Hi Carmel! It’s so awesome to be on your site again – especially since I’m a transplanted Canadian! Thank you for picking up coffee and donuts from Timmie’s!
1. Why did you decide to make every installment in your GRIM series a stand-alone novel?
It wasn’t pre-planned – this is the way the series evolved. Maybe it’s because of my own reading habits, because I’ll often read a series out of order (okay, I can feel some readers cringing!)
I remember the first time I ran across a Black Dagger Brotherhood story by JR Ward. It was Book 5, Lover Unbound, the story of Vishous and Jane. OMG, I ADORED it! And it impressed me hugely that this couple’s story had been resolved – yet the amazing world that had been created was still intact, ready for me to explore it further!
So the readers of the Grim Series get to read it in whatever order they want. While it’s true that many characters recur, I’ve tried to set things up in such a way that no one gets lost if they don’t happen to begin with Book 1. And the feedback on this has been very positive.
2. There are so many variations on the Wild Hunt; tell us a bit about your spin on it:
The Wild Hunt appears in many legends from a variety of countries, especially in the UK and Europe. Sometimes the hunt is comprised of faeries, sometimes gods, and sometimes lost or damned souls. The identity of the hunt’s leader varies with every legend – Odin, king of the Norse gods; King Arthur and his knights; Gwyn App Nudd, the Welsh god of the underworld; the Devil and his hounds; even historical figures such as Sir Francis Drake and Theodoric the Great were said to lead a spectral hunt.
In my Grim Series, the Lord of the Wild Hunt is Lurien, a bold figure who commands a great deal of magic – and respect. As with so many of my characters, he wasn’t planned – he simply showed up in Storm Bound and refused to leave! Fortunately, he’s turned out to be a favorite with my readers, and my biggest challenge is preventing him from taking over the story.
Lurien is an enigmatic figure who seems to be one of the Tylwyth Teg, but his long black hair, dark eyes, and somber clothing set him apart from the ethereally beautiful Fair Ones. His powers include summoning the dead to ride with the Hunt at times, and his preferred weapon is a light whip, which calls down lightning. He has a pack of relentless white hounds, the famed Cwn Annwn (coon uh-noon) from Welsh legend.
The Wild Hunt patrols the mortal world at night, meting out a rough justice to fae and human alike. Betrayers and oath-breakers are considered the lawful prey of the Hunt, and the guilty are often condemned to follow after the Hunt forever.
3. I love that Lissy isn’t your typical cookie-cutter heroine! Why did you decide to go the single working mom route?
There’s actually very little decision on my part. The characters show up pretty much fully formed – I can see them, I know their names, and I know their background. (I wish the storyline appeared that easily! I have to flounder around and discover that on my own!)
The same with Lissy being a single parent – she simply came with that particular package. I will say, however, that it’s not a hard thing for me to relate to. I raised four daughters on my own for many years, and it’s a tough balancing act at the best of times.
4. Does Asperger syndrome hold a special place in your heart on a personal level, or was your goal to shed some light on this disorder as a whole?
I didn’t have a goal in mind. But my family and I have very personal experience with Asperger’s, ADD, and other things associated with the autism spectrum, so maybe it’s not all that surprising that a character turned up with this challenge in one of my stories.
5. What are some of the challenges in combining the new with the old while world-building (ancient fae vs. modern humans)?
One challenge is to convey a human character’s realistic reactions to beings who aren’t supposed to exist. No two people respond the same to the impossible when it’s suddenly standing in front of them. (It’s also one of the things I love most about fantasy and paranormal stories) Some people will deny what they’ve seen to the bitter end, while others are more open to the experience. And there’s an entire range of mixed emotions in-between.
Another challenge is deciding “who knows what”, especially what the Fae know about the mortal world. Some – like the Wild Hunt, and the Grims – visit it frequently, and therefore have seen the march of human technology so it’s not quite as strange to them. For instance, they may not know how cars work, but they’ve certainly seen them. Other Fae, largely because humans are thought to be a lesser species, have never condescended to set foot in the mortal world, and they know next to nothing about it.
6. Does any of your lore stem from some of the stories that you heard growing up?
Definitely. My gramma was Welsh, and the rest of my family has Irish and British roots. Faeries weren’t cute and sweet, they were something to be avoided or appeased! My beloved local library featured an extensive collection of very old books on myth and legend, including faeries, and I devoured everything available. I still collect stories and books to this day on folklore and mythology from many cultures.
7. What would your reaction be if you saw a “Black Dog” in real life? Would you take that trip you’ve been putting off? Never leave your house?
The Black Dog, or Grim, is most commonly a herald of impending death, or of some dreadful misfortune. However, the dog can be benevolent to travelers, and protective of women and children. The Grim is also known to stand guard over liminal places, meaning it protects unseen boundaries where the veil between worlds is particularly thin.
I honestly don’t know what my reaction would be if I saw a Grim – being a dog person, I might be curious at first, or concerned that it was lost. But its massive size and sometimes glowing eyes would soon clue me in to the fact that I wasn’t dealing with an ordinary canine … I guess I’d hope like crazy that it was either guarding a faery portal or looking out for me!
About the Book
The latest stand-alone novel in Dani Harper’s Grim Series will delight old and new fans alike, transporting them to the ancient fae realm beneath the modern human world, where magic rules and menace abounds . . .
Heir to a noble fae house, Trahern is forced to watch helplessly as his twin brother is cruelly changed into a grim—a death dog—as punishment for falling in love with the wrong person. Trahern doesn’t believe love exists, but he will do anything to keep his brother alive—even join the Wild Hunt and ride the night skies of the human world.
Lissy Santiago-Callahan believes in love but has no time for it. She’s busy juggling her career as an academic and her home life as a single mom to a young son with Asperger’s. Her hectic life in sleepy Eastern Washington is made even more chaotic with the sudden arrival of a demanding fae and his unusual “dog.”
Mortal and immortal have nothing in common, and the attraction between Lissy and Trahern surprises them both. But when their desire places Lissy and her child in the path of a deadly faery feud, will the connection last, or will their separate worlds prove too great a divide?
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