Jess Haines writes about furred and fanged things that go bump in the night. Best known for the H&W Investigations urban fantasy series, she’s been writing since she was a teenager and was first published in 2010. Her latest release is Forsaken by the Others (Kensington/Zebra; July 2, 2013). Visit her at JessHaines.com for the latest news and updates. Jess can also be found on Twitter as @Jess_Haines, on her blog, Goodreads, and Facebook.
Jess was kind enough to talk about her latest book, Forsaken by the Others, and more!
Kristin Centorcelli: Jess, will you tell us a little about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Jess Haines: Sure. I’m a displaced New Yorker who loves writing about fanged, bite-y creatures of the night and the people who are scared pantsless of them. Writing started out as a very time-consuming hobby when I was a teen and eventually grew into a profession when I figured out people might actually pay money to read my stuff.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy coffee, bacon, chocolate, and a lot of other things that taste good but are probably bad for me. I’m also a bad movie aficionado. Favorites include such gems as The Pest, Tank Girl, Tremors, The New Guy, and more movies you probably hate. You can find me lurking in dark corners of the internet like these:
KC: The 5th installment of your H&W Investigation series, FORSAKEN BY THE OTHERS, will be out in July! Will you tell us a bit about the series and its heroine, Shiarra Waynest?
JH: Absolutely! If you’re not familiar with the H&W Investigations Series, it’s about Shiarra Waynest, a human private investigator who is phobic of vampires and most things Other (supernatural), but keeps finding herself in situations where she has to work with them anyway.
I’ll give you the short-short version of each novel in the H&W Investigations series:
- Book 1 – HUNTED BY THE OTHERS: Shiarra Waynest, a private investigator, is blackmailed into retrieving an artifact from a vampire. The problem? As a human, she doesn’t stand a chance against the Others.
- Book 2 – TAKEN BY THE OTHERS: With the artifact destroyed, Shia believes her dealings with the supernaturals in town are over—but the vampires, werewolves, and monster hunters in town believe otherwise…
- Book 3 – DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS: Determined to get away from the troubles plaguing her in the city, Shia goes on a vacation with her werewolf boyfriend—along with his entire pack—in the Catskills.
- Book 4 – STALKING THE OTHERS: After the events and subsequent betrayal Shia experienced in the last book, she’s done being pushed around. If she’s going down, she’ll take out as many of her enemies as she can—and hope that in the process, she keeps whatever humanity she has left…
- And coming July 2, 2013 is the next installment in the H&W Investigations Series, Book 5 – FORSAKEN BY THE OTHERS:
The Others — vampires, werewolves, things that go chomp in the night — don’t just live in nightmares anymore. They’ve joined with the mortal world. And for private investigator Shiarra Waynest, that means mayhem…
Have a one night stand with a vampire, and you can end up paying for it for eternity. P.I. Shiarra Waynest, an expert on the Others, knows that better than most. Yet here she is, waking up beside charismatic vamp Alec Royce with an aching head…and neck. Luckily, Shia has the perfect excuse for getting out of town–namely, a couple of irate East Coast werewolf packs who’d like to turn her into a chew toy.
On Royce’s suggestion, Shia temporarily relocates to Los Angeles. But something is rotten–literally–in the state of California, where local vampires are being attacked by zombies. Who could be powerful enough to control them–and reckless enough to target the immortal? Following the trail will lead Shia to a terrifying truth, and to an ancient enemy with a personal grudge…
KC: Will you give us a bit of a teaser about what Shiarra is up to in the newest book?
JH: Shiarra has gotten herself into some hot water. For her own safety, Royce is sending her (and her business partner/best friend, Sara) away from New York to stay with another powerful vampire ally.
There’s just one little hitch in their plans of staying safe and under the radar. Clyde Seabreeze, master of Los Angeles, has a zombie problem—and he plans on making the girls solve it for him.
Here’s a little excerpt to give you a taste…
The vampire lounging on the couch in the back nodded, touching the brim of his top hat. It was the only article of clothing he had on that was in good repair. Once he moved his hand, I could see a tattoo or something under one of his eyes.
“Ma’am. Might I ask why you’re calling on us this fine evening?”
Well, at least he was polite. Sara, who had the look of rigid, forced politeness she often assumed when dealing with a client who made her uncomfortable, introduced us.
“Mr. Thrane, my name is Sara Halloway, and this is Shiarra Waynest, my business partner. We’re private investigators.
We wanted to ask for your help, and see if you might have any information that may lead us to a resolution of some difficulties for a client.”
