Hidden Huntress, the second book in Danielle L. Jensen’s Malediction Trilogy, just came out yesterday, and Danielle kindly answered a few of my questions about it, and more! Please welcome her back to the blog!
I know fans have been eagerly awaiting The Hidden Huntress! Will you give us a teaser?
Sure! The first three chapters have been posted here, and this excerpt is from chapter four. Marc and Tristan are discussing what the King’s plans might be.
Turning round, I pressed a piano key, the note echoing out around us. “He wants me to do something.” I pressed another key. “What does he think I’m going to do?”
“I thought you weren’t going to do anything but wait to die?”
I shot him a dark look. “I haven’t said I’m going to do anything.”
“Of course not.” Marc kept a straight face. “This is all just speculation.”
“Indeed. Something to pass the time while I wait.”
“Or not.” I scratched the skin around one puncture in my arm – it had finally scabbed over, but the healing itched terribly. “What does he want from me?” I murmured to myself.
“Perhaps he wanted you to lead him to where your plans were hidden,” Marc said. “Maybe we’ve just given him what he wanted.” We both looked around, but we were alone, and Marc’s magic kept our conversation private.
“Perhaps,” I replied, but I was not convinced. There was no evidence he’d even gone looking for them. “If that’s the case, he lucked out, because I didn’t know where they were.”
Marc’s brow furrowed. “Then who hid them here?”
“Anaïs,” I said. “She hid them before she came to help me fight my father.” I swallowed hard, remembering the sight of my friend impaled on the sluag spear. “She gave up everything for me,” I said, closing my eyes. “She died for me.”
I jerked them open again at Marc’s sharp intake of breath. He stood rigid in front of me, unease on his face. “Tristan,” he said. “Anaïs isn’t dead.”
“That’s impossible.” But even as I said the words, hope rose in my heart. Anaïs, alive?
“And not only is she alive,” Marc continued, “she claims your father saved her life.”
In Hidden Huntress, Cécile encounters a level of frustration beyond anything she’s experienced before. She is hunting for Anushka, but all her plans so far have yielded zero results, and she has no idea what to do next. I tried to make her reaction to this frustration very real. She has moments of depression, whininess, and anger – just like anyone would in her situation – but she doesn’t give up. Giving her that tenacity and willingness to do what needs to be done was what I enjoyed most about writing her character in this particular novel.
Are there any new characters that you’re particularly eager to introduce?
Readers met Cécile’s best friend, Sabine, briefly at the beginning of Stolen Songbird, but she takes on a much larger role in Hidden Huntress, which I really enjoyed writing. Readers will also get to meet Cécile’s mother, as well as the rest of her family. The human cast of the novel is much expanded, but you will still get to see lots of the trolls through Tristan’s point of view.
How has your writing process changed since the first book (if at all)?
The circumstances under which I wrote each book have been quite different. I was waitressing and getting my English degree when I wrote Stolen Songbird; I was working out of town (3 weeks on, 1 off) when I wrote Hidden Huntress; and now, while I’m writing the third book, I’m at home with my new baby. What I’ve learned is that one has to be very adaptable and willing to write under less than ideal circumstances if one is going to succeed in this business.
Worldbuilding is very important in books like this. What are a few of your favorite literary “worlds”?
Though it has been a lot of years since I read either, two of my favourite worlds are Anne McCaffrey’s Pern and the Dragonlance universe. I am also really enjoying Peter Brett’s Demon Cycle, but I need to catch up on recent installments. As far as YA goes, I’m liking the Russian feel of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha books, which I’m probably the last person in the world to read!
It’s been a little while since we caught up. Have you read any good books lately? Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to this year?
I really enjoyed Elizabeth May’s The Falconer and I’ve been working my way through Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, which I think is fantastic. I just finished The Winner’s Crime, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in the third book, although I have a bit of a wait. I also just heard that Laini Taylor has new books coming out, which I’m crazy excited about.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working like a speed demon on book 3 of The Malediction Trilogy, because my deadline is looming. Once that’s done, I’ll be back on a YA fantasy side project called Dark Shores that I’ve been working on for many years. It’s a project I’m really passionate about, so I hope that one day I’ll get to share it.
About Hidden Huntress:
Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cecile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.
Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.
To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cecile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted.