Monday, January 16, 2012

Author Interview & Book Review: Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jessica Rules the Dark Side

Author: Beth Fantaskey

Publisher: Harcourt

Publication Date: January 2012

Genre: Young Adult Paranomal Romance

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Two

Synopsis can be found here.


If you haven't read  Jessica's Guide to Dating On The Dark Side, then you are missing out. It's one of my favorite YA books. I mean, I have it on Kindle and Hardcover. Yeah. That's right.

But ok, you haven't read it and you're wondering- Can I just dive into book two?
The answer my dear vampire loving friends is- YES!

Jessica Rules picks up a little after where book one left off. 
(I recommend going to Beth Fantaskey's website where you can read about Lucius and Jessica's wedding! It's a fun story, giving you just a taste of the characters and will definitely make you want more.)

Jessica is thrown into princess-dom, with her deadly handsome, and just plain deadly, new husband in tow. Lucius is used to navigating these dangerous waters, but Jessica isn't and finds herself out of place. Is she really ready to rule? She doesn't think so and then the unthinkable happens. Lucius is imprisoned and Jessica is forced to not only rule without him, but build his defense when he goes to trial!

Lucky for Jess, her best friend Mindy is in town to help. And a certain gorgeous Italian vampire cousin of Lucius's, named Raniero, also shows up. Who may have some history with Mindy. Just sayin'.

Lucius is, as always, delicious, devoted and dark. His lively sense of humor doesn't falter through this book, even in the most dire of circumstances. Since the beginning, Jessica's journey has been filled with challenges, both from outside sources and herself. It was satisfying to see her transformation in this book.  
Raniero's past and character is seeped in mystery. Who really is Raniero? Does he have alterior motives? Watching Raniero's character unfold is great fun. That lazy, peaceful surfer may have a dark side. And Mindy? I really love Mindy's chapters. She's funny, smart, clever, everything a best friend should be! And her thought process seems eerily familiar...

Fantaskey does a wonderful job juggling the four narrators. So much character insight is gained from reading Raniero's and Lucius's emails.  Raniero's voice is so spot on, I kept thinking - I know this guy. Mindy's voice is very different from Jessica's and that makes her a welcomed comic relief. The dialogue between them is effortless. It's no wonder her and Jessica are best friends!

The mystery? Yes, treachery is afoot! You'll have to read more to find out!

So, if you haven't read the first Jessica's Guide, (GO. READ. NOW!) you should.
And pick up Jessica Rules! Because you won't want to stop!

Author Interview with Beth Fantaskey!

What inspired you to become a writer? 
The simple need to feed, clothe and house myself!   When I graduated from college, I had no job prospects, so when a friend mentioned that a public relations office was hiring writers, I applied.  When I turned in my writing sample, the man who would become my boss said, “You know you’re a writer, right?”  I got hired on the spot, and that’s what I’ve done ever since – thank goodness!

What was the last book you read?  
Douglas Perry’s “The Girls of Murder City:  Fame, Lust and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired ‘Chicago.’” 

What sparked the idea for Jessica’s Guide? Did you always know there would be a sequel?
The idea is rooted in my family life.  My children are adopted, and we sometimes imagine what their birth parents might be like.  What if they are doctors?  Or farmers?  Or even royalty?  I just took that game to the extreme with Jessica’s Guide, imagining the protagonist’s birth parents as vampire royalty.
I didn’t initially plan to write a sequel – only because I never expected the first book to earn the wonderful following that it did.  As a first-time novelist, I was just happy to have one published book.

Lucius and Jessica both have very distinct voices. I love Lucius’s sense of humor! What are your favorite things about Lucius and Jessica?
I also love Lucius’s humor, and his chivalry, bravery and intense loyalty to his friends and family.  As the second book, Jessica Rules the Dark Side, shows, Lucius would sacrifice his existence before hurting Jess in any way, shape or form. 
I love Jess’s intelligence, cool-headedness, and her courage, too.  Her mettle is tested in the second book, and while she falters, like any normal person would, she comes back stronger than ever. 

I loved how in this second book we get Mindy and Ronnie’s voices as well. Out of the four of them, which character do you enjoy writing more?
Oh, gosh... I love writing all of them for different reasons.  It’s like hanging out with good friends, all of whom you love for their unique personalities.  I will say that I developed a new fondness for Mindy while writing the second book, though.  She emerged to have her own particular strengths – and she cracks me up, too.

What did you find the most challenging about switching narrators between four characters? 
At first it was difficult to decide who should jump into the narrative when.  I didn’t want anyone to drop out of the story for too long.  But once the plot started rolling along, it flowed naturally. 

What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing your novels?
Staying calm until I’m at least halfway through.  I don’t do a lot of plotting, so I tend to reach a point that I call “the murky middle,” at which point I’m not exactly sure how I’ll get from the beginning to the end – which I always do plan.  That can be nerve wracking.

Lucius shows up on your doorstep. What do you do? 
Take him out for a really nice dinner and a discussion of books.  I think he grew accustomed to small, cluttered American houses while living with the Packwoods, but I’d still be embarrassed to subject him to my messy home.   

Do you own a stake?
I probably have something that would do in a pinch, out in the garage. 

How do you like your potato? 
French fried.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?  A professor – which I do on the side, now and then.
 Do you have a favorite literary character? 
Edmond Dantes, from The Count of Monte Cristo.   He’s intense, funny, tortured, romantic... just perfect!

What do you do when you’re not writing? 
I burn off a lot of steam at the gym, and I hang out with my husband and three daughters.  Just getting through homework at night is a major undertaking! 

What is one thing you would tell aspiring writers? 
Usually I tell them to practice, practice, practice... But today I was thinking about how important it is to remember that you can always delete.  Don’t be afraid to try something when you’re typing away.  You can always backspace.  (Of course, that doesn’t hold true for those of you diehards who still use pen and ink... more power to you!)

Do you buy a book based on its cover? 
Not really.  I choose more by author and summary. 

What is your next book about and when is it coming out? 
My next project is still a secret, but hopefully it will come out in 2013 – provided I stay on schedule!

Will there be more Jessica and Lucius in our future? I hope so!!! 
Thanks for your support, but I’m not sure about another full sequel.  That said, I would at least like to do another on-line “fan thank you,” like I did with the free story of Jess and Lucius’s wedding on my website.  I purposely built some possible options into the end of Jessica Rules the Dark Side.  I like having a concrete way to let readers know how much I appreciate their support.

Thanks for stopping by Beth! 

You can find Beth Fantaskey here and follow her on twitter @BethFantaskey


  1. Fantastic interview! Loved Jessicas guide and can't wait to read the sequel. I also love when treachery is afoot. :)

  2. I loved the first book and can't wait to read this one. I also saw the wedding thing on the site but I wasn't done with the first book so I didn't read it and forgot all about it. Thanks! Going to go read it now!

  3. Great review & interview. This books sounds like a keeper. I read the first book and really enjoyed it. I have Jessica Rules The Dark Side on my book wish list.