Welcome today to Jess Haines, the author of the H&W Investigations series. Her fourth book: Stalking the Others, will be released on July 3rd. If you’re interested you can read the review here. We hope you’ll enjoy this amazing interview. Thanks to Jess Haines for answering all our questions.
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
First, thanks again for having me over for the STALKING THE OTHERS blog tour. My name is Jess Haines, and I write urban fantasy.
I’m a workaholic who loves coffee and chocolate and can’t survive without books. I’m originally from New York, but I’m currently living in Los Angeles because it is suitably weird enough for the time being. I enjoy karaoke and bad movies, and have a menagerie of animals to keep me company when I’m not writing. (Seriously, when I’m an old fart, I’ll be known as the crazy bird/cat/fish/snake/lizard lady.)
How many books do you intend to write for this series?
Right now, I’m contracted to write six books, but of course I’d be happy to write more in the H&W Investigations series.
Was it difficult to write the first book? How long did it take? Did it become easier with the following books?
No, not at all. In fact, I’d say HUNTED BY THE OTHERS (book 1) and TAKEN BY THE OTHERS (book 2) were the easiest to write in the series since I wrote them with no break, back to back.
I finished the first draft of HBTO in about 3 months and the first draft of TBTO in 4 months.
Don’t use my timeframe as a measuring stick, though. Back then, writing was what I did to keep sane at night when I couldn’t sleep due to a combination of a crappy work schedule (I was working two jobs, between 80 and 90 hours a week) and insomnia. Now that I have a lot of the stress off of my plate, I write at a much more leisurely pace.
How do you find your titles? Did you imagine them all when you started the series or do you brainstorm each time?
I brainstorm each time. TAKEN BY THE OTHERS (book 2) was actually supposed to be the title for the fourth book, which is now STALKING THE OTHERS. The original title of book 1, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, was DEALING WITH THE OTHERS.
It’s a combination of brainstorming and throwing stuff at my editor to see what sticks.
How did you end up writing Urban Fantasy books? Is there any other genre that appeal to you?
Way back in the day, when I first wanted to be a novelist, I decided I was going to be a Serious Fantasy Author. I was going to write doorstops in the style of George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, or Robert Jordan.
Yeah, that didn’t go so well.
After going through some rough times, I found that writing something so desperately serious was just so not me that I had to do something else. That was around the time when I discovered the Dresden Files and the Anita Blake series. Since Shiarra was essentially a ready-made character from my roleplaying days, I thought it would be fun to use her as the main character for my first urban fantasy novel.
And HUNTED BY THE OTHERS was born!
Does the inspiration for the characters come from people you know?
For the most part, no. They are conglomerations of my experiences with books, movies, etc.
Is there a character more difficult than the others to write?
As for one who is harder to write than the rest? Jack. He’s a huge pain in the ass. Every time I think I have that vamp hunter pinned, he surprises me with a new twist to his character.
Who is your favorite character in the series?
I love them all for different reasons. It’s hard to choose a favorite because they all have behind-the-scenes significances and histories—not to mention strengths and flaws—that the readers haven’t seen and color my perspective.
If forced to choose, I’d say it’s a toss-up between Royce and Arnold. Royce is such a delightfully devious bastard, and so much fun to write, that it’s hard not to love the vampire. Wouldn’t want to be in Shia’s shoes if I was faced with him, though!
On the other hand, there’s Arnold. He’s got a huge “look out for number one” mentality, but he’s also a nerd with glasses and (channeling a bit of Genie here) phenomenal cosmic powers at his fingertips. C’mon, you know that’s hot.
Have you already other plans for future series? Or is it top secret?
Right now, I’m contracted through six books in the H&W Investigations series, though I’ve got plots in mind for more. There are also some spinoff ideas I’ve been kicking around. We’ll see what happens once book six is done.
Most of my attention right now is on completing the next book in the H&W series, but I’ve got some other stuff I’m working on, too.
If you’re familiar with the series, I’ve got a little something I’m looking for a home for right now that features Mouse, the mute vampiress, and Christoph, the dude in the fetish collar who shows up briefly in DECEIVED and again in STALKING THE OTHERS.
Can you tell us a little something about the fourth book?
This is the fourth book in my series, so let me start with a short recap of the other three:
Book 1 – HUNTED BY THE OTHERS: Shiarra Waynest, a private investigator, is blackmailed into retrieving an artifact from a vampire. The problem? As a human, she doesn’t stand a chance against the Others.
Book 2 – TAKEN BY THE OTHERS: With the artifact destroyed, Shia believes her dealings with the supernaturals in town are over—but the vampires, werewolves, and monster hunters in town believe otherwise…
Book 3 – DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS: Determined to get away from the troubles plaguing her in the city, Shia goes on a vacation with her werewolf boyfriend—along with his entire pack—in the Catskills.
Book 4 – STALKING THE OTHERS: After the events and subsequent betrayal Shia experienced in the last book, she’s done being pushed around. If she’s going down, she’ll take out as many of her enemies as she can—and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left...
So, in this book, Shiarra is in a very bad place. She’s lost her family, her boyfriend, and probably her business and license as a private investigator—and some might feel she’s also lost her marbles. She’s ready to take on the world, and get some payback from the people who turned her life into her version of a living hell.
It’s not recommended as a starting point—this is the continuation that picks up right where my last book, DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS, left off.
Without spoiling, did you know from the start that the relationship between Chaz and Shiarra would be like that?
Yup. I am an evil author. I had that twist planned from the beginning. Along with a few others…
Did you need to do a lot of researches for your books?
Sometimes. It’s been a while since my last trip to New York, so every once in a while I have to go on a picture hunt or pull up a map to make sure I’ve got my geography and such correct. For the most part, I’ve got everything worked out in my head, so I don’t have to do too much research.
Do you have a favorite author? Or a favorite book?
I have many. It’s too hard for me to pick just one! Here are a few of my favorites:
-Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series
-Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series
-Kim Harrison’s Hollows series
-The Coldifre Trilogy by C.S. Friedman
-Many of the DragonLance novels
-ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DUNGEON and its sequel, ONE QUEST, HOLD THE DRAGONS by Greg Costikyan
-Mark Henry’s Amanda Feral series
-Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series
-Laurrell K. Hamilton’s early Anita Blake novels
-Robin Hobb’s Liveship series
-Mary Janice Davidson’s Queen Betsy series
-THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan (yes, this is part of a series, but it’s really the only one I truly enjoyed—the series got too political for my tastes)
-THE ELVENBANE by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
-JOHN DIES AT THE END by David Wong
-NEEDFUL THINGS by Stephen King
-THE TOMMYKNOCKERS by Stephen King
-1984 by George Orwell
-ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card
-BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
-HAPPY HOUR AT CASA DRACULA by Marta Acosta (I know there are more books in this series, but I only just read the first one and it became an instant favorite!)
-RAPTOR RED by Robert T. Bakker
-JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton
-THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE by Avi
-SPLIT HEIRS by Lawrence Watt-Evans and Esther Friesner
-STEAL THE DRAGON by Patricia Briggs
-UNDER THE FANG (an anthology of vampire short stories, not for the faint of heart/weak of stomach)
And, of course, any Calvin & Hobbes titles.
Where is your favorite place to write?
The couch in my living room. It’s so darn comfy! 😉
Your books are going to be released in France, do you see yourself meeting your French fans one day?
I would love to! I’m not sure how realistic it is—international travel is a bit outside of my current budget—but if the book sells well enough, it would be fabulous to come to a convention or do a signing in France!
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