The awesome Stacia Kane has a hot dystopian urban fantasy series out right now–the Downside books–that addresses some real world issues, which makes it even better for me.
The MC, Chess Putnam, is a Debunker for the Church of Real Truth. She is also a fully tattooed witch and ghost hunter, and she gets into some really spooky situations.
The first book in the Downside series, UNHOLY GHOSTS, debuted on May 25, 2010. Here’s the description from Stacia’s website:
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen and constantly attack the living. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Consequently, there are many false claims of hauntings from those hoping to profit. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully-tattooed witch and freewheeling Debunker and ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for nailing the human liars or banishing the wicked dead. But she’s keeping a dark secret from the Church: a little drug problem that’s landed her in hot and dangerous water.
Chess owes a murderous drug lord named Bump a lot of money. And Bump wants immediate payback. All Chess has to do is dispatch a very nasty species of undead from an old airport. But the job involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and crossing swords with enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust with a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
The second book in the series, UNHOLY MAGIC, debuted on July 6, 2010.
Stacia was nice enough to grant me an interview to share with you guys. I hope you like it and will pick up these books. You won’t be disappointed!
1.) Demon Hunter–What makes your MC, Chess Putnam, different from other Urban Fantasy main characters?
Stacia Kane–Well, the obvious answer is that she’s an addict, but I think that’s actually kind of peripheral, in a way. Chess is different because her magical ability–she’s a witch–requires tools and rituals and memorization; it’s not like a muscle she can flex; of course, not all UF heroines are like that, but a lot of the ones I’ve seen are. I think she’s different because of the depth of her self-destructiveness and self-loathing; she’s someone who is constantly ashamed of herself, who constantly wants to escape herself. But at the same time there’s hope in her, and loyalty, and friendship and even love. I think she’s tough and kick-ass without being stereoptypically “kick-ass;” she can take care of herself, certainly, but she doesn’t relish the prospect of violence and the way she makes her living isn’t violent, although the potential is there.
That’s a difficult question to answer, I think, because it sounds like I’m dumping every other UF heroine into a pot and declaring them all alike except mine, and that’s not the case at all. There are as many different kinds of UF heroines as there are UF novels. But I do think Chess’s self-destructiveness and shame combined with her sense of hope and loyalty make her unique, or at least, make her like a real person.
2.) DH–Chess is a drug user. What made you explore that angle within your character?
SK–I don’t really remember how the idea came to me. I really wanted to write a UF heroine with real problems, someone who wasn’t just an outcast but who deliberately hid. I wanted someone who was tough but who had this one major vulnerability, and I wanted that vulnerability to be something plots could spin from and which would contribute to the world and the stories; you know, if your story isn’t unique to your character and your world, if it could happen with other people in other places in exactly the same way as it happens in your book, maybe you shouldn’t be writing that story.