Behind the Books – An Interview with J.R. Ward

by Maryse on April 1, 2014 · 49 comments

in Behind The Books, J.R. Ward

The King: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
<— It’s LIVE!!!! The KING is LIVE! My first The Black Dagger Brotherhood ”love” is back again in all of his leather-clad bad-ass vampire king glory, and we get to indulge in him for hours on end, once again! 592 pages, my friends!!! Allllllll HAIL the KING!!!!!!

New to the Black Dagger Brotherhood? I’ve written a post this weekend, just for you, entitled: J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood ROCKS my world… and it will rock yours, too! Do yourself a favor and read this article and then read this series. We absolutely LOVE this series, and I just know… if you love true bad-ass alpha males like we do, you’ll LOVE it, too

Author J.R. Ward

Heidi: Maryse! How good is black dagger brotherhood? I haven’t started yet either!

Kim: OMG if you haven’t started this series DO IT NOW I’m not a huge paranormal fan but this series totally sucked me in!!!!!

Maryse’s Book Blog: Heidi… How good??!!! HOW GOOOOOOD???!!!!! GAH!!! Soooooooooooooo AH-MAZING!!!!!!!! That’s HOW good. Oh yes…. I am IN LOVE with these guys BIG time, and have been for YEARS now. My #1 guy ever is from this series, and this is one of my main #1 FAVORITE series in the world. That…. is how good.

Danielle: I am sooo excited for The King. These books are like crack! I have to agree with you they are def re -reads! If anyone has yet to dive into them now is the time. I have goosebumps just waiting for midnight. Read these books ladies you will not be dissapointed. My fav character is Revhenge…love him so sexy!!!!!!

Tricia: I’ve read that set 7 or times. Every time a new one is scheduled to come out, I start reading the set again until the new one comes out. She is one of my fave authors and that is the best set ever!!!

Heidi: Consider me sold! THANKS LADIES. YAYYYY NEW BOYSSS!!!

Allaina: I think everyone kinda goes through that manic excitement when they discover the black dagger brotherhood lol

Laura Kaye: Ah, I just love when a newbie starts reading the BDB! LOL

See? Even our favorite authors are addicted to these guys!

Author J.R. Ward

But before I start reading, how about an INTERVIEW with the fabulous author herself, J.R. Ward! THE WARDen, here on little ol’ me’s book blog. The author. My favorite author, that brought me “Zsadist”, the book-love of my life. Here!!! And on THE KING’s release day, no less.

*thud* <— whoops. redface I think I just fainted. I keep doing that. Too much fangirl-hypeventilating. ;)

*rubs hands together with glee*

Maryse: Welcome, J.R. Ward! I’m so thrilled to speak with you today about my very favorite bad-ass males in the whole world. I know you’ll be having a VERY exciting day today, and I’m honored that you took the time to come and speak with us about your males of worth! How did the The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series come to you? What was your inspiration for Wrath’s original story?

J.R. Ward: First of all, thank you for having me!  And there was no inspiration.  Wrath just showed up in my head, barged everything else out of the way, and was like, You’re writing about me.  Naturally, because I’m not stupid, I said, Yes, sir, may I have another – and the Brotherhood appeared!  I had the first ten books sketched out in two weeks.  It was unparalleled.

Maryse: *sigh* Lucky woman!! I don’t blame you one bit. I’d accommodate Wrath’s big bossy self, anytime. ;) . It In the BDB world, the danger of giving birth is high with shellans, and we know Wrath is already against putting Beth through this (even though she desperately wants to have a child with him). I can imagine his reaction to Beth’s insistence on having a baby is going to hurt him, and her, which in turn will hurt us bad, too, won’t it?

J.R. Ward: You know, true love can exist in the real world, but it means that even the closest couples sometimes are at odds.  What I love about the BDB series is that the HEAs in it are subject to the same rules as regular life – couples disagree, and when it’s something like having children, that conflict can test even the strongest of emotional bonds.  Guess this is a long-winded way of saying – yes, this hurts.  This whole thing between them hurts, mostly, I believe, because neither one of them is “wrong.”  You’ll see that, yes, Wrath’s delivery SUCKS, but his position is not unreasonable given the risks to his mate. And Beth’s desire for a baby is a perfectly natural, normal thing, that, for a lot of women, once it kicks in is hard to ignore or put off.  I think what makes The King compelling is what they do about this fundamental disagreement.

