Title: Darkness Haunts (The Sensor Series Book One)
Author: Susan Illene
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Melena Sanders faced her fair share of danger with insurgents and terrorists when she served in the U.S. Army, but now she is about to go up against a new threat. Her best friend, Aniya, has disappeared while on a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska—a supernatural haven. Most humans have no idea darker races lurk amongst them. Mel knows better. If she wants to get her friend back, she’s going to have to go in alone—but not unarmed.
Melena has a few special skills the Army didn’t provide, but the odds are still against her. She’s got to come up with a plan fast that doesn’t involve her, or her friend, dying. But danger likes to play it rough. A war for power is about to rise in Fairbanks and if she wants to get Aniya back, she’s going to have to step right into the middle of it.
Author: Susan Illene
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Melena Sanders has managed to avoid all things inhuman for most of her life, but after coming to Fairbanks, Alaska to rescue her best friend from supernaturals she hasn’t been allowed to leave. That is, until her long-time nemesis comes to collect a favor she owes him. Lucas might be half angel, but he’s all bad as far as she’s concerned.
Paying him back might get her out of town for a while, but her new destination will be anything but enjoyable. Mel’s got to help the nephilim take care of a demon possession outbreak in Juneau. Although something like this hasn’t happened for thousands of years, Lucas is certain Melena’s rare abilities are the key to solving the problem.
With violence in the capital city growing, she’s going to have to figure out how to stop it fast before the trouble spreads to other places. Not only that, but working closely with Lucas is changing the dynamics of their hate-hate relationship—worrying her even more than the demons. Getting back to her captivity in Fairbanks never looked so good.
About the Author:
Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber...an experience she is sure is best left for criminals. For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units). Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.
After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she's found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
I am an avid urban fantasy reader, but had a tough time finding any books in the genre that had female veterans as heroines. It seemed like it would be a great background to have if you want a good kick-ass heroine, but hasn’t been used much. The other problem I found is many authors (in any genre) write military women inaccurately. Considering that is my background, it was frustrating to see us portrayed as cold and rigid people with little depth. The service doesn’t make you less human. We still like to wear fashionable clothes, go out and have a good time, fall in love, and we cry when people we care about die (I lost good friends because of war).
Not to mention many people don’t understand exactly what types of training females in the military are able to obtain. Much of the time their backgrounds in fiction are totally inaccurate. We have advanced so much in recent decades, but there are still some limits. All these things factored in when I developed my main character. I wanted her to have an Army background true to real life—to show how her military training gave her some useful experience that she could use against supernaturals, but also that there was so much more to her beyond that. The military can shape you, but it isn’t all of who you are.
2. What characters do you connect with most?
Melena is obviously the one I can relate to more than anyone, but many elements of her personality were actually drawn from other women I served with. Because of this, some parts of me went into other characters. Nikolas, a vampire that shows up later in Darkness Haunts has my dirty mind. Emily, a teenage character in the series, is a bit like me when I was her age.
3. What's your favorite book-turned movie?
Oh, that’s a tough one. We all know the movies are rarely like the books. I suppose I could say The Hunger Games did a decent job squeezing most of the story into a couple of hours. If I could list a book turned TV show instead, I’d say Game of Thrones. HBO is doing really well at following the books in a way movies never can.
4. If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
Kariann is a vampire who comes late in the first book, Darkness Haunts, but readers get to know her a little better in the second book. I’d definitely want her as a friend rather than an enemy because she is one tough woman while still managing to be snarky and likeable.
5. Can you tell us about any other books you're writing?
I’m currently writing the next book in the series, Chained by Darkness. It’s a novella/short novel that will probably come out to about 40-50k words with the story told from another character’s point of view—Lucas, who is a fan favorite. It does progress the series and doesn’t have any overlap in the timeline with the other books. I hadn’t originally planned to write it, but there are some things that happen off screen from my main character, Melena, that really have to be told from Lucas’ point of view. The photo shoot for the book cover takes place this month (August), and I must say the male model I chose to portray Lucas fits him very well. He will be, um, nice for fans to look upon
6. What do you do in your spare time?
I read a lot, watch movies, and argue with the husband (I’m a veteran who served in Iraq and he’s an Iraqi so we have loads of stuff we can fight about, but we enjoy every minute of it).
7. Who's your inspiration?
I’m not sure I can name any one person. Some authors like Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews could get credit for making me love the urban fantasy genre, but I enjoyed reading long before discovering them and knew I’d write a book some day.
8. If you were stranded on a desert island which character do you want by your side?
Lucas, because as a nephilim he could “flash” us out of there!
9. Team Edward or Jacob?
Edward—I tend to favor vampires over werewolves.
10. Team Peeta or Gale?
Team Gale. I liked him from the beginning.
11. What are you reading now?
I’m still deciding which book to read next, but I just finished “Biting Bad” by Chloe Neill and “Devil’s Paw” by Debra Dunbar.