Heather: Thanks, Jennifer for letting me take over the blog today. The Devil’s Assistant series is an urban fantasy series set in present day. My main character, Claire, is the administrative assistant to the Devil. She’s framed for the murder of the Devil’s oldest hellspawn and must discover the real killer to save herself. Along the way she discovers the big three (Mab, Harry, and the Devil) believe she’s “the girl” in a prophecy to fix time. If only things were that simple.
This is a four book series. Books 1-3 are available now. Book 4 will be released in January 2017.
Jennifer: What appeals to you about the urban fantasy genre?
Heather: I love books with magic that are set in the real world. The freedom to create your own rules about what’s really going on is fun, and it opens up plots not completely believable in contemporary fiction. I don’t just mean the magic parts here. In the real world, if a character is kidnapped or disappears, someone’s calling the cops. In urban fantasy, memories can be changed, people can be erased, and reality doesn’t have to walk a straight line to be believed. And who doesn’t want the ability to disappear, teleport, or throw fireballs at people—am I right?
Jennifer: What inspired you to write The Devil’s Assistant series?
Heather: My first two books were middle grade fiction, but one day I had an idea to write a book about the Devil’s admin. The first draft of Dark Hope (which was originally called The Devil’s Assistant) centered around the office environment and everything that Claire had to deal with during her work day. Some parts of this initial concept are still in the book, but most of this was lost to editing once the book really started taking shape.
What would your day be like if you actually worked for the Devil? There would be “retirements” to handle, ex-wives to deal with, executives that didn’t want to deliver bad news to The Boss, more children (hellspawn) than you could count, limited benefits (no one gets dental), and a host of other things being Satan’s Secretary would entail (if the Devil pretended to be the CEO of a major NYC Insurance Company on Earth).
The final book has some humor, but there are darker tones to the books. Don’t expect a comedy, but feel free to chuckle at the funny bits!
Jennifer: What are some of your favorite urban fantasy books/authors and why?
Heather: First, I love audiobooks. I’m listening to Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Heart right now (yes, it is November 1, 2016, release day, and I may actually finish it tonight). By the time this blog post publishes, I’ll have listened to another dozen books, but that is what I’m listening to right now.
As for favorite urban fantasy … OMG, where do I begin? There are so many good authors out there writing amazing stuff … here are a few (and I’m sure I’ve missed some that I love, but this is just off the top of my head):
- Jennifer Estep (love, love, love, Elemental Assassin)
- Thea Harrison (Elder Races)
- Kim Harrison (The Hollows)
- Helen Harper (Highland Magic)
- Pippa DaCosta (The Veil)
- Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels)
- Linsey Hall (Dragon’s Gift)
- Nalini Singh (Psy-Changling)
- Rachel Aaron (Heartstrikers)
- Molly Harper (Half-Moon Hollow)
- Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock)
- Jim Butcher (Dresden Files)
- A. Pratt (Marla Mason)
- Domino Finn (Blackmagic Outlaw)
- Gena Showalter (Lords of the Underworld)
Just to name a few 😉
Jennifer: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What got you started on your writing journey?
Heather: No, I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. I’ve always had stories in my head, but my Math and Science side tended to outshine my (very lacking) English side. I’ve never been a great speller, and in the world before spell-check, that missing skill was the kiss of death to a fledgling storyteller, at least academically speaking. I won’t bore you with the details, but I took the Computer Science path in college and never looked back (from a career standpoint—it was the right choice).
After college I got a job in Florida, after a year I went back to school (while still working) and got a Master’s degree in Computer Science, and after that I asked myself, “is this it?”
I was almost thirty. I had exhausted my academic options (I didn’t want a PhD), and I was working full time. I needed a new hobby. I decided to write a book. After two failed attempts, I realized I wasn’t a “plotter” … I’m a “pantser”. I outlined the first two books to death (literally). Once I let go of that useless (to me) approach, I completed my first book, Keegan’s Point.
During this time, traditional publishing was really the only game in town. This was before Amazon made self-publishing a thing. I did several pitch sessions, writer’s workshops, and wrote countless query letters, all to no avail. I wrote my second book, Nowhere, NJ. I then got the idea for the Devil’s Assistant.
Long story short, I eventually published Dark Hope by HD Smith with a small press in Canada. After only four months, I asked for my rights back (there were extenuating circumstances, please be careful when considering a small press publisher). I republished book 1 under my own company, Wild Fey, LLC and have been an Indie Author ever since.
Jennifer: What’s next for you? What are you working on?
Heather: I’m rebranding The Devil’s Assistant series with new covers. I’ve hired a designer and we are doing a custom photoshoot, which is very exciting! I hope to have new print books ready before Coastal Magic Con in February (2017).
I’m also working on the final book in The Devil’s Assistant series. Book 4 has been my most challenging book to write so far. I hate plotting. I usually have a game plan and just write. Because book 4 is the last book in Claire’s story arc, it has to be right AND tie up all the loose ends (I’m sure the readers will let me know if I’ve missed any). It is currently planned for a January 2017 release.
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MORE ABOUT HEATHER
HD Smith is a software developer by day and an author of kick-ass Urban Fantasy at night. She grew up in South Carolina, but has called the Sunshine State home since 1997. She has a Masters degree in Computer Science, but her love of writing has really unleashed the creative siren in her soul.