Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Brooklyn Fit Chick; Certified Fitness instructor/blogger/bike enthusiast and best friend, about my upcoming release The Brotherhood and The Dante Chronicles in general.
BFC: What is the name of your book?
D: It’s called The Brotherhood, it’s the sequel to my first novel, The Kindred and the second in the series of The Dante Chronicles.
BFC: Where did the idea for the story originate?
D: I’ve been dabbling with the characters for over ten years and they’ve been through many migrations and adventures until one day I tried telling a story with a group of them. Some went through a gender change, some grew older, some were made younger, but through it all Eli was the center of it.
BFC: How would you describe the plot to a newbie?
D: It’s the continuing story of a race of people trying to fit in and be accepted against all odds and a family trying to stay together and alive when others don’t want that to happen. In this story, they have to deal with their own personal demons before they can go on to fight the real ones.
BFC: Would you describe it as a fantasy novel or more sci-fi in flavor?
D: Definitely fantasy, with a paranormal flavor, but it is still very much a family story, too. You could easily make the Demons human and from an oppressed third world country and tell the same story.
BFC: Who is your favorite character in The Kindred?
D: That’s like choosing your favorite pet or child. I like them all equally; even the villains. There is a piece of me in all of them so to say I like one better is really hard, but with that in mind, it sort of makes me wonder about the villains I write.
BFC: Really? So what personal traits have come out in your writing that surprised you?
D: Corson’s intolerance of ignorance and humans in general. He calls them “Stupid human fools!” which is something I say all the time but never realized until I read it on paper. His parental issues were taken from someone I used to know, but his overall nature and insecurities were all me at one time, I’m sorry to say.
BFC: Which character is the toughest to write for?
D: I’ve been asked this before and every time I say a particular one is, the next time I have to write something for them, its easy and it flows really well. So I think this time I’ll say....ALL OF THEM!
BFC: When did you realize that you loved writing?
D: When I was 10. I had a very encouraging teacher who saw the ability in me and made me promise to never stop. I am always writing something! Even my business letters are pretty damn amazing. I’ve received MANY free lunches for my complaints about restaurant service.
BFC: That’s too good for me to let go! LOL! So tell me about the worst customer service experience you had and the response to your complaint? (it’s a good thing you don’t actually have super powers I guess?)
D: Trust me, if I had them I would have used them, too! I was at a certain office supply store, looking for a toner cartridge, after I asked for help from FIVE different people, I suddenly found myself alone on the sales floor. When I went looking for the staff, they were all in the back room (visible from the sales floor) talking and hanging out…that letter net me a $50 gift card to go along with the $50 gift card from the restaurant that lost our order and left me and my guests without food for over an hour. Patience and a good laser printer can be very handy when you are pissed off.
BFC: Who is your favorite author & what is your favorite work by them?
D: Author? More likely Authors... and there are certain books for each that I draw from for inspiration and comfort...Dean Koontz, “Watchers”; Jodi Picoult, “My Sister’s Keeper”; John Steinbeck “The Grapes if Wrath”; Jennifer Rardin “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”; Jeffrey Deaver “The Bone Collector”; Scott Smith “The Ruins”; Chelsea Cain, “Heartsick”; Stephen King, “Salem’s Lot”; S.G. Browne, “Breathers”; Jane Austen, “Pride and Prejudice”; Dante Alighieri, “The Divine Comedy”, and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Series.
BFC: Describe your writing style.
D: I’m a storyteller. I’ll never be the literary fiction type who describes a falling leaf on four pages, but I will paint a picture of loss that will make you feel the pain, taste the food being eaten until you are famished and laugh out loud at a moments notice.
BFC: Do you prefer to write during the day or the evening?
D: No preference really, because I am writing constantly. I can be out shopping or at the dentist and a line of dialogue will occur to me and I will just start writing. I always keep a notebook with me for that very reason.
BFC: What is one item you absolutely must have when creating?
