4.25.2011

Contest Reminder: Demon Trapper's Daughter & Author Interview

THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER
Demon Trappers Book 1
by Jana Oliver
Available Now!
(US Cover & Title)
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Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…



Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.


But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

REVIEW

From the onset Demon Trappers Daughter held me attention, I felt like it grabbed me by the lapel and shook me until I was hooked. Riley Blackthorne is one tough chick who has a fantastic mix of attitude, self deprecating humor, and a fierce desire to prove herself worthy of the Blackthorne family name. Mix in an adorably fiendish demon that pisses florescent green on you, curses up a storm, flips you the bird, can wreck a library in seconds flat, and tries to bargain his way out of trouble ("Boon I grant thee!") means that you are crazy if you don't fall instantly in love with this book. Reading from Riley's point of view you will laugh love and despair with her, cry with her, and you will always be her on.

Then there's Beck, older, tough, worldly, and a pain in Riley's ass. The story goes that she had a serious crush on him but as he's her father's apprentice, ex-military, and there's an age gap that was a problem. So Beck lets Riley know that there's is no chance in hell he'd ever consider dating her. From that humiliating point on Riley thinks of Beck as the enemy. The guy who humiliated her and then the one who, as she sees it, takes up all of her father's time. Their bickering, grudging respect, secretly still attracted, resentful relationship is like an onion, there are a lot of layers and they go through the ringer and into the deep fryer because because of each other. Beck has always had to fight for and with everything and he's hard on himself. Through Beck we witness Riley go from having a hard life of her own in this dystopian version of Atlanta, to her have to grow up and cope with an impossible situation. Beck journey isn't easy, but as he watches someone he considers his responsibility push him away and fall for someone else, I was completely with him and rooting for him every step of the way.

Don't get confused by the US and UK versions, they have different titles and covers (see the UK version, Forsaken, pictured left), but it's the same ridiculously awesome book.

Urban fantasy is a genre that's rich but crowded, it's difficult to read one that feels fresh, enticing, dangerous, and deliciously familiar all at once. Blending urban fantasy with a gritty dystopian backdrop Demon Trapper's Daughter is the first in a series that will make you sit up and take notice. This is one of those novels that transcends the YA classification, any fan of this genre will fall head over heels for this story. If you are like me and follow religiously the cults of Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Patty Briggs, and Rob Thurman (just to name the tip of the iceberg) then trust me that this is a series for you.

IB Teen Blog Interview with Jana Oliver

IBT: Who was easier to write, Riley or Beck?



JO: To start with, Beck was the easier of the two. I “heard” him right off, Southern drawl and all. I knew his background, his hopes and fears, all of it. Riley was definitely more of a challenge and took longer for me because she was seventeen. I wanted to ensure she was a realistic young adult in terms of emotions, speech and actions. Since it’s been some years since I was that age, it took longer to achieve “Riley-ness”.


IBT:  What are your key ingredients to a good story?


JO: I love a story that grabs onto me and doesn’t let go. I want multi-layered characters, a pretty complex plot and unforeseen outcomes. I love to be surprised. Stories that plod, have one-dimensional characters or an author who doesn’t bother to build a believable world, don’t get finished. Life is too short for boring books. You know, I think that should be a bumper sticker (LOL).


IBT: There's a wealth of urban fantasy yet Demon Trader's Daughter is exceedingly unique. How challenging is it to pave your own path when making new mythologies or world building?


JO: It’s was a big challenge. I’m always afraid I’m unconsciously borrowing stuff from other authors, which all of us do to some extent or another. I always enjoy a story where the setting/environment is a character in itself, and that requires pre-planning. I started with where Atlanta is today and then made it worse. Lots of “what if this happened?” questions led to outcomes such as a bankrupt school system where the students attend class in abandoned buildings or where the price of gas ($10/gallon) has required the city to retrofit some of the parking places as “retail shopping opportunities”. My alternate Atlanta isn’t dystopian, but it’s getting there.


As for the demons, they’re a mashup of Christian, Jewish and Islamic sources. I borrowed a little from here and there to craft my world with just enough “reality” to make it plausible, though fortunately we are not plagued by Hellspawn at present.


IBT: What is your favorite type of hero?


JO: The flawed one. The one who has to face his/her own personal insecurities, overcome them and then do what has to be done no matter the personal cost. The hero can be either male or female. The bottom line is that they face something they fear. I’m also fond of “unintended consequences.” A hero makes a decision and it ripples out into the world in ways he/she never thought possible. This is a variant on the old adage: “No good deed goes unpunished.”


IBT: Will we ever hear the story of the Blackthorne house fire? Was a Pyro demon involved? Or is it back story and ultimately not essential to the bigger picture?


JO: I might end up writing about the condo fire one of these days. I’m guessing there was a Pyro-Fiend in the mix and I think that might be fun to write about. They are so…incendiary. I’d love to write about Beck’s capture in the Marta station that required a Hazmat team. I can only imagine what led to that disaster.


