Who is Jess Haines. Give us the low down.
She’s a workaholic who loves all things books, coffee, and chocolate. And speaks about herself in the third person, apparently.
I’m just this gal, you know? In person, I’m usually quiet and fairly shy with strangers.
With friends, I change gears – you’ll get a lot of obscure Hitchhiker’s Guide and Holy Grail jokes instead of awkward silence. The Sunday Night Movie Madness crowd gets together every weekend to watch movies. If they’re really special movies, we MST them.
I always like to hear the path to publication from debut authors. What was yours like?
It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. When I first started my hunt for an agent, I had no clue that there were scammers out there. I was lucky that I only brushed with one and didn’t get so caught up in the moment that I didn’t spot warning signs before it was too late.
After dealing with the scammers, I found my agent, Ellen Pepus, who is totally awesome and knows her stuff. Once she signed me, from November 2008 through January 2009, we went back and forth doing some edits and making HUNTED BY THE OTHERS a stronger novel. In February 2009 she shopped my baby around. In April 2009, we had an offer from Kensington – and by May, she’d negotiated a three book deal.
My editor over at Kensington, John Scognamiglio, has been a lot of fun and very easy to work with. He’s been really good at holding my hand through this process and dealing with my constant questions. He’s backed me enough to offer more work (part of which you’ll see in the form of a novella in the anthology NOCTURNAL coming out September 2010). All in all, I’d say my dreams have come true!
It is rare to find a heroine in an urban fantasy that is completely human. Why did you go that route, and not give her any powers of her own?
I thought it would make for interesting chemistry to take a person surrounded by the fantastical and put her in a position that forces her to cope without anything more than her wits and her friends to back her up. A lot of urban fantasies out there are focused on a supernatural critter of some flavor or another working toward gaining more powers, destroying some other supernatural, living a normal life “in spite of” their power, etc.
To take someone out of their depth and make them a pawn in the games being played by more powerful beings isn’t an uncommon literary device. However, in my estimation, it makes the obstacles overcome more meaningful when the hero starts out as no one special – but doesn’t let their normalcy stop them from kicking ass and taking names.
I find it interesting that 9/11 is used as the boost to get the supernaturals to come out of the closet. Why did you choose this event?
It was my way of paying my own (admittedly weird) brand of homage to what happened that day. It took me a couple weeks after the fact to get there, but shortly after 9/11 I rushed over to be a volunteer on site at Ground Zero. New York is home to me – it’s where I was born – so it’s always held special significance to me. To put it simply, it felt like the right thing to do.
Arnold, the mage and eventual friend of Shiarra’s becomes a favorite of mine. Did he or any other secondary characters demand page time or surprise you in any way?
I love Arnold. I wanted to use him more, but considering what he’s capable of (upstaging the heroine in 0.3 seconds flat), there was only so much I could do with him in this book. To make up for it, he and Sara (Shiarra’s business partner and best friend) get more page time in the novella SPARK OF TEMPTATION.
The character that really surprised me was the cab driver. By the end of HUNTED BY THE OTHERS, I knew I’d have to use him for something again. He’s too much fun not to! He’s got a bigger part to play in the future.
Shiarra has to deal with her ex boyfriend, Chaz, who is also a werewolf in this book, and Alec, the super wealthy and sexy vampire. Are the boys going to play nice in book two? I have a feeling Shiarra is going to have it rough in the love department – any hints?
Royce and Chaz don’t get along – which is part of why they get forced to spend time together in TAKEN BY THE OTHERS (coming January 2011). Due to a mutual threat, they have to set aside their dislike of each other and work together for a good portion of the story.
Though I can’t say too much just yet, I will tell you there is going to be trouble in paradise. Shiarra’s got some tough choices ahead of her.
I don’t have any official copy on TAKEN BY THE OTHERS yet, but stay tuned to my blog or visit my website to sign up for my newsletter (http://www.jesshaines.com). I’ll be sharing more info on book #2 as soon as I’ve got the green light from Kensington.
If you had to live in the world you created, and could not be human, which supernatural would you choose to be? Vampire, Werewolf, or Mage?
Yikes, that’s a tough one! I’m too much of a bleeding heart to make a decent vampire. I’m not very good at dealing with crowds, so having to handle the stress of living with a pack of werewolves doesn’t appeal.
That leaves me a mage, with all the “phenomenal cosmic power” that goes with it! Oooh, I could come to like that…
Name three things you must have with you when you write?
Coffee. Chocolate. A dictionary.
What is the last book you read?
The last book I finished was 33 A.D. by David McAfee (my review here.).
What is the last movie you saw?
Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
I’m a cheesy horror movie buff – what can I say?
Who is your favorite band or singer?
Ohh, that’s tough. I love all kinds of music (except for most rap and really whiny country). I’ll listen to anything from A Perfect Circle to Lady Gaga to Shania Twain to Beethoven.
Right now, one of my favorite singers is Peter Bradley Adams. He does this one song – Los Angeles – it’s amazing. Very mellow music, but he’s got a sweet, compelling voice.
What fictional hero do you lust after the most?
Batman. He’s got it all; brains, brawn, gadgets, and a secret lair. Rawr!
Hairy chest – smexy?
Sorry, no fuzzy chests for me. I like my guys like Ryan Reynolds. Ooh la la!
Who needs a hairy chest when you have abs like that? Thank so much Jess!
Jess Haines is offering a copy of Hunted by the Others to one lucky commenter. To enter, leave a comment. Contest open to everyone through May 6th. I will announce the winner on Friday.