Howard Andrew Jones is the contributor for this week’s Take Five, a regular series where we ask authors and editors to share five facts about their latest books. Jones is the author of Pathfinder Tales: Stalking the Beast:
When a mysterious monster carves a path of destruction across the southern River Kingdoms, desperate townsfolk look to the famed elven ranger Elyana and her half-orc companion Drelm for salvation. For Drelm, however, the mission is about more than simple justice-it’s about protecting the frontier town he’s adopted as his home, and the woman he plans to marry. Together with the gunslinging bounty hunter Lisette and several equally deadly allies, the heroes must set off into the wilderness, hunting a terrifying beast that will test their abilities-and their friendships-to the breaking point and beyond. But could it be that there’s more to the murders than a simple rampaging beast? From critically acclaimed author Howard Andrew Jones comes a new adventure of love, betrayal, and unnatural creatures, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Howard Andrew Jones:
1. To be in the same frame of mind as a horse warrior living off the land, I read a vast swathe of westerns by Ben Haas — his Sundance series, under his John Benteen pseudonym. I own horses myself, but seeing how a skilled person used them in the wilderness, and especially how a skilled tracker worked, was a real leg up when writing any chapters from the viewpoint of Elyana.
2. Now that my daughter’s a teenager I’m more determined than ever to provide her with some powerful female action heroes, and two of this novel’s point of view characters fit the bill. They’re capable, independent, and control their own agenda. They don’t need any men to rescue them, and they’re not waiting for the right man to complete their world.
3. I wanted to turbocharge the pacing of this novel but load it with surprises and twists as well, so the other non-fantasy author I revisited in preparation was “Richard Stark” (Donald Westlake), in particular his page turning, intricate Parker crime novels.
4. I created an extremely detailed outline for this book and it worked well up until the final third… when every single one of the point of view characters insisted on taking things in a slightly different direction. Each ended up with a final moment that was truer to their character than my original outline. I guess they knew themselves better than I did! 5.
I admit it – I love making up weird monsters. And though there are lots of strange critters that are already extant in the game world of Golarion, complete with some phenomenal drawings (enough to fill FOUR Bestiaries!) I couldn’t resist making up a few more at a couple of key points in the story.