First off, a big thank you! If you're looking at this page, you're probably one of the people who bought my books the first time around and you're checking here to see if these new books are the same ones you got before, only with new titles and covers. Which leads us to QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RHEA JENSEN SERIES:
Question 1- If I'm not Mormon, will I like the Rhea Jensen books?
Good question, and I must confess that the answer will probably vary from reader to reader. The religion does come up as a talking point in not only the first book, but across the series because the main character is using the religion like an alcoholic might use AA.
I CAN say that the point of the religion in the books is not to preach (although you might feel a little preached at in Book 1, as Rhea makes the choice to take the plunge). A way to think of the role religion plays in the series is to consider it a setting, like Las Vegas. The city (like the religion) is immutable in what it is, but decisions made within its boundaries have consequences (sometimes life and death).
So if you're feeling adventurous, give the Rhea Jensen series a try. If you're feeling iffy, follow your gut. I have more books coming out down the road, and I'm not offended one bit if you only read the ones that look like sure-things. ;)
Question #2- Are these the same Rhea Jensen books you published in 2003, 2004, and 2005 being re-released?
In short, the answer to that is yes. But before I leave it at that, let me also say that the books have definitely been changed. A LOT of content has been cut and some has been added as follows:
City of Angels (formerly Spies, Lies and a Pair of Ties) is largely the same, although content has been updated, scenes cut, other scenes added. But it's the same case and largely the same story.
Welcome to Stalk Lake City (same name) starts the same but has a whole new ending. One of the fun things about doing a book twice is being able to fix things that bugged you the first time around. This ending is much more Rhea's style.
City Limits (formerly Idle Playgrounds) is a whole new ball game. Why? Because there's more Kay, more Ty, and I'm letting Elder Wright's story be told as well. Also, I couldn't keep my bad guy from upping the stakes this time around. Every time I turned around he was trigger happy. Rhea did something he didn't like and he wants her to pay. The way I see it, if I can tell a different story, why not? Of the four books currently scheduled, this one definitely has the most action. No contest.
Chapter one is largely the same in the second version, though.
Kay'sVille (formerly Kay's Story)- The back story shared in this book remains largely unchanged, as it is the genesis of how Kay and Rhea came to be a tag team duo. The basis of the case is the same, too, but it will be more in depth and more back story will be added. Kay's hilarious, though. I love her. I might love the action in City Limits, but this book is the one with some real soul.
Question #3- Why change the titles and re-release them?
Good question. The main reason is that the publisher that bought the rights to my books didn't like old titles and wanted to change them to new ones. As a publisher, that's their right. I argued if they had new titles, they needed new content, which leads us to where we are now. New titles, with new content.
If the titles hadn't been changed, I wouldn't be changing the content as much, I would just be writing newer books. But with new titles, I feel an obligation to anyone who might buy the books twice, that they at least get a new ride the second time around. And those who are buying it for the first time won't know the difference, so it's all good.
Question #4-Sometimes when reading the books, I wonder if you were a private investigator yourself. Were you?
Yes. For a year. A very interesting year.
Question #5- The fight scenes seem so real. Have you ever been in a fight yourself?
An actual street fight? No. Never. But I have been a participant in point fighting. I taught Kenpo karate for about 10 years and have a lot of friends in martial arts who let me run through the fight scenes with them before I put them down on paper.
Question #6- How alike are you and Rhea?
If you ask me, not very. Rhea looks nothing like me and is a very different creature. I could line list our differences, but I'll just keep it simple and say that Rhea is not autobiographical. I had to a LOT of learning to catch up to the story she was trying to tell me. I had to become a PI, jump out of a plane, learn to handle a gun, research equipment, study cars, and tour places I'd never been before just to make sense of what she was trying to tell me.
People who know me assumed that things happened the other way around--that I jumped out of a plane and then decided to write about it, NOT that I jumped out of a plane so I could describe what my character was trying to show me. There's a difference. So maybe I've become more like Rhea through my experiences, and that's what they're cluing into. But Rhea and I remain very different entities... although she still really wants me to learn MMA.