“Wow, right on. Real private investigators?”
I glanced at the guy who had earlier been identified as Mac, giving him a look. He shrugged and grinned.
Thrane was not as impressed. “Fascinating. Really. But I would very much like to know how you two have heard of me and what you think I can do for you.”
My turn to field the questions. “We heard that you’re the ruler of some territory outside of Clyde Seabreeze’s control. If that’s the case, you may have information about who has been behind the murders and disappearances of Clyde’s people.”
Thrane’s reaction was not what I expected. At all. His fangs extended and his eyes blazed red as he shot to his feet, pointing an accusatory finger at me. “You’re working for that… that… usurper?”
Sara grabbed my arm so tight, it went numb. The other vampires didn’t seem very impressed, watching us with bored expressions. Once my heart crawled out of my throat and closer to the region it belonged, I squeaked out a few words.
As suddenly as the anger rose, it was gone. He blinked, and his eyes were normal again, the fangs retracting as he airily waved a hand at us. “Poofty von Metrofaggen can go find someone else to play his games. I’m not interested.”
“Jimmy,” one of the girls stage-whispered, her eyes comically huge in her heart-shaped face framed by inky black curls, “Jimmy, those are humans.”
I have never seen so many vampires so intensely interested in me at the same time. Talk about unnerving. Every one of them went deathly still—and I mean deathly—as their unblinking eyes locked onto us. It was like being stared at by a room full of china dolls. Hungry china dolls that are thinking about eating your face.
KC: The first book in the series, Hunted By the Others, debuted in 2010. What’s it been like for you since then? What’s your favorite part of being a published writer?
JH: There have been a ton of changes for me since the first book came out. I went from working two jobs plus writing books to having one day job plus writing books. I’ve made tons of new friends, have sat on panels with and shaken the hands of authors who I previously looked up to and admired, never thinking I would be considered one of their peers.
It’s an amazing feeling. To be a professional author, to know my books are on the shelves in libraries and bookstores, to see my words translated into other languages—there’s nothing quite like it. Now that I have a taste of it, my next goal for myself is to reach the point of doing this fulltime.
KC: What do you love most about writing urban fantasy?
JH: There are no boundaries. The only limits are your imagination. You can explore possibilities and worlds that were never meant to be.
KC: What are some of your favorite authors or novels?
JH: Aside from urban fantasy, I love horror, epic fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional non-fiction (covering a broad range of topics from travel to philosophy to memoir). My reading tastes, like my taste in movies, are very eclectic. If sufficiently intrigued by a sample or back cover blurb, I’ll read almost anything.
- Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series
- Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series
- Kim Harrison’s Hollows series
- The Coldifre Trilogy by C.S. Friedman
- Many of the DragonLance novels
- ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DUNGEON and its sequel, ONE QUEST, HOLD THE DRAGONS by Greg Costikyan
- Mark Henry’s Amanda Feral series
- Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series
- Laurrell K. Hamilton’s early Anita Blake novels
- Robin Hobb’s Liveship series
- Mary Janice Davidson’s Queen Betsy series
- THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan (yes, this is part of a series, but it’s really the only one I truly enjoyed—the series got too political for my tastes)
- THE ELVENBANE by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
- JOHN DIES AT THE END by David Wong
- NEEDFUL THINGS by Stephen King
- THE TOMMYKNOCKERS by Stephen King
- 1984 by George Orwell
- ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card
- BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
- HAPPY HOUR AT CASA DRACULA by Marta Acosta
- RAPTOR RED by Robert T. Bakker
- JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton
- THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE by Avi
- SPLIT HEIRS by Lawrence Watt-Evans and Esther Friesner
- STEAL THE DRAGON by Patricia Briggs
- UNDER THE FANG (an anthology of vampire short stories, not for the faint of heart/weak of stomach)
And, of course, any Calvin & Hobbes titles.
KC: When you’re not busy at work on your next project, how do you like to spend your free time?
JH: I like watching/MSTing terrible movies, playing tabletop RPGs and board games, building my own computers, dressing up in costume for Ren Faires, collecting swords, going dancing, and will try almost anything once. For example, I’ve eaten bugs. They were delicious.
…don’t judge me.
KC: What’s next for you (and Shiarra and the gang?)
JH: I’m currently working on the 6th H&W Investigations book, which is as yet untitled and guaranteed to be full of drama, zombies, and inappropriate pantsfeelings. I’ll have to get back to you on the details…