Interview: Jess Haines

Jess Haines.02Today, Literary Escapism is excited to welcome back Jess Haines, who is getting ready to release Deceived by the Others, the third novel in her fabulous H&W Investigations series.

Shiarra’s relationship with sexy werewolf Chaz is somewhat unconventional. Still, after a few bumps, Shia is 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 teenaged werewolves or something more sinister. As rumours about her vampire connections arouse the pack’s hostility, Shia has to contend with other, potentially fatal dangers

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Deceived by the Others (or winners choice).
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LE: Why Shiarra? What was it about Shiarra that drew you to her and want to tell her story?

Jess Haines: It’s a bit of a silly story, actually. When I saw a trailer for Blade in the movie theaters, I knew I had to make a hunter character of my own. I used to roleplay quite a lot, so I made Shiarra Waynest–though she’s changed a bit from how she used to be.

LE: Has the story changed the way you had originally envisioned her or did she surprise you in some fashion? In what ways has she changed?

Jess: It has definitely changed.  When I originally created her, she was a kick-ass, take names kind of chick.  For the novel, I’ve made her grow into her big girl panties.  *g*  It did surprise me that I wrote her with a completely different personality than she used to have, but I’m happy with how things turned out.

LE: With the changes coming in Deceived by the Others, can we expect Shia to change even more?  Is her perceptions of the Others going to be impacted in any way?

JHaines-Hunted by the OthersJess: Over the course of the books, she’s grown from being terrified of Others (particularly vampires) to being quite tolerant and even supportive of some of them.  In Deceived by the Others, she learns that, like humans, Others can certainly have their weak moments and faults.  By the end of the story, she is definitely never going to look at some Others the same way again.

LE: Is this gong to be a  positive change for her?  Will she be as quick to judge or is she learning more than tolerance? Although, if that is a spoiler for Justice for the Others, you don’t have to answer it. *grin*

Jess: I think that will be better answered in book four, Justice for the Others.  She has a number of difficult things to come to grips with by the end of Deceived by the Others.  She’s definitely learned more tolerance, but it’s sorely tested by the events that occur in Deceived by the Others.

LE: As someone who has read Deceived by the Others, I can honestly say that I can’t wait to see how she reacts, or grows, from the events at the end.  I know the excerpt for Justice for the Others that is included gives a whole new outlook to Shia than what we’ve seen before.

Jess: Absolutely.  She’s definitely not the same Shiarra Waynest who started out freaking out at the sight of fangs in Hunted by the Others.  *g*

LE: So let’s go somewhere else, Shia has come into contact with quite a few interesting Others.  Was there anything that inspired the personalities for Arnold, Royce and Chas?

Jess: Ha!  Oh, you’re going to laugh at this one.

LE: Now I’m curious…

Jess: Arnold is a conglomeration of just about every gamer geek I’ve ever met, and cliche I’ve ever run across.  Hehehe.  I love him dearly, because he embodies so many things that I love about a subculture I’m intimately familiar with.  Having played AD&D, Vampire: the Masquerade, EverQuest, World of Warcraft, and many other RPGs, I can promise you that I stay faithful to my geekly roots whenever I write anything to do with him.

LE: We haven’t seen a lot of Arnold recently, is he going to show up more in Justice for the Others or future novels?

Jess:I do have plans for him to return.  If you’ve read the story about how he and Sara get together in Nocturnal, you might recall that Sara had revealed to him that she had an injury from Hunted by the Others that I haven’t really touched on yet in the rest of the series.  I do plan on bringing that back into focus and explaining more about it, as well as what it means for Sara and Arnold’s future, but it may be a little bit before

Jess: My inspiration for Royce came from a few different sources.  I love a number of novels and movies that feature badass, powerful men who act as foils or enigmas to the main characters. From the vampire in Fright Night to the Hunter in C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy to Xanatos in the Gargoyles cartoon, I’ve taken a little bit of inspiration from everything I’ve read and watched for Alec Royce.

As for Chaz, well… If you’ve ever seen American Pie, think about Stifler, and I’m sure you’ll get an inkling of where I got the idea for him.  *g*

LE: After reading Deceived by the Others, I still say Chaz is an ass and I can’t wait to see what happens with him in Justice for the Others.

