Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interview: John Hartness

UFI welcomes John Hartness Author of Hard Day's Knight. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

I grew up wanting to teach High School English, but gave it up when I saw how terribly teachers are paid for their time. In a fit of poor logic, I decided to major in acting instead, which is one of few fields less lucrative than teaching. But it all worked out in the end.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Since I still have a day job, writing is what I do in my down time :). But when I’m not working either of those jobs, I love going to concerts, live music is a huge passion of mine. I also play a lot of poker, typically poorly.

What is your Favorite part of writing? 

Dialogue. Maybe it’s so many years in the theatre, but I find dialogue comes easily to me, and I enjoy writing in my characters’ voices. Sometimes I fear that I get a little chat-heavy, but I think I throw in enough jokes to keep people interested.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write? 

Music is the big one - I can’t write without it. Typically I write sitting at my desk in my home office. I can’t really write with my laptop on my lap, and I can’t write if there’s a lot going on around me. So generally I’ll head into the office, fire up iTunes, pick an artist based on what the action is likely to be, slip on my noise-cancelling headphones, and hammer on the keyboard for an hour or so. I also never stop for the night at a good end point. I try to go a little bit further down the road, or just over the next hill, so it’s easier to start up the next night.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Genres?

I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, as well as Kim Harrison. The Sandman Slim novels by Richard Kadrey are pretty awesome, too.

How would you pitch Hard Days Knight to someone who has never heard of it before? 

My elevator pitch goes something like this - “Snarky non-sparkling vampire detectives have to save the world. Hilarity ensues. If you like Joss Whedon shows or Kevin Smith movies, you’ll be all over this.”

Which character was your favorite to write about?

What about the hardest to write about? Jimmy is the easiest to write, because his voice is very similar to my own. I like writing all of the major characters, but Mike is probably the toughest, because he’s just such a good person. I’m an unrepentant wiseass, so writing someone who is so sincere is a stretch for me. But that’s why it’s fiction, right? :)

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Hard Days Knight is set in? 

Hard Day’s Knight is set in our world, 100% the same world we live in every day. There are just a few critters running around that you and I may not be aware of. Like vampires, demons, trolls, witches and the like. But it’s out world. I specifically chose to set the book in Charlotte, NC because I live here and can refer to specific geographical or cultural things and be as detailed as I need to be. There really is a strip mall with a McDonald’s and a police station in it, just like where I set one of the big zombie fight scenes. It’s right around the corner from my house.

Do you have a favorite scene in Hard Days Knight ?

That’s a real tough one. Some folks have told me they really loved the boys playing mailbox baseball with the zombies, but I think the scene with Jimmy at the strip club might be my favorite. I really enjoyed writing his discomfort, and the scenes with him and Lilith and Phil set up a lot of things to come in later books, and it was a lot of fun to write a scene where the “hero” is completely out of his element and not really in control.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you? 

Back in Black is Vol. 2 of The Black Knight Chronicles, and it’s available now. Knight Moves is Vol. 3, and it should be released this summer. I have at least five books planned for this series, and probably more. I’ve got most of the “big bads” figured out for five or six books, and I enjoy writing these characters, so there’s no reason to quit now.

Author Bio: John G. Hartness is a recovering theatre geek who likes loud music, fried pickles and cold beer. He’s been published or accepted online in several journals including The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, cc&d, Deuce Coupe and Truckin’.

His first novel, The Chosen, is an urban fantasy about saving the world, snotty archangels, gambling, tattooed street preachers, immortals with family issues, bar brawls and the consequences of our decisions.

He followed up The Chosen with Hard Day’s Knight, a new twist on the vampire detective novel and the first in a planned series of at least five books. The second book of The Black Knight Chronicles, Back in Black, landed in March 2011 and has enjoyed immediate success.

John has been called “the Kevin Smith of Charlotte,” and fans of Joss Whedon and Jim Butcher should enjoy his snarky slant on the fantasy genre. His next novel, Knight Moves (Black Knight Chronicles Vol. 3) is due out in the summer of 2011.

He can be found online at and spends too much time on Twitter, especially after a few drinks.

Hard Day's Knight
Black Night Chronicles #1
October 21, 2010
Children are missing.

The police are stumped.

Halloween is coming, with an ancient evil on the horizon.

The vampires are the good guys.

This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, NC. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to keep a young client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.

Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil into the world, and enlist the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.
Find John and his books
Next stop: May 19 – My Bookish Ways