The Haedyn Chronicles
Jennifer L. Oliver
Genre: Dark fantasy
Publisher: Small Escapes Publishing, LLC
Number of pages: 212 pages
Word Count: 54,000
Cover Artist: Jennifer L. Oliver
There’s always a choice.
Haedyn chooses to survive. As the last Unnamed, a species mistakenly created from angels and demons, she is an abomination to both the human and supernatural worlds. If survival means being the favorite servant of the demon Azazel, it’s a choice she can live with. Until she meets Lex.
Former investigative reporter, Lex Carter knows more than the average human - he saw his brother murdered by vampires. Now he’s dedicated his life to learning everything there is to know about monsters, how to kill them, and what happens to their victims. But when he’s kidnapped by a super-human albino who claims she's protecting him, he realizes that not all supernatural creatures are monsters and there may be one that's worth saving.
Together, they just might be able to discover the truth about Haedyn’s past and free her from Azazel’s bonds. But will she still choose to survive when it means risking the souls of those she loves?
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The concrete cell reeked with a mixture of rotten trash, burning flesh, and the sweet tanginess of blood. Haedyn twitched her nose. No matter how often she had to deal with it, she'd never get used to that smell. It was horrible.
Dirt crunched and rolled under the soles of her boots as she circled the silver chair in the middle of the room. Its occupant was furious, snapping and snarling at her. Not that she blamed him. Being captured by a demon's minion wouldn't rate high on her list of fun, either.
The prisoner struggled against his restraints. “Bitch. My Alpha’s gonna kill you. Just wait," he growled, pupils wide with the animosity of a trapped animal. "He’ll come here and rip through that white skin of yours like it's a sheet of paper, then hang your head on the wall like a trophy.”
She rolled her eyes and ignored his aggression. Werewolves had the worst tempers, especially when they were wounded or trapped. This one was both. Plus, he’d been drugged and was unable to change to his more powerful wolf form. Yeah, he was beyond pissed.
She sighed and continued circling. He'd wear himself out eventually. The anger and vile comments were all part of the process. Then the next phase would begin, full of tears and begging. That's when she'd break him, make him tell her where to find the human. But for now, she'd play the game until he was ready.
“Where's the human?”
"I ain't telling you shit." He spat on the floor at her feet.
"Tell me where the human is and I'll set you free."
The werewolf narrowed his yellow eyes. "You won't set me free. You think I don't know who you are? You're that demon Azazel's little bitch. You don't set no one free. You kill 'em."
Haedyn clenched her jaw. The werewolf was right; he wasn't going to leave here alive. She needed that information and there was only one way he was going to tell her. Poor sap. He just forced her hand.
She circled the chair again. This was the part of the job she hated. Inflicting pain. Killing. Every time she heard them scream, made them bleed, she swore a piece of her insides turned to dust.
It was the price she paid for serving a demon. But she didn't have a choice. Either she did what was expected of her or she faced punishment from her master.
Demons didn’t give second chances, and Azazel was no different. Disobeying his orders meant death. And even if she was stupid enough to go up against him, she had no one to turn to for help.
She was the last Unnamed. A mistake created by the demons and angels, which is why they killed off the rest of her kind. Humans mistakenly called her “albino” and kept their distance once they saw her deep red eyes. The supernatural world thought she was an abomination. If they weren't scared shitless of her, then they wanted to kill her.
She didn't fit in and she was all alone. Which is why she made the decision fourteen years ago to do whatever she had to in order to survive. Serving Azazel was the only choice she had.
Besides, what else would she do? She was evil, part demon. And like Azazel said the night he found her at the orphanage, she had a gift for death. One which he had honed. Now, she was his best interrogator, his best assassin.
Haedyn looked again at the werewolf. He shifted and squirmed, pulling at his shackles. Drops of blood beaded along his forehead. She smelled the panic and the fear mixed in with his sweat. Then she met his eyes. For a brief moment, a part of her screamed to let him go. She quickly pushed the impulse away.
Discipline. She had to maintain discipline. Compassion was a weakness. How many times had Azazel pounded that into her during their sessions? Fourteen years of intense training and still she had to remind herself.
She closed her eyes, burying the whispers of empathy deep inside. A stillness settled within her. Then she re-emerged as the cold-hearted, unemotional assassin Azazel had molded her into.
This is what she was trained to be. This is what she was trained to do. Save them. Deliver them. It's what kept her alive, and that’s all that mattered.
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Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
There’s always been a part of me that wanted to be a writer. I can remember being in grade school and excited because our homework was a creative writing assignment. But as I grew older, I let it become a fanciful thought. Something a young girl dreams about but knows it can never happen. Sort of like being a princess. So I bounced around ideas of being a lawyer, a detective, an FBI Profiler, a psychologist, and eventually decided that I wanted to work at a newspaper or magazine as an editor. I did end up at a newspaper in my hometown for about 10 years. And it was during that time when the industry started changing and self-publishing became a viable option for writers. I realized I could actually BE an author. So, I pulled the childhood dream from the drawer, dusted it off, and
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Too long. Lol! I started writing the story as a short story, then decided it would be a full-length novel. After about halfway through, I decided it would be a series. And then out of nowhere I had this scene pop in my head that was so clear, I had to write it. But it didn’t fit in the same timeframe as the novel. And it was far too long to be a prologue. So, I expanded it and made it the prequel, The Unnamed. So, from the time I started writing it until the time it finally became available for sale, was a little over a year. And then I finished up Haedyn’s Choice about seven months later. I’ve now gotten the technical stuff down to a pretty good system, so the time-consuming part is the getting the first draft completed.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Along with my writing, I am also a freelance proofreader, a Virtual Assistant for author C.C. MacKenzie, and an admin assistant for Laird Sapir’s website design company, Memphis McKay, LLC.