Jess: Chaz is definitely an ass.  Seann William Scott in the American Pie movies is an excellent example of how I picture him, lol.

LE: Chaz is way more of a Thug than I originally thought in Hunted.  Was that always your plan?  Has Chaz evolved the way you intended?

JHaines-Taken by the OthersJess: I’ve planned for what occurred in Deceived by the Others from the beginning.  I’ve had a bigger picture in mind for these books from the beginning.  Once I knew it wasn’t going to stop at one book, I planned for nine total, and that included orchestrating everything that has occurred up to this point.  Chaz’s back story has evolved more as I wrote the books, but his intentions and motivations have been the same from the beginning.

LE: Can the same be said for Royce?  I know vampires are patient, however, he seems to know what he wants from Shia, but he’s not really acting on it.  Will this change with Justice for the Others?

Jess: Believe it or not, he has acted on it.  Just not in the way you’re thinking.  *g*

LE: Oh really?  I have to say, I’m hoping we get to see more of Royce in Justice for the Others.  He hasn’t been around all that much.

Jess: He does know exactly what he wants.  He has a bigger plan.  Shia has managed to elude some of the things he’d intended to snare her with all but unwittingly, but he’ll be more assertive in Justice for the Others.  We’ll all get some much-needed closure by the end of Justice for the Others.

LE: Closure?!  Will we finally get to see some Shia & Royce action?  Can I take that to mean Royce will have a bigger role to play in Justice for the Others than we’ve seen so far?

Jess: *whistles innocently*

LE: Argh!  I was afraid of that answer.  Okay, fine then….

Arnold, Chaz and Royce are from three very different supernatural cultures, was there any particular legend or mythology that you came across that inspired said cultures or was there a wide source for inspiration?

Jess: Once again, I’d have to say it’s a conglomeration of all of the things that I’ve read and watched and studied over the years.  I have my own ideas of how supernatural critters should be, and basically draw on my own ideas of what works from both mythology and popular cultural references.  I won’t go so far as to twist mythology into something as off-base as sparkly vampires, but I do tweak a few things here and there to suit the needs of the story.

LE: Do you often take something you see during your daily life and twist it a little to make it work somewhere in the story? Have you ever wondered what would happen if any part of your world were, in actually, a part of our reality?  How do you separate your imaginary world with real life?

Jess: Some loaded questions there.  I have a few times.  I often take inspiration from the everyday.  You’ll notice Shia has normal, everyday problems, on top of the bigger threats–bills to pay, family troubles, that sort of thing.  When I write, I incorporate the little things, some of the struggles I’ve dealt with personally, to give the story a touch of realism.  The separation is easy enough.  As I mentioned, I’ve roleplayed any number of games, so the lines between games and reality is easy enough for me to see.  It’s finding ways to blur them in a story that makes it a challenge for me when writing.

LE: We’ve already seen quite a bit of the Vampires and Weres…are we ever going to delve more into the Circle and the mages or are they staying out of Shia’s life for now?

Jess: Vampires and Weres are going to be the main staple of the series, but I have plans for other critters to pop up in book 5 and 6.  As I mentioned, I do have plans to expand on Arnold and Sara’s story, but it’s unlikely it will be through the H&W Series, specifically.  Arnold will be back in book 6, but you won’t see much of The Circle for a while.

Antho-NocturnalLE: So does that mean there could be a spin-off series in the future?  Or even in the works right now?

Jess: I can’t make any promises, but it’s definitely something I’ve got brewing in the back of my mind!

LE: I’ve seen where you’re contracted for six novels, but you’ve said that Shia’s story is mapped for nine – god forbid it should happen, but could you end the story arc at six novels?  Or even better, could you take it past nine?

Jess: If it ends at six, I think it will be at a relatively satisfactory place.  I’m not planning on pulling another ending quite like Deceived by the Others.  As for taking it past nine–no.  I’ve had a very specific story arc in mind for Shia, and I don’t want to force the story beyond what I always intended it to be.  I’ve got plenty of story fodder that I can keep writing in the same “world” without forcing Shia’s story to go above and beyond where it needs to end.