D: Music. Certain songs run through my mind when I write. The Brotherhood has its own soundtrack, just as The Kindred does. Each cast member has a theme song that runs through my head when I am writing their chapter. A good cup of coffee doesn’t hurt either.
BFC: You seem to really enjoy music—who are your current favorite artists?
D: First and foremost, now and always, God...a/k/a, Eric Clapton. But I also enjoy Metallica, Eric Clapton, Kings of Leon, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Chris Botti, Eric Clapton, BRUCE!, Eric Clapton, Louis Armstrong, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Muse, Eric Clapton, Chris Cornell…did I mention Eric Clapton.
BFC: Do you see The Kindred as part of a series? How many books are your planning on creating?
D: The plan is eight, unless I run out of composition notebooks and Bic Blue pens before then. I handwrite everything then it gets typed up later. Helps with my creative flow.
BFC: If you had more hours in the day at your disposal—what would you do with them?
D: Write, cook, write, garden, write, cook, take pictures, write...
BFC: What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?
D: To Kill a Mockingbird is still the best and closest to the book I’ve ever seen and the next would be The Good Earth. I’m actually disappointed with most adaptations, I’m sorry to say.
BFC: Where do you stand on the Stephen King/Stanley Kubrik debate on “The Shining?” King famously hates the Kubrik version.
D: I’ve always believed that all writers secretly want to be directors and all directors secretly think they are writers, therein lies the rub. I understand both sides, but don’t stand on either because they both, unfortunately, made crummy versions. If a fish stinks it starts at the head; bad script, bad movie…no matter how good the cast is or how much better the book is…and this book is an absolute GEM!
BFC: If you could trade places with one person for one day (any person from any age) who would it be and why?
D: And miss out on a day of being me? Seriously? Would that other person come over and clean my house, do my laundry, etc. Probably not, huh? No thanks, I’ll pass.
BFC: What is your favorite thing about writing?
D: First off, the research (history buff here; especially early European history) and second the actual, physical creation of the characters. I’m a former theatre major and birthing a character taps into that need to “be” someone else and perform for an audience.
BFC: Least favorite?
D: Editing, editing, editing! It’s physically, emotionally and mentally painful and draining!!
BFC: What was the biggest hurdle in producing “The Kindred?”
D: Once I made the decision to self-publish, finding the publishing house that fit me the best was tough. There are so many that are just “vanity” publishers and are limited on their look and style, and others that offer a lot in the way of look and style but their bottom-line costs are outrageous. Once I found the best fit, it all just fell into place so easily.
BFC: What advice do you have for first-time novelists?
D: In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up!”
BFC: Any thoughts on using social media for future installments of The Dante Chronicles?
D: USE IT!! I wish I had known more about it as I was getting ready for the release of The Kindred. Now, as I ready for The Brotherhood, so many more people are anticipating its release that “they” are bringing their friends into the world of The Dantes. Knowing what I know now, I am more than ready for the next volumes to be released.
BFC: What was your favorite feedback/comment you received about “The Kindred?”
D: There are reviews on Amazon that readers have post and there is one that says, “This book is great for a car ride, a rainy day, waiting for your teeth to be pulled or just about any place when you want/need an exciting escape.” If my story can take your mind off thinking about getting a tooth pulled, I think I’m onto something big!
BFC: Ever suffer from writer’s block?
D: Sure. It’s scary when you have a deadline. Learning to relax is a key to fixing it. Not always easy though, sorry to say.
BFC: What do you do for it?
D: Usually, I walk. I live in a hilly area and that makes for some great endorphin rushes and clears my head, or I dance. I learned some Zumba moves from a broadcast on cable; didn’t much like their repetitive, kitschy choice of music, so I use my own. I understand it can be pretty entertaining to watch.
BFC: What do you mean “watch”?
D: My neighborhood is pretty sedate and I don’t want to be known as the “crazy new neighbor” so I use my iPod with headphones when I dance. My family has come up stairs to get me once or twice and scared the hell out of me; they find it really amusing although I don’t really know why.
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