Squawk Radio

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Welcome to PART ONE of Squawk radio's Two Part Jayne Anne Krentz interview wherein Kitty Kuttlestone managed to crawl out of the back room long enough to ask the incomparable Jayne Anne Krentz a few questions.

Kitty: Let’s get this thing rolling. You know that it’s become my personal crusade to strip away any illusion of glamour from the romance writer ( a crusade the squawkers happily, if mindlessly, take care of themselves every time they put fingertip to keyboard on the blog.) But you, Jayne Ann Krentz, icon, goddess, uber-writer, now you would be a trophy worth toppling...so let’s get down with the dirty. What’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done today? The most glamorous?

Jayne: Kitty Kuttlestone? You're THE Kitty Kuttlestone? Ohmygosh. I am absolutely thrilled to meet you. You can't possibly know how exciting this is for me. To actually get up close and personal with the most incredible chicken on the planet! Wow. I really have to tell you that you're so much more gorgeous than the Squawkers had led me to believe. Could I have your autograph?

Kitty: Yeah, yeah...Back off, hon. Don’t muss the hair! Geez!

Jayne: Where was I? Oh, yes, your brilliantly insightful question. Well, I can say with absolute honesty that doing this interview is by far the most glamorous thing I've done today. I think that tells you a little about the unglamorous side of my life.

Kitty: Okay, now let’s talk odd. Do you recognize any of these names? Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle, Stephanie James, Jayne Bentley, Jayne Taylor, Amanda Glass? Because they are all pseudonyms that you have been published under. God knows how many more personalities have yet to appear. So, what’s with that? Does every one of them (you) have a different character? I mean is like Jayne Bentley a twenty-five year old grad student with a secret penchant for biker bars and cheap tequila? Wait, that was my story.

Jayne: Ah, the name game. I've certainly used a number of them over the years. Back at the beginning of my career I used different names for contractual reasons with different publishers. In other words, the publishers would say stuff like "sign here and swear an oath in blood that you will not use this pen name with any other publisher or else we won't publish your book." And I, wanting desperately to get published, signed with abandon.

In fact, I got pretty good at signing away names. So good, in fact, that I actually managed to sign away my real name at one point (Jayne Castle). It was after that fiasco that I finally concluded that, yes, maybe I did need an agent after all.

Got my Castle name back eventually but by then I'd already fired up the Krentz and Quick careers. (Krentz is my married name). I've dropped all the pen names now except for three: Krentz (contemporary), Quick (historicals), and Castle (futuristic).

I'm not saying that using three pen names was the sharpest move I've ever made in this business but it does have the advantage of signaling to readers what world they can expect when they pick up one of my books.

Kitty: By the way did you realize that the Bentley title, A MOMENT PAST MIDNIGHT is selling for over THREE HUNDRED bills ?! So, if you, ah, got some copies molding in your basement, I’ll take ‘em off your hands. I’ll even pay postage.

Jayne: I cringe whenever I hear that. Frankly, I would be thrilled if those old McFadden titles of mine never saw the light of day again. Those were my "learner" books. Let's just say that I had a lot of learning to do.

Kitty: You were writing the science fiction fantasy stuff (The Lost Colony books) back in the mid-eighties when no one else was. Do you feel like Cassandra? What made you even think futuristic romance when no one else was doing anything like ‘em? Pain meds?

Jayne: What can I say? That was a professional move right up there with signing away my legal name. Those early futuristics nearly sank my career. I was lucky to survive that disaster. Folks lined up around the block not to buy those books.

But I did learn one thing from those futuristics and that was that the core story I was trying to tell in them would fit very neatly into the historical genre. The result was my Amanda Quick career.

Kitty: Why has futuristics become so hot now? Do you have any theories?

Jayne: I don't think it's the futurisics that became hot. What got hot was the paranormal. Since my futuristics incorporate a strong dose of the psychic/paranormal stuff they have been carried along on the tide.

Kitty: Okay. Then what’s the appeal of the paranormal element? (Medeiros is doing a vampire, if ya know what I mean.)

Jayne: The appeal of the paranormal? Oh, that's easy. That's were all the old-fashioned Alpha Males went after they got booted out of contemporaries and historicals for being politically incorrect. The dangerous Alpha Male is at the heart of every good romance novel. He's been softened up a lot in modern contemporaries and historicals but you can't keep a good Alpha down. So now readers can get that old thrill of taming the Dangerous Beast over on the Dark Side where the fantasy is far enough removed from reality to make it safe again.

Kitty: You also write, and successfully, suspense and historical and contemporary under various incarnations. Do people have trouble living with you?

Jayne: People are always saying that I write in three different genres. I don't see it that way. My core story is romantic-suspense -- accent on the romance. That is what I write regardless of the world in which the story is set. The balance of romance and suspense is the same in each of the Krentz, Quick and Castle worlds.

Kitty: Let’s get the final tally here. How many books in total published ? How many New York Time bestsellers?

Jayne: I honestly don't know how many books I've written and I sure as heck do not intend to go back and count! I can tell you that I've had over 40 New York Times bestsellers.

Kitty: Yeah, well I’d count ‘em but I’d have to use all the squawkers’ toes and Some People are best remaining discreetly shod. At least that must explain the pedestal...

Jayne: Speaking of shoes, I've never seen a chicken in five-inch stilletos before. Got to hand it to you, Kitty. You've got style.

Kitty: DWS, baby!

Be sure and come back for PART TWO of Kitty's JAYNE ANNE KRENTZ interview this afternoon wherein Kitty gets a SCOOP!
Kitty Kuttlestone, 9:34 PM