Interview with Jess Haines and Giveaway

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!

Hunted By The Others (H&W Investigations, #1)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.

Comments

  1. Smokinhotbooks says

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space –> I love this movie. The deadly popcorn & cotton candy is my fav.

    Great interview Smexy.

  2. Sullivan McPig says

    Shiarra sounds like an interesting character. I might give this book a try even though the troubled love life sounds like something I'll get frustrated about.

  3. Bookie says

    It is so rare to find a straight up human heroine in urban fantasy. It's great to see someone kick butt without super powers and magic.

    Nice interview!

  4. Spav says

    It sounds like a really interesting book. I haven't read a lot of Urban Fantasy books with a human/normal heroine.

  5. Tori aka @ggs_closet says

    Great interview Mandi!!
    Don't enter me, I already have a copy. :)

    "Coffee. Chocolate. A dictionary."

    If she had said Bacon I would totally be stalking her.

  6. Jacqueline C. says

    Feeling Jess on the bit about chocolate. I always feel the need to have some on hand when undertaking a big task too.

  7. LSUReader says

    Intersting concept, with 9/11 as the opening for supes to come out of the closet and help. Good interview. Thanks.

  8. dyockman says

    I am so with you Jess. No fuzzy chests. If you have one…for the love of god – MANSCAPE!

  9. host says

    Interesting concept for your book – human heroine and 9/11. Sounds very good. And no fuzzy chests for me either :)

  10. Ina says

    Hi Jess :)
    thanks for a fantastic interview – that were great answers and I really enjoyed reading it – I learned a lot of new things about you!
    *gg* and I don't like hairy chests too…
    wish you all the best,
    Ina

  11. Sandy Jay says

    A human heroine surrounded by all that supernaturalness (is that even a word?). It sounds like it could be fun. Count me in.

  12. Melissa says

    Killer Klowns… my proof that clowns are scary or too cheesy to have around. :)

    Sounds like a great book!

    books(dot)things(at)yahoo(dot)com

  13. Estella says

    Love urban fantasy! Hunted By Others sounds great.
    Have not read any urban fantasy books where the heroine has no paranormal powers.

  14. Jess Haines says

    *g* Thanks everyone!

    @Tori — Bacon totally would've made my list if I could have had four instead of three!

    -J

  15. Jess Haines says

    *g* Thanks everyone!

    @Tori — Bacon totally would've made my list if I could have had four instead of three!

    -J

  16. Jess Haines says

    *g* Thanks everyone!

    @Tori — Bacon totally would've made my list if I could have had four instead of three!

    -J

  17. Jess Haines says

    *g* Thanks everyone!

    @Tori — Bacon totally would've made my list if I could have had four instead of three!

    -J

  18. donnas says

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing. I have been reading quite a few good things about your book and am looking forward to reading it.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  19. Erotic Horizon says

    I think I love you – A dictionary carrier and a Batman lover… How could I not..

    Batman is the ideal man – good guy with a whole lot of bad in him… Love him…

    I am not ashame to say – I own a huge collection of dictionaries..

    I am most certainly looking forward to reading this one..

    E.H>

  20. Robin K says

    Thank you for the interview. As far a chests go, I like a wee bit of hair, but no critters creeping out of the neck line.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  21. van_pham says

    Am dying to read this book, it sounds awesome! Thank you for the giveaway!

    Ms. Haines,
    What are you currently reading? How many books are you planning for this series?

  22. VampFanGirl says

    Great interview ladies and I'm so happy that your publishing dreams came true, Jess!

    Congrats on the debut!

    :) VFG

  23. angie says

    I usually don't read urban fantasy but I have heard so many good things about Jess I would love to read her book!
    Thanks!
    bangersis at msn dot com

  24. Barbara E. says

    I'm very interested in Hunted by the Others. A completely human heroine that kicks ass and takes names sounds great. I'm adding this book to my wish list in case I don't win.

  25. Lynnette says

    Sounds like a great story. I am very interested in reading this. Would love to win it and save myself some money…to be spent on more books

  26. Martha Lawson says

    Another new to me author!! Please count me in for this one.

    I follow on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  27. Kelsey says

    Thanks for the giveaway! I've been hearing a lot about this book, with great reviews!

    Kelsey
    krae991 at yahoo dot com

  28. Jess Haines says

    Agh! Technical difficulties! Apologies for the multiple postings earlier.

    @van_pham: I've got a never-ending TBR pile. I keep fairly decent tabs on Goodreads of what I'm reading and planning to read. As for my own books, right now I'm contracted for three novels in the H&W series, plus the novella coming out in NOCTURNAL in September this year.

    Thanks for the lovely comments, everyone! I'll check back every now and again if anyone has any other questions for me.

