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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Author Interview: Jana Oliver

I am extremely excited to feature Jana Oliver on The Tales Compendium today!

Jana is the author of the very cool, and totally kick-ass, The Demon Trapper's Daughter (also published under Forsaken in the UK and Australia). You can read my review here.

What inspired you to write The Demon Trapper's Daughter?
As I was reading various young adult paranormal novels the one thing I missed was a take-charge heroine. There are some out there (Dru from Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels Series comes to mind) but most heroines were pretty (dare I saw it?) wimpy. So I figured I’d write a book I’d like to read. I wanted a heroine who got into scrapes, used her head and lived to tell the tale. Not all of her decisions would be smart, but at least she was in the middle of it all, trying her best. That’s how Riley Blackthorne was “born”.

Can you tell us a little about our heroine Riley?

Riley is a fairly average seventeen-year-old who is having a rough life. Her mom died from cancer several years back, her family’s condo burned and now she and her dad are living in a tiny apartment trying to pay off her mom’s humongous medical bills. At the beginning of Demon Trapper’s Daughter, Riley can’t get a break. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change much over the course of the book. At the heart of the story is a girl trying to keep her head above water, fighting back against nearly impossible odds.

One thing is clear––she is a daddy’s girl and is keen to make her father (Paul) proud of her. That drive often gets her into situations she is ill-equipped to handle, but I really admire Riley’s guts. She just doesn’t back down even when that’s the smart thing to do.

Where did your ideas come from for all those pesky demons?
I had great fun dreaming up the Hellspawn. I decided rather than having them all be the same, there were be different types ranging from the annoying to really deadly. Can’t find your earrings or your watch? Probably a Klepto-Fiend stole it because they’re really into bling. Something tearing up your library? Blame a Biblio-Fiend. The bigger and nastier fiends come in different varieties as well. Most of those will give you nightmares. Sometimes I spook myself wondering exactly how my brain comes up with this stuff.

Can you tell us anything about what we can expect in Soul Thief, the sequel to TDTD?
Soul Thief opens up the overall story considerably. We learn more about the history of the Demon Trappers and about the Demon Hunters (the Vatican’s crack team). On the personal side, Riley and Beck go through some really rough times courtesy of their poor decisions. And we learn about Ori’s agenda. The book is a game changer for almost all of the characters and wasn’t easy to write, but I’m very proud of the final result.

Did you have playlist while writing TDTD?
I do use playlists and the one for the book is here. Once you listen to Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road”, you’ll know Beck even better. As for Riley, Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” is pretty much her theme song for me.

If it was made into a film, who do you see as the perfect Riley?
Depending on the day, I veer back and forth between Emma Roberts and Alexandra Daddario . Either of those ladies would do a fine Riley.

Your first series, The Time Rovers, was first published in 2006 and has won twelve out of the fifteen nominations it has received. Do you plan on adding any more titles to the three already released?
I hope to add more to the series down the line. The Rovers books are a mix of time travel, fantasy, historical mystery and romance. The first three are set in 1888 London which required a LOT of research to get the details correct. Because of that and my crazy schedule for the Demon Trappers Series, it’ll be a while before I can get back to write another Rovers book. I will eventually. I love that series.

Do you have any must-haves while writing?
A comfy chair, a window and good music. Most everything else is optional. As long as the work doesn’t feel like a “job” I’m good. And I know the next question: “What are you listening to at this moment?” Right now it’s "Corryvreckan" by William Jackson (Land of Light album). Before that it was Alter Bridge and Simon & Garfunkel. I’m an omnivore when it comes to tunes.

Who are your favourite young adult authors?
Though he’s more of a Middle Grade author, I love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. I just started reading Andrew Lane’s Young Sherlock Holmes Series and I’m quite enjoying it. And I’m fond of dark dystopian tales like Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker. One thing in common here, these all have male protagonists. Apparently I like reading about guys (LOL)

Which fictional character would you like to trade places with?
Wow, that is NOT an easy question. It would be tempting to say Professor Moriarty because he’s a diabolic super villain matching wits with Sherlock Holmes. But then, that would be a lot of work and I’d get tossed in jail first time out. No, I’m thinking it would be better to putter around like Mrs. Hudson. Clearly out of the danger (providing you don’t count Sherlock’s habit of shooting up his parlor), but still around the genius and his doctor buddy.

In my own books? I’d like to be Carmela Wilson, the doctor for the Demon Trappers. I suspect she could be a lot of fun when she’s not patching up one of the guys.

A massive thankyou to Jana Oliver for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. Soul Thief/Forbidden will be released 1st September 2011!

*happy dance*

Jana's website


  1. Great interview Jess, I have a copy of this but just haven't got around to reading it yet.

  2. Love the interview! Riley sounds awesome. I love a strong heroine that isn't afraid to get amongst it.


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