Jana Oliver answers your questions about The Demon Trappers Series
Q. How many books are planned for the series?
There will be four books in the series, with the last book to be published December, 2012.
Q. Has the series been sold to foreign countries?
As of July, 2011, the series has been sold into the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Brazil (Portuguese translation), Poland, France and Russia. The UK sale actually includes English language rights to several countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and many more.
Q. Is there going to be an audio book?
There will be a German language audio book out in September, 2011. I haven’t heard about any other audio books on the horizon, but the publisher handles all of this and I won’t know anything until the deal is complete.
Q. What about a Demon Trappers movie?
There is a media agent working on the television and film rights for the series and there has been some interest, but nothing to report yet.
Q. Why all of the different titles? It’s confusing.
It is unusual, but not that rare, to have different titles on the foreign editions of a book. It is more common to have different covers on the foreign editions, with some being radically different.
The title that is put on the book, as well as the cover and the back-cover copy, is decided by the publisher. There are a lot of editorial and marketing decisions that go into the selection and the author has limited input to the final decision.
In the U.S. the books are called The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, Soul Thief, Forgiven and Foretold.
In the U.K. the books are called The Demon Trappers: Forsaken, The Demon Trappers: Forbidden, The Demon Trappers: Forgiven, and The Demon Trappers: Foretold.
For the German edition, the first book is called Aller Anfang ist Hölle: Die Dämonenfängerin 1 which roughly translated means ‘All Beginnings are Hell, The Demon Catchers 1.’ Seelenraub, the Second book of the series, will published September of 2012.
Q. How did you come up with the Demon Trappers’ concept?
There were a number of influences. I first began thinking about a novel that would encompass the eternal struggle between Heaven and Hell in 2008 when I saw a print by artist Todd Lockwood. Note – this image contains nudity and a realistic battle scene and is not be safe for school or work. I stared at War of Angels for a very long time. It seriously creeped me out, which means it stuck in my brain. I found the artwork incredibly compelling because the struggle between good and evil is played out on the back of a human being. In many ways that’s how I see us–a fragile balance between the positive and negative.
I’m also fascinated by what I call The Grand Game, the notion that Heaven and Hell are much like the CIA and KGB during the Cold War, each trying to score points off the other without tipping the world into Armageddon. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman veered into this territory in Good Omens, a book I have reread many times. I’ve been eager to explore this territory myself and The Demon Trappers Series allows me that liberty.
I’m also devout fan of Ilona (and Gordon) Andrews’ novels, in particular their KATE DANIELS Series. Their writing is superb and their world building just freakin’ incredible. Kate Daniels’ Atlanta is eerily dystopian with erratic shifts between Tech(nology) and Magic. Phones work. Phones don’t work. Same with cars and lights and all the other stuff we take for granted. The city’s skyscrapers are being gnawed down by magic. Shapeshifters and other weird creatures roam the streets while necromancers ‘pilot’ undead vampires. Add in an emotionally-complex hero and heroine and it’s awesome reading. (Gee, am I a fan or what?)
Ilona and Gordon were (unknowingly) one of the catalysts for my series. After I read their books (and a number of other urban fantasies) I decided I wanted to try one of my own. My original chapter was told from the point of view of a twenty something young woman. I chucked those pages as they sounded too much like every other urban fantasy heroine. A big clue I was on the wrong track: I didn’t know the heroine’s name.
With some urging from P.C. Cast (co-author of the House of Night Series) I tried again. This time I made the heroine seventeen and an apprentice to the Atlanta Demon Trappers Guild. From that point on Riley Blackthorne popped off the page. Cool! That left the world building.
I didn’t dare go anywhere near the Andrews’ world without feeling I was copying their creativity. Though imitation may be a sincere method of flattery it wins you no points in the publishing world. So, I pondered, what would my Atlanta be like? How do I tell Riley’s story without overwhelming it in world-building detail?
After I wrote my first draft of THE DEMON TRAPPER’S DAUGHTER, I realized that the series was on a continuum between current day Atlanta and the Andrews’ dystopian city. If I did it correctly, ‘my’ 2018 Atlanta should sit just a few paces to the right of the real Atlanta and considerably left of Ilona and Gordon’s city (2040’s). Dysfunctional, but not truly screwed up.
In my world I do have necromancers. They don’t pilot the dead, however they do summon the more tidier corpses from their graves and sell them to rich folks as domestic help. A few of those Deaders, as they’re called, have arranged to be reanimated so their families can receive money for their service, much like of the Andrews’ would-be vamps who sold themselves to the necros and were then infected with the immortuus pathogen. At present the only vamps in my series are the wannabes.
