In Your Next Beach Read, we want to introduce you to a new author every day in June in the hopes that you’ll find the next book you want to take with you to the beach, the pool, or the comforts of air conditioning.
Today’s author is B.J. Hunter, author of Return of the White Wolf.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My pen name is B. J. Hunter, and I have lived in Florida most of my life
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
I have been writing off and on for about 10 years. I started writing when my daughter was in fourth grade, as I wanted to create a fantasy adventure that was fun to read, but without the bad language and adult themes that are in most fantasy adventure books.
Who are some of your influences?
I enjoy mystery books, especially those by Agatha Christie, which have many twists and turns in them.
What is this book is about?
Return of the White Wolf is a middle grade book and takes place several months after Jenna rescues a unicorn from some hunters. The hunters have returned, one looking for a dragon that he claims he saw as they left the forest. The hunters will stop at nothing to find their prey, whether it means harming Jenna’s family and friends, or even Jenna herself. She has to find a way to stop the hunter, and once she learns his plans, she knows that she can never let him leave the forest again.
How did you get the idea?
This is a sequel to Touch of the White Wolf, where Jenna is transformed into a wolf to rescue a unicorn and chase some hunters away. Once she is changed back into a girl again, she wonders when her forest friends will need her again. I imagined what would happen if the hunter returned, after seeing a dragon, trying to find that dragon. Jenna’s grandpa also moved in with them, and she learns that he has a connection to the magical forest.
How long did it take you to finish it?
This book took about a year to write, after several revisions.
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
This is my second book, the first described above. I’m currently working on a third book, Ituria’s Island, which is the story of how grandpa (Russ), the unicorn and the dragon first met many years before Jenna was born.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
My dad inspired the Grandpa character; he had a great sense of humor, and always tried to do what was right, and to take care of others. He also was a Florida native, and I remember many of the stories he told me of growing up in Florida in the 1930s, so different from today.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
Jenna finds out that the main hunter has captured her Grandpa and a fox, and is holding them captive, threatening to kill them. At that moment she realizes she has to do something to rescue them, and also to stop the hunter from ever having the chance to cause anyone harm again. She finds a way to do this without having to resort to killing him, choosing an alternate way to stop him.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
In the end, it is your book, your story. Don’t let anyone change it into something that makes it not your story.
Where can we buy your book?
B.J. Hunter moved to Florida in her early teens and has lived there since, enjoying the mild weather and abundance of wildlife. She spent several hurricane seasons raising orphan squirrels. She graduated from the University of Central Florida and has spent her working career in the legal profession. Return of the White Wolf is the second book in a series she is working on, revolving around a young girl who is magically transformed into a wolf by the forest when she is needed to help the forest residents.