The Hunters Sign is a genre-crossing novel with elements of paranormal and dark urban fantasy as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
There were a few differences between the summary and the final draft, but the overall story remained intact. I always try to make my fantasy books atypical, so I avoid as many fantasy tropes as I can and I tend to cross genres to make a story that’s unpredictable and interesting.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I’d say the main character, Adam, was the most fun to write for. He’s smart and also a smartalec, the kind of person I wish I had the nerve to be. I liked developing his relationship with Amy for I attempted to give them real chemistry. I’ve read a few books where couples come together out of physical attraction and having fun at events but don’t real talk about things they have in common. I guess the author is unwilling to have their couples touch on issues that a reader might take offense at, or perhaps a relationship is only meant to serve the story and nothing more.
I was once afraid that Ricky, the secondary character, would practically take the story away from Adam, but as the book went on that didn’t happen. He’s only meant to serve for expository purposes, to observe things for the sake of the reader that Adam can’t observe (or else the story would be over much more quickly). Still, it was interesting to write about a character who’s not exactly a bad guy but has a different moral code than Adam. He really is a scamp!
Magic is used throughout the book and I felt it was deftly handled. How did you maintain balance to make sure the magic that was used was believable?
I believe that in any fantasy story with magic-wielding characters, strict limits should be imposed on the magic. I did this by saying there are three different “schools” that mages can adopt, and while they can use magic from various schools, they can only be a master in one. I also said mages can be measured through “levels” that determine their adeptness, and I made it hard for one to become a mage by inventing “phosphorescent stones” which give people magic abilities but can be dangerous when handled incorrectly (an incentive for someone to not become a mage). If an author makes magic seem too easy, it may make readers raise questions such as “If this guy can do this useful spell at this time, then why can’t he do it at this other time?”
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next book is titled “The Legend of the Three Roses,” which I’m very excited for! It takes place in a kind of medieval setting, and it starts out as a crime story only to evolve into a war story. The book reflects my thoughts on certain matters of spirituality, so characters touch on sensitive themes. It’s the most daring story I’ve ever written–graphic yet fun as well. I plan to release it sometime in June of 2017.
“Four years after the events of Part 1, 21-year-old Adam Taylor has moved to a new city, Almin. Here he plans to make a new start of things by attending a new school, learn new magic spells, and make new friends. And although love is not on his mind, he ends up falling for Amy Graine, the beautiful daughter of the CFO of Entercor Contracting. They are of two different disciplines of magic–him being a black mage and her being a white mage–yet they overcome their differences and begin a whirlwind romance that softens the scrappy young man’s heart. But Amy holds a secret that will test Adam’s conscience, and so he will be forced to side with either his girlfriend or those who wish to bring down Entercor.
Meanwhile, one of Adam’s school roommates, Ricky Grater, meets a mysterious man named Cameron Moss. Cameron is a fellow mage capable of powerful magic spells, and despite Cameron’s impulsiveness and abrasive behavior, Ricky looks up to him as a friend and mentor. The two men go through fast times gambling at the local casino, picking up lovely women, and enhancing their magic abilities. Ricky believes this is the start of a long and fruitful friendship that will further his magic career and keep the good times going. But behind his warm smile and easygoing attitude, Cameron has a hidden agenda, one that will ensnare Ricky in a web of lies, murder, and forbidden magic.”
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Jason Hubbard brings readers back to his world of magic in The Taming of Adam Part 2: The Hunters Sign, the sequel to his first novel in the Taming of Adam series. Adam tries to move on from his past dealings with the monster Ellen from Envale, so he moves to a new college in Almin to continue his studies as a black mage. Here he ends up with several roommates of which Ricky Grater is introduced. Ricky ends up playing a big part in the novel and in Adam’s life. This novel takes the reader through Adam’s experience as he falls in love with Amy Graine, learns about old and darker magic, and becomes involved in Entercor Contracting massive community rebuild project.
