[see contest details of contest at the end of the post.]
PVN: Tell us about Shiarra and the world she lives in.
Jess: Shiarra Waynest is a human woman who lives in an alternate, present-day New York. She hasn’t been affected much by the “coming out” of supernaturals after the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11, roughly ten years ago. She doesn’t deal with anything that isn’t human. As far as she’s concerned, their business is Other business—it has nothing to do with her.
Sadly, her story wouldn’t be very interesting if she wasn’t thrust into supernatural events. As much as she’d like to stay away from them, her private investigations firm is failing, and when a mage coven offers her a lucrative job that just might save her firm, she goes against her instincts and accepts the offer. All she has to do is confront New York ’s oldest, most powerful vampire to find out where he’s hiding a magic artifact. Simple, right?
Yeeeeah. Being phobic of vampires doesn’t help her much. Added to her troubles is her mother trying to set her back up with her ex-boyfriend (who happens to be a werewolf), a group of vigilante supernatural hunters threatening her to join them or die, and a snarky, sentient hunter’s belt making fun of her lack of vampire hunting skills. Oh, and it appears that any supernaturals who come in contact with the artifact she’s searching for wind up dead soon thereafter.
She’s really not having a good day.
Jess: My vampires aren’t the sparkly, cuddly type. While they retain their memories and personality when they are turned, they have new needs, new powers, and new demands thrust on them that make their unlife difficult. Older vampires are more likely to be cold, ruthless, and keep to themselves simply because that is the only way they could survive. They’re relatively newly introduced to our society, so there are still some “growing pains” associated with having them around. However, some—like Alec Royce, New York’s master vampire—push for acceptance, and boldly stepped into the public eye, thereby attaining a form of instant celebrity.
New laws were enacted requiring any human who wants to become “intimate” to sign a contract that negates any rights for them or their loved ones to seek recriminations for damages or death caused by the Other. Since most of the vampires are striving very hard to achieve equal rights and become mainstream, they police their own, and come down hard on anyone who gets too violent with or kills too many of their contracted donors. Their desire to fit in doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Behind the glamour and the publicity, they are predators.
Not to mention the protesters and hunters who think the vamps shouldn’t be allowed to live and prey upon humankind. Being a donor to a vampire doesn’t just put you in danger of losing life and limb to your host—you might find yourself lumped in with the Others when the hunters come calling.
PVN: What's next for Shiarra and company?
Jess: In my first book, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS (released May, 2010), Shiarra got to know a few Others, save her business, and get her priorities straight. In the second book, TAKEN BY THE OTHERS (released January, 2011), she got to face her fear of vampires in a very big way. Here’s the info on book three, DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS, coming July 5, 2011:
They’re here, and they’re real…werewolves, vampires, mages, and other creatures of the night. For New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest, taking care of Others business started out as a way to stay solvent. But now business is getting very, very complicated…
Shiarra’s relationship with sexy werewolf Chaz may be somewhat unconventional. Still, after a few bumps, Shia is finally ready to get serious. That means meeting family–or in this case, bringing Chaz’s entire werewolf pack along for a rollicking full-moon weekend in the Catskills.
Soon after they arrive, threatening notes appear, warning Chaz to go home. Then their cabin is ransacked. Shia starts digging to find out whether it’s the work of upstart teenaged werewolves or something more sinister. Yet as rumors about her vampire connections arouse the pack’s hostility, Shia has to contend with other dangers. Not just from an adversary about to make his fatal intentions known, but from a threat that’s even closer than she knows…
There are six books contracted in the H and W series, but I won’t go spoiling what’s coming just yet. *g*
Jess: Aside from books four, five, and six, I am working on a standalone paranormal romance novel. It ties into the world of H and W Investigations, but it is meant to be a story that can be read on its own. It may be a while before this one is ready to be shopped around for a home, so don’t count on seeing this on the shelves in stores anytime soon.
I also have a novella coming out in an anthology called THE REAL WEREWIVES OF VAMPIRE COUNTY later this year. Ever see or hear of those reality TV shows, “The Real Housewives of _______” (New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, etc)? Yeah. Give it a supernatural twist, some extra bitchy werewolves, and a prima donna supernatural hunter, and you’ve got the idea of what my story will be like. *g*
PVN: What attracts you to the paranormal?
Jess: Everything! I love the potential behind magic and supernatural creatures. I love how you can make, shape, or break worlds when it comes to the paranormal. When I was a kid, I devoured everything, from the tales of the Brothers Grimm to Greek myths and legends. I’ve always been, and probably always will be, attracted to the fantastic.
PVN: What kinds of books do you like to read?
Jess: My reading tastes are very catholic. I’ll read almost anything. Above other genres, I enjoy fantasy, science fiction, romance, and horror, but I also occasionally like to read non-fiction, books on philosophy, books on certain types of animals (mostly birds, reptiles, and killer whales), and study about faraway lands I intend to visit some day. When I get an idea involving a character who is supposed to be an expert or have something to do with a subject I’m unfamiliar with, I’ll happily devour every text in sight that has to do with what I’m studying.
PVN: Which authors have inspired you?
Jess: I’m a huge fan of Stephen King, whose work encouraged me to think outside societal norms. Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) taught me that imagination coupled with humor knows no bounds. Janet Evanovich taught me that sometimes the hero doesn’t start out special or strong or talented, but becomes that way over time. Laurrell K. Hamilton introduced me to urban fantasy and first planted the idea that I could get something published in the genre, too. Jim Butcher, and Kim Harrison taught me that a sense of humor in fantasy was not only okay, but something to strive for. Lastly, but certainly not least, Greg Costikyan taught me that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in fantasy to create a worthwhile and engaging story.
There are many other books and authors that have touched me in some way, but I think those cover a lot of the bases.
PVN: Describe your writing day and your writing environment.
Jess: Honestly, it’s more my writing night, lol. As much as I would love to be a full-time author, it doesn’t pay the bills for me just yet. Monday through Friday, I work from 9AM until roughly 10:30 or 11PM. When I get home, I spend a few minutes answering emails and writing. Saturday is the day I set aside to work on nothing but writing. From the moment I wake up (and I sleep in—the glory of sleeping in!) until the end of the day, I’m busy doing something related to writing. Whether it’s one of my novels, a guest post, answering interview questions, updating my blog, etc, I get the bulk of my “work” done on Saturday. Sundays, I’m at work again, from 9AM until 6PM, and after I get home from shopping, etc, I usually get a little more work done while watching movies and hanging out with my friends. It’s rough, but I get the job done!
PVN: Do you listed to music as you write or for inspirations?
Jess: Not as often as I used to. Sometimes when I’m listening to the radio in the car, I’ll get an idea that I jot down for myself later. More often I have the TV going and/or my friends chattering in the background while I write. It is rarely quiet around me, so I’ve gotten used to tuning things out around me so I can concentrate on my work.
PVN: How can readers contact you?
Jess: I’m all over the place. You can come visit me on…
My website: www.jesshaines.com
My blog: www.jesshaines.com/blog
The H and W fan page on Facebook
PVN: Anything else you would like to add?
Jess: I love—lovelovelove—hearing from my fans! Feel free to come chat me up on Twitter or chill with me on my blog anytime!
Thanks again for having me over, Patricia!
*Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.
*Contest is international.
*Contest ends Feb. 28, 2011 at 11:59pm EST