by Faith Hunter
Jane Yellowrock is a vampire killer for hire—but other creatures of the night still need to watch their backs….
When the Master of the city of New Orleans asks Jane to improve security for a future visit from a delegation of European vampires, she names an exorbitant price—and Leo is willing to pay. That’s because the European vamps want Leo’s territory, and he knows that he needs Jane to prevent a total bloodbath. Leo, however, doesn’t mention how this new job will change Jane’s life or the danger it will bring her and her team.
Jane has more to worry about than some greedy vampires. There’s a vicious creature stalking the streets of New Orleans, and its agenda seems to be ripping Leo and her to pieces. Now Jane just has to figure out how to kill something she can’t even see….
Q & A with Faith
When did you first want to be writer?
I’ve told this story a lot, and keeping the answer fresh is hard, but here goes. First off, there were no epiphanies, no magical fairy-god-mother visitations, no ghostly sightings. There were pictures flying off the walls and casserole dishes leaping out of the hot stove, but those are poltergeist tales, not the story of me wanting to be a writer. In tenth grade, a teacher told me I had a talent for writing, and that I should make it my career. This is what great teacher does—opens doors in our minds and our futures and lets us see the possibilities of life. I believed this teacher, and started researching the writing life immediately. Even with all the research, it took a lot of years to find an agent and a publisher, but all the prep time was worth it because, frankly, it took that long for me to hone my craft. I might have been a talented tenth grader, and I did have a gift for writing, but gifts are only the beginning. A gift has to be shaped and formed and molded. As a teenager, I was not ready for the commercial writing world. Very few of us go into writing with all the skills that the art form requires. It takes schooling and time and reading analytically and study and a lot of effort to become a proficient, good storyteller and fiction writer.
By the way: I tracked that teacher down a few years ago and thanked her. She has meant a lot to my life, one of the top 5 people to influence the person I am today.
What did you write before you started writing fantasy?
BETRAYAL was my biggest seller, but the Dr. Rhea Lynch medical thriller series was my favorite series of the time. The series is back out as e-books and trade paperback from a small press; so far DELAYED DIAGNOSIS, PRESCRIBED DANGER, DEADLY REMEDY and GRAVE CONCERNS.
Why write urban fantasy?
Urban fantasy is a blending of genres and can include: action-adventure, horror, police procedurals, romance, forensic pathology, thriller elements, mystery and every other genre out there. For me, it’s the twisty plots, lots of action, and the occasional romantic spark that makes writing it so much fun…
Tell us about Jane Yellowrock’s voice and Beast’s voice. How did you find them?
Their voices were difficult to find and even harder to let grow. To me, Jane is like one of those faceted crystal prism balls. It’s clear, but when you hold it up to look inside, it bends light around in strange and wonderful ways, and throws off rainbow hues. And if you drop it, it may shatter internally, while keeping its character and shape. Jane is like that. Violent, broken, tender, loving, giving, solitary.
Jane is a Cherokee Skinwalker—possibly the last of her kind. She is a modern woman who uses tech and rode a vintage Harley named Bitsa until a being of light crashed into Bitsa and broke her up pretty bad. Yes. A being of light. Jane’s world is ours, but not ours, and the “not ours” part means the presence of the occasional odd creature.
Jane is a warrior woman who accidentally did black magic once, very long ago, and now has the soul of a mountain lion inside with her, and that puma (panther, screamer cat, mountain lion) has her own voice, too. Jane is complicated, partially because so much of her own history was lost to her in a version of traumatic, protective amnesia that left her without language, social skills, and history. As I have written the series, the tangled knot of her past has begun to unravel to me, to become an open book. (Collective groan, I know.) But instead of growing less confusing, she is simply growing more complicated, and not only because of her coexistence with Beast.
Beast’s voice was even more difficult because Beast started out with an animal brain and learned the concept of language from Jane. This made her voice primitive, and language skills nascent at best, and her understanding of social skills … well, let’s be kind and call them minimalistic. LOL But mostly with Beast, there is her growing fascination with all things human, vamp, witchy, and were.
Your Rogue Mage and Jane Yellowrock books use first person Point Of View. Is that a favorite? Do you always use 1st person?
There is an immediacy a writer achieves in first person POV, and an intense level of suspense. It isn’t impossible to achieve immediacy, intensity, and suspense in limited third person, but it is harder. For those of you who might not know, first person POV is the “I” voice, and third person POV is the “he” or “she” voice. The “you” way of writing is the second person POV and I never use that one—personal preference and market strategy are two reasons why.
The advantages of first person POV are feeling what the character feels with an intimacy that is harder to attain in third, and knowing exactly what the character knows. The biggest disadvantage is knowing only what the character knows. Sometimes a writer needs to let the reader know something that the character doesn’t and there is no way to tell or show this info. And worse, sometimes a writer needs to keep something from the reader to build suspense, and it comes across cheesy to not tell. This is much easier to achieve in limited third. So both POVs have positives and negatives.
As Gary Hunter, Gwen Hunter, and now Faith Hunter, I’ve written in 1st POV and 3rd POV. First offers an immediacy that 3rd doesn’t. So yes, I like first. When I pitched a new series (a spinoff of the Jane Yellowrock series) I used 3rd. But the acquisitions editor who bought the series, suggested that I go back to first person point of view. For the immediacy.
New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter writes dark urban fantasy and paranormal urban thrillers.
Her long-running, bestselling, Skinwalker series features Jane Yellowrock, a hunter of rogue-vampires. Her Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy series features Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic, alternate reality. She has a new paranormal crime solving series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram, who can siphon away the magic of others, to be released in late 2015.
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she has written action adventure, mysteries, thrillers, women’s fiction, a medical thriller series, and even historical religious fiction. As Gwen, she is a winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for Fresh Talent in 1995 in the UK, and won a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award in 2008. Under all her pen names, she has over 30 books in print in 29 countries.
Faith Hunter writes full-time, and is a workaholic with a passion for jewelry making, white-water kayaking, travel, all which appear in and are used in her novels. She gave up cooking for lent one year and the oven stayed turned off for so long that it refused to come back on and had to be replaced, but she is having a hankering for homemade bread, and is considering getting back to baking in her remodeled kitchen. Occasionally, she remembers to sleep. The jewelry she makes and wears is often given as promo items to fans who come to her signings, and is used as prizes in contests. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast. (The poms don’t whitewater. The pampered dogs stay in the RV in lazy, air-conditioned comfort!)
Faith is a founding member of MagicalWords, a writing forum at www.magicalwords.net geared to helping writers of fantasy and other genres.
For more, including a list of her books, see www.faithhunter.net , www.gwenhunter.com and www.magicalwords.net. To keep with her, join her fan pages at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter