Faith IN THE DARK

Local mystery writer Gwen Hunter takes on a new persona, moving as Faith Hunter through an urban, post-apocalyptic fantasy world of seraphs and mages ... with a new roleplaying game on the horizon, you can play along A Q&A WITH FAITH HUNTER Seek and y

Karan M. Robinson • Special to The HeraldMay 24, 2008 

Rock Hill author Gwen Hunter is known to many for her mystery/thrillers, including "Sleep Softly," published by Mira Books in February. But there's another side to Gwen -- Faith Hunter, the name she writes under for her dark urban fantasy Rogue Mage series.

As Faith Hunter, she has published a trilogy of novels and is making the foray into roleplaying games based on the fictional universe in her books. RPGs, as they're known, are popular in the science fiction/fantasy genre; they include the 34-year-old Dungeons & Dragons and the more recent Vampire: The Masquerade.

Hunter is developing the Rogue Mage RPG with Christina Stiles and Raven Blackwell. Stiles is co-author of the award-nominated children's roleplaying game Faery's Tale Deluxe and more than 30 gaming publications. Blackwell, a writing newcomer, is a longtime gamer.

The game won't be released until later this year, but Hunter will be testing it this week at ConCarolinas, a general science fiction convention Friday through June 1 in Charlotte.

What is your role at ConCarolinas?

This is my first ConCarolinas and also my first time at a convention with a strong roleplaying game focus. Christina and I will be play-testing the Rogue Mage before publication. I'll also participate as a special guest writer in several panels on fantasy and writing with local and national fantasy writers, including Misty Massey, Rock Hill author of "Mad Kestrel." And I'll teach a seminar on The First Five Pages, the Make or Break of Publishing, which I love doing! (For more about the convention, check www.concarolinas.com.)

Why did you begin writing fantasy?

I've always loved fantasy. It's a fight between good and evil. I've never thought of man as being at the apex of that fight, rather, that man is a warrior, fighting in the war between angels and demons.

Can you tell us a little about the series and the world you created for it?

The Rogue Mage series, being released in massmarket paperback this fall, is based in an alternate-reality, post-apocalyptic world where seraphs (angels) came back, bringing plague, judgment and a celestial war to the earth. Most humans died. ... And new beings were born among the remaining humans, beings who can manipulate leftover creation energy in a way that seems like magic. For more about the world, check out www.faithhunter.net.

What books are in the series, and can we expect more?

"Bloodring" was published in 2006, "Seraphs" in May 2007 and "Host" last November. I wrote "Host" to tie up all of the pending issues in the trilogy. They are scheduled for re-issue in November and December. I hope to write more books in the series, but now I'm working on a new series about a Cherokee skinwalker, the first novel coming out in July 2009.

When is Rogue Mage, the game, coming out, and how did you get the idea for turning your series into a roleplaying game?

Rogue Mage is coming out by the end of the year and will be available in print from Bella Rosa Books (www.bellarosabooks.com) and in PDF through Misfit Studios (www.rpgnow.com). (Rogue Mage will use a basic dice-rolling systems based on the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition rules.) The roleplaying game is very new to me. Independently, each of the three writers thought it would be fun and exciting, and Christina and Raven contacted me about the possibility. I got to write the fiction for the game, which was fun.

What's the difference between Faith and Gwen?

There's a persona that comes with being a public person, and mine really are separate. I didn't know this would happen when I started writing as Faith, but now she has her own clothes and makeup, makes and wears her own chunky jewelry and has her own closet space. Her clothes are more urban and hip. Gwen wears slacks, blazers and comfortable shoes. And of course, the real me wears blue jeans and flip-flops.

How do you separate Faith and Gwen when writing?

I make a point to work on one genre at a time. I try to take off at least a weekend between changing from Faith to Gwen. Readers who pick up Gwen's book expect certain things, and they're different from what Faith's readers expect. Most fans read either Faith or Gwen. There's probably a 2 percent crossover of people who read both genres.

How much time do you spend writing?

I spend at least 40 hours a week writing, and I work 32 to 34 hours at my full-time job in the laboratory at Chester Regional Medical Center.

Where do you get your ideas from?

I think most writers have more ideas than they can write about. We tend to "what if" a lot. Everything becomes an idea, including international events, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, and war, or more local events like a robbery, or even a cooking class. Sometimes a writer falls in love with an idea, however, and it becomes more than just a book. It isn't often a writer gets the chance to make both a series and an RPG from a single idea. I am really blessed.

Faith

IN THE DARK

Rock Hill author Gwen Hunter is known to many for her mystery/thrillers, including "Sleep Softly," published by Mira Books in February. But there's another side to Gwen -- Faith Hunter, the name she writes under for her dark urban fantasy Rogue Mage series.

