Today I welcome Darlene Jones author of Embattled and Empowered. She is not only an author but a world traveler as well.
VH: Darlene, if you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why?
DJ: Oh man! I thought I’d write a book to answer this question. One book became four and now you want me to answer it in one paragraph?
There are so many things that need changing. Equal distribution of wealth, excellent education for all, an end to religious and tribal enmity, no more drug use and abuse … This list could go on and on, but if you’re going to restrict me to one thing, I have to say I would like to see an end to all wars and armed conflicts. So much blood shed for what purpose? Do I think it’s possible to stop war? Pessimistically, no. Realistically, no. But wouldn’t it be nice?
And, Van, don’t get the idea, by this answer, that my books are heavy and dismal. They do deal with war, but they have adventure, a few fight scenes, humor and love stories too.
VH: "Heavy and dismal," oh I know these well. No judgments Darlene.
At what age were you the happiest? What triggered such joy?
DJ: I’m happiest now. I’m retired and I’ve discovered that after building a career and raising children, I can now put myself first. That’s not as selfish as it sounds. It just means no alarm clocks, ample time for writing, and best of all time to devote to my granddaughter. Raising my own kids I was too busy working and worrying about money and too tired to truly appreciate all that a child goes through. Now I have the life experience and time to focus on my granddaughter I can fully appreciate the developmental processes she is going through.
VH: What is the number one lie you tell yourself? How is that working out?
DJ: That I can stay away from chocolate and it’s not working well. I’m a chocoholic. If I buy it, I eat it. I can leave pastry, hard candy, cookies (unless they have chocolate in them), pies, and cakes alone. In fact they can sit in the house for weeks, but chocolate? Even the tiniest morsel hidden in the back cupboard will find me (or I’ll find it). The only solution is to not have chocolate in the house at all, but that’s torture of the cruelest sort.
VH: Yeah, I understand chocolate issues. I am working on them myself. We probably go to the same meeting. "Hello, my name is Van and I am a chocoholic ..."
Em sits at her desk, her hands soaked in blood. No wounds, no pain, and no idea where the blood came from. The reds and greens swirling across her computer screen scream jungle battle. She's certain she was there. Fighting through the jungle to stop a battle, storming into a courtroom to save the accused, facing a firing squad of armed ruffians... Are her "three wishes" coming true? And, Yves? He is there to arm her with special powers, to send her into battle, to watch over her. His first assignment as a supreme power is to clean up the mess on Earth without going down there himself. Meeting his superior's expectations is a huge challenge. Falling in love with Em threatens to ruin everything.
The power of Jasmine’s childhood visions convince her that she cannot be harmed. But trusting these visions can lead her into danger, possibly even death. Jasmine pursues Victor relentlessly, believing he is her soulmate. But, the visions promise much more than a lover. They warn of a threat to Jasmine’s perfect life. She will wrestle with unknown forces that drive her, and with the knowledge that she has lived before. Who was she in that other life? Why is she so sure she is invincible? Where will her beliefs lead? And Yves? He is the celestial being assigned to watch over her, and to provide the people to protect her. He must experience again the agony of losing the woman he loves to another as Jasmine and her lover fulfill their destiny. Will Yves jeopardize his rise in power by going to her on Earth? Will he give up his love? Or, will he bring her back in yet another reincarnation?
Suffering from insomnia, I tried telling stories to put myself to sleep. They didn’t work. When I mentioned this to a writer friend, he said, “Well then, you’ve done all the prewriting. Now you’re ready to write.” And so I did. Most of my first novel was written on yellow post-it notes when I was sitting at red lights, or couldn’t sleep.
Where did the story itself come from? A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart wrenching poverty. Some aspects of EMBATTLED reflect my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place—if only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.
Why did I write four books when I only intended one? The story got away on me. Characters took on a life of their own and I have to admit I didn’t want to give them up. One book grew to four which will have the “happy ever after” ending. I think.
EMBATTLED – a woman’s life is taken over by beings from “out there somewhere.” Problem is the being assigned to Earth is a rookie. Of course he messes up.
EMPOWERED – Jasmine is convinced she’s invincible and has a special task to make the world a better place. The visions told her so. But, who is the woman in her visions? And will following those vision lead to love, to danger, to …?
EMBRACED – coming soon – Why is Abby convinced that the clickings she hears in the fillings of her teeth are really messages from outer space?
Book four is the work in progress.