An interview with Jeri Smith-Ready (And a Wicked Game giveaway!)

The Squee

First, let me state: Jeri is a good friend of mine. However, I don’t squee about books that aren’t squee-worthy. I might tell you she’s a nice person, I’m excited to present this interview, I love her hair, or that I loved rooming with her in Pittsburgh. I might tell you any number of nice things, but if I didn’t love Wicked Game, there would be no squeeing.

Wicked Game

The best part about being an author is that I get to read books early that I would line up to buy. Wicked Game is one of those.

Jeri reinvents vampire mythos and she manages to make them grim, scary as hell, yet still sexy. Ciara and Shane are a fantastic couple with serious conflict. I loved the way the relationship develops; it felt natural to me. And the plot? Amazingly fresh.

As if that’s not enough, Wicked Game has some of the finest writing and characterization it’s been my privilege to read, ever. No spoilers, but certain scenes gave me chills. I just can’t tell you how much I love this book. But don’t take my word for it; Kresley Cole and Rachel Caine love it too. Now check out this blurb:

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, ’60s psychedelia, ’80s goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they’re vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station — and the link it provides to their original Life Times — the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and undeath.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara rebrands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around — next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher — and the perils graver — than any con game Ciara’s ever played….

The Interview

What book have you read the most? How come?
Alice in Wonderland. There was something about the way it made me feel as a kid—that ANYTHING could happen, and you’d never know what would be around the next corner. I wished so hard for my very own rabbit hole.

What’s your favorite drink, alcoholic or otherwise?

Ginger beer, the hotter the better. I like food that hurts, probably because of the endorphin rush.

What was your favorite book as a kid?
DOGSBODY by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s about the Dog Star Sirius who is punished by the gods (I can’t remember why) by being forced to come to earth and live the life of a stray dog. It combined my love of animals with my passions for astronomy and mythology. Because of that book, Sirius became my favorite star forever (not to mention my eventual choice in satellite radio).

Who do you think is the coolest writer who ever lived? (This can be anyone, living or dead. Of course you have to tell us why. You don’t need to have personal experience of this person.)
Neil Gaiman. Not only is his work amazing on so many levels, he’s an incredibly nice and funny person, and so generous with his time and self. Back in the days when he was merely Big and not OMG MF’ing ROCK STAR, I stood in line for ninety minutes to get a book signed by him. It moved so slowly because he spoke with each reader for at least five minutes. Even now at signings he’ll stay behind long after everyone else to make sure all the readers get to speak with him.

If you could transform into any animal, what would it be? Why that?
I think a dolphin would be tons of fun. Swim around and eat fish all day, but still be smart enough to appreciate life. And hey, sharks are afraid of them. You can’t beat that.

Your rabid fans have proclaimed you the best writer in the world. Defend your title!
The words I hear most often to describe my work are “original” and “unique.” This is flattering, but sometimes it worries me, because conventional wisdom says most people gravitate toward the familiar and aren’t really looking for something different.

But readers should buck the conventional wisdom. Prove the experts wrong! Besides, every mega-author was once original and unique. You can’t stand out and become an OMG MF’ing ROCK STAR by writing the same stuff as everyone else.

What’s one mistake you see in books that drives you nuts? (This can be grammatical, research errors, whatever skeeves your gentle heart.)
It really bugs me when a vampire bites someone in the carotid artery. No. That’d be like drinking from a fire hose. The blood would usually end up on the ceiling and all over the walls, but let’s say, just for yuks, that it actually got into the vampire’s mouth. It would totally come out his nose. Ooh…blood-snarfing—sexaaaay!

Pie or cake?
No contest: Pie! Cake, for the most part, is not worth the calories. Too dry. I like my sweets rich and moist. That being said, if someone wants to send me cake, I wouldn’t turn it down. Though I might x-ray it first.

Pirate or ninjas?
Ninjas are so freaking cool!! They’ve got stealth, balance, strength–they’re like human cats.

Could there be pirate ninjas? Or ninja pirates? Hmm, probably not. I think there are basic philosophical and tactical barriers between the two camps.

