Jayne Ann Krentz, under a series of names, has written 183 books, 14 of which have been DIKs at AAR. Her latest Krentz book is the third and final book in a series featuring three foster brothers whose childhoods were destroyed by a very evil guy named Quentin Zane. I hadn’t read the first two book, but had no trouble following Untouched. After reading it, I had some questions which Krentz was happy to answer.
Dabney: Let’s start with Jack. He’s a lucid dreamer. As I understand it, lucid dreaming is a state in which a sleeper is aware of both the waking world and the world of her dreams. Is that correct? Is that how you’d describe what Jack can do?
JAK: Pretty much. The thing about lucid dreaming is that the dreamer is not only aware that she is dreaming, she can actually control the dream, at least to some extent. Most of us have had some lucid dream experience but there are people who do it often. I took that concept and ran with it for Jack.
Dabney: I felt as if Jack’s talent bordered on the paranormal—was that your intent?
JAK: Yep. Dreams and intuition are as close as most of us ever get to paranormal experiences. The really interesting thing is that we take them for granted.
Dabney: I was also fascinated by Winter’s talent for hypnosis. Here too, her skill seemed almost supernatural.
JAK: Hypnosis has always occupied a gray zone. Some people are convinced it works. Others think it’s nothing but a parlor trick, just stage magic. For a variety of reasons it has been very difficult for researchers to actually test it. And there are other problems, as well. Some people appear to be quite susceptible. Others can’t be hypnotized at all. I love working with gray zone stuff.
Dabney: The villain Quinton Zane is a pyromaniac. It’s clear you know a lot about pyromania—in your research, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about that disorder.
JAK: It wasn’t the disorder that interested me. What shocked me was discovering how many people die by fire each year in our modern world. We think we have learned to control the forces of nature and to some extent we do control fire. But it often escapes. That makes it a perfect tool for a villain like Zane. He thinks he can control fire…
Dabney: Zane made me wonder about your take on nature vs. nature in the creation of evil. Zane appears to be an inherent monster rather than one created by his life story. Is that correct? When you write your characters, how do you think about the pull between nature and nurture?
JAK: This is another gray area. What is clear is that there are human monsters walking among us.
Dabney: I liked how assertive and in charge of things Winter is. Has your writing been influenced by the #MeToo era? If so, how?
JAK: I have been writing my kind of female characters since the start of my career and, ahem, I’m afraid that was quite a while before the #MeToo era. I was lucky in that I had a great role model in my mother.
Dabney: The lovers in this book have passionate sex and never talk about birth control. Why is that?
JAK: These characters are intelligent adults with some experience of the world. I figured they knew how to manage their sex lives. Sometimes it seems important to have lovers discuss the subject. But in other cases it just doesn’t seem to add anything to the story or the relationship.
Dabney: Winter and Jack fall hard and fast for one another. What would you say is the thing they are most drawn to in the other?
JAK: They are drawn to the old-fashioned heroic virtues that they sense in each other: honor, courage, determination and compassion. They admire each other before they fall in love with each other.
Dabney: What’s next for you?
JAK: Glad you asked! I’m excited about my next Amanda Quick novel, Tightrope. This is another story set in Burning Cove, California in the 1930s. I’m having way too much fun with this new era. So many bright, shiny plot elements and so many larger-than-life characters.
Dabney: Thanks for talking to AAR!
JAK: Thank you for inviting me. I wish you and readers here an absolutely fabulous New Year!
Ms. Krentz is giving away a print copy of Untouchable to one lucky reader. Make a comment below to be entered in a drawing for this giveaway!