As many of you may remember I gave away a copy of Faith Hunter’s SKINWALKER in December after winning Nano ’09. So, Mrs. Hunter was kind enough to offer a signed copy of the 2nd Jane Yellowrock novel, BLOOD CROSS, which came out only days ago. 😀
Faith Hunter’s other wonderful Urban Fantasy series, The Rogue Mage series, was her first series in the genre. But Mrs. Hunter has also written thrillers under another name, Gwen Hunter, for over twenty years.
Mrs. Hunter was kind enough to answer a few questions for a little interview of mine. Contest information will follow below the interview. 😀
BLOOD CROSS’s description as seen on Faith’s site: The vampire council has hired skinwalker Jane Yellowrock to hunt and kill one of their own who has broken sacred ancient rules-but Jane quickly realizes that in a community that is thousands of years old, loyalties run deep…
Demon Hunter–1.) How did the concept for Jane Yellowrock develop?
Faith Hunter–I was having tea with Kim Harrison at Starbucks, a time when we let our minds rest from the creative and promotional process of being writers. Yes, we talk business, a lot of business, but we also use tea-time to detox and let our creative juices start to flow freely again. This particular day we were talking about our future book ideas – nothing specific, more along the lines of, I have this character, or this magic system, or this conflict line in mind… Kim was thinking about epic fantasy—to give her brain a chance to rest from urban fantasy. Her worlds are wonderful, the magic systems so unusual, and I was entranced! I was thinking about thrillers, specifically Lee Childe’s character, Reacher.
I said, “For the last few weeks, I’ve kept hearing two things: this street name in the Smoky Mountains—War Woman Road, and this line in the back of my head. ‘Katie’s Ladies, the oldest continuously operating whore house in New Orleans.’ And this line ‘Have Stakes will Travel.’ ”
Kim said, “Go with it.” And I did. For about five minutes, as ideas started coming, I talked and Kim got excited with me, her eyes glowing, sharing the joy of that first blooming. In that first five minutes, came the image of Jane, a Cherokee warrior woman, a vamp-killer (no last name at the time, but an orphan called Jane Doe,) and the conflict point of a vamp-killer hired by the vamps. Ideas are like that for me. I’ll get a line or an image or a name in my mind and it sits there, until something nudges it forward.
DH–2.) Was it difficult to write such an excellent, tough female character without her being whiny and mean for no reason?
FH–The answer is in the question itself. “For no reason.” If a writer does her job and presents a character’s motivations properly, then readers will accept and understand, even if they do not always agree with the acts that follow.
Jane had to be a tough cookie to do the job I wanted her to do. Vamp killers can’t be wusses, you know? So she had to have sharp edges and inner strength, which I usually achieve by giving a character depths she hasn’t plumbed yet, or a history she either doesn’t know or refuses to look at. In Jane’s case, she has no memories from before the time she walks out of the forest at age 12-ish. Her search for that lost time, and for her heritage, make her strong.
Yet, I needed Jane to have a softer side, weaknesses that could be used by her enemies to hurt her. I needed to have something that might make her cry—in Jane’s case it’s always Angie Baby and Molly—the two people she loves most on the face of the earth. In Blood Cross, Jane cries several times, something she doesn’t do in book one, Skinwalker at all, or in book three, Mercy Blade, at all. Why does she cry in Blood Cross? Her best friends in the world are in danger. For me, it’s the juxtaposition of weaknesses and strengths that make a character or a person interesting.
DH–3.) When will the 3rd Jane Yellowrock novel be out?
FH–Mercy Blade… I have no idea!!!! I hope by the end of 2010.
DH–4.) Is there another Urban Fantasy series in the works?
FH–Not right now. I am working on a paranormal psychological thriller with a co-writer, and an RPG (role playing game) with 2 co-writers, based on the Rogue Mage series, and I have an urge to write a stand alone about Molly Everheart’s twin sisters, young witches who get into big trouble when they think they are working a love potion, and instead a demon appears and falls in love them. Both. But now that I see it written out, it still lacks some spark that I will need for it consume me and make it on to paper.
DH–5.) What made you shift from thrillers to Urban Fantasy?
FH–Wow. Lots of reasons. In no particular order: I want to remain viable in a market that is constantly changing. Thriller market is shrinking and the mystery market is flat-lining. I read fantasy and urban fantasy. I finally found a voice that the market wanted with the Rogue Mage series, and then another with the characters in the JY series. Real life is dull sometimes. I can’t knit. I don’t want to play Parcheesi. So I needed to keep my writing life exciting to make up for a routine, unchanging real life. (Of course, that was before I fell in love with white water kayaking, and spiced up my RL.) I discovered I was probably 40% American Indian (Cherokee and Choctaw) and maybe 20% African American, and I wanted to explore some of my ethnicities in my fiction. There are likely more reasons, but these come to mind.
