Interview: Jeri Smith-Ready

By May 16th, 2011

We’ve posted an excerpt from the new book in the Shade series, Shift, and now you can hear more about the books straight from the author!


Jeri Smith-Readyauthor website

Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready lives in Maryland with her husband, two cats, and the world’s goofiest greyhound. Her novels include the SHADE ghost series for teens and the WVMP RADIO adult vampire series. When not writing, Jeri can usually be found–well, thinking about writing, or on Twitter ( Like her characters, she loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late. Visit her at

Q. Shift, the sequel to your book Shade, was recently published. Can you tell us a little about the story?

A. Without being too spoilery, Shift continues the story begun in Shade, in which the main character Aura, the first in a worldwide generation of ghost-seers, loses her almost-rock star boyfriend Logan to a sudden death. He comes back as a ghost, and they fight to keep their love alive even though he’s dead.

In Shift, Aura delves deeper into the mystery of the “Shift,” the mysterious event that occurred at her birth and made the ghosts visible to everyone born after. She discovers secrets about her dead mother and ties to the ancient Irish passage tomb of Newgrange.  All while figuring out whether to stay with Logan the ghost or move on to Zachary the living boy who’s been patiently (to a point) waiting for her. Or maybe neither?

Q. Are there any moments from your own teen years that influenced or inspired parts of Shift?

A. Yes, but no way will I ever say what they are!

Q. What was it like to write a sequel versus a first novel?

A. Much harder. Second books in a series, in my experience, are the hardest to write. The first chapter is particularly difficult, because you have to get the story moving while reminding readers of (or introducing new readers to) your world and the characters, AND review what happened in the first book. I rewrote Shift’s chapter one several times before I got it right. But once I found its true form, I was really happy with it.

Q. If you had to choose between Logan and Zachary, the Shade series boys, as a love interest for your teen self, who would you pick and why?

A. Don’t make me choose! I seriously can’t decide. They’re so different, but to me, equally appealing. Logan, despite being dead, is so full of life and spirit. I think he’d be a breathtaking boyfriend, with never a dull moment.

But if I were my teenage self’s fairy godmother, I’d tell her to grab Zachary and never let go. Besides all the obvious attributes (hotness, the Scottish accent, etc.), he’s a really good guy. He’s protective without being obnoxiously overbearing, and he’d always want what’s best for her, instead of thinking of himself all the time.

But I’ve always really sucked at taking advice. So it’s futile to tell her/me who to choose. Every time, she’ll take the guy with the guitar.

Q. Can you give us any clues as to what’s going to happen in the third book, Shine?

A. By the end of the first chapter, readers will question every expectation about what will happen. Huge upheaval! But I can promise that the mystery of the Shift will be solved, and we find out who the real bad guys are.

Q. You wrote a short story called “Thief” for the Teen Libris paranormal romance anthology, Eternal. What’s the appeal of writing paranormal romances?

A. Rather than being less “real,” I think that paranormal stories can shed light on what it means to be human. Creatures who cross the boundary between life and death–like vampires and ghosts–can help us understand what those things mean for us. I think that the best paranormal stories are ultimately about humanity.

Q. You also wrote an essay for our House of Night anthology, Nyx in the House of Night, called “Freedom of Choice: Kalona, A-ya, and the Raven Mockers.” In the essay you write (Sorry to quote at you, but I love this quote!): “Because without choice–without freedom–love is hollow.” This theme shows up in “Thief,” and of course, the House of Night series. Is this something that you try to bring into all of your stories with romance?

A. Absolutely! I’m not attracted to love stories between “soul mates” or “destined lovers,” or when a person falls for their kidnapper or someone who has decided they MUST be together. In my favorite romances, the people falling in love have the option of leaving or staying (or of being with someone else entirely), but they choose to stay because they want to.

Q. If you were a character in the House of Night series, who would you be?

A. Probably Zoey. She makes big mistakes, but it’s usually out of the love she has for others and because she wants to believe the best in people.

Q. What are you working on right now?

A. I’m working on the third book in the Shade trilogy, Shine. Hearing readers’ rabid anticipation for it after reading Shift has been a great inspiration!

Q. If you could tell us to read one book this year (besides your own, of course!), what would it be?

A. If it’s YA, then Kelly Keaton’s Darkness Becomes Her. For adults, Stacey Jay’s Dead on the Delta. They both take place in completely different but equally nightmarish versions of a future Louisiana.  I couldn’t put them down!

(I know, you said “one,” but like Zoey, I can never choose just one, whether it’s a boy or a book.)

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  1. Ashley

    I love the comment about choice, especially relating to love, because I hate the cliche in a lot of paranormal books where the girl is just mysteriously drawn to the guy and that is the whole basis for their relationship. First of all, that’s unrealistic and boring, and second of all, I hate anything that takes away the beauty and freedom of choice.

    I really adore ‘Shade’ and ‘Shift’ — I am definitely one of the readers waiting anxiously for ‘Shine’.


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