Hi! I’m SJ, a Romance Junkies reviewer, and I’m giddy to post this exclusive interview with the extremely talented Faith Hunter, author of the new Soulwood series (as well as the bestselling Jane Yellowrock series.) We at RJ gave BLOOD OF THE EARTH a well-deserved Recommended Read review.
“For a compelling urban fantasy that will draw you in and leave you unable to put the book down until you’re done, grab a copy of Faith Hunter’s BLOOD OF THE EARTH, first in the Soulwood Series. I promise you won’t be disappointed!” SJ, Romance Junkies, 5 Hearts, Recommended Read
But wait until you read Faith’s interview!
An Interview with New York Times bestseller Faith Hunter, author of BLOOD OF THE EARTH, the first on the new Soulwood series.
Faith thank you for being with us here today. We’d love to ask you some questions about your amazing new book, BLOOD OF THE EARTH. I was brand new to your work when I picked this book up, having never read your Jane Yellowrock series (crazy, I know). But I had no trouble at all following the storyline.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Nell Ingram has a power tied to her woods. Magic exists in Nell’s world, along with tech, but she chooses to live apart from both, having been raised in a cult and unused to modern-day conveniences. Until PsyLED, the homeland security branch that deals with paranormals, shows up needing her help.
Of all the characters you’ve created, why did you choose Nell as your focus in this series?
I think of the current market as the Yellow Brick Road of Literature. Vampires and godlings and weres! Oh my! Vampires and godlings and weres! Along with the witches and the flying monkeys and the tech versus magic. It’s been done. And done. And done. Including by me! I needed to try for a different kind of character, one with a new and deadly kind of magic, one who can think outside of the usual paranormal box and into new problems and solutions. Nell is that new, earth magic character—a yinehi, which is a Cherokee word for fairy or one of the little people. She is hard to write, but that makes her intriguing and deep and full of silences and darkness. I adore her.
How did you decide on her particular type of magic for the series? Jane Yellowrock is a shifter who deals with vampires, werewolves and magic users, but Nell is decidedly different from all those we’ve seen before.
I lived way outside of the nearest city when I was a kid, in a neighborhood that had only recently been farmland. My best friend lived down the hill, across the creek, and up the next hill. Mama used to shoo me out of the house and into the woods to play. I lived in the woods. I was a tree hugger before that lifestyle was popular. When I was sad or feeling alone, I’d go into the woods and hug trees. There is a majesty to the living things and a power to the earth. It was magic to me. I pulled from those memories to make Nell’s magic. She takes me new places in my own brain and back to roots I’d partially forgotten.
Did you find it challenging to write someone as cut off from the world as Nell? She seems so innocent one moment, world-wise the next.
Yeah. Nell is difficult to write. She is 23, which should make her young, but she was married at age 12, widowed at age 19. From that early age, when children should be in school and at play, she negotiated for her rights, and also fought the polygamous cult that still wants her. Nell knows all about sex, but nothing about romance, all about the land, but nothing about non-cult people. She could run and be safe, but stands strong for the possibility of being able to help her sisters, girls still caught in a lifestyle she hates. She is seemingly easy to write, yet ends up so dang complex. I credit my editor at ACE/ROC, Jessica Wade, for helping me with Nell’s voice and for giving me the time to make her right.
Having read about the PsyLED team in BLOOD OF THE EARTH, I’m eager to see the team develop even more as individual characters. Do you have anything in mind for them you’re willing to share?
Some of them need to have romances—and not just Nell. Tandy is so very alone. I want so much for the empath: to be accepted and happy and in love, and yet I can see how easily he might use his gift wrongly or be used wrongly by an Alpha character. It would be so easy for him to slip away and into a dark path. I want to see JoJo advance and become the take-charge woman she really is. I want to see T. Laine reveal her power (and yes, there is more there than meets the eye!) And Occam? Well I think he’s hot and sexy as hell, but he lived in a cage. I need to see just how quickly he can learn new tricks. Some of the other characters need their butts kicked. Oh wait… Yeah. That happens!
And of course I had to ask this. Will Nell find any romance on her horizon?
Nell has lived a hard life. She has to find romance. She has to find sex and joy and love. But it has to be the right person. Occam wants her, no doubt about that. But I am not sure if he is the right “man” for her. We’ll see.
My last question for you—What’s next in store for Nell? How many books do you plan to write in this series?
Everything is up to the fans. Nell is a trilogy, and while her story is written to be wrapped up in three novels, that could change. That said, I have a lot on my plate!
Thank you so much for being with us today, Faith. Your work is amazing and I’m so glad you’re growing your world with a new series. Now I can work my way through Jane’s books and Nell’s as well!
My pleasure. Thanks for having me!
The publisher is giving away 2 sets of books, each set containing a copy of SKINWALKER and BLOOD OF THE EARTH to a U.S. or Canadian resident. Simply comment here to enter to win!