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Saturday, June 10, 2006

SATURDAY BOOK BLOG

Xtina Dodd Talks GHOST HUNTER



GHOST HUNTER is the newest book from Jayne Castle, the futuristic alter-ego of author Jayne Ann Krentz (in contemporaries) and Amanda Quick (in historicals.) Two hundred years ago, earth colonists reached the planet of Harmony and have isolated ever since. They’ve built a culture like Earth’s, yet distinctly different, for beneath their cities are mysterious catacombs built by a long vanished culture filled with energy ghosts and traps. Luckily, humans have developed, and continue to develop, psychic powers to help battle the elements.

GHOST HUNTER is the sixth full-length book in the series (if I’m counting right) and my favorite. But I knew it would be — it features a heroine who escapes a marriage of convenience with a big, tough Guild boss (think the Mafia, but no bumping off) because she discovers he’s marrying her to further his career.

Of course, he comes after her. Heh, heh.

This is one of my favorite plots. I love the righteously angry heroine pitted against the dark, quiet, dangerous guy, and I love it more when they’re flung into danger and have to rely on each other for survival.

Elly is a former academician who after she breaks her engagement to Cooper, flees to the big city and opens an herbal shop. She makes new friends, lots of them, learns to dress, and collects a small, sweet, fuzzy pet with enormous teeth called a dust bunny. This woman can survive and thrive on her own — yet she remains desperately in love with Cooper.

When Cooper shows up (his secret plan was to give her six months to get over her little fit of rebellion and bring her home — I can always depend on Jayne Castle for good, solid alpha heroes), Elly has a job for him — one of her friends is missing in the catacombs and she wants to find her. It’s not the welcome that Cooper expects, and flings them into a world full of killer drugs wielded by a serial killer.

GHOST HUNTER is gobs of fun, full of adventure, but the center of any Jayne Castle novel is the romance, and the romance between bubbly Elly and intense Cooper made me … well, let me think how to say this … I was rooting for them to hit the sheets. Although I can’t remember if there were ever any sheets involved, but there was this scene in the car … no, no, I’m not saying anymore.

So I wrote Jayne and asked if she would come over to talk to us, and she wrote this about her futuristic career — “My whole career as a futuristic/paranormal writer has been kind of weird. The very first manuscript I ever wrote was a futuristic romance, although there was no name for it at the time. There was, of course, absolutely no market, either, and it never sold. Later, after I'd established my Krentz name, I managed to convince an editor to publish three of my futuristics: SWEET STARFIRE, CRYSTAL FLAME and SHIELD'S LADY. There was still no market! In fact, those books nearly sank my career. Folks stood in lines around the block NOT to buy them.

But those books led me to my Amanda Quick career so all was not lost. The reason they led me to an historical career was because it finally dawned on me that there are a lot of parallels between historicals and futuristics, mostly in terms of the kinds of relationships between the sexes that you can do in both sub-genres. For instance, if you take a close look at GHOST HUNTER you will see that it is really the classic "runaway bride" story. Or, in this case, the "runaway fiancée."

And, of course, you get to do cute animals in futuristics!”

So let’s talk about Jayne’s interesting career path, and who reads futuristics, why and why not, and how many people (besides me) loved SWEET STARFIRE, CRYSTAL FLAME and SHIELD'S LADY.

And let’s not forget that GHOST HUNTER debuted at #12 on the New York Times! Congratulations, Jayne!
Christina Dodd, 9:55 AM
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