An Interview with Faith Hunter author of the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood Series


Hi Faith! Thank you so much for answering a few questions, I’m a big fan of your Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series and can’t wait to hear your answers to my questions.
 ME: I have a confession. I read the first Soulwood novel before picking up and reading the first Jane Yellowrock novel and now after reading Flame in the Dark, I am three books in on each series. Since Soulwood is a spinoff of the Jane Yellowrock series, I am given clues into some of the later Jane books, especially when it comes to Rick LaFleur. However, I don’t feel like I HAD to read the Jane Yellowrock series first, was that intentional?

Faith: Not really. I was about eight or nine books in to the Jane Yellowrock series when I began to consider a spin off. With a spinoff there is always a common backstory that overlaps, and that overlapping grows organically. What I didn’t expect to happen was the lingering coinciding that came from Rick LaFleur’s continued presence in both series. I’m trying to break away Rick’s presence in Jane’s series, without taking the easy path of just killing him off. Instead, I am replacing him with a different character who will have a major role in Jane’s life. It’s been a technically interesting experience to slowly cut Rick away from Jane’s series, while not leaving a hole in Jane’s life, and at the same time, not leaving a hole in Rick’s life either, so that Rick can take up permanent residence in the Soulwood series.
ME: Jane’s character seems to be more intense than Nell Ingram’s even though they both have struggled with dark incidents in their pasts. Do you have more of an affinity with Jane or Nell? Which character has been more fun to write?

Faith: I don’t like or dislike either Jane or Nell more than the other. Both are fabulous to work with for entirely different reasons. Jane is harder to write simply because there is so much backstory in her life. The Jane Yellowrock series is now 12 books long (this counts DARK QUEEN which I am wrapping up) and is projected to go through 14 books. (Yes that makes my head spin.) To keep Jane fresh, I’ve had to write in some major changes and obstacles to overcome, and her challenges are always more physically dangerous and physically difficult than Nell’s will ever be. 
That said, Nell has to overcome so many social and emotional problems that Jane never will, because Nell was raised in (and escaped from) a polygamous cult. Her place in the real world is uncertain, and because she is the only one of her kind, that she has ever met, Nell is stumbling along in the dark, finding her way. When put in context, with Nell as a law enforcement officer, there is a layer of internal conflict that Jane will never face.
Sooo… Like a good parent, I didn’t answer to say which of my children I prefer. (gives cheeky grin)

ME: In the first three books of the Soulwood series we have seen Nell’s character grow from church widder woman to independent townie, at least inside Nell’s own mind. Do you attribute this growth and independence to her discoveries about her nature or about herself as a woman? Which discovery is more important to her independence?

Faith: I attribute Nell’s changes to education. Nell has met new people and seen how they live, how they react to one another, how normal relationships are supposed to work, all in the course of a joining a law enforcement team and solving dangerous paranormal crimes and meeting a possible romantic interest! (Can I squee over Occam?!?) She has seen women in powerful jobs, where they are in charge of men, give orders, and follow through on projects. And she has discovered what it is like to be part of a team made up of equal partners, instead of always being the one on the bottom of the pack. All this is new and exciting and in total opposition to her previous experience in a polygamous cult. 
Her own nature is something that actually sets Nell apart and steals her independence. In each book, the balance of action and danger weigh against her personal situation and history and the ways in which Nell is being forced to grow simply by being part of society and part of a crime-solving team.
ME:  Occam and Nell’s relationship seems to finally be moving forward. I have been waiting forever for that first kiss, and boy, it was a good one! Nell as a nymph or brownie, seems to have a very fertile nature. She grows leaves and twigs that need grooming. Her relationship with Occam will obviously change how Nell sees herself, but will it also change her nature?

Faith: I don’t think any creature changes its nature. A cat is always a cat, a tree is always a tree. But what I do see changing is the isolation that is part of Nell, instinctual as much as nurtured into her by John Ingram, her deceased husband. I see Nell reaching out, making friends and family, and growing into an emotionally healthy woman while solving crimes, learning about the world and falling in love. Badges and romance! Nature and falling in love! And learning how not to be a victim.
ME: This world that you have created for both of your series is so expansive! How do you keep track of characters, species, relationships and plot points? Do you have a system you can share?

Faith: Yeah…. I kinda painted myself into a brick wall with that one! I have three people I depend on for help in keeping me straight. One wonderful person keeps a searchable character history for me (which I’ll be giving away soon). Another one is keeping a book-by-book plot outline (which might be updated into the Jane Yellowrock Companion soon, a free gift to fans). The other one is a timeline and continuity editor who works with me all through each book to keep me on the straight and narrow and to do an ongoing copy edit. It takes a village!
ME:  Can you give us a hint of what’s coming up next for Nell and the PsyLED team? 

