Tuesday, March 6, 2012
JMO's Crazy Cajun Interview With Jennifer Hartz
Today I have the supreme honor of hosting one of my favorite authors for dinner and hopefully an interview. I pulled out all the stops to insure she'll spill the beans on her writing and her Future Savior series. To loosen her lips, I've got twenty pounds of crawfish boiling along with some spicy corn on the cob and some tators. I'm here to tell you if this don't get her to talking, nothing will.
But, who is the enigmatic author who has captured the imagination of everyone who has read her books? Well, none other that Jennifer Hartz. Her Future Savior series brilliantly captures the world building of Tolkien and mashes it together with Inspirational ideals that truly boogles the mind. It takes a lot to impress me, but this series gives me goose bumps reading it.
Oh, there she is! While she jumps her car over the ditch to get up to the house--hey, we do it Duke boy style round here--I'll get the first batch of crawfish out of the pot. Feel free to amuse yourselves while weget set up.
A few minutes later.
Jmo: Jennifer, thanks for joining me today. Hope you like crawfish cooked Louisiana style.
Jennifer: I can honestly say I've never had crawfish cooked any-kinda-style so this should be a real treat. ***takes a bite, chokes***
Jmo: No, dear. You suck the head and eat the tail. Now, Future Savior. How did the idea for this series come to you? While you're at it, tell the readers a little bit about the series.
Jennifer: ***swallows mouthful of crawfishy goodness*** Future Savior is the result of a very long commute. I spend just about three hours a day in the car (yes, please feel free to kill me and put me out of my misery) During my lovely travels my mind started to wander . I would daydream about a fantasy land with a history so long and involved that it needed to be written. My daydream combined all of the elements from stories I love. Obvious inspiration would be from The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, but other things helped my imagination like the Bible, Star Wars, the Matrix, Harry Potter and even Stephen King novels.
In Future Savior, the main character, Christina, is magically transported from her home in Pittsburgh to the mysterious land of Meric. There she discovers she possess amazing abilities like telekinesis and prophetic visions. She also learns that she is destined to save this land from the evil tyrant, Leticia. To top it all off, during her hero's journey she falls in love with her Watcher who is a shape shifter that has been her protector her whole life.
Jmo: The allegorical aspects of the series are ones I love. They're there, but not in your face. When you started plotting the series did you plan to do it like that? I mean it makes the series appeal to people who read Inspirational Romances and to those who would never pick one up. That I think is the genius part of these books. They have the ability to appeal to a wild range of readers.
Jennifer: As a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, I fully believe I need to be in the world, but not of the world. I also believe I need to use my gifts to reach non-Christians. I wrote Future Savior so it would appeal to Christians and non-Christians. My hope is that Christians will enjoy all of the Biblical references while non-Christians will catch a Bible reference and say, "Hey, I've heard that story before." thus forcing them to pick up a Bible to check it out. Anything getting people into the Bible is a good thing.
All of my novel ideas have some sort of spiritual aspect to them. I don't really think of myself as a Christian writer. I think of myself as a secular writer who throws in Christian themes and sometimes the gospel hoping to reach as many non-Christians as possible. If I were overtly Christian with my stories, I wouldn't reach any secular people!... what would the point of that be? I'd only be writing for people who already knew Christ. He wants me to reach the people who don't know Him!
Jmo: The romance between Shaw and Christina makes for a real page turner, but the romance between your supporting characters makes for interesting reading, too. I'm a Drexton and Beliza devotee. How hard is it to run so many characters at the same time? Before you answer, let me say something. Jennifer does this successfully in first person without ever breaking point of view. Two words. Amazingly done.
Jennifer: "Amazingly done" -- Gosh, thanks! ***Blushing*** I love Drexton too! Sometimes it's really fun as a writer to see how a character can grow and change almost all by themselves…does that make sense or does it make me sound crazy… Oh well, anyway I didn't find it too hard to juggle all of the story-lines. I think it's just the natural growth for me as a writer. In Book 1: Conception there was really only one story-line. With Book 2: Resurrection, I opened it up a little bit and had two main story-lines. And with Book 3: Evacuation, I think there's about four going on at once.
Jmo: Cliffhangers. You know I love them. So, do you actively try to give me heart attacks at the end of your books? Hey, I'm not the only one thinking it.
Jennifer: Haha! Got to keep the people wanting more!
