Hi, Onnica here. I’ve recently been blown away by the writing of Jade Hart. Last year, she wrote Ocean Kills, which told the story of a young and deadly teleporting assassin, Ocean Breeze. (Yes, that’s really her name and she’s not a fan of it either!) This year, there’s plenty more from Jade to look forward to.
We recently reviewed Coffee and Cockpits, which is the story of flight attendant Nina Poppins and what happens to her when faced with a life and death situation. It’s a complete departure from Ocean Kills and after reading it, I really wanted to ask Jade some questions. She kindly agreed…
Onni: Jade, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions – especially as we’re on VERY different time zones!
JH: My pleasure.
Onni: When I finished Coffee and Cockpits, I read through your bio and you mentioned that you draw quite heavily on your own experiences for aspects of your writing. Can you tell me how much of “you” is in your characters?
JH: Oh, tricky question. I suppose I put quite a lot of myself into the characters I write. Ocean Breeze is darker, more broken than I could ever be, but some of her thoughts are my own – against the sickness in the world, and things that shouldn’t go on. With regards to Nina Poppins, there is a lot of my past in her (dancing, flying, being an air-hostess) but I don’t share her personality. I’m not as ‘fluffy’!
Onni: Yes, you were a flight attendant in the past – and could’ve written your typical, garden-variety contemporary romance in that setting but didn’t. What made you take it in a different, more fantastical direction?
JH: Well, funny enough – and this no one else knows, but it started as a sexy romance dealing purely with the love triangle. Nina can’t chose between Liam and Nikolai and she ends up *cough cough* having both of them. Unfortunately, as much as I liked the heat, the storyline didn’t work as I got to know the characters. So the direction changed and the story evolved into what it is. I didn’t sit down and say “I’m going to do that” – the story arched that way and I went along for the ride. I knew when I did it that some people would love it, and some wouldn’t. I was willing to take that risk.
Onni: It certainly arched in a way I didn’t expect – I didn’t see it coming at all! I love when that happens. So, I know this is a bit like asking who your favourite child is, but which of your characters holds a special place in your heart?
JH: Umm, that is a tough question. (Laughs.) I’d probably have to twist your question and give you two answers. Ocean Breeze holds a special place in my heart. I love her, and love the growth she’s undergoing in Ocean Slays (sequel to Ocean Kills) However, I hold a very soft spot for Callan. I love him. He may be a part of my imagination, but I just feel sorry for him with what Ocean did, and love to watch him grow into his temper and become a fiery match for her.
Onni: I was gobsmacked by what Ocean did to Callan and she’s definitely going to have to do a lot to redeem herself. And to the readers who have no idea what we mean – read Ocean Kills!
As you’ve already mentioned Callan Bliss, hero extraordinaire, that leads me to my next question: writing stories from a male point of view must be one of the hardest aspects for a female writer. How did you approach Callan and Liam’s characters? Did finding their ‘voices’ come easily?
JH: That is true – writing from a male pov is hard, and I don’t know if a woman can ever get it exactly right. But Callan is more ”alpha” whereas Liam was more ”in tune with his sweet side.” I love both of them, but I’m writing a dark (as in dark-dark) contemporary romance currently called Octopus Lotto and the main guy in that – Dashiel Rossen is a hard one to write. He’ll be the hardest one with his demons, attitude and past.
Onni: Which brings us nicely to your future plans. What’s next for you? More fantasy, or contemporary romance?
JH: Yes, I’ve got quite a lot happening! In May 2013, Mirror Amour will be coming out – an erotica novella based around the threesome I had to delete from Coffee and Cockpits. As I already mentioned, there’s Octopus Lotto, a dark, contemporary romance which will be a personal fave of mine. Loka, which is based on Hindu mythology and Jets and Joysticks, which is a companion piece to C&C. It’s Joslyn and Nikolai’s story.
Onni: And of course there’s Ocean Slays…
JH: And there’s Ocean Slays! I think that’s it for now (laughing).
Onni: So when you’re not writing, who do you like to read?
JH: I have a fairly large reading library. I LOVE Liani Taylor’s writing in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I love George R R Martin’s storytelling in Game of Thrones. I loved Jean M Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear for it’s indepthness, and also enjoy the romance in Crosstitch series by Diana Gabaldon. Quite different books. I also really enjoy all the NA stuff that has been released recently.
Onni: Wow – that is pretty eclectic! So, now is the moment for the big reveal. You’ve offered us a sneak peak into the first chapter of Ocean Slays – which had me doing a pretty undignified happy-dance (it was horrible, really, thank God I was alone). Thank you for this as I know NOBODY else has seen it yet! So here’s an exclusive:
Chapter One: Ocean
You left him to rot, you little bitch.
I clutched my hair, tugging against the vile voices inside my head. Adrian Mathieu: My rapist, family’s murderer, and overall black stain on my soul taunted me.
His voice dropped to a whisper-whiplash. You think you’re better than me. You’re not. You’re filth. Blood leaks from everything you touch. You left someone to take your punishment. If that doesn’t show how fucked up you are, then I don’t know what will. In fact, little bitch, you’re worse than me.
Yes, worse than all of us. Atsu Bazeer’s Afrikaans accent threaded with Adrian’s Australian twang.
You’re the scum. Kill yourself. Go on. Do it.
I ripped a handful of hair out, screaming soundlessly. My lungs strained to evict all the darkness writhing inside.
Blessedly, the taunts stopped, and I blinked through tear-fogged eyes, panting, trying to calm my galloping heart.
I’m fine. It was over. For now.
The oozing, pressuring guilt at leaving Callan, settled over me with the weight of a hundred elephants. No matter how evil the men who lurked inside me were, they were right.
I was scum.
The burn of hope since Maurice noticed a black splodge missing on my spine, cindered under the weight of hatred for myself. Who cared if Maurice thought I might not be damned? That I might find freedom from the malevolent murmurings of psychopaths?
It didn’t matter.
I wasn’t worthy of the gift my body unwrapped for me. A good person wouldn’t have left an innocent to suffer the consequences. I kidded myself if I thought I was worthy of Callan’s love and adoration. At the first test, I ran, leaving him with a corpse.
My nerves jigged and jagged at the thought of what Callan suffered. Where was he? What happened? I should go back. Now.
Yes. Go. You need to redeem yourself. Then kill him. Atsu Bazeer sneered.
I hung my head in my hands, my scalp smarting from ripping out a handful. What if I ported to rescue Callan, only to find he’d gone? Or show myself to others like the security guard who’d arrived the split second before I disappeared? What if Callan looked at me with hatred and scorn?
I gulped. What if I went to help him, but the voices inside over-powered me and I ended up hurting him, instead?
My heart quashed against my ribs. I rubbed my chest, trying to dispel the agony of knowing how much I fucked everything up. Callan would never forgive me.
My eyes bounced around my room, almost as if I could summon him from empty air. The harsh glow from the laptop screen heralded my eyes. I stared at the email left open.
Who the flying fits was Tariq Hunter?
(Disclaimer Unedited. Copyright JadeHart2013)
A massive thanks to Jade – I’ll keep you posted on when Ocean Slays is released.