Maryse: I love that you keep them real. They continue to “live” their real lives, and deal with real-life issues, and we get to be right there with them, every step of the way.

Once upon a time, I read that your favorite brother was (is?) Zsadist. He is absolutely my #1 hero of all time (and has been for years). I couldn’t believe my luck when we got to explore this angry male’s world, via the eyes of a girl that felt just like us. Hesitant yet undeniably attracted to him despite his vehement insistence that she leave him alone. Can you tell me what it was like to write his and her story? Is there anything you can tell us about Z that we don’t already know? A “Z” secret perhaps?

J.R. Ward: Z is, hands down, my favorite hero of all time.  But writing his story nearly killed me.  In fact, I have reread all of the books in the series except for LOVER AWAKENED.  I just can’t go there.  That book, of the twenty-five or so I’ve written, is the one that got to me the most – I cried all the way through drafting it, editing it, copyediting it and reviewing the galleys.  I wrote that book how long ago?  And I’m STILL wrung out lol.  So, yup, that’s how it was to write him.  As for secrets, I don’t have any I can really share.  Well… except I’d LOVE to write Nalla’s love story  – just because, holy hell, Z is going to be ON FIRE if she ever comes home with a male!

Maryse: Oh PLEASE YES!!! Nalla’s story. I would swoooooon like crazy, all over again, for an over-protective “Z”. *sigh* And boy… do we readers experience that extreme emotion, too. I love to feel deeply when I read (from absolute angst and pain to sweet elation). In fact, Z’s book is the one I DO re-read, because I can “feel” him (and Bella’s connection to him) so deeply. You’ve revisited both Zsadist, and now another upcoming book about Wrath (P.S. Both of them are my favorite brothers). Considering how much we are attached to the original “crew,” which of the other brothers can we expect to “live with,” again?

J.R. Ward: Rhage and Mary!  Absolutely—I have a short story on them and their road to having a child of their own :D

Maryse: Woooooooohooooo!! *claps* Another favorite brother!! YAY US!! :D Have any of your books or scenes affected your personally? Emotionally while writing it, and after you were finished?

J.R. Ward: Well, here’s the thing with me.  I’m just the first reader, really.  These stories download into my head and my job is to record them on the page as effectively as I can – it’s like going to see a movie and then having to describe it to your friends?  So the bottom-line is, if I’m not affected by the story, the people, the scenes, why would anyone else feel something?  And let’s face it, people read my books to feel things – or they’d be buying another kind of story or doing something else with their time.  While drafting, I better be going HOLY SH*Tballs, and OMG!, and Whhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaa – or I’m doing it wrong.

Maryse: Wow, that’s a really fun way to describe your writing process, and I totally get that! We DO read to feel and we want to feel it all (the good and the bad), and your “BDB crew” sure delivers! You’ve mentioned in past interviews and chats that your characters dictate the story, and that they have even surprised you! It must be an emotional experience living with these guys in your head while attempting to release them in your writing. What is that like? Are you surprised by what you hear when they start talking to you?

J.R. Ward: LOL what is surprising is when I’m at a dinner party or at a basketball game or trying to talk to a buddy – and then all of the sudden, the world recedes and I’m sucked into a scene.  Kind of embarrassing, but at least everyone’s used to it!  My husband can tell I’m really into a book when I start walking around like a zombie and putting the Reynolds wrap in the refrigerator (cuz yeah, it needs to go there *rolls eyes.*)  As for the people dictating the story?  Long ago, I learned to shut up, keep my opinions to myself, and let sh*t roll.  If I try to change anything, the pictures stop and the voices shut up and I’m left with nothing.  That’s why, although I certainly respect readers’ opinions and hopes about the future of the series, I’m kind of hog-tied.  These stories do what they do and even I don’t get to change it lol!

