Are you looking for a good paranormal-romance novel? The Lycan Hunter may be the novel for you. The story is a clash of two different worlds. We follow Lycan Hunter, Alexis James, who is determined to kill Mikko Kyran, leader of a pack of Lycans. Mikko must deal with the hunter as he is trying to bring an end to an eight thousand year war that has been raging in his world. The attraction between the two places their worlds in the balance, as the Hunters, Lycans, and the gods are still at odds.
The Lycan Hunter is author – and fellow gamer – Kelsey Jordan’s debut novel, and the first of her planned Gardinian World series. Since the novel has been released it has been well received, currently averaging 4.4 stars on Good Reads and five stars on Amazon. I had a chance to catch up with the author of the novel and discuss her writing process, how the reception of her book has affected her, if videogames influenced her writing, and more.
How did you get your start as an author?
I started my journey as an author with poetry as a teen. Eventually I made my way to novels after a writing prompt gave me an idea for my first series.
Do you have any writing education, event or workshop participation (such as NaNoWriMo)?
I’ve taken only a few college writing courses and I’ve gone to one convention where I attended a few of their workshops regarding various aspects of writing and publication.
Can you talk about your process? Do you plot your story out beforehand or do you simply write?
My process typically begins after I’ve asked myself a question. The question can be about anything I’m curious about at the moment. My novels are my attempt to answer those questions. That being said, once I ask the question most of the story just comes to me. I don’t actively plot anything. The Lycan Hunter took me roughly ten months to write because of the amount of world building I had to do for the series.
What kind of scope is there on the questions you try to address?
Generally the questions I ask can cover a large scope, but are typically really specific. For example, one of the first novels I ever wrote came about because I had a question about the nature of vampires. I wanted to know why (based on a book I was reading at the time) vampires were killed by shredding their hearts. The problem was that their hearts never beat, so what was the point of “killing” a dead muscle. Beyond that I had to answer biological questions such as: How does the brain get oxygen? or, How does blood nourish a body if the heart doesn’t beat, thus ceasing the blood circulation? Sometimes my questions are simpler such as the one that spawned my dragon series: How does a dragon get its name? The Lycan Hunter, which came about because of a song by Within Temptation’s Howling, is really the only book I’ve ever written that has a definite inspiration separate from a question.
Can you talk about your prewriting? Is there a lot of research that goes into your writing? Do you find yourself adhering to certain fantasy “laws” or are all bets off?
As odd as it sounds, a lot of the stuff I wanted to do appeared as I wrote the book. I let the characters take me where I needed to go. When it came to visualizing certain aspects of the world, I was “given” a direction to where the book’s inspiration is based, which is mostly Norse mythology. I don’t follow rules too well. I do what my characters tell me to do and the book comes out better for it. The minute I stop listening to them, the entire book becomes a gigantic mess.
Can you talk about some of your favorite writers and writers/books/movies that influence your work?
Writers don’t generally influence my writing; however, I will say that Sherrilyn Kenyon has written two books, Acheron and Styxx, that have inspired me to want to be able to put that kind of emotional punch into my novels. I’m not there yet, but I hope to get there soon.
If writers don’t influence your writing, can you talk about some things that did help shape you as a writer?
One of the things that helped shape me as a writer is some of the negative experiences in my past. I started with poetry in middle school (Thanks, Mrs. Davidson!) and it gave me an outlet to understand some of the stuff I was going through. The introduction of poetry helped me understand how powerful and healing words can be.
The Lycan Hunter is full of fantasy terms, locations, and names – you even included a glossary – did you find it difficult to keep track of everything, or was it something that was natural once you began writing?
Although I can typically recall most of the details about what I’ve written, I still keep track of everything through spreadsheets and other documents such as the Gardinian holy book.
The reviews on Amazon and Good Reads are well received. Was the reception of your novel something that concerned/surprised you? Can you talk about stepping out into publication? What has changed for you, as a writer?
I wrote a post on my personal Facebook page about waiting for the other shoe to drop. At the time I wrote it I still hadn’t published, but the book was well-received by my Betas. I’m well aware that not everyone will like what I’ve written, so I’m genuinely surprised that people like it so much. As for publication changing me as a writer, it hasn’t. I still have the same stories that I want to tell and the same timeline I want to tell it in.
This is the first installment of your Gardinian World Series, how many installments are you planning to write? Did you plot one story out and realize you needed more space, or have you always wanted to create an ongoing series?
The first book I ever wrote (unpublished) turned into a trilogy with a spin-off series totaling an outlined eight books. I don’t think I have it in me to write a standalone. As for the Gardinian World series, I have five planned for this series before I transition to one of the other worlds in the Gardinian universe.
I understand you’re an avid gamer. Can you touch on some of your favorite games?
The two games that I can always go back to are Skyrim and The Sims franchise. The Sims allows me to create stories and worlds as I see fit. I like Skyrim because it offers me the chance to create a character as evil as possible within the game’s allowable parameters and still be the “hero”. If they managed to have a karma system (in addition to the bounty system) I’d always be in trouble. Lol. Right now I’m enjoying The Elder Scrolls Online and stumbling my way along on my Nightblade. I can’t say I like it as much as Skyrim, but it’s a good way to get in some PvP action.
We’re at the point where videogames are as influential as novels. Which influences you more? Do videogames fuel your writing at all?
Videogames give me the ability to excise my competitive side, especially MMO’s. PvP battles help me strategize fights in my books. I’m lousy at coordinating, but other, more knowledgeable players have showed me a thing or two about battle tactics.
Do you find yourself talking anything else from MMO interactions, besides PvP battles?
In a lot of games, MMO’s in particular, I’m a roamer. I like to take my time to explore and find little nooks and crannies. That doesn’t translate well in my current series, but one day I hope to write a high fantasy novel where we get all of those extra details that I appreciate so much in games.
The Lycan Hunter is available now. The second and third installments of the Gardinian World series is slated to be released in the fall of this year. You can follow Kelsey Jordan on Twitter and Facebook or check with her site for the most up to date information on her writing.