Most of the novel takes place in the Union of Altoria, in the city of Almin. It is like any city you would find around the world. This world sounds a lot like earth, but has magic and two moons. Hubbard uses a lot of plays on common names, words, movies and such that the reader can identify with current pop culture to get a feel for what he is saying and trying to convey. A lot of the social topics that are discussed are also relevant to modern times making the book very relatable even though Earth is not overrun with mages taking jobs, there is the constant concern over jobs going away due to technology and the high costs involved with getting services that the novel covers. Hubbard does a good job with explaining the social structures and pushing his view that those with more abilities need to be more compassionate and work for the common good and not focus on personal wealth.
The first half of the book is mostly character development with little action and a lot of psychological musings on the part of Adam and Ricky. Both are black mage’s, though Adam is much stronger and is dedicated to his studies. Ricky however is a womanizer with little care for anything beyond his own desires. Hubbard spends a lot of time on Adam’s relationships with women, namely Delhi and Amy. Both women offer different perspectives on his personality and bring out different things in him. Ricky never stays with a woman longer than it takes to score with her, but he becomes attached to the character Cameron who is the quintessential playboy living in the casino and always having money and women.
The second part of the novel is when the action starts and we learn what the Hunter’s Sign mentioned in the book title is, and what it is for. Entercor is making this happen with the help of a man named Alec that is believed to be a strong mage with the gift of prophecy. Adam is left with determining if the Hunter’s Sign is something to use for the good of the city or not. As Adam learns more about the magic surrounding and his connection with the shadow world he must make hard decisions that will affect not only him but those he loves and the entire city.
Overall The Taming of Adam Part 2: The Hunter’s Sign is an entertaining continuation of Adam’s growth as a black mage, his understanding of the shadow world and his own personal growth as person. The novel ends with a lead into the third book that Jason Hubbard has published.
Pages: 343 | ASIN: B00WRWHPYS
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“The Taming of Adam“ follows a prickly teen named Adam. While he attends college studying black magic he goes out of control, gets arrested and is forced to face his shortcomings. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?
This might sound horrible (probably because it is), but I’ve always been kind of interested in the school-shooter phenomenon, especially the Columbine incident. I wonder what those two young men went through and why they decided to do what they did. Did life truly not seem worth living? Did counterculture somehow help them come to their decision?
By the time I wrote “The Taming of Adam,” I already did two novels, and I decided to try something unique and risky:
A story about a man who could become a school shooter.
It didn’t have to be an urban fantasy story, but fantasy is the genre I’m most interested in. Of course, Adam’s situation is very different from a typical real-world school shooting, but he is a very antisocial guy with sociopathic tendencies–someone who might think little of going on a carnage spree. The message of the book is that you can find friends even in unlikely places, and that it’s better to indulge in the love and care of friends and family than go at the world alone. It’s corny, yes, and I’m not sure it would reach a sociopath, but it might help more than hurt.
Are you a fan of the fantasy/paranormal genre? What books do you think most influenced your work?
I’ve read a lot of fantasy books over the last few years mostly thanks to my Kindle, which can get me obscure books right at home, but before I wrote ToA, I mostly read Stephen King books and a handful of fantasy books. The works of Stephen King were a great influence, as well as Harry Potter of course, but there’s also a bit of Star Trek in there, too. I love how fantasy and horror can make for very adventurous books that break the rules of reality to be fully realized. On the other hand, to be honest, I am a little disappointed to see so many fantasy stories rely on cliches such as “The Chosen One,” “The Great Holy Artifact,” and “The Prophecy That Gives Sufficient Motivation.” These cliches can more or less cheapen a story and rob characters the chance to be endearing and relatable.
Adam starts out as an unlikable character. He’s a jerk to everyone, even his friends. What is one pivotal moment in the story that you think best defines Adam? Did any of the characters development occur organically through the story?
Adam is a pretty sensitive guy who went bad due to a bit of a traumatic experience as a child. He wants to live in his own little world where nothing and no one can hurt him, and he keeps telling himself that not even his family is important to him. But when he makes his sister cry over a matter of his own making, he gives her a hug, realizing that he wouldn’t want to be treated as he had just treated her. Another pivotal moment is when he reveals his feelings about the opposite sex to Naomi. They’re feelings he’s always been aware of, yet this is the first time he’s put them into words to anyone. If Naomi simply got disgusted and called him names, Adam would have probably stayed the same and refused to open himself up any further. But just getting his feelings out and not getting a huge backlash gave him the opportunity to reconsider his position on life. I’m not sure if any of the other characters changed with the story, but I like to think Russell was pretty brave in talking to Adam, a guy who had just assaulted him, while other people would have advised against it.