Maryse: I love that you go with the flow. It makes the “getting there” that much more exciting. It’s fun to anticipate, but it’s even more fun to be sidetracked by an unexpected twist (or a life-like situation). Makes every story that much more surprising, and that much more tangible in the grand scheme of things (even with the paranormal aspect).

I’m thrilled that we were afforded Blay and Qhuinn’s highly anticipated and super-intense love story. Are you surprised at how receptive and enthusiastic female readers are over the M/M romance genre?

J.R. Ward: You know, honestly, I think the thing that was most awesome about the response to that book… was the non-reaction.  A large number of readers read it and liked it just because it was simply a love story about two characters they were invested in.  And that’s a fantastic commentary about where the market and the world have evolved to.  Do we have further to go?  Sure.  But like Macklemore says, it’s a good place to start.

Maryse: It sure is! :) We are simply addicted to love, and I fell for them, as they fell for each other. Do you have any crazy/funny/surprising fan reactions you’d like to share?

J.R. Ward: I don’t know if this counts as a reaction, but I had a reader show up in a wheelchair in ACTIVE labor to a signing!  It was crazy!  I was like, Girl, WTF!  (&*%^$%^*^!!!  I’ve mentioned this before – but that was by far the most extreme I’ve ever seen :D  (Well, except for the lady who left her husband out in the car for the signing… which would have been okay, but for the fact she’d JUST PICKED HIM UP FROM THE HOSPITAL AFTER SURGERY.  But I digress!)  She was SUCH a doll – next signing, she brought her beautiful, healthy baby with her in her arms!  I was so happy for her!

Maryse: LOL!!!!!! That is an amazing story! I wonder if she named her baby after any of your BDB crew? ;) Thank you SO much again, J.R. for hanging out with us today. You (and your wonderful “Brothers”) absolutely rock our world! Congratulations on your BIG day, and your awesome series!

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda April 1, 2014 at 6:30 AM

OK OK already I’m totally now committed to start this series:-) I’ve been following your blog Maryse for almost a year and because I love your choices and recommendations as well as all the awesome followers who have never steered me wrong I’m diving in tonight. I actually bought all in print because I have that much faith in you and all you lovelies out there. Now off to the office. Crap. Xoxo

Hanneliane April 1, 2014 at 7:01 AM

I’m so excited I can hardly sit still. Can’t wait to get home from work to start ‘The King’! Oh, Brothers, I’ve missed you so! *swoon*

Jean April 1, 2014 at 7:55 AM

Started Dark Lover last night….only at 20%….but Wrath just met Beth for the first time….OMG!! I am dying! Okay, I get everyone’s obsession with this series now! I get it, I get it, I get it!!! Kinda reminds me of Madeline Sheehan’s biker books….but these guys….wow, they are just so much more bad-ass (and hot)! Thanks Maryse and J.R. Ward! (I was afraid to read the above interview because of spoilers…but I will come back to it!)

Maryse April 1, 2014 at 9:09 AM

We are going to have THE best day ever, you guys!!!! :D

Jen at Red Hot Books April 1, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Great interview! This series is like crack. Z is my all time favorite PNR hero as well. I can’t wait to get out of work so I can go home and dig in to The King.

Laura April 1, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Oh I’m at 33% already so much is happening!!…..

Maryse April 1, 2014 at 9:39 AM

*eeeeeeeee* Laura! I’m so excited. :D

Thanks SO much Jen!!! This was quite the thrill. Getting to chat with the “maker” of my absolute FAVORITE vampire… hehe. ;)

J R Ward April 1, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Thanks for having me, Maryse! And OMG I had the best thing happen this morning- I’m big into dogs and my Naamah started barking out at the front yard as I was writing. This little guy had wandered over and was just, you know, sniffin’ around. I was like, oh man, on the day of release- I’m so busy, I can’t… but see, if my dog was out in the world by themselves, I’d want someone to get involved. So down I went and he came right to me- he smelled like fresh shampoo and he was very well cared for, but no tag. I called my vet and we took him over- and he was microchipped! The owners were staying with their in-laws in the area, and Houston, as was his name, had jumped the fence! The lady was so upset, she stayed home from work- and her husband was so lovely when he came over to pick the little guy up. So I’m looking at this as a good portent for the release- The King is Jonah’s book (he’s my big golden who passed this fall and loved like I’ve loved no other dog.) I like to think it’s good luck to do a good deed (but I’da done it anyway)- I can’t imagine how frantic Houston’s mom and dad were :( but all’s well that ends well! Sorry to digress, but dogs are as important as books! xxx J.R.