Jmo: Before I wrap this up, a lot of people might not know this, but a portion of your royalties from Future Savoir goes to A21 Campaign. Would you mind enlightening our readers about this wonderful organization and what they do worldwide?
Jennifer: Actually, I fall into the category of "completely crazy"! I give ALL of my royalties from The Future Savior Series away. After the tithe comes off (10% which goes to my local church) I give the rest to the A21 Campaign. This is an organization that fights against human trafficking and the sex-slave industry. Did you know that girls as young as six years old are sold into a horrific life as sex slaves? It's so sad! Anything I can do to help out (no matter how small) is important. So PLEASE buy a Future Savior book! You can rest assured that your money is going to a good cause and not just some puffed up author!
Jmo: I know it's been hard to talk with your mouth burning from those crawfish but if it ain't hot, it ain't cooked right. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your books. Now, before you go, please give everyone a taste of this series and give them the links to where we can find you scattered around the internet. Also, give the link to the A21 Campaign in case anyone would like to support their fine work.
Jennifer: Thanks Jmo! It's been a blast, and the crawfish were especially tasty! Before I go I'd like to take a minute to tell everyone about an awesome contest I'm having:
BECOME A PART OF THE STORY!!! Ever wish you could be a character in a fantasy novel? Now's your chance! Stop by my website to learn more: http://jenniferhartz.com
Okay, here's a snippet from my newest release, Future Savior Book 3: Evacuation.
We readied ourselves for the ensuing battle. The odds were horribly stacked against us, but I felt confident in my powers and in the abilities of my brave friends. Using the fallen rubble from the wall as a bridge across the newly created ravine, the enemy charged us. I stepped in front of my friends. I had no clue if the plan slowly forming in my mind would work, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to try.
Forcing all the power I could muster into my telekinesis, I wrenched dozens of the huge grey rocks and boulders previously a part of the wall out of the ground and into the air. Even though my powers had grown immensely, trying to move this large amount of weight certainly zapped my strength. I concentrated as hard as I could and threw the humongous rocks at the front lines charging toward us. The rocks wiped out the first wave of advancing troops and our enemies behind them looked utterly stunned at my display of power.
"That was incredible!" Markella exclaimed.
"Too bad I don't think I can do it again. It was way too heavy." I dropped to one knee to try and recollect my strength. Shaw knelt down beside me and placed a strong arm around my shoulder.
"Are you all right?"
"I'll be fine. Let's just get ready." I smiled at him. Then I looked up as the stunned humans and Leviathans recommenced their charge.
"Well, let's giddy up and go!" Drexton hollered, gripping his whip and readying himself for the battle.
Within seconds we were all enveloped in combat. Sword clangs and spear clashes rang out through the plains around us like thunder. Looking at the vast numbers continually flowing from the city, I was immediately concerned for my friends. Sure they were all trained fighters, but our numbers were so lacking. That's when my mind landed on Charis. Through everything I had endured here in Meric, I had never seen her in a battle. As far as I knew she didn't even have a sword. All she ever carried was a white staff.
I used my powers to throw a particularly large Leviathan back into his comrades. He knocked them down like bowling pins. During the slight hiatus after my Leviathan toss, I looked around for Charis. Worry instantly overtook me when I couldn't find her anywhere. I edged my way over to Shaw who was fighting right beside me. He was doing exceptionally well, as usual.
"Where's Charis," I asked him. I wrenched my slender rapier sword out of the belly of an exceptionally tall man. It was really difficult for me not to focus on the fact that during this battle I would be killing humans. The only way I could possibly fight them without excessive amounts of guilt was by realizing they were trying to kill me and my friends. A feeble attempt at easing my conscience, but it was all I could do to keep my mind focused on the battle.
"I have no idea," he replied and he looked around the fighting to see if he could see our silver haired friend, but she was gone.
Just past Shaw I saw Markella cutting a line through the human fighters. I always loved Markella's fighting style. She used two lightweight swords with such elegance and grace her fighting looked more like a dance than the deadly onslaught it actually was.
The sun would be setting soon. We had maybe an hour of full daylight left. As soon as darkness fell, the Nitehawks would join the fray. Not only would that increase the number of our enemies, but they would be attacking us from the air. The last time I encountered the Nitehawks I still was unaware of my levitation abilities. Should I try to fight these monsters in the air?
Please feel free to harass me on the web at the following locations:
A21 Campaign: http://www.thea21campaign.org