I am very happy to introduce you today one of the friendliest authors I know, the wonderful Jess Haines, who pens the H&W Investigations urban fantasy series! Jess is celebrating the release of the 4th book, Stalking the Others with a mega blog tour and she was kind enough to stop by BLI today to answer all my burning questions. So read on to get to know Jess Haines and discover her unique UF series!
Stella: Hi Jess, welcome to Book Lovers Inc! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Jess: Thank you so much for having me!
I’m a tremendous dork. I love roleplaying games, computer games, and watching really bad movies. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and lately, I’ve used that passion to write an urban fantasy series like authors I admire, such as Jim Butcher and Kim Harrison.
Stella: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Jess: I’m a total pantser. All pants, all the time. While my editor demands a synopsis for books I haven’t written yet, they are usually written very loosely to give me enough wiggle room to write whatever I have in mind for my stories. I’m sure that would give John conniptions to hear, but it’s true. I’m not a fan of planning everything to death, and some of the funniest scenes and lines I’ve come up with in the series were written off the cuff.
Stella: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Jess: I think a typical reader is someone who enjoys books and reads occasionally for fun, or because they’ve heard the buzz about a big series (e.g., The Hunger Games, Twilight, 50 Shades, etc).
A real Book Lover is someone who reads often, who has one or more genres that they love and follow, as opposed to just one or two series. They devour many books, not just a handful here or there, and spread the word about the authors, books, and characters they love.
Stella: You pen the H&W Investigations series (or sometimes referred to by fans as “The Others series”), can you tell those of our readers who aren’t familiar with it yet a bit about the series? And who are The Others?
Jess: Sure thing! The H&W Investigations series is about Shiarra Waynest, a private investigator. When she takes on a job she normally wouldn’t touch in order to save her business from going under, she gets herself involved in an adventure she wants nothing to do with.
The Others, collectively, are supernatural creatures. Werewolves, vampires, magi—you name it. They all fall under the “Others” umbrella. Shiarra isn’t interested in the Others—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in her…
Stella: How is the H&W Investigations series different from the other UF/PNR series?
Jess: Most urban fantasy is about supernatural creatures. We’ve already got a sea of not-quite-human urban fantasy heroines out there—Sookie Stackhouse, Anita Blake, Rachel Morgan, Mercy Thompson—just to name a few of the big shots.
Since most UF novels are centered around a protagonist who is not fully human, or does not remain so for long, I thought it would be interesting to come at it from a different angle. What about someone who doesn’t have the extra edge of mindreading, raising zombies, using magic, or shape-shifting?
Shiarra Waynest doesn’t have a magical bone in her body, nor is she enamored with all things Other. When she does something extraordinary, it’s usually because someone like Arnold, a mage who helps her out from time to time, gave her a boost. She has to solve all of her own problems using her connections, her skills, and her wits.
Granted, she’s not always the brightest crayon, but I like to keep things realistic. Just doing my part to spice up the urban fantasy selection out there!
Stella: The 4th book Stalking the Others will be released in a couple of weeks, what can you tell us about it to make us impatiently count back the days ‘till the release date? :-D Any good teaser excerpt/scene you’d like to share (or just some titillating lines)?
Jess: 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. For those who are willing to brave a little spoilage, here is a snippet from STALKING THE OTHERS:
“That look really does not become you, Miss Waynest.”
I froze, every hair on my body standing at attention as terror—and something else, something I didn’t dare name—bolted down my spine. The bones in my neck creaked with tension as I slowly turned my head.
The vampire was leaning in the shadows of a recessed doorway only a few feet away, hands pocketed, one booted foot resting on the door.
He looked the same as always, dressed casually in a loose-fitting grey fisherman sweater and designer acid-washed jeans. No doubt that outfit cost more than my car. His black, shoulder-length hair swayed idly in the wind, obscuring what the darkness wasn’t already hiding of his swarthy features. All I could make out clearly was the sharp line of his jaw and the sardonic curve of his lips, etched in stark relief by the shadows.
Someone plowed into me, knocking me aside as they bustled by. It broke my paralysis, but the guy did no more than flip me off when I cursed at him for his carelessness. Royce laughed softly, drawing my attention back, and I inched out of the way of the foot traffic to get closer despite every instinct I had screaming at me to get away.
‘Kill it,’ the belt demanded, a surge of something very much like desire radiating from it.
No, I admonished, clenching my hands into fists at my side so I wouldn’t succumb to the burning need to grab one of the stakes. He’ll kill me, Isaac. Stop. Now.
The belt quieted, but my muscles still twitched with the urge to move. Hunt. Kill.
“What do you want?” While I managed to stand my ground and keep from running flat out to escape, I couldn’t hide the quaver in my voice. Damn it.
The vampire lifted his head, his black eyes locking onto mine, drawing me into a quiet place until I heard nothing—not the cars zipping by, the rustle of wind, or the voices of passing pedestrians—nothing but his voice. My world dissolved around me until the two of us were all that existed.
“You. I want you. Come back to me.”
Stella: Could you introduce the main characters to our readers? And what do they each bring to the table?
Shiarra Waynest, as previously mentioned, is the main character.
Sara Halloway is her best friend, business partner, and co-owner of H&W Investigations.
Chaz is Shiarra’s ex-boyfriend. He’s also the pack leader of a group of werewolves called the Sunstrikers.
Arnold, a mage who loves D&D and works for a coven called The Circle, becomes Shiarra’s friend and later becomes Sara’s boyfriend.
Last, but certainly not least, Shiarra often finds herself in trouble revolving around the leader of the vampires in New York, Alec Royce.
Stella: Mmm..Royce… *Stella stares into space witha dream smile* Err, right back to our interview *she stammers* Can you summarize either the H&W Investigations series for us twitterstyle (140 characters or less)?
Jess: Oooh, this should be fun…
The H&W series is best described as a normal woman thrown into and forced to deal with extraordinary/supernatural circumstances.
Stella: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read either the H&W Investigations series?
1) The heroine is completely, 100%, homegrown human. No special powers or secret half-angel/half-mermaid/half-unicorn parentage or weird supernatural secrets hiding in the closet for my special lady! Any extra benefits she gets in the process of solving her problems (such as the snark-tastic sentient hunter’s belt) are the result of magic items or temporary boosts given to her by her more, shall we say, “talented” friends.
2) It’s sadly hilarious to watch her deal with her phobia of vampires and gradually overcome her reluctance to deal with anything Other.
3) Alec Royce is a sexy beast. Need I say more?
Stella: I agree, the belt and Royce are definitely worth checking out If you could have your dream cast who would play the characters in your movie
adaptation of the H&W Investigations series?
Jess: Ohh, wouldn’t it be fun to see HBTO on the silver screen? Here’s my dream cast for the entirely theoretical movie:
Shiarra Waynest: Dina Meyer, Alicia Witt, or Evan Rachel Wood
Sara Halloway: Katee Sackhoff
Alec Royce: Paul Rudd or Robert Downey, Jr.
Chaz: Chad Michael Murray
Arnold: Charlie Korsmo or Alan Tudyk
Jack the White Hat: Tyson Ritter, James Marsters, or Willem Dafoe
Tiny the White Hat: Michael Clarke Duncan
Veronica Wright: Grace Park (alt: Parker Posey or Lena Headey)
Anastasia Alderov: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Allison Darling: Nikki Reed
David Borowsky: Shia Lebeouf
Rohrik Donovan: Gerard Butler or Viggo Mortensen
Cab Driver: Sascha Baron Cohen or Daniel Baldwin
Bruno the Bouncer: Brock Lesnar
Stella: Can you tell us any behind the scenes secret related to either the H&W Investigations series or Stalking the Others? (either to the writing process, or some tidbit about the characters that didn’t end up in the final version)
Jess: I’ve got quite a few secrets up my sleeves, including some things related to the first book that haven’t come full circle yet. For those familiar with the series, I will say this: you haven’t seen the last of Alexandra Peterson, Max Carlyle, or Veronica’s familiar…
Stella: You are an urban fantasy/paranormal author. Why did this subgenre appeal to you, what attracted you to this strange and fantastic world? And do you remember how you discovered it?
Jess: I’ve always loved vampires, werewolves, and all things supernatural. When I started reading books by Jim Butcher and Laurell K. Hamilton, I started to think, ‘Hey! I can do this, too!’
Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule? Will there be more books in the H&W Investigations series?
Jess: Right now, I’m working on the STALKING THE OTHERS blog tour. in July, the week STALKING THE OTHERS releases, I have a book signing:
Saturday, July 07, 2012
Dark Delicacies Book Store (http://www.darkdel.com/)
3512 W. Magnolia
Burbank, CA 91505
In August, I’ll be attending Authors After Dark:
August 8-12, 2012
Book signing on Saturday from 2-4PM (open to the public)
ROYAL SONESTA HOTEL
300 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
As for the series, I’m contracted through book six. We’ll see what happens once I finish what’s already on my plate.
Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?
Jess: When I was a kid, there was a period where I desperately wanted to be a herpetologist (scientist who studies lizards and snakes). I still know the scientific names for some lizards, and always win the reptile-related questions in trivia games.
Thanks again for having me here at Book Lovers, Inc., Stella!
Stalking the Others by Jess Haines
Book #4 in the H&W Investigations series
Vampires, werewolves, mages – the Others are very real, and wreaking havoc in Shiarra Waynest’s life. But now, she’s returning the favor…
Once, she was one of the good guys — or as close as a New York P.I. can get. Then Shiarra Waynest was drawn into the world of the Others. Every faction has its own loyalties and agenda. And Shia’s recent betrayal by her ex-boyfriend means that she may be on the verge of becoming a rogue werewolf at the next full moon.
Of course, with all the threats against her, Shia’s not sure she’ll live long enough to find out. The enigmatic vampire Royce wants her back in his clutches, as do two powerful werewolf packs, along with the police. Instead of going into hiding, Shia is enlisting the aid of her enchanted hunter’s belt and every dirty P.I. trick she knows. 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…
Jess Haines, author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, is a displaced New Yorker who writes about vampires, werewolves, and other bitey creatures of the night from her home in Southern California. She’s best known for the H&W Investigations series (starting with HUNTED BY THE OTHERS).
Kensington has offered 15 copies of Stalking the Others to those who enter the Rafflecopter form below!
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Giveaway ends on 13 July 2012!