If you saw Wonder Woman or Frodo Baggins near the university area this weekend, don't worry, it wasn't your eyes. It was probably someone from ConCarolinas, a sci-fi and fantasy convention that attracted about 1,300 filmmakers, writers, and enthusiasts.
Some writers didn't have to travel far. WFAE's Briana Duggan profiles a Charlotte-based writer who has found quite a following, thanks to one shape-shifting Cherokee vampire slayer.
Fantasy creatures of all kinds meandered through the lobby of the University Hilton for ConCarolinas this weekend, an annual sci-fi convention. A line of trekkies filed past, then a minute later a nine foot Chewbacca walked by. “Please do not block the walkway,” one festival organizer shouted when fans crowded around and took out their cameras, “Please stand against the wall if you want to take a picture.”
Dressed in a pink blouse, and quite composed in the chaos, was Faith Hunter, a Charlotte-based Urban Fantasy writer.“If you take mystery genre and stuffed it into a world with magic or vampires or wares,” Hunter says, “or some strange combination of those plus other paranormal creatures and you have someone to solve the crime or murder or the dastardly deed, then you have urban fantasy.”
Hunter is best known for her novels about Jane Yellowrock- a sexy Cherokee vampire killer who turns into different animals. As the first novel begins, Jane has just bought a motorcycle in Charlotte, killed a family of rogue vampires in Asheville, and arrives in New Orleans for the next slaughter.
Hunter is a relative newcomer to the fantasy field. She wrote medical mysteries for fifteen year. Then, she says, the mystery field took a dive. “I could see the writing on the wall and I decided I wanted to take mystery in a new direction,” she says. “My character solves crimes she just does it with a little supernatural help from her beast.”
Hunter says she’s sold about 250,000 copies of the series since the first book in 2009. Writing isn’t her only job; Hunter still works at a hospital lab two days a week for the benefits, she says. She tries to spend the rest of the time writing.
As for the promotion of the novels, it’s covered.
Jason Gilbert and a group four others crowd around Hunter’s convention table. They’re part of the series’ “street team” - basically a group of die-hard fans who volunteer to distributes promotional materials about the Jane Yellowrock novels. “We have pins, we have business cards, bookmarks, Jane Yellowrock’s business cards,” says Street Team member Mindy Mymudes. “We leave them in libraries at bookstores with permission and it spreads the word, it preaches the gospel of Jane.”
The group works to help Hunter by taking some of the marketing load off her so that she can worry more about writing.“We really hate the fact that she might be doing something that isn’t writing,” Mymudes says, “she has these little bitty threads that she doesn’t answer in every book. And we need the next book to find out, she won’t tell us all at once.”
Quite a proactive way to solve a mystery.
This story is produced through the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance, a consortium of local media dedicated to covering the arts.