by Lorie Lewis Ham
This week one of my favorite authors, Jeri Westerson, takes on urban fantasy in her new novel Booke of the Hidden-we have a review & giveaway. We also have a short interview with Jeri about the book. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Booke of the Hidden, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL. For any Fresno readers there is also info on her upcoming book launch in Clovis.
Booke of the Hidden By Jeri Westerson
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham
Booke of the Hidden is the first book in a new urban fantasy series by Jeri Westerson–whose Crispin Guest medieval noir books I love! I was confident that I would enjoy this new series as well-and I was right.
Kylie Strange decides to leave California and get as far away from her jerk of an ex boyfriend as she possibly can. When she discovers that there is a place for sale in Moody Bog, Maine she thinks it would be perfect for her new tea and herb shop and about as far away as she could get. She also feels somehow drawn to this town.
While trying to get the place ready for her grand opening, Kylie finds a strange old book hidden in one of the walls–the book is called Booke of the Hidden and its pages are all blank. Thinking that she has found something of value she can sell for some much needed cash, she starts trying to learn about the Booke and uncovers way more than she ever imagined was even real–a world full of magic, witches, and demons. She also finds herself having a strange connection to it.
After opening the Booke, Kylie also encounters a dark and handsome stranger named Erasmus Dark who tells her all of these crazy things about horrible creatures that she has released by opening the Booke and how it is now her job to capture them all and return them to the Booke. She really doesn’t take it all seriously until people start dying in a very mysterious way.
Kylie is quite overwhelmed by all of this because she is just an ordinary girl who simply wants to open her shop and get on with her life–not some sort of demon hunter. However, with the reluctant help of Erasmus, and an eclectic group of local Wiccans, she finds herself much more capable than she ever dreamed that she could be, and uncovers that this Booke may actually tie into her own ancestry. Along the way, she also finds herself attracted to Erasmus, who just happens to be a demon, but also to the nice, normal, local Sheriff.
Booke of the Hidden is a perfect start to a new series and I can’t wait for the next one! There’s an interesting history to the magical world that Jeri has created, some steamy romance, and great characters. I’m especially fond of the group of Wiccans that help Kylie and the family like connection that they quickly form amidst all the craziness. If you enjoy urban fantasy, don’t miss this book! Or should I say “Booke.”
Interview with Jeri Westerson:
KRL: How did you come up with the main character and premise for this new book?
Jeri: Well I’ll tell you. It came to me in a dream. No, really! I dreamed about Kylie (name and all) who opened this supernatural book she found bricked up in the wall, and when she opened it, it acted like a Pandora’s Box, and all manner of beasties were released and it was her job to put them back. It was pretty cool since I’d never dreamed a plot before. I just lay in bed thinking about it and what a fun dream it was, and then I told my husband who was getting ready for work, and he turned to me and said, “Write. It. Down.”
So I did, filling in the gaps to come up with a better synopsis and I read it to him before he went off to work, and he told me, “Write. The. Book.” And so I did. My subconscious was working for me, because I had told my agent that I wanted to write some paranormal books to try to get out of the mid-list. So many of us authors are stuck there, and, let’s face it, it’s impossible to make a living from there. Other authors have had some success in this genre, like Charlaine Harris. In fact, my latest blurb from Publishers Weekly is, “Readers sad about the ending of Charlaine Harris’s Midnight, Texas trilogy, will find some consolation in Moody Bog.” So that was a nice lift. We shall see.
KRL: Will this be a series?
Jeri: It is indeed a series of six books. The first releases on Halloween this year!
KRL: Why fantasy?
Jeri: It might seem out of nowhere from my readers but it really isn’t. I cut my teeth on sci-fi and fantasy books in high school and college. Some of my favorite authors were Larry Niven (whom I met at Dragon Con this year. I had been invited to be on some panels and garner new fantasy readers), Anne McCaffery, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Piers Anthony, Philip Jose Farmer, Barbara Hambly, Tolkein, of course, and so many others. So it’s actually getting back to the roots of my interests in writing.