DH–6.) Do you like Urban Fantasy better than thrillers? If so, why?
FH–I like writing and reading both for different reasons. Writing: Thrillers give me less to work with, (no magic) which means my job is harder. You would think that I then would enjoy it less, but that isn’t the case. The challenge is fun! The limits imposed on my writing by reality as it is can make a book fast paced and action packed. And the characters can be just as vivid as in urban fantasy. Yet, the creative freedom found in UF is hard to beat. The limits on anything are created by me, not physics, history, culture, etc. It’s my world and I love that! The best fun for me is merging the two, giving me the best of both worlds, which writing the Jane Yellowrock series does.
As to reading, the choice between urban fantasy and thrillers is based on which writer has what book out now. If there is a new Stuart Woods, Lee Childe, Harlan Coben, John Connelly (to name a very few) I pick that up. If there is a new Rachael Caine, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher (to name a very few) I pick that up. Then I read when the need hits me.
DH–7.) Will there be more books in the Rogue Mage series?
FH–I certainly hope so! That world is ripe for change, filled with internal and external conflict and the characters are sooo very different from other urban fantasy characters.
DH–8.) What advice do you have for unpublished writers?
FH–Write. Write, write, write. And study the market. How? Read a LOT! Not older fantasy, but the new stuff, things just released by New York City-based commercial publishing houses, written by newly discovered, first time published writers. That will tell you the trends that editors were looking for most recently. Read analytically, tear up a book with pen and highlighters and sticky notes to see what a writer has done that worked. Rewrite sections that didn’t work for you. And, again – write. BIC – Butt in chair. Also, for writerly advice with a decidedly fantasy twist, read http://www.magicalwords.net every day. Four writers and lots of guests post and chat back and forth about the business of writing and the creative part of writing.I’d like to thank Mrs. Hunter for participating in my interview. Also, since I’m posting this so late, I will allow everyone to enter the contest starting tonight, Tuesday, January 12, 2010. And the contest will end on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. All entries must be in before that time. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on this post. Everyone only gets one entry this time. Winners will be announced on Thursday, January 21, 2010.
To read more about Faith Hunter and her work, you can find her on these websites:
UPDATE: Anonymous posters!! I don’t know who you are if you don’t leave a name, and you can’t win if you don’t have a name, right? Riiiight! So please leave one. The two Anons who already posted are free to add their names. Any ANONYMOUS poster after this notice will not have a chance to win if their name is not included in their comment. Thanks! 😀
I think I would love this book/series.And she describes the thrill when inspiration unrolls perfectly!
The Jane Yellowrock series looks fantastic, but I really hope there are more Rogue Mages!
Thanks for the interview. It is always great to see some of the though process in developing a 'world'. I love the JY series and the Rogue Mage series (more please!!)
Fantastic interview. I learned so much about a new always buy author. To learn she's also written thrillers is a bonus for I like them as well. The scene between her & Kim Harrison was quite vivid. I could see them working it out, and put myself at the next table, overhearing, and looking forward to this book.
I love Faith Hunter's books … and I picked up the first one because there was a comment from Kim Harrison on it (another author I read almost religiously). Am making my way through the Rogue Mage series now.
GREAT interview!I love the scene at Starbuck's and I can see it playing out.If you like thriller's, pick up the Gwen Hunter books, you'll love them too!
I just finished Blood Cross. I loved it. I have one question for Faith though and it's not a spoiler. I'm dying to know why Rick has the tattoos that he has. I mean a bobcat and a mountain lion. It's a little too coincidental isn't it?I'd love a signed copy of this book!
Bernita,You'd love the series. :-DBethany,I think more Rogue Mages will be in the works. Hopefully.Tammy,Thanks. I think Faith's got more for us. :-DT.,Faith and Kim are excellent. Met them in December. :-DStacey,Just between you and I (wink, wink) Faith mentored Kim. :-DBlackcattoes,I know. Faith is excellent as Gwen as well. :-DBeth, I haven't had a chance to read it yet. But I will in a few days. 😀
Loved Blood Cross! I too wonder what will come of Rick's Tats. It is too coincidental not to have a good story!
Great interview–I have yet another book to add to my \”to-read\” list. : ) My fav part: \”Read analytically, tear up a book with pen and highlighters and sticky notes to see what a writer has done that worked. Rewrite sections that didn’t work for you.\” Boy it's nice to know I'm not the only one that does this, and even better to learn that it's encouraged! LOL
I loved the interview, thanks so much for inviting me to your contest. I LOVE Jane Yellowrock and hope it continues for years to come. After having read the first book I have added the Rogue Mage series to my TBR list.