Who is your imaginary celebrity boyfriend?
Seth Green. He was at New York Comic Con a few weeks ago, as was I. I had this nutty fantasy he would show up at my book signing saying, “I read about your book in Publisher’s Weekly. Vampires DJs—awesome.” Alas, he did not.

What’s your favorite book, among those you’ve written?

That one? Really? How come?
It made me so happy to write it. I’d be in the car listening to music, and a song would come on that resonated with one of the characters or a part of the story. It was so much fun to write and to think about even when I wasn’t actually working on the manuscript.

On the opposite end of the happiness spectrum, VOICE OF CROW is my other favorite novel, because it was the Book That Almost Killed Me. It was my first attempt at multiple POVs, and it drove me crazy trying to balance the “screen time” among all the characters. The rewrite was hellish, but it ultimately turned out really well (I think). So VOICE OF CROW is like that troublesome kid who earns a special kind of love.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
For more about Wicked Game, including the entire first chapter, check out To visit the DJs and listen to a sample of their shows, go to Jeri and her heroine Ciara can also be found on MySpace, though mysteriously never at the same time ( and

You can win a copy of this awesome book for commenting. Ask Jeri some questions or comment on her work. You don’t want to miss this!

Posted in contest, interview, QnA

41 Responses to An interview with Jeri Smith-Ready (And a Wicked Game giveaway!)

  1. tina brunelle says:

    wow sounds totally awesome!! have to check it out

  2. Angie says:

    What a fun interview. I’m with you on the pie and the dolphin. And I can’t wait to read Wicked Game.

  3. Bonnie Dee says:

    I have to ask it. Did you write any Buffy fanfic and if so, what name might it have been under?

    I’ve felt the paranormal veins (pun intended) of vamps and shifters have been done to death. But this sounds like such a different take that I could get into it. Plus I’ve already heard great things about Voice of Crow. It takes me forever to actually get to the books I intend to read! I’d love to give this one a try.

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  6. Jeri says:

    Hi everyone, and thanks for dropping by!

    Tina: Thanks! Ann gives great interview, doesn’t she? :-)

    Angie: Mmmm….dolphin pie….Actually, that sounds pretty bad, esp for a vegetarian. I do eat the occasional (dolphin/turtle/manta ray-safe) tuna, though.

    Bonnie: Nope, I’ve never written fanfic of any kind. Wait–when I was 13, I wrote General Hospital fanfic, but only in my head. I felt like the Quartermaines weren’t getting enough screen time, so I made up my own character, Kristina Quartermaine (Tracy’s daughter, whom I would play when I got my big acting break).

  7. Susan says:

    Wicked Game sounds absolutely wonderful!

    Have you seen any episodes of Moonlight and if so what did you think of it?

  8. Ruth says:

    :cool: I just love reading these interviews. I get to learn all types of stuff about you! Anyway, I liked Alice in Wonderland, although it wasn’t a favorite of mine. Mine was A Wrinkle In Time.

    I liked Dolphins too. I’d love to go swim with them.

    Count me in for the giveaway! Can’t wait to get my hands on that bad boy! I’m trying!

  9. Stefanie D says:

    Hi Jeri!

    Great interview. :grin:
    I haven’t read any of your books yet :blush:, but Wicked Game sounds awsome!
    I really can’t wait to read it! :mrgreen:

  10. Teresa W. says:

    I’m looking forward to this read, I’ve heard alot about it on various sites. I’m right there with you on your answer about dolphins, I love and collect them. Hoping one day to be able to swim with them. Glad to see you here today!

  11. Jeri says:

    Susan: Nope, I’m afraid I don’t get much time for TV, not even MOONLIGHT. But a lot of people mention it, so one of these days…

    Ruth: I finally read the Time Quartet a few years back–read all four books in a week. I loved them! But when I was 9, we had to read WRINKLE IN TIME for class, and I couldn’t get into it at all. Odd.

