Conjurer of fantasy worlds and werewolf mythologies, Jo Lee Hunt joined us this Saturday to discuss the magic behind her novels. She enlightened us to how her own spirituality infuses her narratives, and why she thinks characterisation is so important.
Hi Jo, thank you for chatting to us. To kick us off, we’d love to know what it is that attracts you to your chosen genre?
I’m predominately a werewolf writer at the moment, though I do plan to write in other genres in the future (as long as they contain some element of romance, otherwise I get bored). I like that I can mix other genres in with it – action, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, romance, spirituality, humour etc. I love wolves. I’m also a spiritual person, and the concept of “soulmates” is very prominent in werewolf romances these days. Not only do soulmates appeal to my hopeless romantic side, but they also enable me to explore the spiritual connection that my characters share with each other.
Wow, it’s great to hear you weave your personal philosophy into your stories, and to see how your own spirituality opens doors in your writing. When writing a novel, do you tend to let the words flow or do you come up with a plan beforehand?
I get a general idea of how I want the story to start and how I want it to end. I build my characters a little and then I let them run with the story. So, it’s maybe 30% planning and 70% letting the words flow.
We love the idea of setting characters free and letting them explore the imaginative world around them. Speaking of which, what is more important to you, characterisation or plot?
Characters make the story for me. A book could have a great plot, but if I don’t care about the characters, then I won’t care what happens to them.
That’s a fair point. Do you have a favourite character from your novels?
That would have to be between Stone and Alistair in the Heart of Stone series. Stone will always will hold a place in my heart, and Alistair, being Alistair, will always try to wiggle his way in with whatever fun shenanigans he can.
What has been the most important aspect of Inkitt for you?
Being able to share my stories with a world full of readers.
Delving deeper into Inkitt’s world, as a successful Inkitt Icon, what advice would you give authors who are just starting out?
Keep writing. It’s a long and difficult process, and it’s likely to be a bunch of mumbo-jumbo at first, but you’ll only learn and improve by keeping at it and never giving up.
Well said! What are you working on at the moment?
Well, I’ve recently wrapped up The Forgotten Claim and I am now working on the sequel. A secondary character found his soulmate in the latter half of the book and it wasn’t what anyone expected. It will be a new challenge for me as I haven’t written a same-sex romance before.
We’re sure you’ll do it justice; it’s important to bring queer narratives into what is a predominantly heteronormative genre. Thanks for chatting to us!