at least).

      • 2.1.1

        Jessica, my dad loved Larry L’Amour and Zane Grey. I’ve never read them, though. Let us know how you like them.

        I enjoyed The Sacketts and The Shadow Riders with Tom Selleck. They still pop up on TV from time to time.

    • 2.2

      Mary, I haven’t read The Hunger Games trilogy, but it’s on my list. I have friends who love McMurtry.

  3. 3
    Helen says:

    Jessica

    I have to say that I have not yet read this series but it is on my list of must get. I too love westerns historical and contemporary I loved the western series which is seven brides all the books titles were the heroines name and I am pretty sure that Leigh Greenwood wrote them and Ana Leigh did a great weterns series The MacKenzies as well. I love that when reading series you get to keep in touch with the other characters great reading

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 3.1
      Anna Sugden says:

      Those were great historical series, Helen! If you loved them, you’ll love Kathleen Kane’s western historicals, which are being re-released under her alter ego’s name – Maureen Child.

      And you must pick up this series. I have to say, I don’t normally read this kind of story, but Jess had me hooked from the very first book! I started to read it because she’s a dear friend, but became a fan because I loved the books!

    • 3.2

      Hi Helen,

      Look at it this way–now you can read them back to back! Lol. When I started this series, I didn’t get how some readers could say ‘I’ll wait until they’re all out, then get them’ … I don’t have that much impulse control! But since then I’ve discovered a few series and had the pleasure of being able to read the books all together, and it’s been a real treat. So I guess I get it now! Will have to check out your recommendations, thanks!

    • 3.3

      Helen, the flower books are, indeed, Leigh Greenwood’s, and they’re on my keeper shelf, along with his other westerns. I’ll have to check out The Mackenzies.

  4. 4
    Anna Sugden says:

    Jess!!! Great to see you!! It’s been too long!! Big hugs to you and your lovely hubby.

    Nancy summed it up so well – this has been an awesome series and it’s exciting to reach it’s zenith, but sad that this is the end too. My pre-ordered copy dropped onto my doormat just now and I’m debating whether to get stuck straight in or leave it until our flight to NY in a few weeks, so I get uninterrupted reading time *g*.

    So many favourite series, but if I had to pick just one I’d probably go with JD Robb’s In Death.

    • 4.1

      Anna!!! (Squee!)

      Hey, lady, and hoping you’re amazingly well. Thanks for the shout out and for your support, always! Have a safe trip.

      And … Roarke. Need I say more??

    • 4.2

      Anna, the In Death books would certainly be on my list. I love those.

      I can’t read Spellfire until I finish these revisions. It’ll be a treat for when I’m done. So don’t reveal anything in the Lair this week! *g*

    • 4.3
      Minna says:

      Here’s another In Death fan.

  5. 5
    PJ Sharon says:

    Holy smokes, Jess! A western? I guess they have explosives out west, too, right? You’ll have to get creative about blowing stuff up on a dud ranch, though.

    I’m so happy to see you in such an amazing place in life and taking time to enjoy it. You so deserve it! Congrats on the release. Will be buying it for my Kindle ASAP!

    • 5.1

      Hi, PJ–I also hope things will blow up from time to time. We love our “boom” here in the Lair.

    • 5.2

      Hey PJ! *waves* Thanks for stopping by!

      Yes, Westerns. And nope, no explosives. I’ve found that I no longer want to blow up the world these days …

      Which isn’t to say that I won’t come back around to my destructive tendencies at some point in the future!

  6. 6
    Linda P says:

    Love the stoiries, hoping it will all turn out well. I love series because you can get comfortable in the world. Keri Arthur’s stories, Lara Adrian, Rachel Vincent, all have great series. Thanks for the give a way.

  7. 7

    And a belated GOOD MORNING to y’all, and a heartfelt THANK YOU to Nancy for hosting me here today, and to the Banditas for letting me hang out! You guys are the best :)

  8. 8

    Hey, Jess! Very excited for the last book, and congratulations! Also, I’m REALLY loving Mustang Ridge…Gang, I beat Jess at arm-wrestling and got a copy of the new book, and it’s exactly my kind of read. I’d chat more, but I have to go outside. In the snow. Or possibly move, because this weather is kicking my butt…

    • 8.1

      Hi Kristan (fangirl squee–it’s Kristan Higgins!)

