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