I’m very pleased to welcome Jess Haines here to Dark Faerie Tales to talk about her debut urban fantasy novel, Hunted by the Others, which is available NOW in stores. You don’t want to miss out on this one. You can read my review of the book here.
Read an excerpt of Hunted by the Others here.
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
HUNTED BY THE OTHERS is about a private investigator, Shiarra Waynest, who has run into financial trouble with her business. She breaks down and accepts a job she normally wouldn’t touch – a mage coven hires her to find an artifact in the hands of New York’s hottest – err, most powerful vampire.
Seeing as she’s human, Shiarra knows she can’t compete with the Others (supernaturals). All she wants to do is find the artifact, collect her fee, and call it a day. However, when the magi who come in contact with it start showing up dead and the vampire Alec Royce finds out she’s been attempting to manipulate him, things go downhill pretty fast. Before she knows it, her friends and family are suddenly endangered by her choices, and she’s running out of time to figure out where this thing is hidden. Meanwhile, a bunch of crazy supernatural hunters called White Hats are inviting her to join them or die. Oh, and her werewolf ex-boyfriend may or may not be trying to get back in her pants and/or use her to get his own hands on the artifact. Yeah, she’s not having a good day.
DFT: What motivated you to write Hunted by the Others?
Wow, good question. To be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve always loved to write, and this book just “flowed” once I started writing it. Getting it done took next to no time. Getting it edited is another story…
DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?
Shiarra Waynest: Sardonic, outspoken, and overwhelmed.
Shia’s business partner, Sara: Adventurous, bull-headed, and loyal.
Shiarra’s werewolf ex-boyfriend, Chaz: Courageous, brawny, and fierce.
Arnold the Mage: Geeky, sneaky, and wise.
Alec Royce, the vampire: Devious, seductive, and charming.
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
I’d say a lifetime devoted to devouring romance, sci-fi and fantasy novels, as well as my deep and abiding love for cheesy horror movies, were what prepared me for this novel. My origins as a New Yorker certainly helped, even though I haven’t been “home” in quite a while, too.
DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe?
I do, but at the moment it’s a secret. I’m contracted for three novels but of course I’d be happy to extend far beyond that if the series sells well enough to merit it. There are a couple novellas in the works that are also based in the H&W-verse. Keep an eye out for SPARK OF TEMPTATION, a short story centered around Sara and Arnold, debuting in the anthology NOCTURNAL (Kensington, September 2010)!
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing Hunted by the Others?
Far too many to count.
As mentioned above, I have a lifetime of cheesy movies and novels at my back. Oddly enough, my study of philosophy may have had a hand in some of it. The works of authors like Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher and Laurell K. Hamilton were the ones to inspire me to write urban fantasy. Bill Watterson may have had a hand in developing my sense of humor. Stephen King taught me the value of suspense and horror.
A few of my friends and family may or may not have had a hand in this. I plead the 5th.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
I love them all for different reasons. It’s hard to choose a favorite because they all have behind-the-scenes significances and histories—not to mention strengths and flaws—that the readers haven’t seen and color my perspective.
If forced to choose, I’d say it’s a toss-up between Royce and Arnold. Royce is such a delightfully devious bastard, and so much fun to write, that it’s hard not to love him. Wouldn’t want to be in Shia’s shoes if I was faced with him, though!
On the other hand, there’s Arnold. He’s got a huge “look out for number one” mentality, but he’s also a nerd with glasses and (channeling a bit of Genie here) phenomenal cosmic powers at his fingertips. C’mon, you know that’s hot.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line from Hunted by the Others?
Oh, my, yes. *g* Shiarra just realizes that it was Royce she was following, when this thought pops into her head:
Oh God, oh God, oh God. Alone in his office. Alone with a vampire. Oh God, I’d checked out his butt!
DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?
After HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, there’s a sequel coming out in December 2010 / January 2011 titled TAKEN BY THE OTHERS. Following that, there’s a third book in the works tentatively titled DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS and coming out sometime mid/late 2011.
As mentioned above, I have one novella coming out in NOCTURNAL in September 2010. There’s another one in the works, but I don’t have any details I can share on it yet.
There’s other stuff in the works, but that’s all I can share for the moment. Pop by my website or sign up for my newsletter for updates!
DFT: What was your favorite part of writing this series?
The process of putting it down on paper. It’s been a real joy to put this series together, particularly developing Shiarra’s growth as a character over the course of the series.
DFT: What is your favorite fairy tale, and why?
The original (non-Disney-fied) version of The Little Mermaid. The story is about how the mermaid-girl’s love for a drowning prince drove her to save him, and later relinquish her long lifespan and beautiful voice in exchange for human legs and the ability to dance. She would always feel as though she were walking upon sharp swords, and would somehow have to make the prince fall in love with her. If he feel in love with and married another, the Little Mermaid would die, losing her soul and returning to the sea as sea foam.
The Prince mistakenly believes another woman saved him from drowning, and marries the other girl. As they know she will die otherwise, the Little Mermaid’s family tries to save her by buying a magic dagger from the same sea witch that gave her legs. The Little Mermaid would have to plunge the dagger into the heart of the prince on his wedding night, sprinkling his heart’s blood on her legs before dawn to become a mermaid again. Otherwise, she would perish.
Despite knowing she’ll die, the Little Mermaid cannot bring herself to kill the prince she fell in love with. The story ends tragically, with her returning to the sea as foam, but she remained true to herself to the very end. That someone would die for their ideals is a foreign concept to most, but to me it was very moving and, in its own way, inspirational. It may not be a happily ever after tale, but it definitely gives one something to think about.
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
This is the part of the interview where you can’t shut me up. I LOVE the staples of this genre – Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), Kim Harrison (The Hollows), Charlaine Harris (I’m a late-comer to Ms. Harris’ work, but I adored the first Sookie Stackhouse book), Laurell K. Hamilton (the Anita Blake series, pre-porn/ardeur) – though I have surprisingly few urban fantasy titles on my bookshelf.
Most of what I read growing up were in the high fantasy genre, like Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, etc, or science fiction, like Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, and Orson Scott Card. Let us not forget the horror staples either, like Stephen King and Peter Straub. Currently, I’ve been catching up on the books written by my fellow authors over at the Absolute Write forum, and I’ll be doing reviews and interviews on my blog here and there.
Though this is a far from complete list, some of my favorite books are:
THE ELVENBANE (Norton/Lackey)
BLACK SUN RISING (Friedman)
UNDER THE FANG (an anthology of vampire short stories, not for the faint of heart/weak of stomach)
DEAD WITCH WALKING (Harrison)
And, of course, any Calvin & Hobbes titles.
DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?
I define a “bad writing day” as one where I can’t seem to make the words say what I want them to. There are times when I have the concept in my mind, but when I describe it on paper it becomes too hokey or melodramatic, that sort of thing. No matter which way I work it, it doesn’t want to play nice. When that happens, I set that project aside and work on something else for a while, read another book, or watch a movie to get my mind off it.
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?
Writing: Do not attempt without coffee and/or chocolate.
DFT: Describe yourself in 5 words.
Geeky, sarcastic, short, shy, bookworm.
DFT: Which urban fantasy world would you like to live in, and why? i.e. The Hollows, etc.
If not the one I created, I’d love to explore the Dresden-verse. Scary as they are, the fae and the White Court intrigue me to no end.
DFT: If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?
A dragon. Treasure, long lifespan, the ability to fly, magic, and the biggest kid on the block. Need I say more?
Thanks again for having me!
DFT: Thanks Jess for taking the time to stop by.
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