My Atlanta’s economy is in the toilet (the city is bankrupt), metal is extremely valuable and gas is over ten a gallon. Horses and other means of transportation are employed while parking places are being converted to little shopping stalls to generate revenue for the city. A booming marketplace has cropped up in the midst of Centennial Park and there is an active market for Holy Water and magical supplies.
From that point on my world diverges from the continuum in a number of ways. First the Demon Trappers themselves. Riley is the youngest member of the Guild, a traditionally male organization, and her apprentice status has caused hard feelings amongst the trappers. With her mother dead, Riley depends on her father (Paul) to keep things in perspective, but his position as a Master Trapper puts him at risk. Riley’s life is not an easy one as she learns a new profession, deals with new relationships and comes to term with the personal betrayals. She’s a teen in a tough situation who has to learn what it’s like to be herself, while trying to be someone new.
In my stories, Riley Blackthorne isn’t a young Kate Daniels, but I’d like to think if they ever met they’d respect each other for their accomplishments and their ability to survive all that life throws at them.
Q. How do you come up with the characters names? Do you know what they look like?
Names just come to me when I’m writing. Riley, for instance. Her full name is Riley Anora Blackthorne. Riley means ‘valiant’ and Anora means ‘light’. Valiant light, which is exactly how I see her.
Paul Blackthorne’s name was chosen in homage to the actor who played Harry Dresden on the SciFi Channel. If you’re not familiar with Wizard Dresden’s exploits, be sure to check out Jim Butcher’s excellent series.
Though you wouldn’t guess it, Denver Beck’s first name is a window into his tormented childhood. His mother picked the name off the first magazine she saw in the hospital after she’d given birth to him. She really didn’t care what he was called, but had to put something on the birth certificate. It was bad enough the name she listed as his dad belonged to a guy who’d died years before.
An author’s idea of what her characters look like is rarely how the readers envision them. So at the risk of receiving, “You’ve got to be kidding!” e-mails, here’s how I see a few of my people. Feel free to see them in your own way. They are, after all, yours just as much as mine.
As for what Riley looks like, I’m thinking Emma Roberts or Alexandra Daddario. Riley has long brown hair and expressive eyes. She can execute a smirk or an eyeroll with the best of them. She’s pretty, but not a stunner because the really cool thing about Riley isn’t her looks, but the depth of her soul. Alex Pettyfer (shown here with Emma) pretty much is my Simon. And Beck, well, now he might be a surprise to my reader. Lex Shrapnel (an English actor) so reminds me of Denver. Here’s another photo.
Of course, each of you will have your own ideas and that is great too. Here is a video made by Saniya, a fan of the series, that is very cool!
And here is a link to a photo collage that was put together by Jennifer.
Q. What do you have against Atlanta?
Snigger. I knew this question was going to come up. I chose Atlanta as the setting for the series primarily because it was so much easier to do the research. If I want to know what the inside of the Demon Trappers’ favorite bar looks like (Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House across from Oakland Cemetery), I’m there. If I want to check out Demon Central (Five Points), I can toddle down on the MARTA and wander around all I want. It’s just wonderful being that close to the series setting, unlike with my Time Rover Series that required a lot of web research and a once per year trip to London which did considerable damage to my credit card balance.
Still, I do work Atlanta over pretty good. In my stories the city is bankrupt, trying to cope with a crumbling infrastructure and all those demons running around. I’m sorry about that, guys. But not completely. What is more fun that setting a story about the Grand Game between Heaven and Hell in a city inside the Bible Belt?
Q. Why made did you make Five Points ‘Demon Central’ in the series? Why not Midtown or Buckhead?
For those who don’t live in or near Atlanta, Five Points is the area near Underground Atlanta. I never would have thought about using Five Points as the prime hunting territory of the Grade Three demons if it hadn’t been for the holes. Holes, you say? It seems that there’s been subsidence in the Five Points area, partly because of old collapsed steam vents and the fact that parts of that location are actually raised above grade level. When I was just starting the first book, story after story appeared in the local news about the holes so I incorporated them and made that part of the city Demon Central, at least according to the Trappers.
Q. Are you going to go all Dan Brown on the Catholics in your series?
Nope. Not going there, though it would probably generate book sales like crazy. I decided right up front that the Catholic Church and the Vatican weren’t going to be targets. As I see it, they’re just as much pawns in the Grand Game as the rest of us.
The very devout Simon Adler (Riley’s potential boyfriend) offers me the opportunity to examine his spiritual journey as he learns that not everything in this world is black and white, that faith is a dynamic, not static, concept. Simon just happened to be Catholic. I could have made him a Methodist, a Jew or a Muslim. The journey is the same for all of us.
Q. Can you tell us more about the Demons?
Sure, but better than that, I have prepared a video where I talk about some of the grade one demons that Riley encounters in The Demon Trapper’s Daughter.