Hi Jim, welcome back to Under the Covers! Now lets talk about BLOOD KISS. Were you as excited as all of us fans for this new spin off of the BDB?
I really love the BDB Series and have thoroughly enjoyed voicing it since it’s inception. When I heard there was another book coming out I assumed it was another in the original series. But then it was sent to me and when I began reading the book I was very excited to discover that this was a spin-off. So… Yes, very excited.
Was Blood Kiss what you expected, without getting into spoilers?
I had no expectations as to what the book would be about. But I was thrilled with the new story lines and characters. The young daughter of the King’s advisor, Paradise, whom we already met briefly in a previous book, is hoping to be accepted into the training program for the BDB fighters. It’s a tough road, both physically and psychologically, however she proves herself a worthy candidate, though unexpectedly so as she’s not only a woman but a blooded member of the aristocracy to boot. Not so with our young, wide-shouldered and handsome hero, Craeg, a mere civilian who’s also on a quest to redefine his life and become a member of the vaunted BDB crew. It’s a fascinating Romeo and Juliet-esque story, replete with all the conflicts you’d expect in JR Ward’s world of class distinction and privilege vs the mere civilians who labor for the rest of the race. Both of them must solve the riddle of their own lives as well as solve a horribly gruesome crime they are both drawn into. It is a younger cast than we’re usually introduced to in the BDB series (a purposeful and brilliant marketing decision for sure). This book, more than many of the others, is highly charged and deeply emotional. I also have to say, the sex scenes are wildly erotic and Ward, as usual, hits all the right, steamy notes. I may have even blushed a time or two, and THAT is pretty wack-a-doodle. Phew… I may need a cigarette. And I don’t even smoke!
Which brother or other character stood out the most in this book to you?
I just love Butch O’Neal! His Boston swagger (and accent) were on full display. I just can’t help loving this guy with all his Red Sox tees, tats and hats. He’s the main Brother from the regular series whose storyline is front and center here. Almost all of the rest of the regular characters make appearances as well. However, it’s Butch (aka The Dhestroyer) who is forced to bring all his smahhts and experience as a detective from when he walked the streets of the human world to bear in his quest to solve a brutal crime that also brings his woman, Marissa (as well as her brother Havers) into the orbit of the story, as well as the phalanx of new recruits.
We see a different side of Marissa in this book in particular. Ward isn’t known for writing a lot of strong heroines but do you think that she now shows that she has gotten better throughout the series at writing female characters?
Marissa is really beautifully drawn here. There are lovely sections where she and Butch in several emotional passages attempt to navigate the pitfalls and dark edges of their marriage. She also has to traverse the world of her very aristocratic brother and their very complicated sibling relationship. Even her fragile toehold on her position within the aristocracy has been laid bare. All this and some really hot sex between she and Butch gives us a great new perspective on Marissa.
What did you think of the original brothers as supporting characters instead of the leading men?
They all fit in beautifully here. And there’s no getting around the fact that Ward knows exactly where all the hot bread is buttered. This new series follows very closely on the heels of the original BDB Series, with all the great characters from the previous books. Even one of my favorites, Lassiter, makes an appearance.
Which character would you like Ward to go back to and write more about?
I would like to see more of Rehvenge (a.k.a. The Reverend, Rehv, Half-Sympath, Half-Vampire; current King of the Sympaths) I just loved that cane… and the clothes. Damn. And that voice! C’mon! Bring. His. Ass. Back!
Or… Jose de la Cruz. Remember him? He was Butch’s detective partner back when he was in the human Caldwell PD. Great beginnings of a character there. I liked him. Wise ass, but loyal and stoic.
What was the hardest part of recording this audiobook?
There was no “hard part”. This book was totally fun and a joy to give voice to. I have to say, I have the best job! You show up in jeans and tell great stories. What could be better! I really love my job. We recorded it at the Penguin / Random House studios, downtown New York City, one of the most cozy and comfortable spots in the city. My engineer was Richie, one of the best in the biz. Also I had a great producer and director. You can’t beat that!
What last fun tidbit do you want to leave fans with?
Here’s a fun quote: “This is NOT as pathetic as it looks,” her Butch pointed out. “Liar”, V muttered, “It so fucking is. I think I’m going to start knitting for reals.”
by J.R. Ward
Released: December 1st 2015
Series: Black Dagger Legacy #1
Published by Signet
The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…
Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.
And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.