Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

Author Interview: Jon Ford

10 min read

I am thrilled to introduce my friend and author Jon Ford, who is releasing his new book 'Hunters' on March 17th! I have had the pleasure of reading it ahead of release and am nearly finished and can happily say that this book is a great ride for any reader! Jon's ability to build a world for the reader and provide a clear picture accompanied with memorable and complex characters will keep you turning the pages!

So, what is 'Hunters' about?

Welcome to the new age…

Those left on Earth survived the Rising. They survived the War.

Humanity – pushed to the point of extinction – is forced to accept that monsters no longer dwell in the murky shadows of myth and legend. They are frighteningly real. An uneasy peace has settled across the globe on the cusp of an international Summit intended to gather the surviving Human factions with the new nations of Vampyrii, Werewolf, Troll, Ice Giant, and Fae. Their leaders, their delegates, their decision-makers. A conference where the honorable strive to make the world a better place, and where corrupt politicians pursue their own selfish agendas. Alliances are formed…coups are plotted.

In Werewolf-held Canada, a girl is taken. A rescue mission ensues. In Europe, a grieving hybrid soldier in search of answers returns to London to face the ghosts of her past. In Vampyrii-occupied America, one of their race seeks to restore a small part of the world to its former self. But trouble is brewing beneath the surface as society teeters on the precipice of calamity. Mysterious forces work to threaten this new way of life. Threaten to reveal who are the hunted…and who are the Hunters.

You can purchase your copy of "Hunters" Here

What got you interested in writing?

I've always loved writing, ever since I was a young schoolkid. But the 'proper' writing bug hit me about 15 years ago. Back in 2005, I started playing an MMORPG called 'City of Heroes' It was a game that allowed the player to create their own superhero character and then go bust crime in a virtual world. I loved the game. You could have multiple character slots to create as many characters as you liked and I went nuts!!

Before long I had a stable of characters and then I started writing fiction based around them. (By the way, you can find these on my website in the 'Femme Fatales' section, as I'm giving them a quick and dirty edit and throwing them up as freebies. A kind of historical easter egg at where it all began!)

A friend of mine who read them said I should get them published, but I knew that the world they inhabited was copyrighted and trademarked. So I decided to create my own world and kind of transpose the essence of the characters across to this new place of my own creation. The world of 'The Ballad of the Songbird'. Many of the characters in the books, like Gayle, Michael, Allyson etc, began life in that computer game many, many years ago.

If you could compare your book to another author, who would it be? 

Blimey, that's a tough question. I really don't know. If we're talking style, then I tend to be dialogue-heavy and write shortish chapters to keep it punchy. I also like to try and make my characters seem... real. Each has their ownpersonal issues and demons to deal with, their own personal preferences etc. I think in that respect I've been influenced a lot by my history of comic book reading, which in most cases tends to be a medium where you spend alot of time with the characters (decades in some cases) and learn more about them from a character perspective. Just think for instance how long Spider-Man has been around and how much we, as readers, know about his life by now. Plus comics are illustrated to convey what a character is wearing, what they look like, or where they are...so they tend to be dialogue-heavy. I tend to feel that's my area of expertise (and I use that term lightly!  LOL)

In terms of how Hunters (and the rest of the saga) will play out, I tend to think of it as being kind of Games of Thrones-ish. It is a story that follows multiple characters in multiple locations. They each have a story, and as the saga progresses these stories will all start to interlink. Characters that started on opposite sides of the world will find themselves in common places, being drawn into the larger mystery at play.

Yet, like JK Rowling's Harry Potter books, I'm hoping that each book will have it's own little arc to keep the reader interested while there are nods to the wider mythos.

Tell us about your new book, 'Hunters'.

Okay, so I've said a little in the previous answer, but to get into it a little deeper...

Hunters is the first book in a planned seven-book series. The whole arc is called 'The Ballad of the Songbird'.