IBT: "Boon I grant thee..." coming from a three inch tiny demon with major attitude problem or a tiny bling obsessed ninja-clad demon (with a bad rap in my opinion) are well, precious. How or where did you come up with the little fiends?


JO: I decided it was going to be easier for the readers if I graded the Hellspawn according to cunning and lethality, Grade One through Five. At the bottom end of the scale are fiends that are annoying, but not necessarily lethal. The Biblio-Fiend (book hating demon) seemed a logical pest for libraries and bookstores and a rather nasty fellow at that. The Klepto-Fiend (aka Magpie because of their obsessive love of shiny objects) explains why we can never find stuff in our house. Like the ring that went missing in my bedroom that showed up underneath the carpet runner in our downstairs hallway. Rather than blame that weirdness on fairies, I figured there had to be a demon involved. Since they’re small, they have mega attitude. Somehow that fits the little guys.


IBT: As an author how do you respond to those who think censorship is a necessary evil?


JO: There are certain books I know aren’t my thing, but that doesn’t give me the right to tell someone else they shouldn’t read them. I have no issues with parents auditing what their children read, but deciding what they find offensive should apply to the rest of the world is, to be blunt, rather arrogant. Each child and adult is unique. We read different material and we process that material differently. So yes, censorship is evil, but not necessary.


IBT: Reading Demon Trapper's Daughter I felt as if you didn't pull any punches, but did you find that you censored yourself knowing that what you were writing was intended primarily for a younger audience?


JO: I didn’t rein myself in as much as I might have. Now when I look back at some of the scenes I go “Whoa!” But then young adults have been exposed to more of the real world than I was at that age. They are plugged in, they are aware of the bigger issues, the fact that sometimes there isn’t a happy ending. Some have lost their parents or a sibling to illness or war. I felt that if I pulled those punches, not shown the risks inherent to Riley’s profession, it would be sending the wrong message. I’d be telling my younger readers they were too immature to handle the tough stuff, when in fact they face that tough stuff every day of their lives.


IBT: The short story Retro Demonology is an inspired way to get readers thirsty for more. I love that author/publishers are now offering these free little jewels up to tempt readers. Will there be any others in the future?


JO: I thought it was a great idea when my publisher asked me to write Retro Demonology. One scene I’d love to tell is Beck’s nightmare capture of a Pyro in a rush hour MARTA station (which I mention in Demon Trapper’s Daughter). I just have to figure out why it was such a disaster (LOL).


IBT: I'm curious, if you could have dinner with any three people (living, imaginary, or dead), who would they be and why?


JO: Edgar Allan Poe (providing he was sober). Inspector George Abberline (he was in charge of the Jack the Ripper investigation). Queen Elizabeth the First since I’d love to have her tell me how she kept those English nobles dancing to her tune all those years.

Jana thank you so much for the interview. You all should check out the Demon Trappers Bonus Short Story that you can find free online!

CONTEST INFORMATION:

-The winner will get a copy of The Demon Trapper's Daughter!
-To enter you must comment on this post
-For 1 extra entry start Following the Blog (Followers will automatically get an extra entry)
-For 1 extra entry: post about this contest on your blog, twitter, or any other site (add the link in the comments please)
-For 1 extra entry Follow the IB Bookmarked Blog (companion to IB Teen Blog)
-Contest is open to all, including international readers

CONTEST ENDS 04/30/11 at 11:59 pm.                                                                       



18 comments:

Margay said...

Great interview! this book looks interesting.

Margay1122ATaolDOTcom

Margay said...

i follow this blog.

Margay1122ATaolDOTcom

missrantsypants said...

Great interview.
I've heard mixed reviews on this book but I still wanna read it!



clarkmurdock@yahoo.com

buddyt said...

It certainly sounds like it could be the start of a good series so I would like to sample it for myself to decide whether or not to buy the next books.

Thanks for the giveaway and especially for opening it to worldwide entries.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Kulsuma said...

Thank you for the great giveaway! The Demon Trapper's Daughter sounds really interesting!
k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk
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elaing8 said...

Great interview.I can't wait to read this book.

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Martha Lawson said...

Very interesting interview! I've been wanting this one since I first saw it on the blogs. It looks to be an awesome book.

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Jenny N. said...

Thanks for the contest!

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mariska said...

Yes, i want this book please..

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donnas said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading the book too it sounds pretty good.

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Jessica said...

Awesome interview! Heard so many good things about this book!

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Aik said...

I can't wait to read this book!

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FairyWhispers said...

Would love to read this book!

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Fi-chan (Bookish-Escape) said...

Thanks!

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Llehn said...

I'd love to play please.

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Natalie said...

This looks really good!
I wanna read it so bad right now.

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. This book sounds good.
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oO Mariana Oo said...

Very nice interview. I´ve read great things about this book, I relly want to read it!!.

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-Mariana S
sarima89 AT gmail DOT com