Interview: Jana Oliver

By March 10th, 2011

Did you enter to win The Demon Trapper’s Daughter? You can also meet the book’s author, Jana Oliver!


Jana Oliverauthor website

Jana Oliver is the author of novels for both teens and adults. Her young adult Demon Trappers Series (St. Martin’s Griffin) is set in a dystopian 2018 Atlanta populated by Hellspawn, Deaders and scheming necromancers. The series has gone international with editions in the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil and Russia.

Jana’s foray into time travel and alternate history resulted in the multi-award winning Time Rovers Series (Dragon Moon Press). The series won twelve awards, including the Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, the Prism Award for Time Travel and ForeWord Magazine’s Editor’s Choice for Fiction.

Her next novel, Soul Thief, will be published in August 2011.

Q. In your new book, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, seventeen-year-old Riley Blackwell seems to really look up to her father. When you were Riley’s age, who was your hero?

A. My dad was a hero to me. He went to work at midnight every night (he drove one of those gasoline tankers) and worked twelve-hour days, six days a week. He wasn’t complicated or highly educated. He was just my dad and that was cool enough.

Q. As a writer you probably get a lot of questions about inspiration, but I can’t resist asking: where did you get the idea to make Riley Blackthorne a demon trapper? It’s such an original addition to the urban fantasy/paranormal genre mix!

A. It seems wherever I looked I found demon slayers, but no one who actually trapped Hellspawn. Not to take away from those who can kill a fiend in three-point-nine seconds with about any weapon available, but trapping takes certain skills. So I thought I’d give it a try because it was different. Of course that meant I actually had to figure out how to trap those demons. I see now why authors just kill them off.

Q. Can you give us a hint as to what’s in store romance-wise for Riley?

A. “The course of true love never did run smooth.” — Wm. Shakespeare. So it is with Riley. She and Simon reach a critical point in the second book (Soul Thief) as another person begins to make a serious bid for her affections. Riley’s lessons will be heartbreaking. Sometimes you have to go through the really ugly times to appreciate the good ones. So it is for Riley and those around her.

Q. What’s your favorite scene in The Demon Trapper’s Daughter?

A. I’m really fond of the Riley/Beck scene in the parking garage where they’re trapping a Pyro-Fiend. It’s not only a dangerous time for both of them, but once they’ve caught the demon, they have a chance to act their ages when they engage in a snowball fight. It’s my favorite scene so far.

Q. In your website bio, you mention that you’ve self-published three books. What’s it like having The Demon Trapper’s Daughter published through a more traditional route?

A. It’s really nice. Most of the issues a self-published author has to fret about (distribution, editing, typesetting, cover art) are handled by the publishing house. There is less direct control over the final product, but at the same time having a publisher as weighty as St. Martin’s Press behind me opens doors that would be closed to a do-it-yourself author.

Q. Can you tell us about your essay in the upcoming Smart Pop House of Night anthology, Nyx in the House of Night?

A. This essay was so much fun! I explore the world of tattoos and how they relate to the Marks within the House of Night Series. That required research into the history of tattoos, how our appreciation of skin art has changed over the centuries, and modern applications. Then I tied that information into the Casts’ amazing series, examining the purpose and meanings of the initial Marks and those of the adult vampyres’.

Q. If you were a House of Night character, who would you be?

A. Nala, Zoey’s cat. Seems like an odd choice, but she’s always there for Z, she’s a bit of a curmudgeon, and I think cats are cool. My second choice would be Stevie Rae because she’s so down to earth.

Q. What was it like to write a non-fiction essay versus a novel?

A. There is a different mindset when you’re tackling non-fiction versus a novel, especially one as research-driven as the tattoo article. Non-fiction has to have a narrative flow, much like a novel, but the writing technique is different. Fiction is easier for me because I’m playing in my own world, but I enjoy stretching those writer genes every now and then.

Q. What are you working on right now?

A. I’m slaving away on the third book of the Demon Trappers Series and trying to dream up a title for it. Finding a good title seems to be as hard as writing the novel.

Q. If you could tell us to read one book this year (besides your own, of course!) what would it be?

A. I really enjoyed Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker. It’s a gritty dystopian story set in the Gulf after a series of city-killer hurricanes (Category 6). Nailer is a young man (about seventeen) who helps salvage shipwrecks. He lives by his wits in a world where only the fittest or the most cunning survive. I can’t wait for the second in the series.

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  1. Carol

    Great interview!! I’ve heard awesome things about this book. I’m dying to read it so it’s definitly on my list =)


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