Until I had to introduce her as a speaker for the Palmetto Chapter of Sisters in Crime, I didn’t realize my friend Faith Hunter had her own article in Wikipedia. She is listed as Gwendolyn Faith Hunter, an American author and blogger, who has written thrillers as Gary Hunter (in collaboration with Gary Leivelle) and Gwen Hunter and fantasies as Faith Hunter. In addition, she is a founding member and contributor to MagicalWords.net, a writer assistance blog, some of the messages from which have been compiled into a book.
When I first met Faith, we called her Gwen. She was writing the Dr. Rhea Lynch series for Mira Books, which we considered medical mysteries rather than thrillers, although they have plenty of action. Only four are listed, which seems odd to me, because I remember how much my book club enjoyed them and how we looked forward to each new novel. Surely there must have been more than four!
Gwen came to talk to our small book club and even attended one of our Christmas parties to visit with her readers. That’s the kind of author she is. She stays connected to those who have supported her.
Now, as Faith Hunter, she has two series: the first about Jane Yellowrock , the last of her kind, a skinwalker of Cherokee decent, who can shape shift to become other creatures as she hunts for vampires, and the second (the Rogue Mage series) about Thorn St. Croix, a neomage in a post-apocalyptic world where seraphs and demons constantly battle. Hunter has developed a role-playing game based on her Rogue Mage books. Her website list a new Soulwood series coming in August of this year.
The announcement that Faith would be appearing at our Palmetto Chapter meeting brought out a record crowd and garnered our chapter several new members. A number of people who attended have been loyal Gwen/Faith Hunter readers for years and drove an hour or more to attend the meeting.
Because Palmetto Chapter membership is primarily writers, Faith spoke with us about the business, something she has watched develop over the past few decades. She predicted that new markets for genre fiction would be developed by smaller specialty publishing companies rather than the big houses in New York. And, she urged our chapter to work together to support each other’s efforts. She suggested that we consider inviting a well-known author to a two day intensive workshop retreat, where we have classes, writing time, and critiques. She also recommended we look into developing an anthology seeking stories from well-known authors to be included with stories by our membership.
We were all drawn to Faith’s enthusiasm and her generosity in sharing ideas and encouragement. She pointed out that she had ups and downs in her writing career, but still found that the old adage “keep on writing” was the best way to overcome obstacles and find new opportunities.
As the session ended, she stayed on to sign books and take pictures. I had recently purchased her latest release, Blood in the Veins, a collection of Jane Yellowrock short stories and novellas. Her husband, Rod, publisher of Bella Rosa Books, was with Faith and mentioned that she had forgotten to talk about the Easter book. I asked them to tell me about it. Its title is His Blood Like Tears and it is the story of Mary Magdalene, after she was healed by Jesus and became his follower. Faith said it was the first book she had written. She had reworked it many times and finally Rod had published it. The cover image was a picture her mother had painted.