Ironically, all of these tend to circle the publishing/writing industry so I’m still able to keep my hands in the middle of it all while I supplement my income.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest release is Lenore’s Secret, a short story from the Haedyn Chronicles.
To escape the outcome of her evil deeds, Lenore must seek out a formidable species from her childhood nightmares.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I am self-published. I knew from the beginning that this would be a long-term career choice for me, so I created Small Escapes Publishing, LLC for my business ventures. That allows me to keep my “work life” separate from my personal life, and it makes tax time much less complicated.
I enjoy the ability to be in the trenches and learning all the ins and outs of the industry. I like knowing that I’m the one making the decisions and being in control of my own work. I deal with every aspect, from writing the book, to cover design, to promotions and marketing, to which retailers I’ll use to distribute my books. Don’t get me wrong - it is HARD work, but I feel like the knowledge I’ve gained from doing it myself is something I wouldn’t have learned in any other situation.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
So far there’s really no set timeframe. I’m still figuring out which process is most efficient for me. It really depends on whether or not the idea is for a short story or a full-length novel. Lenore’s Secret took me about a month to write and finalize, once I actually started writing it.
If the characters and their stories are clear in my head, then I tend to write the first draft rather quickly. That’s what happened with The Unnamed and the first half of Haedyn’s Choice. But the second half was much more challenging because I needed to figure out how to carry the plot and storyline into the next several books instead of wrapping it all up in one. Writing the first draft takes longer for me to accomplish than the revisions or editing phases.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
You can expect more in the same genre as I finish up the Headyn Chronicles. After that, I’ll be diving into a paranormal crime/mystery category with a new novella series I’m plotting out. As well as some paranormal thrillers and maybe even a romance! I’ve got a lot of ideas brewing - who knows where they’ll lead me!
What genre would you place your books into?
The Haedyn Chronicles would definitely be considered dark fantasy with a splash of romance.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always enjoyed books with paranormal elements. So I knew I wanted to write in the same arena. For me, it’s all about the story, so I tend to focus on that and then figure out what genre it falls into.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes, I do read all the reviews for my books. I know I shouldn’t, and have been told time and again by author friends that reading them is a no-no. But honestly, I just can’t help myself! I must know what the reader thought of my book and characters. I want to please my readers and if they find something that I missed or there was a character that absolutely did it for them, even if they though the whole thing was horrid, I really want to know.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
A little of both happens for me. Haedyn came to me almost fully created. I knew what she looked like and a basic idea of her story. I went through a list of names and grabbed the one that felt like it fit.
Sometimes the exact opposite happens. I hear or see a name and then a character forms in my mind around it.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I have a basic idea of my characters’ traits and storyline before I start writing but I always learn more as I write. The more situations I put them in, the more emotional trauma they experience, the more I learn how they can or should handle it.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
In an ideal setting, I’d choose a paperback over the other formats. Give me a great paperback book, a comfy couch or oversized chair, a comforter, and a cup of hot chocolate… I’d be in heaven.
But alas, I don’t have that ideal setting all that often. So I tend to read in which ever format I can get my hands on.
Your favorite food is?
Chocolate. Chocolate covered donuts, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream, cookies and cream ice cream - because it has those lovely little chunks of chocolate cookie mixed in, brownies… great. Now I’m craving brownies.
Actually, I love all kinds of seafood, with sushi being at the top of that list.
Your favorite color is?
Oddly enough, I don’t have a favorite color. It changes from day to day depending on my mood and what I’m working on at the time. Some days, I find darker purples and royal blues to attract me most. Other days, I’m drawn to pastel yellows and greens. Then there are times when reds, burgundy and mauves do it for me. You can imagine the tough time I had picking colors for my wedding, right? Lol!
During her many years of working at a daily newspaper, Jennifer L. Oliver honed her writing skills in secret. As an avid reader, she enjoys books that give her an entertaining and temporary escape from the ruckus of everyday life. Now, she hopes to bring the same enjoyment to others through her own work.
Jennifer is the author of The Haedyn Chronicles, and other dark urban fantasy and paranormal thrillers. She is also a freelance proofreader and always looking for the opportunity to help other authors reach their publishing dreams.
Although she was born and raised in North Carolina, she now lives on Florida's gulf coast with her husband, two cats, and a Royal Bahamian Potcake dog who is more than half her size and thinks the world revolves around treats. When she's not writing, you can find her playing in the flower garden, giggling with her granddaughter, and enjoying time with her family and friends.