As Faith Hunter, she has published a trilogy of novels and is making the foray into roleplaying games based on the fictional universe in her books. RPGs, as they're known, are popular in the science fiction/fantasy genre; they include the 34-year-old Dungeons & Dragons and the more recent Vampire: The Masquerade.

Hunter is developing the Rogue Mage RPG with Christina Stiles and Raven Blackwell. Stiles is co-author of the award-nominated children's roleplaying game Faery's Tale Deluxe and more than 30 gaming publications. Blackwell, a writing newcomer, is a longtime gamer.

The game won't be released until later this year, but Hunter will be testing it this week at ConCarolinas, a general science fiction convention Friday through June 1 in Charlotte.

What is your role at ConCarolinas?

This is my first ConCarolinas and also my first time at a convention with a strong roleplaying game focus. Christina and I will be play-testing the Rogue Mage before publication. I'll also participate as a special guest writer in several panels on fantasy and writing with local and national fantasy writers, including Misty Massey, Rock Hill author of "Mad Kestrel." And I'll teach a seminar on The First Five Pages, the Make or Break of Publishing, which I love doing! (For more about the convention, check www.concarolinas.com.)

Why did you begin writing fantasy?

I've always loved fantasy. It's a fight between good and evil. I've never thought of man as being at the apex of that fight, rather, that man is a warrior, fighting in the war between angels and demons.

Can you tell us a little about the series and the world you created for it?

The Rogue Mage series, being released in massmarket paperback this fall, is based in an alternate-reality, post-apocalyptic world where seraphs (angels) came back, bringing plague, judgment and a celestial war to the earth. Most humans died. ... And new beings were born among the remaining humans, beings who can manipulate leftover creation energy in a way that seems like magic. For more about the world, check out www.faithhunter.net.

What books are in the series, and can we expect more?

"Bloodring" was published in 2006, "Seraphs" in May 2007 and "Host" last November. I wrote "Host" to tie up all of the pending issues in the trilogy. They are scheduled for re-issue in November and December. I hope to write more books in the series, but now I'm working on a new series about a Cherokee skinwalker, the first novel coming out in July 2009.

When is Rogue Mage, the game, coming out, and how did you get the idea for turning your series into a roleplaying game?

Rogue Mage is coming out by the end of the year and will be available in print from Bella Rosa Books (www.bellarosabooks.com) and in PDF through Misfit Studios (www.rpgnow.com). (Rogue Mage will use a basic dice-rolling systems based on the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition rules.) The roleplaying game is very new to me. Independently, each of the three writers thought it would be fun and exciting, and Christina and Raven contacted me about the possibility. I got to write the fiction for the game, which was fun.

What's the difference between Faith and Gwen?

There's a persona that comes with being a public person, and mine really are separate. I didn't know this would happen when I started writing as Faith, but now she has her own clothes and makeup, makes and wears her own chunky jewelry and has her own closet space. Her clothes are more urban and hip. Gwen wears slacks, blazers and comfortable shoes. And of course, the real me wears blue jeans and flip-flops.

How do you separate Faith and Gwen when writing?

I make a point to work on one genre at a time. I try to take off at least a weekend between changing from Faith to Gwen. Readers who pick up Gwen's book expect certain things, and they're different from what Faith's readers expect. Most fans read either Faith or Gwen. There's probably a 2 percent crossover of people who read both genres.

How much time do you spend writing?

I spend at least 40 hours a week writing, and I work 32 to 34 hours at my full-time job in the laboratory at Chester Regional Medical Center.

Where do you get your ideas from?

I think most writers have more ideas than they can write about. We tend to "what if" a lot. Everything becomes an idea, including international events, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, and war, or more local events like a robbery, or even a cooking class. Sometimes a writer falls in love with an idea, however, and it becomes more than just a book. It isn't often a writer gets the chance to make both a series and an RPG from a single idea. I am really blessed.

Wednesday

Joseph Beth Books in SouthPark, Charlotte, will host a fantasy panel on Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. to kick off ConCarolinas. The panel features Faith Hunter (the Rogue Mage series), Gail Z Martin ("Chronicles of the Necromancer") and Misty Massey ("Mad Kestrel"), who will be discussing fantasy and answering questions from fans, and signing their books. Details, www.josephbeth.com.

Friday through Sunday

Faith Hunter and Misty Massey will be participating on panels and doing book signings at ConCarolinas. Both will take part in the "Building a World from the Group Up" and "Writers Round Tabble" on Friday afternoon as well as "Creating Marketable Characters" on Saturday morning. Massey will talk about pirates Saturday afternoon, and then it's both writers together again for "Rogues: Why We Love our Bad Boys" Saturday night. For a complete schedule, check www.concarolinas.com.

Karan Robinson is a Clover freelancer. | Karan Robinson is a Clover freelancer.

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