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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Jessica Andersen

How has your background in science helped with the Nightkeeper novels?

The good news is that my research training (I used to be a lab rat who worked on cloning genes for inherited eye diseases) has definitely helped me track down the information I need to bring the Nightkeeper books to life. I love the history of the ancient Mayan and Egyptian empires, and I’m fascinated by the science surrounding the 2012 end date.

For example, the Maya set their calendar to end on the day—far in their future—that their astronomers precisely calculated that the earth, sun and moon would align as they passed through the dark hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy (which the Maya believed was the entrance to the underworld). It’s just a coincidence that this day corresponds to the symmetrical date of 12/21/12 in the Gregorian calendar … or is it?

That’s one of the many questions the Nightkeepers must answer as they race to find and win their destined mates in order to protect the barrier of psi energy that forms humanity’s last line of defense against the ancient Mayan demons.

More, in each book, I try to bring in a different piece of the Mayan culture: Skykeepers touched on the use of chocolate in Mayan rituals, and this month’s release, Demonkeepers, includes the Mesoamerican ball game, which was the first to use a bouncing rubber game ball—and which, incidentally, could be won by putting the ball through a high, tiny hoop … representing the passage of the sun through the dark spot at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Are we seeing a theme here?

But although it’s a good thing that my research has uncovered a ton of cool details… I struggle to contain my inner nerd when it comes to the stories. As I’m writing, I always want to include all the cool details, and wind up with a way fat manuscript. So then I have to cut it back by focusing on the details that need to be in the story for the sake of the romance and the plot, and aren’t just cases of me thinking ‘ooh, shiny!’

Overall, I do my best to tell a satisfying, sexy love story against a thrilling action backdrop, with enough detail sprinkled in to make the stories into something a little different than the paranormal norm. At least I hope that’s the end result!

FMI about the novels of the Nightkeepers, please visit www.JessicaAndersen.com

6 comments:

Lisa said...

I love books that teach while they entertain. Having a nerdy side isn't such a bad thing! Having it allows you to bring something extra to the tale.

Dena said...

Your books sound really good and with your thorough research they are sure to be very interesting Jessica.

Brenna Ash said...

I can imagine how hard it would be to not include all of the cool details you learn through research. You always want to stick them in there because they're so interesting, but than remember it's fiction and have to ease off. But the items you do include are very intersting and I enjoy reading about them.

Cathy M said...

I love those fun facts, Jessica, and can't believe how much I am learning (and didn't know before).

robynl said...

what interesting things you have uncovered in your research; thanks for sharing.

Jessica Andersen said...

@ Lisa-- *high fives*

@ Dena-- Thanks! I hope you'll check them out-- I write the kind of books I love to read: a little bigger and more intricate than the norm, with lots of running, screaming, sex, history, more sex... LOL

@ Brenna-- Thanks! It's a tough balance, and I won't always claim to get it right. But my editor is a good sport about making notes like 'zzzzzzzzz' when I start getting too much into the history. (snicker)

Cathy-- Yay! I'm happy you've hung out with me this week :)

robynl-- Thank you for taking the time to read the essays and give me a shout out!