Today I have the pleasure of hosting a blog tour stop for Black Arts by Faith Hunter. This, the seventh title in the wonderful Jane Yellowrock series, releases next Tuesday January 7, 2014. In celebration, author Faith Hunter stopped by to answer a few questions about her series. In addition, ROC Publishing is offering a copy of Black Arts to one lucky commenter (details below). Please help me welcome Faith to That’s What I’m Talking About.
How and where did you “meet” Jane Yellowrock?
I was sitting with [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. 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’s a Christian and unashamed of that, yet not preachy or confrontational about her faith. Has that been a problem for readers?
My answer to this question has changed recently. Angry people, wounded people, insecure people are always going to find something in a character (or in her writer) to lambast, condemn, and 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 people in the Eastern Cherokee band have done. Jane is welcoming to others who believe differently. I find it sad that people of different religions can’t feel the same way.
I think Jane’s 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.
You have graphic violence, but avoid graphic sex and cursing, an unusual choice that makes the books widely accessible. Why?
I’ll take these one at a time. Yes, I have violence in my books: Lots of reasons. My dad taught me to shoot a .32 at age 12 during an outbreak of rabies in our rural county. As the eldest I had to be ready to protect my brothers from rabid animals as well as human predators. I understood from an early age that I was the protector of the innocent. It was my job from the time I was 4 years old and my middle brother was born. Then there is the sad fact that emotional and also physical violence were part of my young home life. Also, I was bullied in school because I was a Christian and had to stand up, without violence, to the bullies.
In my heart-of-hearts, I still want to bash any bully I see or read or hear, but I can’t. Well, I guess I could but that might mean jail time, so I don’t. Instead I bash them on the pages I write. Lastly, I have internal demons (my own spiritual but evil Beast) that I want to kill, and I kill it over and over on the page.
As to sex? My sex scenes suck. Wait… That isn’t what I meant. Really. What I mean is that for me, sex scenes need to be elegant and intense and desperate. And . . .Okay, I do have one planned for the book after BLACK ARTS. Yes. Jane may finally get lucky. On page.
As to language: Language is a tool. Its purpose is to make a point. If my character drops an F-bomb when something small happens, then what verbal cues do I use when something very important comes up? Only more of the same, which dilutes its importance and its effect on a scene. So for me, using strong language in my stories is something I save for valuable moments when I want to communicate to my readers that this is important!
Also, if not using strong language brings in more readers then that is a good tool. If using strong language pushes away even one reader then that is a bad tool. I can just as easily say she cursed, or she swore, as drop an F-bomb. As long as I don’t overdo it, few people who routinely curse miss the actual cuss words. And readers who would be offended by the words themselves are not offended. Hence, a greater number of readers are willing to try my books. It’s good business sense.
The vampire society in your Jane Yellowrock novels is complex. How do you keep track of it all?
It is hard! Until recently, I had lots of computer files that were in desperate need of updating (because I was lazy when I started them and didn’t keep them up to date), but at the time you read this, I have worked with my co-writer on the JANE YELLOWROCK COMPANION, Carol Malcolm, on creating a timeline. Now, I have hired someone to take that timeline and turn it into a searchable JY bible, which will be a huge help to me as I write book 8 in the series, currently untitled.
Thank you to Faith for sharing some insight into her Jane Yellowrock series!
About the Book:
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker who always takes care of her own—no matter the cost…
When Evan Trueblood blows into town looking for his wife, Molly, he’s convinced that she came to see her best friend, Jane. But it seems like the witch made it to New Orleans and then disappeared without a trace.
Jane is ready to do whatever it takes to find her friend. Her desperate search leads her deep into a web of black magic and betrayal and into the dark history between vampires and witches. But the closer she draws to Molly, the closer she draws to a new enemy—one who is stranger and more powerful than any she has ever faced.
Thank you to ROC publishing for hosting a giveaway of Black Arts by Faith Hunter. Jane Yellowrock is a fabulous Urban Fantasy series. To enter the contest, please fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a comment below sharing one of your favorite UF series. This contest is open to US Mailing Residents ONLY. Open to readers, 18 years or older, who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor. Prize will be delivered by the publisher. I am not responsible for items lost in the mail.
If you have troubles with the Rafflecopter form, please email me at twimom227 (at) gmail (dot) com.
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