Author Interview: J.M. Darhower


JM Darhower is the author of countless stories and poems, most of which only she has ever read. She lives in a tiny town in rural North Carolina, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and speaking out against human trafficking, and when she isn't writing (or fangirling about books) she's usually ranting about those things.

Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a Twitter addiction. You can usually always find her there.


To celebrate the release of Monster in His Eyes, I have a great Q&A with author J.M. Darhower to share!

After finishing my ARC, I sent her a little thank you note, and we got to chat about a few our shared mob fascination, her Sempre series, and of course, Monster in His Eyes. I thanked her for pushing me over the edge, making my heart pound and my mind race! A crime and danger filled world might seem like a strange escape for some, but I really do find an escape in these gritty, powerful stories. She does this all so masterfully that the gears started to churn in my blogger-brain, and I decided that I needed an even bigger peek into her brilliance. So she graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions! Enjoy, everyone!


T&BL: To start off, I thought we could break the ice with a little mob talk! ;) Since we’re both huge fans of Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, I would love to know which of his books is your favorite. Is there a quote or scene that has always stuck with you? One of my favorite quotes is from Fools Die: “Falling in love is great. Being in love is a disaster.”

JMD: Oh, that's a good one! Man, it's so hard to choose… I think if I had to pinpoint one thing that has always stuck with me, it's in The Godfather. The line: "And in that fraction of a second before anything actually happened, Santino Corleone knew he was a dead man." There is never a moment when that line doesn't make me cry (I'm tearing up now).

T&BL: You mentioned to me that The Godfather helped you get into the Romantic Suspense/Crime Thriller genre. Could you tell me more about that?

JMD: My father's a big fan of the Godfather movies so he watched them quite often when I was growing up. Watching them with him was what spawned my fascination with all things mafia. It sort of spiraled from there to being intrigued by real life mobsters (like Bugsy Siegel, Al Capone, etc.…). They're complex and fascinating "characters" and I enjoy exploring their mindset.

T&BL: What is your absolute favorite scene out of all of The Godfather films?

JMD: Ah, yes, like I said earlier, it HAS to be the scene with Sonny. Book-Sonny was more complex than Movie-Sonny in my opinion, but that doesn't detract from his death scene at all. Absolutely heartbreaking.

T&BL: With most mafia-related stories, the family aspect always resonates the most with me. This Godfather quote makes me think of your newest character, IgnazioVitale: “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Why do you think family is such a vital part of this genre, and even to your own books?

JMD: Well, the characters are a tight-knit group who expect loyalty and respect, so I think it sort of goes hand-in-hand with that. They have to be able to trust the people around them, and they don't trust easily, so they're naturally drawn to family. Besides, if a man has no respect for his flesh and blood, you have to wonder how he'd ultimately treat people he has no biological attachment to.

T&BL: Since we also share an adoration for Sonny Corinthos and the soap opera General Hospital, I think it’d be fun to know…who would be on your list of Top 3 Fictional Mob Bosses?

JMD: Vito Corleone, Sonny Corinthos, and Tony Montana. Michael Corleone and Tony Soprano hold a piece of my heart, too ;)

T&BL: Finally, let’s talk about Monster in His Eyes! How were you even able to keep this book a secret?? ;P How did you feel after the big cover/book reveal?

JMD: Man, it was hard. Only my writing buddy Sarah knew about it (since we write and share critiques and brainstorm in sessions together), so she was my soundboard (and absorbed my frustrations) about it all. It was such a relief when I could finally tell people and share the cover after keeping it to myself, but there's a simultaneous terror to it all. Releasing a new book is daunting.

T&BL: You wrote a paranormal romance, Extinguish, after the Sempre series. Did you always plan on getting back into the mob? …The crime/romantic suspense genre, I mean. ;)

JMD: Ha!! Actually, I never really planned on stepping away. I mean, I didn't set out to just write this genre, but it's where I feel most at home, I think. The characters sing to me most when they're criminals. Extinguish just flowed out of me out of nowhere so I rolled with it, and I'm glad I did, because Luce is one of my favorite characters to write.

T&BL: I’ve heard that your views on human trafficking were a huge inspiration for Sempre. Where did the idea of Monster in His Eyes come from?

JMD: You know, that's a great question. Honestly it stemmed from a conversation with the aforementioned friend Sarah where we were talking about a different character I wrote (one from Sempre) and how it's his love that keeps him from being a complete monster, and I thought huh, what if I wrote a story where love makes a man a monster. So I lay in bed that night, couldn't sleep, and wrote the prologue on my phone.

T&BL: Did you listen to any songs, watch any movies, or read anything in particular that helped you write Monster in His Eyes?

JMD: I listen to music (loudly) as I write. Monster's playlist consisted of a lot of Hollywood Undead. The Imagine Dragon's song "Monster" is perfect for it, too.

T&BL: Ignazio Vitale, or “Naz”, is an alluring blend of Prince Charming and monster. How about a little hint for your readers…what’s one good thing about Naz? What’s one bad thing about Naz?

JMD: Good? When he loves you, he loves you forever. He's passionate. Bad? Probably the same as the good. When he loves you, he loves you forever. There's no walking away from him. He's possessive.

T&BL: Describe your newest leading lady, Karissa Reed, in 5 words!

JMD: Innocent, compassionate, sentimental, casual, desperate-to-have-her-world-rocked-by-a-hot-older-guy ;)

T&BL: And one last message to your readers on what to expect from Monster in His Eyes?

JMD: Monster in His Eyes is a story about a young woman who falls head over heels in love with the last man she should ever fall for. It's about meeting Prince Charming and realizing maybe he's not the hero of the story you wanted him to be.

T&BL: Thank you so much for your time, Jessica! I can't wait for more Naz in book two! ;)