Maryse April 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Oh yes they are, and I would have gone crazy looking for my dogs (I’ve got three min-pins) had that been me. You did a wonderful thing, and made even MORE people happy this morning! :D

Happy release day, J.R.!

Kristen Parmer April 1, 2014 at 10:33 AM

That is the best dog story. All of my animals are microchipped. It’s inexpensive, and can save your family the grief of losing a pet, and can save your pets life if he/she ever gets lost and ends up at the pound, or any other kill shelter.
I’m on my way to pick up my copy of The King! I can’t wait! It seems surreal after counting down the days!
Happy Reading everyone!

Laura Kaye April 1, 2014 at 11:00 AM

I am crazy excited for us because we get The King (although a &%*#^#% deadline will keep me from starting it for at least a few days), and I’m even crazier excited for you Maryse for getting to interview J.R. Ward! And she commented :bounce bounce bounce: LOL! Thanks for the fun interview and thanks to J.R. Ward for telling us more more more about the Brothers! <3

Maryse April 1, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Laura, I’m bouncing, too!!! Was trying to keep it professional, but… okay… I’m totally lettin’ loose. :P !!! *bounce bounce bounce*



Jean April 1, 2014 at 11:18 AM

J.R., love the dog story! Definitely a good sign for you…..ya know, good karma!!

Lisa Medley April 1, 2014 at 11:20 AM

The WARDen ROCKS! J.R.Ward’s BDB series, and DARK LOVER in particular, is what made me finally decide to put up or shut up and write a story of my own. Thanks for the inspiration and THANKS FOR THE BROTHERS. They make me happy. And tingly. And…sigh…more happy :D xxxooo

Jean April 1, 2014 at 11:24 AM

LOL Maryse….”Thud”….I almost spit my water out!

Judy April 1, 2014 at 11:26 AM

What goes around, comes around… times 3. Karma can be a bitch, but also the most generous of powers! May your expectations be filled three times over!
Ya done good, kid!

DJ April 1, 2014 at 11:28 AM

I am super excited for this weekend! Going to Cincy with my sister to see J. R. Ward in person at her question and answer. She is my all time favorite author and I am so stoked to get my signed copy of ‘The King’. Got my BDB tee shirt today and will have the book by Saturday. Wishing J. R. a great release, we love the brothers and her stories surrounding them.

Jacquie Biggar April 1, 2014 at 11:28 AM

In a wheelchair, PREGNANT!! That’s got to be one of the highest compliments you could possibly receive :)
Sorry for the loss of your dog, Jonah. They’re so much a part of our families that it’s hard to say good-bye.
I was super excited when I woke up this morning and saw the receipt for my pre-order in my in-box, :)

Maryse April 1, 2014 at 11:28 AM

LOL Jean! I keep doing that, today. ;)

bn100 April 1, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Fun interview

Patsy April 1, 2014 at 12:40 PM

What a great story. You have such a good animal heart. I saw your in loving memory of Jonah….and it made me smile and cry….I just lost my Golden Rocky in January. They are the best dogs….or I should say “furry babies”. Love the book so far. Thanks

Annie April 1, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Ever since I discovered your blog Maryse, I have seen you mention BDB series here and there and it is ALWAYS glowing, raving….etc well you know! I have been slowly collecting these books as I see them on sale, knowing that I will want them in print, but good Lord! All this talk lately has me wanting to just buy the whole damn series and get started already! I know once I dive in I will be lost forever…..

Maryse April 1, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Dive in Annie!!!!!

You won’t regret it. You read to feel and to love, right? THESE!!! :D

Jessie April 1, 2014 at 1:10 PM

RIP Writer Dog. Cant wait to start tonight!!

