Even for a vampire hunter, Jane Yellowrock is fairly unique. A Cherokee Skinwalker (shapeshifter) who, as a child, accidentally merged her soul with a puma's, Jane stalks her prey on both two legs and four. Half the story is told from the mountain cat Beast's perspective, adding a perspective that is at times equal parts humorous and harrowing. And in her very first tale, SKINWALKER, Jane was hired by vampires to rid New Orleans of a threat even they needed help with.
Now, seven books in, Jane's path takes a darkly personal twist when she learns that her best friend Molly has gone missing. Jane and Beast must face a greater menace than ever before.
I had the chance to chat with the brains behind this wild storyverse and its two driven heroines. You may have seen some of her contributions from my ConCarolinas notes. Faith Hunter not only writes the Jane Yellowrock series, but is one of the creators of MagicalWords.net, a group writing blog dedicated to the craft from a genre-based perspective. And today, she's here to share a few of her insights. Welcome, Faith!
Laura: What, to your mind, are the core elements of good urban fantasy?
Faith Hunter: Good UF is a constantly evolving animal. It incorporates a good mystery with danger to the main character or people the MC loves. Three are usually a few good fights. And some romance. (nods head) Sometimes some hot romance. But the main thing is that urban fantasy is not just one thing. It is a blend of all the other genres, whipped into intensity.
Laura: What is the most important element in writing fantasy—to you?
FH: I know I’ve said it before, but, voice. Character voice, narrative voice, authorial voice. Think about the sound of a Sam Spade crime / mystery novel versus a Sue Grafton crime / mystery novel. No one would mix up the two. The voices of these mysteries are different, and it’s the voices that set the mood and tone of a book. In the Jane Yellowrock world and series and books and shorts, every single Point Of View character has a unique voice. When I write in Molly Everhart Trueblood’s POV, she thinks and sounds differently from the way that Jane Yellowrock sounds. Rick LaFleur’s voice is more different still. And of course, Beast, well, Beast is a voice that takes unique to new levels.
Laura: You’re one of the founders of Magical Words. Tell us how that came about and what it is, please.
FH: I met David B. Coe / D.B.Jackson (who writes urban fantasy, historical urban fantasy and epic fantasy) and were best friends instantly, totally. It was so instantaneous that it was weird. We wanted to do something together PR-wise and came up with a fantasy writing site that would cover everything. Writing, plot, blocks, muses, characters, character development, good writing chairs, good tea, PR. Everything. I brought Misty Massey (my other best writing pal) in and we 3 fit nicely together. Besties! And www.magicalwords.net was born.
Laura: What do you see as the future of the fantasy genre?
FH: For the last three years, I have taken a shot at this question and this year (once again) I want to change my opinion totally. Urban fantasy is a constantly evolving genre. Now I am seeing more young adult books, more innocent romance in place of erotica, and more genre blending. Much darker stories, with much more innocent characters.
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