The first novel I ever wrote and completed (when I was sixteen) was a rambling Tolkein-esque hero saga. And in the Crispin Guest Mysteries, there is plenty of subtle and some not-so-subtle paranormal stuff. And, as I said, many authors have managed to climb out of the mid-list with paranormal books. So why not give it a try? It’s loads of fun to write, but even so, it still involves research. Maybe not as heavily as with the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir mysteries, but enough to keep me busy. There’s another paranormal series I’m also writing, a steam-punk series called the Daemon Device, that I hope to place with a publisher soon. And as the Crispin series winds down, I’m already planning a mash-up of paranormal and medieval mystery. So there’s more in my future.
KRL: How does writing this book compare to the Crispin Guest books?
Jeri: All books take time and energy, but I think it’s still easier than a Crispin book. For one, the Crispin books are heavy on research and dense with prose. And then there’s the mystery. A paranormal has a lot more fiction involved, though the world-building is based on known myths and legends and the real state of Maine. And there actually is a bit of a mystery in it, too. But the prose is lighter, more humorous in this instance. It’s enjoyable in its own way. I like writing both. They each have their qualities that I like diving into.
KRL: What kind of research did you have to do?
Jeri: Myths and legends, Maine itself, its landscapes and place-names. I made up the little town of Moody Bog, but the name is based on researching the names of towns, which are in turn based on the names of the people who founded those towns, and founders play a big part in the story. Other little things like local colloquialisms, what the police uniforms are like, what they drive, lots of little details to make the mundane part of the story true to the telling. It’s important in a fantasy to have a foundation in truth. That’s what makes the unbelievable believable.
KRL: Do you write more than one series at a time or do you take turns which series you are writing?
Jeri: I don’t write them at the same time. I have three series I write currently, with more on the way. Each book in each series gets my sort of undivided attention. It’s juggling deadlines and contracts. I’ve already got the first two in the Booke of the Hidden series written. I finished a Skyler Foxe LGBT Mystery (that I write under the name Haley Walsh) a few months ago, and I’m finishing up the second Crispin book in my current contract, and the 11th book in that series. When I’m done with that, I will likely begin the third Booke of the Hidden book, and after that write another Skyler book, and after that write the next Crispin. With any luck, the steam-punk series will find a home and I’ll have to schedule the next book in that series. But I find that three a year is really my limit for quality’s sake. I’m getting a little old and rattled to do more. Besides, I already sort of outline the next book in any of these series and have written the first chapter in most of them. The Skyler books are all self-published now, so those are floaters. I can put them aside if I need to fulfill a contract with the others. Yup, the life of a working full-time author, and still it’s hard to make a living at it. Definitely not for the squeamish.
KRL: When does the new Crispin book come out?
Jeri: The next Crispin book, the tenth in the series called Season of Blood, will be released September 30 in the UK and out on New Year’s Day in the US. I’m doing a virtual launch on Facebook for Brits and Americans alike on Sunday, October 8 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, 6 p.m. Greenwich time. I invite anyone to join me there for a video reading, giveaways, discussion, and laughter.
KRL: Where can we find you online?
Jeri: Folks can go to BOOKEoftheHIDDEN.com for our fabulous book trailer and more info on the book and appearances, including a blog tour, and they can also go to JeriWesterson.com for more about the Crispin books and the steam-punk book Daemon Device. Plus, I’m also active on Facebook, semi-active on Twitter, and trying to be more active on Instagram.
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Jeri: It’s tough for authors to make it to various events, and even tougher for the bookstores who host them, not knowing if that author will bring in people to buy the books they’ve ordered. I would urge readers to make the effort to get out to the events authors put together (if I do say so myself, mine are always a lot of fun, with an energetic power-point, giveaways, and goodies to eat). I’ll be at some new bookstores for me and I want to make it worthwhile for those bookstores. When you go to my website, see if I’ll be near you. I also make trips to a lot of libraries. Do go to these events. Even pre-order the books at these bookstores. These booksellers would love that and would, consequently, be pleased to have me back. And thanks for reading, all!
Editor’s Note: For anyone who lives in the Fresno, CA area Jeri will be having a launch party for Booke of the Hidden. It will be at the Book Barn, 640 Clovis Ave., Clovis on Saturday, November 18 at 1 p.m. Don’t miss this spooky fun!
To enter to win a copy of Booke of the Hidden, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “booke,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 14, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Use this link to pre-order the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to pre-order the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.