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Interview with J A Konrath, author of the Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels novels

Bloody Mary J A Konrath

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Tell us about your Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels series of novels.

I’ve written eight so far, plus a few dozen short stories. They’re mystery thrillers, both laugh out loud funny, and also with some scary parts. Jack is a Chicago Homicide cop who chases serial killers.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?

They’re a cross between James Patterson and Janet Evanovich.

The books are titled Bloody Mary, Cherry Bomb, Shaken and Stirred, and the heroine is named Jack Daniels – at what point did the idea of alcohol-themed names come to you? And is it significant to the stories or just something you’ve used to amuse yourself?

I did that to brand the series. A cop with a liquor name, all the book titles liquor-themed. That’s easy for readers to remember.

The final Jack Daniels novel, Stirred, is an interesting concept. You co-authored it with Blake Crouch and it also features his serial killer, Luther Kite. How did this come about?

Blake and I were discussing his series, and how he needed to bring Luther back (after Desert Places and Locked Doors), and it seemed natural to have Jack go after him. So we wrote Serial Killers Uncut as a bridge between out two series, then Stirred.

You have said that Stirred is the conclusion of the Jack Daniels series. Why retire such a hugely successful series? Were you beginning to get bored with her?

Blake and I have gotten a lot of email demanding more, so we’re working on Last Call, the next Jack Daniels/Luther Kite novel.

I’ll never get bored with Jack. She’s too much fun to write for.

Introduce us to your friend Jack Kilborn.

Kilborn is a pen name that I use to write horror. He’s done the novels Afraid, Trapped, and Endurance.

You famously received 500 rejection letters for your manuscripts. Which hurt more – the first or the five hundredth?

They all hurt. But it’s funny. I celebrated every time I sold a book to a publisher. But I celebrated more when I got my rights back from those publishers. The Jack Daniels and Jack Kilborn books are now fully mine to self-publish, and I couldn’t be happier.

You have sold over a million books. What – other than writing good books – is your secret?

I don’t give up. Success is all about getting lucky. You just have to stick with it long enough for luck to find you.

What’s next?

Besides Last Call, I finished the third novel in the Chandler series with Ann Voss Peterson (Flee, Spree, Three) which are action-packed spy novels loaded with sex and violence. We’re currently working on some prequels.

Also working on a new Kilborn called Haunted House.

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