    Stefanie: Thanks! Hope you enjoy it. :grin:

  12. Carolynn says:

    Hi Jeri

    Have you noticed I’m…ahem…inconspicuously following you on your blog tour? That’s how excited I am to read Wicked Game.

    My question for you is: were you one of those writers who was “born to write”? It seems like every “famous” person started singing in the playpen or wrote their first novel at age five…

  13. Ann M. says:

    Enjoyed your interview. I had to laugh about your pet peeve in writing. I never thought about it but I loved your description of tapping a fire hydrant.

    Love the premise of your book.

  14. Michele says:

    I think Jeri has an adorable personality :) I can’t wait to get my copy of Eyes of the Crow!

  15. Tiffany says:

    OMG!!! I LOVE DOGSBODY!!!!! I totally just felt this immense happiness when I saw it mentioned. In junior high I would check out books on Greek and Roman mythology and astronomy. I remember picking up DOGSBODY when I started hearing DWJ’s name around. After reading, I reread it again and again. I fell in love with it (my favorite of her books I’ve read).

    Ditto on the ninjas.

  16. Christine says:

    Thanks for the review and interview, Ann!

    I love the cover art to Wicked Game and the premise for this series does indeed sound unique. Don’t worry, Jeri, I mean that entirely in a good way! :wink: I’m really curious to find out how your vamps are grim, scary and sexy at the same time. I’m thinking that combo is not so easy to write.

    I love your “OMG MF’ing ROCK STAR” coin phrase! I’m totally stealing that!

    I was at NY Comic Con, too. Did you get to see Neil Gaiman when you were there?

  17. Jeri says:

    Teresa: Ooh, swimming with dolphins. I dunno, I might be scared to do that. What if they mistake me for a shark?

    Carolynn: You again! (just kidding) I don’t know if I was born to write. It feels like it now, but I didn’t spend my life wanting to write. I did, however, spend my life making up stories in my head. No idea why it never occurred to me to have that ambition until I was in my twenties.

    Ann: Thanks! It reminds me of that Far Side cartoon with the mosquitos, where the one mosquitos is blown up like a balloon because he hit an artery. :lol:

    Michele: Aww, thanks. I guess ‘adorable’ beats ‘abhorable’ any day. :cool:

    Tiffany: For years and years, I couldn’t remember the name of the book or the author. Last December it took me a good hour online to track it down, and I immediately bought a copy (it’s out of print, but I got it used). It made me sooooo happy to read it again.

    Christine: No, the only famous people I saw were Sherrilyn Kenyon (sweet as ever) and the guy from Moonlighting (hhhhhhOMG he’s so hot in person you would not believe). The highlight of the con was snatching up the last copy of a new comic called HELEN KILLER (Helen Keller is turned into an assassin with the aid of an invention by Alexander Graham Bell).

  18. Christine says:

    Ahhhh…. Alex O’Loughlin. I was hoping to see him, too. But I was only there for the day on Saturday and was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the whole thing and didn’t get to see everyone on my list. I saw authors Sherrilyn Kenyon (always sweet and gracious), Melissa Marr (adorable and humble), Anton Strout (very funny), and comic writer Gail Simone (smart and inspiring).

    HELEN KILLER? omg that’s too funny!

  19. Christine says:

    I just visited the WVMP Radio website. :cool: Very creative!

    I like Jim and Shane’s playlists best. :grin:

  20. tami says:

    :twisted: ok ok i stalking you, lol from blog to blog, but aint that what street teamers do?

  21. tami says:

    :wink: plus hoping to win a signed copy of your book

  22. Lori T says:

    Hi Jeri,

    Great interview. Seth Green…interesting. I have liked him in almost all his roles.

    I am really looking forward to reading Wicked Game…as I am sure you realize because I have shown up at almost all your interviews.

    Have a great day or evening…I guess.

  23. Pamk says:

    Enjoyed your interview and sounds like different take on vamps I am adding to my tbb list.

  24. TarotByArwen says:

    I love Diana Wynne Jones! She’s got a great sense of the absurd.

    Blood-snarfing? EWWWWWWWW That’s just wrong on so many levels!

