Jennifer Lynn Armentrout’s Dark Elements series has gargoyles but not like the ones you see hanging on churches. In Bitter Sweet Love the gargoyles, called Wardens, are more like humans and are very much alive. The West Virginian author discusses her new series with Zola.
Zola: Living and writing in West Virginia, you’ve said all of the rumors about your state aren’t true. Let’s set the record straight; can you give us a few examples of inaccurate stereotypes?
Jennifer L. Armentrout: Hmm, let’s see. Although Mothman is a real legend in WV, Richard Gere had nothing to do with it. Most areas in WV are actually highly developed and you’d be hard pressed to find the stereotypical backwoods hillbilly. We’re not all coal miners. We are a “Union” state, basically meaning we are a part of the North. Deliverance does NOT take place in WV. Wrong Turn does.
Zola: The characters in Bitter Sweet Love are gargoyles (many of whom are a race called Wardens) and can appear as humans but also phase into winged supernatural beings. When your characters are in supernatural form, how do you envision them? Are they like the gargoyles of Gothic architecture or more of your own creation?
JLA: More of my own creation. I picture their skin close to something like granite, very smooth, hard, and almost shiny. I did give them some gargoyle attributes, but they don’t look like those statues perched on buildings. Those things just aren’t that attractive.
Zola: Protagonist Jasmine is to be mated to her long-time best friend Dez —that is if she agrees to the match. What additional insight can you give us to what it’s like to arrange matches among Wardens? Is it more important that Wardens mate for convenience rather than for love?
JLA: While there has been a steady decline in Wardens being born over the years and there is pressure for the females to mate and get involved in the whole baby-making process, female Wardens almost always have the upper hand. They are not forced into relationships. They can choose who they want, which, in a way, gives them the most power.
Zola: Your novel, Obsidian, has been optioned for film and your Covenant series was optioned for television. Do you know what your role will be if both are picked up?
JLA: My role will be pretty minor. I do know I will get to see the script and for the TV series, I will serve as someone who they can consult with as the series goes on, but I won’t have a lot to do with it, which is a good thing. I think, as authors, we are too close to the original work to be involved in what will most likely end up as a revamp of the series/books.
Zola: Do you have any actors or actresses in mind if you had your way with a dream cast?
JLA: I really have no idea about actors. When people ask me, I’m always like, Ian Somerhalder is hot.
Zola: You write adult and new adult (NA) romances under the name J. Lynn. What made you decide to use a pen name for your novels of these genres?
JLA: Originally it was to keep my younger readers away from the more adult themes and situations. However, my readers were like little private investigators and discovered J. Lynn and Jennifer L. Armentrout were one and the same pretty quickly. I gave up keeping the two profiles separate after that.
Zola: Your writing varies from paranormal to fantasy to romance and crosses many different age groups. Is there a genre or age group for which you most enjoy writing? Do you have any favorite books that inspired you to write novels across so many categories?
JLA: Honestly, I love them all equally. By the time I’m done writing a YA paranormal, I’m ready for a NA contemporary or an adult contemporary. Going back and forth keeps me from getting burnt out on one thing and helps keep my brain fresh.
Zola: The next installment of The Dark Elements series focuses on Layla, a half-demon whose kiss has the power to destroy souls. Will we see Jasmine and Dez again in White Hot Kiss?
JLA: Yes! I think readers will be happy with what they get to see.
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This article originally appeared on Zola Books.