Faith: More crime. More vampire tree. More romance. More of everything!
ME: Last question- will Rick and Jane have a reunion in the Soulwood series? ( you don’t have to answer this one if you don’t want to…)

Faith: No. Not planning on it. The two series will separate totally after FLAME IN THE DARK and DARK QUEEN. But oh my! What a separation!

Faith thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. You have really made me excited to read more of your novels!

Deborah

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This Chick Read: Flame in the Dark (Soulwood #3) by Faith Hunter

The Soulwood series has satisfied my hunger for thought provoking Urban Fantasy. Nell Ingram, ex-Church Woman, has grown into her role as a PsyLED investigator. As in the past, probie Nell seems to have the skills to solve the mystery. Her affinity to read the land has evolved her sleuthing skills, but has also evolved her innate affinity with nature. So much so that she has to groom her budding leaves and twigs from her limbs and hair.

The mystery introduces us to another dangerous supernatural species. Every novel is like a Star Trek exploration to another planet, except for we haven’t left Earth! We get an inside look at the team that comprises PsyLED and also the relationships that have developed. Part of Nell’s charm is the fact that even though she was married at 15, she is new to dating, or courting as she calls it. There are two men who want Nell’s attention but only one that she wants back.  She finally has the confidence to explore that side of herself and in the next novel I’m hoping we will get to see her actually take that leap into womanhood.

We learn a little more of the inner workings of the Church as her sister Mud matures into a young woman and we see all that entails within the church. Nell is determined to save Mud from her fate. So not only do we see Nell start to build new relationships but we also see her change her old ones.

If you are looking to fill an Urban Fantasy hole this series will certainly do the trick. Faith Hunter continues in the world she built for her Jane Yellowrock series, but Soulwood’s Nell is a brighter beacon in part because her life is young in comparison to Jane’s. The tone of this series is also a little lighter, the dialog bringing moments of humor to pretty dark scenes making me look forward to those small flames in the dark. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Flame in the Dark Click link to purchase! Flame in the Dark (A Soulwood Novel) Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock #2) by Faith Hunter

Jane is still in New Orleans hired to hunt down rogue vampires, kill them and collect their bounty. As she is doing this rather grisly job, she discovers that someone is trying to raise vamps using ritual sacrifice so that these vampires are immediately cognizant and not ravenous beasts. Unfortunately during this investigation, two of her young houseguests are kidnapped and the clock is ticking for her to rescue them before they are the next sacrifice.

Jane and her inner Beast have quite a few internal dialogs that reveal some personality traits of Jane’s that we may not have seen from her surface persona as a straight up bad ass bitch. Or whatever the cat version of a bad ass bitch may be. I loved seeing this more emotional version of Jane, she is a little easier to like. As the story unfolds she is torn between two men, Bruiser and Rick, and to me it was a little surprising which one she ended up with, as the sexual tension with the loser was A-Maz-Ing. Oh well, I’m sure that story is not over as this is only book two in like a twelve book series or something.

If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy, as I am, you will really dig this series. There is a ton of paranormal dark fantasy, and a lot of the characters are really likeable. I’m still warming up to Jane, but she reveals more with each book, and I know there is a ton of Jane still to discover.

❤️❤️❤️❤️


Click link to purchase! Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock, Book 2)

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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This Chick Read: Curse on the Land (Soulwood #2) by Faith Hunter

Nell has just completed training at the PsyLED academy, and is back home ready to start her new job. A case breaks and she is sent out to a pond to take a psi reading on a group of ducks who are swimming continuously in a circle.  Nell who was revealed to be inhuman, in the first book, is connected to the land in a mystical way.   Continue reading “This Chick Read: Curse on the Land (Soulwood #2) by Faith Hunter”

This Chick Read: Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1) by Faith Hunter

Skinwalker is a paranormal mystery set in urban New Orleans, a very appropriate setting for this genre.  What makes this book different than other paranormal books I’ve read is that our protagonist, Jane Yellowrock, is a Skinwalker and I’ve never read a book where the  Skinwalker wasn’t an evil character.  Skinwalkers can take the shape of any animal, and as Jane takes shape we see her struggle with her inner beast. I found that struggle to be just as interesting as her investigation. She is inhuman, yet that struggle humanizes her and makes her someone we can identify with and like. Continue reading “This Chick Read: Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1) by Faith Hunter”

This Chick Read: Blood of the Earth (A Soulwood Novel) by Faith Hunter

Blood of the Earth is a paranormal mystery set in a land full of were-animals, vampires and “other” species.  Faith Hunter has developed this world in her popular Jane Yellowrock series where we were first introduced to the main character Nell Ingram.  Nell, an ex member of a local cult, signs on as a consultant to PsyLED, a paranormal government agency that explores and investigates what the normal agencies can not explain.  PsyLED believes that some kidnappings of young women may be tied to her family’s church group (cult), and as an ex member who still has access through her family, her involvement becomes the key to their success. Continue reading “This Chick Read: Blood of the Earth (A Soulwood Novel) by Faith Hunter”