      And a second squee that you’re liking the Western! That means big, huge, warm fluffy things to me.

      Ew on the snow–we’ve just got freezing snizzle here, a bit south and east of you. The DH (an Arizona transplant who, despite having spent the past decade in NY and CT, still seems surprised by the winter thing) is unamused by both the weather and daylight savings. Apparently they don’t have that in AZ, either!

    • 8.2

      Kristan, I hope the weather lets up soon. I’m excited to see what Jessica has coming up, and you’ve just nudged that a bit higher. *g*

    • 8.3
      Caren Crane says:

      Kristan, you have snow already? That’s crazy talk! Too funny that you won a book from Jess arm wrestling. Then again, it’s snowing where you are, so I suppose anything is possible…

  9. 9
    Ann Thayer-Cohen says:

    Waves hi to Doc Jess. I can’t wait to read about Rabbit. Watching him find his way has been a great journey. Wow that the series end is finally here.

    Series that I love. Well, Nightkeepers is one series that is on my keepers shelf – waiting for the final book.
    I am sad when a series end but am so happy to here that you might visit them with some short stories. I am there.

    I cannot wait to follow you into your next books. Cowboys sounds good to me.

    Here’s hoping my iPad behaves and lets me send today.

    • 9.1

      Hey Ann! Glad Mr. iPad behaved :)

      I know, right? It seems like just yesterday that I was writing Strike’s first scene and this snotty kid showed up, gave him grief, put a twenty in the curse jar so he’d be paid up ahead of himself, and swaggered off, alternately making me love him and hurt for him.

      I love that he’s finally come into his own and gotten his own story. And I’ll admit that I’m very tempted to [Urgh. More spoilers redacted. I really, really stink at this! LOL.]

      Anyway, love me some Rabbit, and so happy to share him with people who get it!

    • 9.2

      Hi, Ann–I have iPad typo issues when I use it on here. I would also love some Nightkeeper short stories down the road. I just wish I could read the book NOW. *g*

  10. 10
    Louisa says:

    Fedora got the GR! He really cannot stay away, can he!

    Great interview, Ladies! I cannot believe the Nightkeepers series is over! Can’t wait to read this last book, but I am a bit sad too. Series are so much fun – like visiting with old friends again and again.

    I love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series.

    And Mary Balogh’s Slightly series (the Bedwyns)

    And Lisa Kleypas Wallflowers

    I could go on and on. I do love a good series!

  11. 11
    catslady says:

    First off I am so woefully behind and only have the first 3 books. My only problem with series is getting them all in an orderly fashion lol. My favorite series of all time was Jean Auel’s Earth’s Series but it was like 20 years or more and that is way too long to wait! I read an Elven series by Kathryne Kennedy that I enjoyed very much but it was only a trilogy while I thought it was longer so I was quite shocked to see it all finalized in the 3rd book and I wanted more. So it’s a dilemma between wanted to collect them all within a reasonable amount of time and never wanting them to end lol. I do look forward to your entire series!

    • 11.1

      Hi catslady!

      Ah, Jean Auel! I remember picking up Valley of the Horses when I was like eleven, and reading it on a camping trip. My mom was reading it, too. I was in the process of flipping past the sexy bits, annoyed that there weren’t that many horses in the dumb valley, when she confiscated the book.

      Good times!

  12. 12

    Hi, Catslady–Yes, sometimes finding a series in order is tough, especially if it has been going a while. I had that trouble with Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigans. It took me forever to get them all.

    At least you’ll be able to read the Nightkeepers straight through, with no waiting!

    I haven’t read the Elven books. I’ll have to check them out.

    • 12.1

      Count me in as someone who got into the Vorkosigans out of order. I was told I HAD to read the books, grabbed one in the store, and was like ‘huh’??? Who is this Miles guy? Why does everyone put up with him? Then I got Cordelia’s Honor and Barryar, and went “Ooohhh. I get it.”

      • 12.1.1

        I got Shards of Honor and Warrior’s Apprentice in a combined volume by accident from the SF book club (forgot to send back the reply card). I was poking around one day, needing something to read, and decided to try it. I devoured it, then read Warrior’s Apprentice because, hey, it was right there, and realized I’d missed something.