Shannon April 1, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Great interview & a dog lover! I have 3 Boston Terriers who are snuggling with me now as I start The King! I have been waiting SO long, Wrath is my #1 BDB! Happy reading…

Rebecka April 1, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Woke early this am to start The King before I had to go to work.
Few minutes downtime in between projects-read.
People coming to my office gettting growled at….Don’t they know it’s a BDB release day and I am reading important stuff here??!!!! Thank God I do work with a few that know how it feels to have book lust. Now if only I didn’t have to work to support my outrageous book habit. :)

Thanks J.R.& Maryse! Awesome interview!!! Also a HUGE fan of the Fallen Angels Series!!!

Angie April 1, 2014 at 1:40 PM

I got sucked into the Brothers, several years ago, and to THIS day, J.R. Ward has RUINED me for all other authors! The Warden has the MOST amazing writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading! Not only is the story line fantastic, but when I read her books, I feel as though I am PART of the story! Only the Warden has been able to make me feel like that, while reading a book. *see… ruined”! I pretty much compare any other series I read to the the Brothers books.

I love each and every one of the Brothers, and have a vested interested in each of their stories! So when the King was released this morning, I immediately woke up, and downloaded it to my Kindle as soon as I opened my eyes, but wouldn’t dare begin reading until I get home from work.

Broke my heart that I actually had to work today, but when I get home, I bet I finish the book tonight! I CANNOT put a Brotherhood book down, once I begin reading! I’ll be up all night, and look like I have one hell of a hangover in the morning, but it will be WELL WORTH IT!!!

If you are considering reading the Brotherhood series… I not only recommend it, I INSIST that you get started today!

Nia April 1, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Cannot wait to Pick up my copy of The King!! I was able to see JR I think 2 years ago down near Cinci and she is AMAZING. Listening to her talk is just like reading her books!! Have to show some love for my fav brother the lovely and tormented V! My best friend has become horribly addicted to the books and curses me every time she rushes to buy the next one in the series. *laughs evilly* Pretty soon she will be all caught up and then will have to wait like the rest of us for the next amazing one! Thanks so much for this interview!!

Mom April 1, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Excellent interview Sweetpea and you know how much I love J. R. Ward and the BDB series. Will definitely start reading The King next ’cause when you say it’s good I’m all in. And how could it be otherwise with such an excellent author! xxxx

kelley turner April 1, 2014 at 3:56 PM

are u going to write more book or is this the last book

Janice Richard April 1, 2014 at 4:55 PM

I received The King (I pre-ordered) and now I have to wait until I’m on vaca which starts Thurs. at noon, so you know what I’ll be doing – I need to be off work, I want to just chill and read about the brothers! can’t wait! :)

donna April 1, 2014 at 5:22 PM

JR, rescuing Houston is definitely good Karma. Flip open one of your books and ask George. I’m sure he will confirm it. Thanks so much for the BDB series & releasing The King today.

Sasha April 1, 2014 at 5:48 PM

OMG you guys I had no clue that a new j.r. ward book was due until this morning. Thankfully my day was totally free and I just finished reading it. I LOVED this book, was grinning like a loon at so many parts. We got to see a few other couples’ stories forward but it was so good to re-connect with the couple that started off this whole series. Wrath is so dreamy!

Sharon April 1, 2014 at 7:53 PM

I am still reading and not up to The King yet. But I love them all so far. I cry. I laugh. they have everything a book series is supposed to have. I am hoping there are lots more to come. please please please.

Karen M April 1, 2014 at 10:50 PM

It is almost pathetic how much I love this series + the Brotherhood.

Sasha April 2, 2014 at 10:30 AM

The experience of reading BDB is like nothing else. Thanks Warden for giving us our boys

jackie April 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I had my alarm set to download THE KING at 9 pm on the 31st (sooo glad ibooks is on EST) and read all night…all day…2 hours of sleep before work..went to work half dead ( i will take the pain!!) came home and finished the book 5 minutes ago…and OMG….wooo, what a ride! The ending was perfect, it just clicked.

i do have to be perfectly honest though and admit i was a little irritated that the side stories played such a big part in the book, i understand why they needed to be developed as fully as they were..but damnit, i wanted more Beth and Wrath! i might have skipped around a few chapters to get back to BeRath, but I will go back and reread it in case i missed anything major.