We're in the year 2045, and the world is a very different place. A supernatural event occurred in 2016 called 'The Rising' which was a war between all the creatures we thought only truly existed in Hollywood movies. 'The Rising' started in the US and spread globally, only stopping when it reached Europe, where the Fae stepped in and put an end to it. An uneasy peace exists now in a world where the globe is split into 'factions'. For example, the US is now a Vampyrii occupied country they call 'New Victus'. Canada is a Werewolf stronghold called 'Pack Nation'. The UK is the capital nation of the 'Federated State of Europa', which is a Human stronghold. 

The story follows a number of characters, such as Gayle Knightley is a Human/Fae hybrid. She was the leader of a team of such Hybrids (called the 137th Hunters) whose job it was to hunt monsters. But that team is dead and she is broken and grieving. She's summoned back to London to train her replacements. Over in the former US, Lyssa Balthazaar is a Vampyrii matriarch who was vehemently opposed to The Rising, and wants to set the world back the way it was. There's also Zarra, a bounty-hunter who hunts monsters for cash. She and her partner are drawn into a hunt in the forests of Pack Nation where she has to confront the ghosts of her past. 

And many more characters besides!  Each character is searching for something. Or has a tie to the term 'Hunters', some characters more literally than others. Which is why the book is titled what it is. 

Do you have any other projects coming?

Well, I've finished book 2 of the saga.  It's called 'Blood to Earth' and will be out maybe July/August time. It's in edit at the moment. And I'm writing Book 3 which will be called 'Tooth and Claw', but that's a way off yet. That's likely a 2022 release.

I also have plans to do smaller prequel books about Gayle and her team.

I'd always planned prequel's, but these kind of already exist. 

When I wrote the first draft for Hunters, it was 260k words long and had a whole slew of 'flashback' chapters where you got to meet Gayle's deceased team. I yanked all these out to cut the word count down, but since then they've been languishing in a folder on my One-Drive waiting to be used. So I've decided to repackage them as short prequel books which I may try and release to space between the major launches.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as an Author?

As crazy and egocentric as this may sound... I really like my book.  LOL  I guess all authors love their own work, but I'm really proud of how Hunters turned out. Everything from the story to the cover art...it's all exactly as I pictured it. 

And then my absolute greatest accomplishment will be the launch on 17 March. There are times when I never thought I'd get this far. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

Don't stop.  Simple as that.

There are times when it seems like it's too big a mountain to climb. Times when you don't know what to do. 

Putting the pen to paper is almost the easy bit, it's what comes next that requires the absolute stubborn ability to not give up.

And when you get that story written, don't feel like you have to back yourself into a corner in how to get it published. If you want to Query and go for the traditional method, then go for it. If you want to go Indie, then go for it. Don't let other people sway you, make your own decision with what you feel is right for YOU!

Oh, and if you need help...just ask. The Twitter #WritingCommunity is an awesome one, and you can find people to help you if you just ask. I wouldn't be here today without their help and support.

What genres do you see yourself writing in?

My passion is SciFi. Hunters is kind of more Urban Fantasy (I've been told) but it does have SciFi trappings too. I love playing with future tech and not having my imagination restricted by the limits of history. 

The Songbird Universe will keep me busy for a while, but after that, I think perhaps I'd like to go hard SciFi. Maybe something along the lines of 'Leviathan Wakes' (The Expanse TV show for those that don't know!) by James S A Corey. 

Or maybe someone will let me dabble in the Star Trek or Star Wars universe.

Or maybe Marvel might come knocking and let me loose on their X-Men comics! Now THAT would be dream come true!

Do you have any messages for your readers?

Only simply that I hope they enjoy Hunters and that it leaves their appetite whetted for Book 2. 

And to let them know that I'm trying to detail my journey on my website and blog so that others can follow in my footsteps. And if a newbie author needs ANY help or advice, just holler and I'd be happy to talk to them.

To follow Jon Ford you can find him at these places:

Jon's Website

Jon's Twitter