Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tush's Ten with author Jordan L Hawk

Tush's Ten Questions – Jordan L. Hawk

Five about the author

1. Who are you, and where do you come from?

I’m Jordan L. Hawk, and I come from a long line of badass, bootlegging, take-no-prisoners wild women. I grew up in rural North Carolina and currently live outside of Charlotte with three of the world’s dumbest cats.

2. What inspires you?

Music, nature, art, history,!

3. Describe your writing style in three words:

Action, romance, horror

4. I absolutely loved your novel, Hainted. What inspired the story? How did the idea start?

Thank you! A bit over a decade ago, I wrote a short story, which would become the genesis of Hainted. I wanted to write something with a bit of magic in it, set in the area where I grew up. The story itself was really different from Hainted, but it featured a farmer named Dan taking care of his younger brother and sister after the deaths of their parents. I liked the setting and characters, and I wanted to write a longer work about them. I figured out Dan was gay, and his love interest would be a hot gothy guy more used to the big city than rural life, and even that the love interest was looking for help against some big bad wizard. But that was it.

I poked at the idea now and again over the years, but something was missing. I tried to figure out the different rules of the world, what sort of magical/paranormal abilities there were, but it just didn’t go anywhere.

So I gave up. Set it aside and didn’t think about it for years. Until one day, while I was out exercising, I randomly remembered the story and suddenly realized they were neo-shamans who escorted the dead to the afterlife. That was the missing element. I whipped out my little pocket notebook and started scribbling. By the time I was done, I had five pages of notes, and the story that had languished for over ten years was suddenly on fire and moving forward.

5. What’s next in store for you?

I’m currently working on Threshold, the sequel to Widdershins. I’ve also got four more novellas to write in the SPECTR series. I’ve got a ménage short story coming out next week, “Heart of the Dragon,” which is by far the hottest thing I’ve written yet.

Five about the book

Hunter of Demons is the first in the Spectr series by Jordan L. Hawk.

1. Tell us a little about the story. What inspired it?

Here’s another one where the seed lay in my subconscious for years without germinating. When vampires got really popular a while back, I wondered if there was anything left to say about them. One of the things that struck me was that no one—as far as I knew, anyway—had tackled their folkloric origins as body-hopping demons, who possessed whatever corpse was at hand and kept doing it until the village was dead or the vampire trapped. (Stakes, for example, were originally meant to pin the vampire in place in the coffin and keep it from roaming around, not to destroy it in some fashion.)

I had an idea...but not a story. And so it stayed nothing but a vague idea, until one day I started to wonder what would happen if one of these vampire spirits possessed a dead person—just as that person was revived with modern medicine. Would they both end up having to share the same body? How would they feel about it? How would they deal with it?

From there, it was just a matter of building the world around the concept.

2. This is the first of a series? What’s next in store? Will there be more of the same characters, or brand new ones?

There will be a total of six novellas in the SPECTR series. I structured the series a bit like a season of television: each episode has its “monster of the week,” but there is an overall story arc with a big bad and an epic confrontation at the end. One of the things I had to plan out from the beginning was how the web of relationships between the three protagonists—John, Caleb, and Gray—will work out, and how to pace it through multiple installments.

Which is a long-winded way of saying “yes, more of the same characters.”  

3. Why are stories with horror so appealing? What is it you like, and how did you get into writing it (so well!)?

Thank you! I’ve always read horror: when I was little, there was a series of kid’s books called “Alfred Hitchcock presents” (not to be confused with the TV series of the same name) that I read over and over again. I devoured stories about werewolves and curses and nameless horrors, alongside high fantasy and mystery. Heck, even my favorite nursery stories were the more horrific ones: Grimm’s “The Almond Tree” (also called “The Juniper Tree”) includes the murder of a child, followed by cannibalism. Somehow all of these things got mashed up together in my head, so my favourite stories contain elements of both paranormal and horror.

As for why are they so appealing...for me it’s because supernatural horror invokes the imagination, just as fantasy and paranormal romance does. It does it in a darker fashion, of course, but it’s another side of the same emotion of wonder and discovery. It still appeals to my geeky side. Which is also probably why I find slasher horror and religiously-themed horror boring.

(The exception to this would be author Jeff Strand’s horror novels, many of which have the slasher theme, but are absolutely hilarious. Yes, I said hilarious. I never thought I’d laugh at a scene where the protagonist is searching for a quarter in a severed head, either, but somehow Strand pulls it off.)

4. As a story comes in three parts, pick me three music videos that reflect how you feel the story goes.

Just three? ;) I make elaborate soundtracks for all of my works, so this is an easy one. I’m going to cheat a little though, and instead offer one song for each of the three main characters.

This is for Gray, the vampire spirit: “Trip the Darkness” by Lacuna Coil

This is for Caleb, the possessed twink with a bad attitude, who is seeing his life fall apart thanks to Gray: “Nothing Left for Me” by Spineshank

And for reasons that make no sense anywhere outside of my own skull, for John the hotshot federal exorcist we have “Automaton” by Abney Park:

5. If your book was a movie, or a music video, how would it go? Talk me through it ;p

Cue the dramatic lighting! Everything is very gritty, opening with an old southern house falling into ruin. It’s all shot with a very desaturated palette, until Gray comes bursting on the scene, then crank up the color. There’s a lot of people running, looking dramatic, and long hair flying in the wind. Then they get naked. Roll credits. ;)

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Caleb sat on the floor, trying not to think, trying not to feel.
The exorcism hadn’t worked. Of course it hadn’t; what had he expected from a bunch of Specs? Maybe it had all just been a show, trying to punish him for going unregistered.
What were they going to do with him now? Take him away, definitely. Lock him up somewhere, most likely. Wait for the monster inside him to take control permanently…maybe?
Something stirred within, a tiger awakened from a semi-doze. “Why would I do such a thing?”
Caleb pressed his lips together, but he couldn’t silence his thoughts. Demons—NHEs—whatever the fuck you wanted to call them—possessed people. Everyone, mal and normal alike, was warned from childhood not to strike bargains, not to do anything to attract the attention of etheric entities. Community relations officers came into schools twice a year: don’t do drugs, don’t drink and drive, don’t play with loaded guns, don’t summon demons. He’d never thought much about it, except as one of the perils of life, like looking both ways before crossing the street.
And now here he was. Doomed.
“Are all mortals so illogical?”
It was trying to trick him. The thing in his head, the thing which had killed Ben—
“Mortals are not prey. Our prey is demons. And now we are too late, and I cannot even smell it anymore.”
Not “our,” there wasn’t any “our,” no matter what the monster inside wanted him to think. And yet the urge to get up and run into the night, to track the demon down, to bite and kill, twisted around Caleb’s spine.
No. He dug his nails into his palms, hard. He was still human. He wouldn’t give in.

© Jordan L. Hawk

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