LE: And finally, I have to ask – What is with the Cabbie?  Is it just sheer luck that he keeps running into Shia during her time of need or is there something more to him?

Jess: There’s a little bit more to him.  I did offer some explanation of that in Deceived by the Others, but the Moonwalker pack has a lot to gain by having Shia in their pocket.  Like every other power playing supernatural in New York, they want to ensure that there are no loose cannons that could cause them trouble later…  *g*

LE: So is it safe to say that he has made sure to get in her way whenever he could?

Jess: Relatively inobtrusively, yes.  Anytime she finds herself in the vicinity of Central Park, she’ll be on the Moonwalker Pack’s radar.

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I’m a displaced New Yorker with a penchant for the silly, the obscure, and the fantastical. Los Angeles is home for the time being, since it consistently meets my daily quota of strange. I’m currently working on the H&W Investigations urban fantasy series. Find out more about Shiarra Waynest, drop me a line, or join my mailing list at www.jesshaines.com!

Contact Info
Website: http://www.jesshaines.com/
Blog: http://jesshaines.com/blog/
Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook (Official H&W Investigations Fan Page)

Want to purchase Jess’s novel?
H&W Investigations

  1. Hunted By the Others at Amazon or the Book Depository
  2. Taken By The Others at Amazon or the Book Depository
  3. Deceived By The Others at Amazon or the Book Depository
  4. Justice For The Others (2012)

Nocturnal at Amazon or the Book Depository
The Real Werewives of Vampire County at Amazon or the Book Depository
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JHaines-Deceived by the OthersThank you Jess for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!

Contest Time! We’re giving away a copy of Deceived by the Others (or winners choice).  To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Has there been a character you’ve always wanted to know more about?  Who was it? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are currently a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase any of Jess’s novels (listed above), or any novel, through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until June 28th, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

I do not contact winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

10 Comments

  1. As a reader of uf, I like when an author is able to create a very original world without it somehow sounding ridiculous. And I could do with more guys with regular dude haircuts- there’s a disproportionate amount of men with long, flowing locks in pnr/uf.

    I follow LE on fb and twitter Bethany Cardone, @bcardoo79

  2. haha, I love Bethany C’s comments about the hair! That is so true.

    I love this series and can’t wait for the book to come out. I like Shia as a character. The fact that she is human and doesn’t have some hidden power like most UF characters. I can’t think of anything I would like to see more or less of. I like it all.

  3. I really enjoy SciFi and SFR, as well as PR and UF. What appeals to me are places and characters unlike anything I know, but that are likable and believable. There are so many wonderful books that I haven’t read yet, with many unusual, interesting characters, so I can’t really say there is anything I need to see more of. And I’m not really tired of any creatures or characters yet, as long as the author puts their own spin on them, it’s always a fun read for me.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  4. Although I love UF and PNR, I’m haven’t read much SF or SFR and the ones that I’ve read haven’t impressed me all that much. It’s funny because I used to be a huge SF reader. Maybe I just burned out on them. Anyway, in regards to UF, what I love is the inventiveness of the authors. Just when you think there can’t possibly be anything new, an author gives the vampire legend or whatever a new spin and makes it all seem fresh again. The only trend that I really dislike right now is zombies. I’m sorry, but I just can’t get into them.

    I can’t wait to read Deceived by the Others. I’ve really enjoyed Hunted and Taken.

    +1 commented on the review of Deceived by the Others.

  5. I like the same things in Sf that I do in any genre – a well written story and characters that I can relate to.

  6. I love to see more good scif romances with other worlds and races.
    +1 I follow you on twitter and facebook both.

  7. What appeals to me as a reader is a believable and entertaining world. I love to feel as if I am part of the world. I would like to see less love/romance in the Scifi books. If I want to read romance then I’ll buy a romance book.

    +1 I follow you on facebook.

  8. Sorry guys, I forgot to change the question to reflect more on the interview. So if the above answers don’t make sense to the question, that’s because I’ve changed it but everyone is still entered.

  9. I love and agree completely with Bethany C.’s answer! Regardless of genre, I think it’s important to have strong characters and plot lines, which are made all the better when there’s humour involved.

    Thanks for a great interview and contest!

    +1 following on FB

Comments are closed.