  25. Lauren Dane says:

    Wicked Game is on its way from Amazon (I thought I’d pre-ordered it when I returned from RT but apparently I’m a dork)

    And okay, I read your sekrit celebrity boyfriend answer and Seth Green is a fabulous choice and I don’t have to warn you off for saying Gerard Butler.

    Congrats, Jeri, you’re fabulous!

  26. Jn812 says:

    Sounds like a fun read. I’ll definitely be putting it on my TBR list for whenever it finally makes the shores of downunder:cry:. Fingers crossed it makes it some time in this decade :razz:

  27. Lina says:

    Wicked Game sounds awesome! Can’t wait to get my hands on it! Sign me up for the giveaway! :)

  28. Pam P says:

    Hi Jeri, another fan who really wants to read this newest book of your, following along on your blog tour. I love vamps and music, love this premise.

  29. Alexandra says:

    Great a new book to add to the TBR pile ;) Thanks Ann

  30. azteclady says:

    Seth Green? Cool!

    He’s goofy and funny and has that something that makes me think he would be seriously interesting to get to know.

  31. Dina says:

    Great interview. :grin:

    Jeri, I love your title, it can take you in so many directions. :wink:

  32. CrystalGB says:

    Great interview. Wicked Game sounds wonderful.

  33. Jeri says:

    Tami: Street Teamers rock!

    Lori: Great to see you again, and did you know there’s a character in WG named after you? (OK, maybe not *after* you…)

    PamK: Thanks! Ann asked some really fun questions.

    TarotByArwen: You know, I need to check out more of DWJ’s work. All these years i thought I hadn’t read her, then come to find out she wrote one of my favorite books.

    Lauren: MMMWAAHH! You’re my heroine. And no, I won’t fight you for Gerard. I hear you’ve got a mean left hookah.

    Jn812: Actually, one of my Australian readers has already gotten it and read it. So call your local bookshops–lots of them have been ordering it, even though it’s only technically *published* in North America. They let the book outside the borders–it’s not illegal contraband. YET!

    Lina: Thanks! You’re not just saying that, are you? Because you could come on and say, “Eh, the book looks sorta meh, but put me in the drawing anyway.” and you’d still qualify. :twisted:

    Pam: *waves* Thanks for coming along on the magical mystery tour!

    Alexandra: No, not the pile! It’ll suffocate there. Best to put it directly into your hands. Or better yet one hand, with a drink in the other.

    Azteclady: Have you ever seen GREG THE BUNNY with Seth Green? Hysterical show. It also had Eugene Levy and Sarah Silverman, comic geniuses. It had marketing problems because it featured puppets, so adults thought it was a kid show, but it was definitely ADULT and raunchy.

    Dina: Thanks–I actually have a messy relationship with that song “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. I love it, but it was the theme song to my most pathetic breakup ever, when I was 22. God, I hope that guy doesn’t see this book and think it’s about him. :blush: :smile:

  34. Jeri says:

    Oops! One slipped in while I was typing.

    CrystalGB: Thanks! I really enjoyed it. The interview, that is, not the book. Though that’s fun, too. :wink:

  35. Randi Thompson says:

    Hi Jeri,

    just bought Wicked Game at lunch. So far..I like it. :grin:

  36. katiebabs says:

    Jeri, since you like Seth Green have you seen Robot Chicken? If so, what is your favorite skit?
    Sunny Muffins and Snuggle Bear crack me up!!

    I was at Comic Con :D

  37. Jeri says:

    Randi: Thanks, you’re a champ! :grin: Enjoy.

    Katiebabs: I keep hearing about Robot Chicken. I’ll have to check out!

  38. Cherie J says:

    Great interview! Wicked Game sounds so great!

  39. Karen B. says:

    Cool, sounds like an interesting book. Loved the interview.

  40. Amber says:

    I am really looking forward to reading the book. Maybe when I get it you will come over and be a guest on my blog :wink:

  41. Ann Aguirre says:

    Thanks so much to Jeri for being here. I’m posting the winner today!