Tonight it’s my pleasure to welcome author Faith Hunter to Ramble On with me about her writing.
Faith Hunter is the fantasy author of the Jane Yellowrock vampire hunter series and a long time professional fiction writer. Including her other pen name, Gwen Hunter, she has over 25+ published books in 28 countries around the world. Her latest addition to the Jane Yellowrock series, Blood Trade, was released by Penguin/ROC on April 2nd, 2013. She is an original creator of and regular contributor to MagicalWords.net, an industry blog for sci-fi and fantasy writers. You can find out more about Faith at her home on the web, FaithHunter.net, or visit her official Facebook page to connect with her and other fantasy fiction fans.
How and where did you “meet” Jane Yellowrock?
FAITH: I was sitting with [fellow urban fantasy author] Kim Harrison and we were exploring the idea of new books and series and I bounced this new voice off of her. Then I read the first Temple Grandin book and I was hooked on the animal brain as opposed to the human brain versions. And I began to remember the old Tarzan movies. You know, “Me Tarzan. You Jane.” And between the two events, Jane was born, with her Beast inside her.
Jane is a skinwalker, and of Cherokee heritage. How much research into Indian culture and mythos did you do?
FAITH: I am still researching! There are many different Cherokee tales of the dark beings in life, from the liver eater to the stone finger, from Skinwalkers to witches. Most of the worst dark creatures are depicted as evil beings who kill and eat humans. But the oldest, pre-Christian, pre-white man Cherokee stories tell of skinwalkers being the protectors and warriors, and that is who and what I wanted Jane to be. I started with the good stories and built my world and character around them, with evil stories as warnings of her possible future.
Jane’s a Christian and unashamed of that, yet not preachy or confrontational about her faith. Has that been a problem for readers?
FAITH: My answer to this question has changed in the last weeks. Angry people, wounded people, un-self-confident people are always going to find something in a character (or in her writer) to hate. Some of them will become verbal bullies, who use the internet to hurt others. So yes, I’ve been blasted about religion by people who hate Christianity, even though Jane is non-confrontational, nonjudgmental, non-preachy. She is searching for her past & her Cherokee spirituality, and trying to find ways to become whole, much like many in the Eastern Cherokee band has done. I think her religion (both Christian and her Cherokee spirituality) is one reason the publisher didn’t think the series would sell well. I was told that, “No one thought these books would sell.” (rolls eyes) But actually sales are still climbing, and I get fan mail thanking me for making Jane searching, fallible, spiritually open to new experiences.
Describe a typical day of writing, for us. And, are you a planner or pantser?
FAITH: Last question first. I am an outliner, for sure. I call it OOPS – Organic Outline ProcesS. (LOL) But what I outline are only plot points. What happens inside the character in the book, that is always such a surprise! And that surprise factor is why I keep writing.
My day is pretty mundane. Up at 8-ish. Take the dogs out. Email and PR work get the juices going. Then I rewrite previous day’s pages. Around 1 or 2, I’ll eat Brunch. Yes, I know it isn’t really brunch by that time, but when you don’t have an appetite until 1 or 2 p.m., it’s a “whatever-meal”. So I call it brunch. Then I start writing (if I haven’t yet). I usually write about 8 hours total. Supper at 8-ish. TV and dogs and hubby get attention after that. These days I’m in bed by 11 at the latest, so I can get more sleep. Except when I’m on the water, kayaking, on the road with the Hubby and rescued Pomeranians, Tommy and Tuffy, RV-ing. Then the schedule goes all to heck and back!
What is next on your schedule? Anything else we should keep our eyes open for?
FAITH: I have KICKING IT, an anthology I’m editing (and writing a story in) with Kalayna Price. Then the JANE YELLOWROCK COMPANION that I’m writing with Carol Malcom, both which come out this year! BLACK ARTS in Jan 2014. The ROGUE MAGE, the rpg, is out now, and the MONSTERS part will be out soon! I also plan 3 shorts into the world of Thorn St. Croix, probably as an e-book.