        Then Baen, I think it was released Cordelia’s Honor and Barrayar–man, oh, man! Then I went on a mad search for the rest.

        Without giving anything away, did you read Cryoburn?

        I got to meet Bujold at DragonCon a couple of years ago, and it was a huge thrill.

  13. 13
    Sandyg265 says:

    My favorite western author is Will James

  14. 14
    Gail C. says:

    I too am excited and sorry to see the end of the Nightkeepers series. I’ve loved everyone of the books and can’t wait to get time this weekend to sit down and devour SpellFire!

    Okay, and I’m a bit jealous that Kristan got to read Mustang Ridge already. Read the excerpt and am VERY much looking forward to reading the full.

    Congrats on the new release and the end to a fabulous series! I know the new stuff, while totally different, is going to ROCK!

  15. 15
    Caren Crane says:

    Jessica, welcome back to the Lair! I can’t believe the very last book in the Nightkeepers series is out. Where does time go??

    I am a big old sucker for a series. I simply adore continuing story arcs and the longer, the better. A few of favorites have been Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series and JD Robb’s In Death series (which features another Peabody – not by accident, I suspect!).

    I enjoy westerns, but haven’t read any in a while, except for our own Suzanne Ferrell’s The Surrender of Lacy Morgan – hot like fire, that one!

    • 15.1

      Caren- Oh, wow, love me some Elizabeth Peters, especially the early ones. And they’re among the few books (along with the Outlanders) that don’t annoy me in first person. Great pick!

  16. 16

    Hey Banditas! I’m going to wish you a semi-early goodnight, but will check back in the morning to answer any more comments. Thanks so much to Nancy for inviting me, and to you guys for hanging out with me today!

    Hugs to all, have a great weekend, and keep your heads down on the 21st of December!

    Jessica

  17. 17
    Susan Sey says:

    Hi, Jessica–

    thanks for coming by today. I can’t wait to get my hands on Spellfire. I’ve been a huge fan since the beginning & have been waiting for Rabbit’s story forever, it seems like. Can’t wait to dig in! I’ll look forward to your westerns, too—I love westerns!

    • 17.1

      Hi, Susan–I’ll be looking for the westerns, too.

    • 17.2

      Thanks, Susan!

      It’s crazy to think that it’s over … but I hope the ending makes readers feel like things are just beginning in some ways for the Nightkeepers. They’ve spent the past bunch of years (and in a way, their whole lives) getting ready for the doomsday. Now it’s time to go in a whole new direction!

  18. 18
    Cassondra says:

    Hi Jessica and Hi Nancy!

    Jessica, huge congratulations on finishing a fantastic series. I can’t imagine how that feels, but it must feel wonderful to finish this with a great story. And of course, the possibility for other stories in the future if you choose to do so. Gotta love the brave new world for that reason alone.

    Love the arc you’ve taken–from fiance to hubby–and not the same guy! What an inspiring trek you’ve taken!

    Nancy, thanks so much for bringing Jessica to us again, and congrats for the second day on your release of RENEGADE.

    • 18.1
    • 18.2

      Hi Cassandra, and thanks so much! Yes, it’s been an eventful few years in my life, but I’m ending them so much better than I began. The Maya believed that the end of their calendar signaled the beginning of a new cycle, a new world order. Sure feels that way to me, and I wish the same for anyone else who needs a change!

  19. 19
    Barbara Elness says:

    There are a lot of series I’ve loved, two of my favorites are Eloisa James’ Desperate Duchesses and her Fairy Tale series. I loved the conclusion of the Desperate Duchesses series, with the Duke that started out as an very unsympathetic character getting his HEA in the last book.

  20. 20

    Barbara, I’ve been enjoying the Fairy Tales series.

  21. 21

    Again, thank you, Nancy, for hosting me here, and to the Banditas for their ever-enthusiastic welcome. Love you all, and I’ll see you back here soon!

    Jess

  22. 22
    Diane Sallans says:

    I love a good series – whether it’s a trilogy or a long series (I’m reading the last of Victoria Alexander’s Effington family series – 11 books). I often wish series went on & I can find out how the characters are doing after the end.

  23. 23
    donnas says:

    Great post. I really love a good series. No matter if its a short trilogy or longer like the In death books. I also like when they switch characters. I just always want to know what happens next and want everyone to get their ending.