*sigh* is it next year yet?? i wonder who is getting the next book?!?!?!

Sheyla April 2, 2014 at 11:58 AM

I read the first seven in 2009 on a long 4th July weekend. I had so much fun with their world that kept on buying the next as soon as I was done with one of them.
Z is hands down is my favorite brother. I adore him. I’m never tired of seeing more of him and his family. I always tell my friends before they start this series that Z is MINE. They will have to pick another brother.
You feel me?
I’m so happy to learn he is Mrs. Ward’s favorite too.
I have the King in hardcover and ebook. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until the weekend to read it because of work.

Bonnie Capuano April 2, 2014 at 3:32 PM

I have everyone of the Brotherhood books and just received The King yesterday and finished it today. I can’t seem to get enough of them. I’ve reread the series from start to finish I don’t know how many times. I wish they’d make a movie out of them!!! I love J.R. Ward!!!!!

Rae Blair April 2, 2014 at 3:36 PM

The King was simply great – read in in one sitting

Jean April 3, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Thank you so much for the introduction to this series! I am 75% into Dark Lover and just wish I could shut myself off from the world to finish the whole series! I have developed an absolute soft spot for Butch….ahhhh…..and Rhage (and Z…’s impossible not to love each individual character and I always fall for the broken ones)! But seriously, it is amazing how J.R. Ward’s development of each character just sucks you in…..looking forward to falling for each and every one of them! Yay me!

Connie Fall April 5, 2014 at 8:15 PM

My S.I.L. thinks John is the reincarnation of Darius. Does anyone else think so, and if so, why? Thanks.

heidi1820 April 8, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Hi, first time on this blog, Great interview with JRW. This series will always be one of my favorites. Her dialogue and inner voices are some of the best I’ve ever read. :)

Jessie April 14, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Im excited because I own a home in the area right around where these guys live in upstate NY. My place is right off the Northway and I grew up skiing on Gore Mountain and Whiteface! Its so cool to think that if this were real, I could potentially be neighbors with the BROTHERS! (its good to dream right? heh.)

Karen April 23, 2014 at 5:14 AM

I’m SSSOOOOO excited right now!!! I just got my copy of The King and am about to dive in. My life has been pretty crazy recently and somehow I missed the release day *sniffle sniffle* but thanks to you my BDB mistake is being corrected!!
I’ve never posted anything until today but I’ve been following your blog for almost 2 years now and it is absolutely my “go to” when I need a new book or if I need to double check reading order. Your blog is bookmarked on my phone, my ipod, my tablet and the laptop….I may be addicted LOL.
Thank you for all the amazing books you’ve helped me discover, Maryse!!!

Char May 1, 2014 at 10:41 PM

I just started to read “The King” by J. R. Ward. I am confused. I have not heard of Anha. Was she with Wrath before Beth? I read your book blog a lot and you have helped me in the past with book series reading orders. You have also help with new authors and series to read. I just wanted to Thank you.

Maryse May 2, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Keep reading Char. You’ll see who she is soon enough. ;)

Vikki May 14, 2014 at 10:38 AM

I have always love vampire books, but not many were out there and I stopped reading for a bit. My husband died 3 years ago and to pass the time I started to read again, I stumbled onto the BDB books, fell in love with them and reading all over again. These books made my loney nights a bit better, thank you J.R. Ward. She is an amazing author and I love her way of writing, she just drags you right into the story. I do hate the wait between books I must say. I try to drag them out but can’t. If you are on the fence about reading these books, get off of it and start. I promise you won’t be sorry. My daughter also loves these books!

tw1016 September 20, 2014 at 10:55 AM

I am a journalist and a blogger who loves reading The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. I think Ward writes to appeal to her audience and keeps them hooked with her realistic style of writing. One time I sat in “Borders” for 6 hours reading Book 5 and that won me over. I had to read ALL of them after that. Who doesn’t love a good book that you can’t put down. That’s why J.R. Ward is New York Times #1 Best Selling Author. I really enjoyed reading this interview.

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