Auren looks forward to her summer camping trips with her foster father, Kado. What is different about the camping trip the two take in Demon Hunt?
Usually things run pretty smoothly, but in Demon Hunt, Auren accidentally releases a demon into the world. The demons are guardians of the shadow world, and because of this, they are very territorial. They don’t see a difference between being in the shadow world and being in the real world. Basically, if they can see it, they will defend it from invaders (anyone who is alive and not a shadow person). The thing that makes it more difficult is that they are not mindless beasts. They are intelligent problem solvers and know when they are being hunted. So they are not easy to capture if they get away. Auren and Kado have to try and find the demon and send it back to the shadow world before it can cause too much destruction.
What compelled you to write a Prequel to your Shadow Stalker Series?
I wanted to write something for the New Year that I could give away to my readers as a thank you for reading. I had briefly mentioned in the first episode that Auren and Kado had taken a trip to Luten Isle the previous year, and Auren wanted to share some of that experience with her friends, which was why they had decided on Luten Isle as their graduation celebration camping trip. I thought it would be fun to write about what Auren experienced during that particular trip.
Kado surprises Auren with a few facts about her life. Can you tell us about these surprises?
Well, she learns that she is a shadow stalker, which is a shock to her because most people believe that the shadow stalkers were all killed during the first war with the Galvadi Empire. She also learns that she is the delohi-saqu, one of the prophecy. Drevin, the emperor of the Galvadi, believes she is destined to enslave the people of the Serpent Isles and has decided the only way to stop her from doing so is to kill her. Learning that someone is determined to end your life would be a sobering experience for anyone.
How is Auren a Shadow Stalker?
People are born shadow stalkers. It’s not something you can just become. The shadow stalkers were created by the shadow people for a specific purpose (which has not yet been disclosed, but will be later in the Shadow Stalker series). Auren is a shadow stalker because both of her parents were shadow stalkers.
Training for a Shadow Stalker is intense. Can you tell us why?
The shadow stalkers’ power is derived from the shadow world, which is essentially the world of the dead. The shadow world is a very dangerous place for the living. First, there is the demons who guard the shadow world from intruders. Plus, humans were not meant to be there, so the more connected you become, the closer you get to your own death. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder for a shadow stalker to maintain their foot in the physical world, so to speak. It takes a lot of training to be able to deal with the demons and not become trapped within the shadow world.
Please explain the veil.
The veil is the intangible gateway between the shadow world and the physical world. It exists everywhere; there’s no set entry or exit point. It’s sometimes referred to as going into the mist because that’s how it appears to someone watching another enter the shadow world. Only shadow stalkers have the ability to actually see (other than seeing a shadow stalker disappear into the mist) or access the veil.
Who are the Shadow People?
There are three different types of shadow people. The first are the demons, the guardians. The second are the spirits of humans. Even the spirits of living people dwell in the shadow world, but they don’t know they’re there. The third are the spirits of animals, who naturally dwell in the shadow world as well as the physical world, just as the shadow stalkers do and they can do it without risk to themselves.
Kado and Auren have to live in secret from the Galvadi Empire. Tell us some ways they accomplish this.
There are very few people within the Coalition that know the shadow stalkers still exist. Most people believe they are all dead. Although they had been known for their darker skin, there are people who originate from the southern islands who have dark skin. So even though they stand out in Appolia, which is in the far north with fair skinned and light haired people, no one would really think there was anything odd about them because of the differences in their appearance. The shadow stalkers on the Dark Isle do not know that Kado is fostering a child, and they believe that Zain and Frai’s child died, so they don’t know of her existence. Also, those on Appolia who know Kado is a shadow stalker don’t think anything odd of Kado having a foster child because they’re aware that it is common practice with the shadow stalkers. Kado is the only one who has contact with the shadow stalkers on the Dark Isle and has been acting as a liaison. So he can control who knows what.
Tell us a bit of what happens when Auren is practicing ‘calling the veil’
Essentially, calling the veil is how the shadow stalkers access the shadow world. The first part of being able to work within the shadow world is being able to see or “call” the veil. The veil is always there, so it’s a matter of teaching your mind to sense it and visualize it.
Auren is simply attuning herself to the veil so she can easily recognize it in the future, but it takes a lot of practice. Once it’s mastered, a shadow stalker can call the veil and access the shadow world in less than a second.
The cover of Demon Hunt is different to the covers of the Shadow Stalker Series. Did you use the same designer?
No, it was a different designer. A friend of mine volunteered to do the cover for Part 1 of the Shadow Stalker series, which is Episodes 1 – 6. She is also doing the cover for Part 2, Episodes 7 – 12. The cover for Demon Hunt was designed by Kathryn Jenkins at DKC.