    Best,
    -J

  29. Fiction Vixen says

    Nice interview ladies! I'm excited for Taken by Others, I'm eager for the Royce/Chaz conflict. I think those boys are great! :)

  30. Heather (DarklyReading) says

    This book sounds great – I'm curious about the contracts with the vamps and the world building – sound unique :D

  31. Serena says

    Reading the interview makes me want to read the book. And, while normally I wouldn't go for a novel, it seems like you've made your characters human, and lovable. Thanks for the interview and a chance to win. :)

  32. orannia says

    Great review Jess & Mandi – thank you. I really like the sound of a heroine without any magical abilities, but instead relying on her wit and instinct.

    Jess – all the best with the series.

    Mandi – please don't include me in the giveaway, but thank you :)

  33. Christa says

    Great interview… and thanks for sharing your story to publication. I hear so often how hard it is to be pulled out of the slush pile, it's nice to hear about someone who just did it anyway. : )

    PS love that the heroine is a pure-bred human (lol) in an Urban Fantasy. Haven't seen much of that lately.

    ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

  34. SandyG265 says

    Great interview. I like the fact that the heroine is human. Too many books have heroines with all kinds of powers.

    sgiden AT verizon DOT net

  35. Marg says

    I've read/heard nothing but good things about this book. I'm always on the look out for something exciting and fresh to read, so I'm really curious to check this one out.

  36. k_sunshine1977 says

    cheesy horror/sci-fi is the best – i totally agree with you! and that movie was hysterical! how can you not laugh just saying it?

    i like the sound of this series! i want to win! :)

  37. Cherry says

    One of the reasons I love to read Jim Butcher's Dresden Files so much is that the protagonist, Harry, is a mortal man. His enemies is always bigger and badder than he is. His wit is what saves him and the world. Along with a healthy helping of luck. So I think I'm going to like Shiarra too. Please count me in! I would like my chance to win this book!!

    Re-posted your contest at http://contests-freebies.blogspot.com/2010/05/win-hunted-by-others-at-smexy-books.html

    Cherry Mischievous
    michivus101-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

  38. dor says

    We have the same music tastes. I love just about everything..it all depends on my mood. This book sounds awesome and I love the cover. Great post.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com
    Canada

  39. Marianna says

    How can you not like super hairy chests? Haha, jk…too much hair scares me! Great interview!

    patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

  40. Secretive says

    That Ryan Reynolds pic just made my day! :D Still, I'd love to read Hunted by the Others. I agree with others (but not necessarily with "Others", sorry, I just couldn't help myself :P) that a "normal" heroine makes for a nice twist. We all know what the "fantasy" in "urban fantasy" stands for, but it's nice (maybe even refreshing) to find someone you can relate to even if they live in a quite different world.

    secretivesoul (at) gmail DOT com

  41. Pamk says

    lol you and my older son would get along just fine. He hollored from his bedroom day before yesterday. Mom want to watch a movie. Him being the freak he is I asked want movie. He was going to watch eight legged freaks. I quickly passed and he just laughed. He's 20 and in college and he loves to jerk my chain lol.
    He'd love the killer clown movie too.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com

  42. Stella (Ex Libris) says

    I have heard that Hunted by the Others is one of the UF sensations in 2010 by very reliable reviewers, so my curiosity is piqued!

    I agree, chest hair would be superflous on Ryan Reynodls! ;-) lol

    Thanks for the music recommendation, will have to check Peter Bradley Adams out, I love mellow music!

    Please enter me!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  43. Jess Haines says

    Thanks guys! Awesome to see so much interest in my book! I do hope you all like it. =)

    @Marianna — Sorry, no shag carpets for me. *g* A little hair here and there isn't bad, but if it's more than a little, that's a BIG turn-off for me.

    @Secretive — Hah! Yeah, that pic is definitely drool-worthy. I think you'll appreciate this. A good friend knew just what to get me for my birthday present last year — check this out: http://jesshaines.com/blog/2009/12/23/of-birthday-presents-ryan-reynolds-style/

    @Pamk — Hehe! Yeah, your son sounds like the kind of guy who would hang out with the Sunday Night Movie Madness crowd. We've been running a Hellraiser marathon the last couple weeks, too. So bad, they're good!

    @Stella — Whoa, thanks very much! Hey, that's some great news, I'm glad people are saying such nice things. *le blush* Peter Bradley Adams has some great songs in addition to LA, too. "I'll Forget You" and "Lay Your Head Down" are also a couple good ones. If you like softer, mellower stuff, I'm sure you'll enjoy his music.

    Best of luck to everyone!

    -J

  44. nel says

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing. I have been reading quite a few good things about your book and am looking forward to reading it.

    dsublady at aol dot com

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