This is part 1 of “The Taming of Adam” series. Where does the story go in the next book and where do you see it going in the future?
Parts 2 and 3 are now available for digital download. In Part 2, Adam attends a school in a new city. He gets serious with a woman named Amy who gradually makes him a better person without him knowing it. But there are some people behind the scenes with a sinister agenda, and they happen to have some connection with Adam’s past. There’s another character named Ricky whose unique perspective helps to clarify things.
Part 3 is the most ambitious and epic installment of the series, involving gods and time travel, and it puts a new spin on the title “The Taming of Adam.” Can’t say much more without going into spoiler territory!
Meet Adam Taylor. He is a black mage: a magic-wielder who draws power from the essence of shadows. He is also a loner who prefers only his own company and dreams of power simply to make a living with it. He shuns and pushes away others, making him an extremely rude and antisocial miscreant. On the inside, though, he is a sensitive soul who doesn’t quite know the meaning of love and friendship.
Gene London, meanwhile, is a famous attorney who has a knack for defending difficult cases. He is also a government lobbyist who speaks to lawmakers on behalf of corporations (a normally legal profession as long as he doesn’t give lawmakers luxurious gifts … which he regularly does). Lately, he’s been seeing a mysterious person whom he calls “the lady in the mirror.” This lady claims she is trapped in another dimension, and she says that if London finds a way to free her, she will be his forevermore.
Little did Adam know, on the day he did something foolish and horrific, that he was setting himself on a course to a meeting with the dastardly Gene London … and setting in motion a series of events that will change him for better or worse.
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Adam Miller was never much of a student. Even though he dropped out of high school, his wealth and skill in magic get him into Cooper University for the Magical Sciences. Even though he’s signed up for many classes, he only attends the lectures on black magic. The shadow world of black magic fascinates him, and he’s learning fast. Adam is the ultimate loner; he’s rude and dismissive of others, considers his own professors to be idiots, and is physically violent with women. When he goes completely out of control, he’s arrested for his crimes and is forced to face his own shortcomings.
Gene London, Adam’s lawyer, has his own set of secrets. He is desperately looking for a powerful black mage to help him bring his lover Ellen back into the real world. Ellen is a white mage who is trapped in Envale, a place she describes as a world of light. When Adam meets Ellen, she shows him a whole new level of power that could grant him everything he ever wanted, or destroy him completely.
What I liked about this novel was that it is set in a contemporary world where magic is common. Mage is a trade like any other, and mages can earn a good living through magic. There’s also a predictable set of people who want to keep magic under control and set strict rules for mages to follow.
Adam starts out as a completely unlikable character. He’s a jerk to everyone, even those he thinks of as friends, and he seems to have no real reason for it. But when things go bad for him, he realizes that he can’t do everything alone, so he begins to make a few friends who help him practice and learn more spells. He’s not only mastering magic but also learning compassion for others and how they can be stronger by working together.
Gene London isn’t the greatest guy, either. He’s a slightly shady lawyer who uses bribery and intimidation to get what he wants. If he can secure funding for a top-secret magical experiment, he may be able to free her. He needs a powerful black mage to do it, and Adam just might be the one he’s looking for.
The first half of the novel is a chore to get through. It’s slow to start, bogged down by too many spelling and grammar errors and long information dumps that delay the plot. The information is “told” rather than shown, which makes for a dull reading experience. I was particularly disappointed in the chapter that laid out the origin of Renin. What should be an inspiring myth of gods and creation was poorly told.
Fortunately, both the quality of the writing and the plot gets much better, and the stakes get higher as the story progresses. As the magical experiment looms closer, danger and magical intrigue ramp up to a confrontation that could destroy everything Adam has accomplished.
Pages: 305 | ASIN: B00NJ2BZIW
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