Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Post: Jana Oliver

UFI welcomes Jana Oliver Author of The Demon Trappers Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

I am an urban fantasy junkie. I *love* tales of a dysfunctional city paired with a lone-wolf (vampire, witch, wizard, banshee) hero or heroine fighting the forces of Supreme Evil. Or at least the forces of Something Really Nasty.

Urban fantasy’s existence has been attributed to a number of authors, including Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake Series) and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan Series. Certainly others have nurtured this sub-genre from its infancy, including such authors as Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong and Ilona Andrews (to name a few).

But how does an author write a classic urban fantasy, a genre often known for adult sexual situations and brutal battle scenes, for a younger reader? If you tone down those elements, is it still urban fantasy?

Those were the decisions I had to make when I wrote the Demon Trappers Series. Since my heroine is seventeen I could have written a campy version where the demons aren’t a serious threat and my heroine never gets hurt. Or I can embrace those urban fantasy themes and make them appropriate to teens.

Though other authors have done themselves proud by keeping their stories lighter, I went with “reality”. To me, Riley Blackthorne’s apprenticeship in the Demon Trappers Guild mirrored the experiences of countless young women in male-dominated professions. Besides the harassment, she has to face demons that will happily steal her soul or make her their Happy Meal®. When she tangles with these Hellspawn there are injuries and they don’t heal overnight. There are consequences to her decisions and sacrifices to be made.

I also knew that I had to balance that darkness with humor and strong interpersonal relationships. One of the reasons I love the genre is the dark humor (Jim Butcher is particularly known for that). You can’t have a hero or heroine wading through hip-deep evil and not have crack a joke every now and then or the book will just be depressing. Humor is one way we deal with misfortune. Fortunately, Riley exhibits a delightfully snarky sense of humor, as do some of my other characters.

A good urban fantasy has solid world-building that pulls you right into the story. For me, creating a dysfunctional Atlanta teeming with necromancers, witches and different types of demons was a lot of fun. Setting up the conflict between Heaven and Hell proved to be challenging, but added something special to the mix.

No matter how incredible the world or how cunning the evil doers, relationships are the glue that holds the story together. Because Riley doesn’t attend a regular high school, I make sure to have her spend time with her “normal” friends. Partly this keeps her grounded as a teen and it always reminds her just how much of her life she’s given up in pursuit of the demons.

In truth, authors often pen stories they can’t find elsewhere. I like to think that in my own way I’ve added to urban fantasy’s wide canvas and, in the process, written a story I’ve always wanted to read.


I’ve always been a bit “outside the box” and when I started writing I didn’t deviate from that plan. Flaunting conventional wisdom, I self-published my first three books in an effort to learn how publishing actually works. I learned a lot, including such arcane skills as how to calculate a book’s spine size and typeset a manuscript.

After spending a couple years honing my skills, I sold my Time Rovers® Series to Dragon Moon Press in 2005. That series (SOJOURN, VIRTUAL EVIL and MADMAN’S DANCE) was nominated for fifteen awards and has won twelve to date. Which still amazes me. I’ve also sold short stories and non-fiction articles for various anthologies.

My ultimate goal was a contract with one of the major publishing houses and that came to fruition in April 2009 when I signed with St. Martin’s Press. The Demon Trappers Series, a Young Adult Urban Fantasy series set in Atlanta, debuted in January 2011 in the United Kingdom and February 2011 in the United States. I’ve also written short fiction and non-fiction for various anthologies.
Though I’m an Iowan by birth, I live in Atlanta. I credit my crazy imagination for my success and honestly believe I have the best job in the world. And I love single malt scotch and expensive chocolate. Not a bad combination.
Find Jana and her books

Soul Thief
The Demon Trappers #2
August 30, 2011

Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them…
Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there's Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad.  With all the hassles, Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether. 

But as Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever…


The Demon Trappers Daughter
The Demon Trappers #1
February 1, 2011
Demon Trapper Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what Lucifer is counting on…

It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by the economic upheavals of the previous decade, Lucifer has increased the number of demons in all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night. Seventeen-year-old Riley, only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing attraction to fellow Trapper apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving citizens from Grade One Hellspawn. Business as usual, really, for a demon-trapping teen. When a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood, she realizes that she’s caught in the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell.

New Releases Aug 21-27

Tues Aug 23

Blood Bound (Unbound, #1) by Rachel Vincent
Nocturne (Claire de Lune, #2) by Christine Johnson
Possess by Gretchen McNeil
The Shadow Wolf by Bonnie Vanak
Tantalize: Kieren's Story by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Ming Doyle
Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong
Please let me know if you see a mistake or find that something is missing =) Happy reading.