Interview With Faith Hunter

January 5, 2011

As I told you yesterday, Faith Hunter, a terrific writer and a founding member of the Magical Words blog group, has a new book out this week. Mercy Blade is the third installment in Faith’s critically acclaimed Jane Yellowrock series. To mark the occasion, I asked Faith if she would sit down for an interview, and she graciously obliged.  Please read on!

DBC — Faith, tell us about this newest installment in the Jane Yellowrock series. What is Jane up to, and up against, now?

Faith — As usual, Jane is flying by the seat of her pants when Leo Pellissier (the master of the city of New Orleans) sends her to deliver a Get Out Of Town warning to a persona non gratis. And she wanders into a pack of werewolves and the bar fight to end all bar fights. In Mercy Blade, the weres and the vamps are in parley, trying to find ways to get along, Leo and Bruiser are in parley with the witches, negotiating an end to their conflict, and Jane is in trouble with both. Still, she manages to save all the good guys, dispatch all the bad guys, and give us a laugh on the way.

DBC — This is your third book with Jane as the main character. How would you say that she has changed over the course of the series?

Faith — Hmmm. The souls of Jane and Beast share a body and, after three books, perhaps they have begun to get along better. Jane has discovered that Beast has a history and memories different from hers, and magic and strengths she hasn’t plumbed yet. By the end of Mercy Blade, Jane has tried shifting into some new forms, and Beast, who usually disappears when she does, has, surprisingly, stuck around for the ride. And liked it. Jane has found more of her past, the broken parts lying shattered in the dark recesses of her mind. She is both stronger and more broken, more of herself and more conflicted. I like this character. I really do.

DBC — The books in this series have two narrative voices: Jane’s and Beast’s. How do you get into the mind of Beast’s character? What research or observation do you do as prep work for writing from the perspective of a mountain lion?

Faith — National Geo shows about big-cats. Friends in the vet business. And — don’t laugh — Tarzan movies. Me Tarzan, you Jane. (rolls eyes and giggles)

DBC — Can you give us a sneak preview of what you have in store for her in future books? What happens to a vamp killer as she grows older? What happens to Beast?

Faith — Jane hasn’t told me much about the future in terms of decades. She’s still trying to find herself and discover her history. She’s still trying to merge the disparate parts of herself and her differing religious and historical backgrounds. She is still trying to find a place that will be home, while running from it almost as hard. But future books, that I can do! I just turned Raven Cursed in to my editor. In RC, Jane takes a road trip to the Appalachian mountains on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, which is, for her, the closest thing to home. She is working security for a parley between vamp clans when humans suddenly show up in hospitals, injured by what appears to be vampire attacks. Jane has to figure what (or who) is attacking and killing humans, track It down, kill it, all while keeping the vamps in her not-so-tender care, safely undead.

DBC — You’ve now written a couple of fantasy series — the Rogue Mage sequence as well as the Jane Yellowrock books. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer interested in writing multi-book fantasy projects?

Faith — David, let’s call it magical words.
1. BIC (Butt in Chair. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. BIC is pretty magical!)
2. The newly released book Magical Words, just now out from Bella Rosa Books.
3. http://www.magicalwords.net, a website by writers, for writers.
4. Do your homework. Study. Write. Which takes us back to BIC.

DBC — When you’re not writing, you spend a good deal of time on rivers doing whitewater kayaking. How do your experiences on the river inform your writing? Does that kind of experience with nature have particular resonance when writing about Jane and Beast?

Faith — The smells of nature, soil, water, vegetation, are things that animals know best. The feel and sound of water in all its many forms, misting, beating, pounding, roaring, sultry, icy. The sensory overload to Jane when she shifts back to human from Beast and has to think like a civilized, modern woman are things I pick up on when away from the desk.

But perhaps the most important thing I discover on water, is the life and death intensity of living. Not much is going to kill me while sitting at my desk — a bomb, tornado, or an earthquake, maybe. Or my own body going haywire. But on the water, I see life and death in all its violence and wonder and sudden change. The body of a deer, caught on a limb when the water rose, and drowned. A raptor, waiting below the dam, knowing that when the water goes off, fish will be caught on the rocks. Easy pickings for the hawk, death for the fish. Two turtles swimming like birds fly, banking through the water, side-by-side and diving away from my boat. A 5 foot dolphin skimming by me. Things a predator would see and understand and experience.

DBC — Professionally speaking, where do you see yourself in five years? What are your career goals for the next few years and what do you think you’ll be working on next?

Faith — 2011 is a busy year for me, and I have goals, but a lot is uncertain. I have no contract for a fifth Jane Yellowrock novel. So, I’ll be writing 4 or 5 short stories, rewriting two novels, and starting another Jane Yellowrock novel — just to be on the safe side, deadline-wise — and starting a proposal and a hundred pages of a spin-off series. And I’ll be weekly on www.magicalwords.net, daily on FaceBook, off and on at www.faithhunter.net.
Come see me!
Faith Hunter

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