posted by Nancy
Today we have Jana Oliver's debut in the Lair as we chat about her new series from St. Martins. The Demon Trapper's Daughter is labeled YA paranormal romance, but it has classic urban fantasy elements and is designed to appeal to adults (it certainly grabbed me) as well as teens. It's already out in the UK as The Demon Trappers: Forsaken from MacMillan.
Welcome, Jana! We love call stories in the Lair. Would you like to share yours?
I was attending the Romance Times Convention in Orlando in 2009. I'd just been on a mystery panel and notice that my cell phone had a message. My heart sped up as the Demon Trappers Series was making the rounds at that point. I scurried to the parking lot and called my agent.
To set the scene: warm Florida sunshine, cars pulling in and out, lots of noise. And there’s me on my cell phone, pacing. The verdict? Yes! We had a deal for three books with St. Martin's Press and the size of the advance brought a smile to my face. I know whoever was in the parking lot that day must have thought I was crazy as I was dancing around like a mad thing. Who wouldn't? I shared the news with my spouse, then my writer buds and finally my roommate. We went out for an awesome celebratory dinner that night.
You had an unusual path to New York publication. Can you give us the highlights?
I self-published my first few books, then signed with a small Canadian press for the Time Rovers Series. That was a good move as I worked with an incredible editor and learned a lot over the course of the trilogy. Next I signed with a literary agent and then came the contract at St. Martin's. Lest this sounds like it all happened overnight, it didn’t. Between the first self-pubbed book and my NY debut, a decade has passed. It’s been a wild ride.
Riley, the title character, is in a tough spot when the book opens, and things go downhill from there. Tell us a bit about Riley and her world.
Riley's a typical teen except that she's chosen to follow in her father's footsteps. Unlike the Vatican's Demon Hunters, who slay the fiends outright, Riley and the other trappers have to use their wits to capture the Hellspawn. She’s entered a male-dominated organization and so has to fight for respect every step of the way. As if being a teen isn’t bad enough. And then there’s Simon, that cute guy she’s got her eye on. Riley definitely has her hands full.
The city I’ve crafted is an alternate 2018 Atlanta where demons abound. They range from the small Grade Ones who steal your jewelry or tear apart library books, to the Grade Fives (Geo-Fiends) who generate spot earthquakes and tornadoes. Necromancers raise the dead to sell as unpaid slaves as the economy continues to fail, forcing the closure of the schools. It’s “pre-dystopian” if that’s a term. Given a few more year the city will be beyond repair.
What's going on in Riley's love life?
Riley's love life is complicated by the fact that most regular guys don't want to date a girl who traps Hellspawn for a living. The one young man she is interested in--a fellow trapper apprentice named Simon--might just do the trick. Or not. Her social life is complicated by Beck (her dad's trapping partner) and his need to play chaperone. And then there's Ori, the hunky mysterious dude who is every girl's idea of a hot date. Just where does he fit in? It's enough to drive a demon-trapping teen to distraction.
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
There was a two-fold challenge: making sure Riley sounded like a teen and laying the groundwork for the rivalry between Heaven and Hell. The first required a lot of young adult reading and trusting my gut when it came to Riley’s character. The second issue needed academic research. I needed to backstop the story of Lucifer’s fall from heaven across Christianity, Judaism and Islam. I needed to come up with a plausible explanation of how the demons came to be. Then I had to work out the framework of the Grand Game (the eternal struggle between Heaven and Hell). Once I had those two main issues worked out, I was good to go.
For a peek at the first chapter, click here.
What are you working on now?
Book #3 in the series (yet untitled). It's due April 1 and I'm wrapping up different plot threads so this book is more of a challenge than the other two. First books in a series are always a breeze for me. They fly out my brain. Middle ones are harder. The ones that tie up the main story arc are the hardest. If St. Martin’s likes the series, there will (hopefully) be three more.
For more information on Jana and her work, visit her website or the book's website. There's also a UK website for the British version of the book.
What's your favorite story about a kid out on his or her own? Is there an urban fantasy or YA series you particularly like? Do you have a question for Jana?
One commenter or questioner will receive the cool package (stickers, book, and backpack with Guild patch) pictured at left, with the caveat that the book in the picture is an ARC but the winner will receive an actual book, signed and personalized.
Another commenter will receive an American Heart Association Go Red pin.
The comment link is below today's healthy heart tip and related opportunities.
Tip for the Day: If your children are having a Valentine’s Day party at their school or day care, instead of sending candies, consider mini-boxes of raisins, mini-bags of pretzels, pencils or stickers as tokens of their friendly affection.
And don't forget . . .
Go Red for Women on February 4
Romance Writers of America and the American Heart Association have partnered to raise awareness of heart disease in women and encourage you to join us in wearing red on February 4, National Wear Red Day®. Visit http://www.GoRedForWomen.org to learn how to fight heart disease.
And just in case you missed it....
Sign Up for the Go Red BetterU Program and Receive Two Free Romance Novel E-Books
From Feb. 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance novel e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's BetterU Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited-edition magazine (that features this offer) on newsstands and in a grocery store near you.
To sign up for the BetterU program, click here.
(Go Red For Women is trademarked by the American Heart Association, Inc. Romance novel downloads provided by Belle Books.)