I love when I find a unique story. Vampires and werewolves are very prevalent in paranormal romance. But Jill Kaelin writes about UNICORNS. Who didn't grow up with the movies, The Last Unicorn or Legend? Unicorns have always had a place in fantasy and now Jill Kaelin's Hunted takes them to a different level.
Hello Jill and thank you for visiting today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you for having me! To start with, I’m a teacher in Florida. I’ve been teaching for ten years now and continue to love it just as much as I did the first year. Probably even more so, because I actually know what I’m doing now. My life was made complete in 1994 when my daughter was born. She’s not a baby anymore, though. She just graduated from high school last year, so I feel super old now. As for writing, I’ve been at it since I was young.
Thanks! It sounds like you have an interesting life. I'm a teacher too and it does take a bit to feel comfortable with the techniques of teaching. Now on to some personal questions. If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
Great question. I would tell myself to never stop daydreaming. I used to get caught at it a lot in elementary school. I remember once in 5th grade, my class was in a portable. There were a lot of windows and my desk was next to one. One afternoon, I imagined a giant, rusty wrecking ball coming towards the portable but I was the only one to see it, so I leapt out of my seat and managed to save everyone from the crash by ducking under a table on the other side of the room. Crazy, right? That’s just one example of the fun ideas that float around in my brain.
For what are you grateful?
I’m grateful for so many things but I’ll pick my top two. I’ll start with my daughter. She’s an inspiration to me every day. Second, I’m grateful for my career as a teacher because I love the inspiration they give me. I hope I return the favor just a little.
If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable? Now this I could handle. My sister-in-law, Jenny, is a zombie expert. She knows everything there is to know about zombies, so I would just call her and she’d know exactly how to keep us from being infected. No worries!
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
I’m a reality TV junkie, so it’d be more like one of the housewives episodes with all the drama. But what’s a family without drama, right?
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Hi. My name is Jill and I’m a Candy Crush addict. (Need I say more?)
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author. Did you always want to be an author?
Yes and no. When I was young, I dreamed about writing a book one day and it was always in the back of my mind growing up. But reality hits you pretty darn quick and I didn’t think I could make it financially, so I went into the nursing program. I know what you’re thinking…that I’m not a nurse, I’m a teacher. Correct, nursing isn’t for everyone and luckily I figured that out and went into elementary education.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Growing up I loved reading Judy Blume books. Are you There God? It’s me Margaret taught me a lot about life. :) As an adult, Stephenie Meyer had a huge impact on me. Seeing how she created the Twilight saga from just a dream, wrote it because she just felt she had to, and then managed to get published and turn it into a giant empire…what’s not inspiring about that?
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
I don’t. I like quiet, but can write with music playing in the background also. Early mornings work best for me. The house is so peaceful then.
How did you decide to write a Young Adult story? Do you feel passionate about that age?
I wanted to right a young adult story because in my heart I am still a young adult. I am very passionate about this genre. It’s my favorite to read and write. Adult writing seems daunting. I’d be afraid of not using enough big words.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
What haven’t I learned? Gosh, I had no idea so much went into the business. The most educational part had to be during editing. Everything is very technical. When I was in school, (showing my age here), we were taught to double space after each sentence and that was how Hunted was originally typed. During editing, all of those spaces had to come out. Talk about a task! And of course, track changes was something I’d never used before so that took some learning as well.
I’ll also add to this that I am still learning how to toot my own horn. I suck at interviews because I don’t like to talk about myself. In this business, if you’re not self-promoting you won’t last long.
Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
The cover is absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing. I could spend hours looking at it. Here’s a small excerpt from a moment in the book that I love.
We settled onto her bed and I decided to tell her everything about my life, both now and before. I dug into my bag and pulled out my life book. Unlike my textbook for school, this was just about me, my history…the history of my lives. The cover was ornately decorated with many valuable gemstones, all from my past.
Jules gently stroked the jewels and asked, “Are they real?”
Very calmly I answered her. “Yes, all of the stones are real. They’re my stones, all given to me by the Kooble…” I paused for a moment. “For each of my past lives.” There, I said it. Jules stared at the gems, and then looked up at me, quite possibly to see if I was joking. She looked back down at the cover of the album and began laughing uproariously.
“Yeah…right. There are…like…twelve stone…thingies here!” She managed to spit the words out in between hysterical fits.
It took a moment for her to stop, as she saw that I was not laughing with her. I knew she was probably in a bit of a shock from that. I kept my face serious. I allowed her time to think it through and absorb the fact that it was true, that I had lived this life many times. When she did finally stop, her face became very sallow in appearance. Afraid she might pass out, I stood up and sat behind her on the bed and pulled her shoulders down so she was lying in my lap. I stroked her wet hair off to the side with my fingertips and waited for her color to return to normal. She must’ve known she wasn’t handling the news well, because she began breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, like they taught us in health class. It was amazing to me the things this girl remembered.
When her heart rate slowed and her rosy cheeks reappeared, I grabbed my book and held it above her, opening to the first page.
“This was the beginning of my life. You see, we’re really only born once, through very unique conditions. My original mother and father were both unicorns, but they were breeders. Breeders are special unicorns with only one purpose…to breed more of our kind, as much as possible. It’s clearly a difficult life for the female unicorn, but the male takes care of her and the young ones once we’re born. When we are first born, we’re actual unicorns. Horse heads with horns and everything. At least that’s how it was back then. We haven’t had breeders in over six hundred years. The father breeder has the job of changing us to look human. His power is very strong. He cares for us as unicorns and when we’re about eight months old, he changes us into what you see today. By the time we’re a year old, we are given away to unis to be raised just like any other baby. My first life began back in the eleven hundreds. I was born, really born, in the year eleven hundred seventy one.”
Great excerpt! How did you decide on your story plot?
I knew I wanted to write in this genre, but I wanted it to be different. I didn’t want to use vampires or werewolves because at the time they were being overused and that bandwagon was full. I did some research on fairies, but didn’t feel a connection to them. Unicorns seemed a little fantastical, but I liked the idea of being completely out there. So I began to research them and the plot developed beginning with an old folktale about them.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
I’ve always heard that you should write about what you know. So I used my hometown, Port Orange for this story. I went to the same high school the characters go to in the book and so did my daughter. Some of the names of the characters I borrowed from friends and family and others I made up because they fit. Like Portia for example…she’s a mean girl. She needed a name that fit her character and I think Portia filled that slot nicely.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
A favorite scene…hmmm. I have quite a few, but one of them I enjoyed writing the most was toward the end of the book. The battle scene on the football field. I don’t want to give away too much, but I love the way the plot unfolds there.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
I definitely identify with Skye. She has my sense of humor. Jules and I share our passion for kindness to others. Mike shares my love for cool cars. I think there’s a little piece of me in each one of them…even Portia.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Readers can find me on twitter, Facebook, through my blog, or through my website.
Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
I’d like to thank everyone for coming and I hope you enjoy reading Hunted as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you!
Thank you for stopping by Jill! If you want to pick up Hunted, you can find it at
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