Please welcome Dana Cameron to The Qwillery. Pack of Strays will be published on April 15th by 47North and is the second novel in the fabulous Fangborn series.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When did you start writing and what is the most challenging thing about writing for you?
Dana: Thank you, Sally! I started writing crime fiction while I was still working in archaeology. Someone pulled a gun on a friend and me while we were working on a site in Maine. He eventually left, but the experience led me to write six mysteries featuring archaeologist Emma Fielding; the first book came out in 2002. When Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner invited me to write a story about werewolves at the holidays for Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, that was my first encounter with the Fangborn. I had so much fun with that concept that there are now two novels and seven short stories featuring them, with more in the pipeline!
The hardest thing for me is plotting. I find the plot only after writing a lot of scenes and seeing how they fit together.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Dana: As you can probably tell from above, I am a total pantser! I've had to outline in the past and it not only makes me miserable, it kills the writing process for me. Some friends prefer the term “organic writer,” but I think “seat of the pants” describes very accurately the amount of adrenaline that is produced by writing this way. However, my friends who outline say they have the same worries—will I find a story this time? Can I make it work?—and since writing each scene as it comes, in whatever order, works for me, I'll stick with that.
TQ: Rather than ignore existing mythology you weave the Fangborn mythology into existing mythology. Why?
Dana: I love going to museums and seeing how different creatures—including wolves, snakes, and ravens—are represented across cultures. I also wanted to play around with the idea that the Fangborn hadn't been totally successful in concealing themselves from humankind, that maybe at different times, someone saw a werewolf performing a feat of superheroism and that got worked into the existing folklore. From a story or a myth, the idea finds its way onto a piece of pottery or a statuette, and we get a tantalizing glimpse of what might be the Fangborn sneaking through human history all across the world.
TQ: What are the Fangborn?
Dana: The Fangborn are vampires, werewolves, and oracles secretly dedicated to protecting humanity from evil. The werewolves tend to “track and tear” and the vampires “heal and conceal.” The oracles have a variety of weird abilities, like precognition or luck. Both shapeshifters can take on several forms—the werewolves can turn fully wolf or be half-human/half-wolf or human—and the vampires have a serpentine aspect. It's not a traditional take on these supernatural creatures, and it's been fun to play with those conventions and make them my own.
TQ: Tell us something about Pack of Strays (Fangborn 2) that is not in the book description.
Dana: It turns out that certain Fangborn, especially vampires, can evolve into an even more powerful form. And Zoe's worried that might be happening to her too, a little ahead of schedule, a little too permanently. It makes her an even bigger target for the Order, who are out to eradicate the Fangborn.
TQ: The Fangborn series combines elements from more than one genre. How would you describe the series?
Dana: I describe the books and short stories as urban fantasy adventures with a big dash of archaeology and history.
TQ: Which character in the series so far has surprised you the most? Who was the easiest to write and why? Hardest and why?
Dana: So far, the character who's surprised me most is Sean. I can't say more than that. Spoilers, sweeties!
It used to be that Gerry was the easiest character to write, especially in the short stories, because he was my first Fangborn character in “The Night Things Changed.” I figured him out at once. But now, because of the things Zoe is discovering, a lot of his beliefs are being challenged. That's not sitting well with him, so as I explore that, he's becoming more difficult to write. It'll be interesting to see where he ends up.
For similar reasons, ever since her introduction in Seven Kinds of Hell, Zoe's becoming easier to write. The more I throw at her, the more danger she's in, the more she has to think on her feet and make decisions that will have long-range implications. But even while she's becoming more confident, the obstacles are getting bigger, and whatever she decides to do may cause a lot of trouble—big, global-sized trouble.
TQ: Where can we find the Fangborn short stories?
Dana: They are all over! I mentioned “The Night Things Changed” (in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe) above and here's a list of the others:
AND! There will be three short stories (the first of which is “The Serpent's Tale”) that are Kindle originals published by 47North. Whew!
TQ: What's next?
Dana: I'm feverishly working on Fangborn Novel #3, a short story that is a Holmesian pastiche, and a sekrit project I can't discuss yet. I'm also very excited that I have a short story in Dead But Not Forgotten: Stories From the World of Sookie Stackhouse, an Audible original, which will be out in May. I chose Pam Ravenscroft, and had a LOT of fun with her.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Dana: Thank you so much for having me, Sally! These were great questions!
Pack of Strays
47North, April 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 346 pages
The second exciting novel in the Fangborn series.
Archaeologist Zoe Miller has only recently learned she is Fangborn, a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles dedicated to protecting humanity. But after she discovered and opened Pandora’s Box, the fabled item has lived up to its myth, and for Zoe and her friends, all hell has broken loose. Now she’s on a double mission: to prevent a politician from revealing the existence of the Fangborn and to foil the diabolical plans of the powerful Order of Nicomedia, a group dedicated to eradicating her kind.
But Zoe is also noticing disturbing changes in herself—new and unique abilities. Her visions are intensifying too, drawing her to faraway places to find more artifacts like the bejeweled bracelet embedded in her wrist.
In a world of dizzying shifts, who can Zoe trust? For while her former lover wants to turn her in, her former adversary seems dedicated to helping her mission succeed…
The second novel in Dana Cameron’s Fangborn series, Pack of Strays takes the fast-paced adventure of Seven Kinds of Hell to a whole new level!
The Serpent's Tale
A Fangborn Story
47North, September 10, 2013
Kindle eBook, 40 pages
“The Serpent’s Tale” is a Fangborn story set in 13th-century England from the award-winning author of Seven Kinds of Hell.
When the villagers of Godestone report a series of bizarre and troubling events, Sir Hugo, his heavily pregnant wife, Lady Alice, and her distant kinsman Father Gilbert are honor bound to investigate, for they are “born to the Fang,” shape-shifters dedicated to fighting evil in secret.
And the events are worrying indeed—stolen farm implements, a mutilated goat, and now a missing child. Their investigation is further complicated by the arrival of Robert Fynch, who was drawn to the scene by the tales of mysterious happenings in the village. A member of the fanatical Order of Nicomedia, he is bent on tracking down and killing those “born to the Fang,” believing the shape-shifters to be demons, rather than the protectors of humanity they truly are.
Can Lady Alice, Sir Hugo, and Father Gilbert stop a murderer in their village without their true nature being discovered?
Seven Kinds of Hell
47North, March 12, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 374 pages
Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself.
Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She’s a werewolf and a daughter of the “Fangborn,” a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil.
To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power.
Dana Cameron can't help mixing in a little history into her fiction. Drawing from her expertise in archaeology, Dana's work (including traditional mystery, urban fantasy, noir, thriller, and historical tales) has won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards and earned an Edgar Award nomination. Her second Fangborn novel, PACK OF STRAYS will be published in April 2014 by 47North. A Fangborn short story, "The God's Games" will appear in Games Creatures Play in April, and her story, "The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars," featuring Pam Ravenscroft from Charlaine Harris's acclaimed Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, will appear in Dead But Not Forgotten: Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse in May.