Very nice interview. I like this serie and the character Jane.Thank you. A.N.
Cool interview. I can't wait to read her series. I hope it's in audio book so I can veg out and listen to it. If it's not, I'll bite the bullet. . .
Count me it. I read the Jane prequel from Strange Brew and fell in love with the character.
Leann,I guess we'll see! :-DSoapy,Faith always gives good advice. :-DBreia, That first one was awesome, right? :-DAnonymous,So, your name is A.N.? I need another name. :-DRobin, I hope it will be, but if it's not–buy it!! ;-)Anonymous,I'd love for you to win, but I need your name first. 😀
Anything by Faith Hunter will always make my TBR list. I love her Rogue Mage and Jane Yellowrock series! So happy to hear more is anticipated in the RM world!
I have Skinwalker, and am really excited about the sequel. I hope there are LOTS and LOTS of books to come.heatwave96(at)hotmail.com
I've gotta get out for tea more often. ;)Love the interview, & the books looks fantastic!
What a fantastic interview! You are soooo good at it.
I haven't heard about this author so far. so i can call her as my New author for me. Her books sounds great since i love UF :)count me in !
Great interview! I'll have to pick up this series, haven't read any of these yet.
I enjoyed the interview and look forward in reading this book.Thanks,Tracey D
This series looks great, I love books with strong female characters.ajolly1456 at gmail dot com
Staying viable in a changing market. Definitely a reason to branch out. And, of course, most writers have a lot of different kinds of stories in them anyway.
Robin,It is exciting, right? :-DHeat,I hope that there are plenty more. :-DRaine,That first one is fantastic. Cannot wait to read this one. ;-DRick,Awww shucks. Thanks. :-DMariska,Faith is excellent. Read her work! :-DJess,She's great. :-DBooklover,Her stuff is awesome. :-DAnne,Jane Yellowrock is a tough character. My favorite UF character so far. :-DCharles,Faith has been working hard for a long time. 😀 Can't wait to see her on the NYT list. 😀
Great interview.And valuable advice given at number 8. We are always looking for pointers and tips from authors, so it's always appreciated.Faith Hunter. I will remember that name.
I received my copy of Blood Cross on Wednesday and finished it off yesterday. It's just as good as the first Jane Yellowrock book.
sounds awesome.I am going to pick it up. Have I told you lately how proud I am of you dear lady?Best, Cas
I loved the interview, it made you feel like you are sitting right there when it is going on. The JY series has become one of my favorites.Thanks
firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease enter me in the giveaway.
I love the book title. Sweet.
A great interview. The series looks fascinating. Something definitely to add to the list.
Thank you for this interview. I'm putting this series at the top of my wish list.
Don,You do that. :-DDeb,I'm going to pick it up tomorrow at her signing. 😉 Cas,Awww, thanks. :-DLynne,Thanks. That's what I was hoping for with the interview. :-DJust Peachy,Got it! :-DChris,It's good, isn't it? :-DMichelle,You won't be sorry. :-DDaelith,You'll be more than pleased. 😀
I enjoyed the interview and I've heard great things about her books. She is a new author to me, but I would love to win her book.
Great interview!I LOVE Faith Hunter! I loved Skinwalker and I'm stoked to read this book. I would love to win it!
Interesting interview–thanks for sharing!
I've not read this series, but of course I'm interested.StacysamnstacyATmeDOTcom
Her books are next on my list!! Dig the interview girl!! Keep up the great work! Hugs!Kara(and yes… I will be posting new entries on my blog soon 😛 thanks for caring :D)
You should just send me the book NOW! 😎 Surely, I'm the winner! Ok, well maybe not but I will definitely check them out! Jaycee
Faith's Rogue Mage series is awesome! i have them all.
I loved the first book and can't wait to read the second!!!cfisher1504 at gmail dot com
I absolutely Loved Skinwalker!The internal dialogue between Jane & Beast was fascinating.I can't wait for Blood Cross!!
That was a great interview! I'm very intrigued by this character's description and am curious to learn more about the world, and the work of this author in author in general. (I just hope I'm not too late to try to win, I almost missed this!)
Linda,She is wonderful! :-DNatasha,Glad to see you're a fan already. :-DLana,Thanks. :-DStacy,You'll love it. :-DKara,Thanks. :-DJay,Sorry, the winners are chosen randomly. :-DJan,Me too. :-DCFisher,Me either. :-DSoul,Fascinating, wasn't it?Tatiana,No, you're not too late. 😀
Ok – Jane Yellowrock series is going on to my TBR list up toward the top!
I would love to win this book–I swear I have the first in the series around the house somewhere…
Thanks to all who entered. This contest is now closed. All winners will be announced tomorrow. Good luck! 😀