Audio Spotlight & Author Interview: The Beast Hunters, by Christer Lende

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Title: The Beast Hunters

Author: Christer Lende

Narrator: Jonathan Johns

Length: 5 hours and 21 minutes

Series: The Beast Hunter of Ashbourn, Book 1

Publisher: Hashtag Press

Released: Feb. 7, 2022

Genre: Fantasy

When a monster brutally kills her parents, Ara is saved by two beast hunters. Becoming their apprentice, she discovers serums, secret bestiary knowledge, and remarkable abilities – all to save unsuspecting souls from the same fate her parents suffered. But, terrifying creatures lurk everywhere and Ara must master the art of beast hunting quickly if she is to uncover the elusive beast plaguing the village of Cornstead.


Q&A with Author Christer Lende
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
    • Pretty closely beforehand. I wanted us to call each other and be able to talk, but he wasn’t a too big fan of that, which is fine. We sent countless messages back and forth about different voices, pronunciation, the story and characters, and he was excellent. I got the feeling he really wanted to bring the story to life.
  • Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • A little, but not a whole lot. I told him “you get to officially decide how all these new monsters will be pronounced,” and he took to the task with excitement.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Not really, the most real ones being The Witcher and Supernatural.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • I don’t write a lot, but I write often. Everday, I have to write something, but rarely more than 30-40 minutes. I live by a strict ruleset, so writing every day is something I have to do, and so far I’ve written five books and one manuscript.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • So hard! I love audiobooks! As far as formats go, I like whichever audible uses.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • Yes, a particular meeting with many peculiar characters. It’s later in the book, so I’ll try to keep it spoiler-free, but our heroes face up against a group of . . . fanatic individuals, and Jonathan played around with so many voices it made it so much fun.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Hmm…. not backwards in time. We’re by far the most privileged people on earth historically. I might go back in time with all the knowledge I have now, and the thought is tempting until I remember tests and homework. I don’t want to go forward in fear of what I might find or learn – so I guess the answer is: no, I wouldn’t.
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    • Hmm, I think for Ara I would love to see a younger Alison Brie from Community. And I pictured a younger Idris Elba as Khendric. This book was written six years ago, but that’s when I pictured them, so that’s why I say “younger” on both. I’d love to see Topper played by Timothée Chalamet and Jamie Foxx (this will make sense if you listen to the book).
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • By starting the second book, and it did feel like a celebration. However, when I finished the whole trilogy, then I celebrated by not writing for a whole week, which felt weird.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • I’ve never had a writing slump, luckily. In my mind, I’m always so so much further ahead than the written story, so I always know where I’m going when I sit down to do the writing.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • More people like books that are in a series, so that’s a definite pro for series. I think in a standalone you can be crazier, do more wacky stuff, and you won’t have to deal with the problems it creates in a sequel.
  • What’s next for you?
    • Either getting the second Beast Hunter book published, or get my Sci-fi/fantasy book Specter out to the world. We’ll see.

Christer Lende began writing in a library, which sounds fitting, only he was supposed to be there working on his engineering degree. He is a professional screenwriter, working with the Norwegian movie producer behind “One Love”, “Who Killed Birgitte” and “All about my Father” Bjørn Eivind Aarskog, together they are eveloping the manuscript for a Norwegian thriller. Bjørn hired Christer after reading The Beast Hunters, trusting Christer could bring his vision to life.

Christer lives in what Norwegians call a city, but people from actual cities would call a town. Of proud Viking blood, he honours his ancestors by

heroically sitting in front of a computer writing Fantasy and Science Fiction books. He believes in writing a little bit every day, through weekends, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, even his own birthday. When he’s not writing, he takes care of his two dogs and tries to broker peace with his girlfriend. He’s often found at a gym, trying to compensate for his height issues, or lazily playing video games.

Christer did get that master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, despite procrastinating by writing fiction in the library, and works for a large IT firm, but writing and storytelling are his passions.

Jonathan is a Cornish audio book narrator based in sunny Cornwall. He has a talent for character work and descriptive narration which draws in the listener and envelopes them into the story. He is an avid gamer and family man. He is never too far from something sweet!


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Audio Spotlight: Inheritance, by Gail Z. Martin

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Title: Inheritance

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Narrator: Courtney Patterson

Length: 7 hours 14 minutes

Series: Deadly Curiosities, Book 4

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Released: Oct. 20, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

 

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary. Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

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Guest Post
Making the Supernatural Believable
By Gail Z. Martin

Inheritance, which is part of my Deadly Curiosities series, has ghosts, curses, demons, witches, supernatural creatures and haunted objects. I love writing about spooky stuff, and I do my best to make the paranormal elements believable so that readers get an exciting thrill ride of a book.

For me, the first step in making the supernatural believable is to research the lore, urban legends and ghost stories of an area. My urban fantasy books are set in real cities, most of which have a long, reputedly haunted past. Those stories arise from an area’s history and the people who came to live there, so understanding the history of a place is also important.

My goal is to make the location of a book so much a part of the plot that the story couldn’t happen in the same way anywhere else. That requires research into the culture, and how the people who live there see themselves and their heritage. Of course, those elements wind back to the supernatural, because people tell stories about their ancestors, the people who settled the area before them, the rogues, scoundrels and criminals, the people most likely to have their spirits stay behind when their lives end.

Magic is always a part of my urban fantasy books, and to make magic believable, it has to have rules and come at a cost. People with magical abilities need to have limits, or they become super-powered and so there’s no suspense. Rules are important so that magic doesn’t just conveniently solve all problems. Also, since I draw from real-world belief systems around the practice of magic, I do my best to be faithful and respectful to those traditions and represent them and their practitioners accurately.

I research the urban legends and ghost stories of a place because those are rooted in the area’s unique history, the people who settled there, and the physical nature of the location. The real legends provide wonderful plot bunnies for ways to incorporate some of those old stories and elements into my new stories, so that the tale feels organic, arising from its location.

The other key element is consistency, which comes back to rules. If creatures act a certain way in one book, or magic has certain abilities or limits, then that has to remain consistent throughout unless you provide a very good reason. That also helps with believability, because the supernatural elements shouldn’t solve every problem easily so they don’t feel like a cheat to get the characters out of tight situations.

I love writing spooky stories and weaving in supernatural elements—and I’m thrilled that readers like to read about ghosts, magic and haunted places. For me, getting to research and write paranormal plots is the best job ever!

Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Together with Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of Iron & Blood, Storm & Fury (both Steampunk/alternate history), and the Spells Salt and Steel comedic horror series. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, with her Witchbane and Badlands series.

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Narrator Bio

Courtney Patterson is an Atlanta native who has been working as an actor on stage, screen, and behind the microphone for close to two decades. She has been narrating audiobooks since 2011 and has fallen in love with the craft of storytelling through narration. Courtney is the mother of two wonderful little weirdos and the wife of a brilliant sommelier. There’s also a cat and some fish in the mix. Courtney couldn’t be happier with her crazy artistic lifestyle and is keenly aware that having good wine always within reach is most likely the reason for her family’s success.

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