If you haven't already tried Dying Bites then enjoy the interview! If you have already had the pleasure of reading Dying Bites then I hope the interview helps you get to the know the author behind the books a little better.
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about the Bloodhound Files?
DD – Sure. The Bloodhound Files is about a world where the supernatural races—vampires, werewolves and golems—are the dominant civilization. Human beings make up just one percent of the population and are considered a federally protected endangered species. The main character, Jace Valchek, is an FBI profiler from our world, specializing in deranged killers. She gets yanked into this parallel universe for her skills—the supernaturals are immune to mental diseases as well as physical ones, so they have no experience with craziness.
Amber - How did you come up with the idea for The Bloodhound Files? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?
DD –Basically, I wanted to do something in the paranormal romance/thriller field that hadn’t been done before, while staying true to the heart of the genre and what its readers want from it. Plus, I’d had this idea for “domesticated” vampires kicking around in my head for years—in fact, I tried to use it in an “Angel” book I wrote. Strangely enough, the publishers loved everything about the proposal except that one idea, which they gave back to me. Thanks, guys.
Amber - I really enjoyed the first book in The Bloodhound files, Dying Bites. Book two, Death Blows, is due out soon. What can we expect from the new installment?
DD – Glad you enjoyed it. Death Blows is out at the end of March, and features Jace trying to catch a serial killer who’s obsessed with comic books. The thing is, comic books in this particular reality have been banned since they can be used as powerful mystic focuses, much like grimoires. You don’t have to know anything about comics or superheroes to enjoy the story, though—I treat them like a bizarre sort of interconnected mythology, one that Jace doesn’t know much about herself. The plot has a whole bunch of different elements, including cowboy golems, African royalty, monks, secret societies, pirate queens and pregnant vampires. Also, there’s a puppy. Sorta.
Amber - Are you anything like the main character Jace? Are any of your characters based on people in your life?
DD – Jace is more of an outlet for me than an accurate representation. She’s much snarkier and more sarcastic—I’m a very upbeat, cheerful person with occasional moments of crankiness. I can use her to say some of the things I’m too polite to say myself.
As for other characters, I don’t use people around me as characters. I steal little pieces here and there, certainly, character traits or bits of business I like, but I never just copy outright.
Amber - What kind of research did you have to do to write Dying Bites and Death Blows? Anything interesting?
DD – I do a lot of research on the fly—I don’t mean on flies, I mean in the midst of writing. I come up with a cool idea for a scene in Alaska, and the next thing you know I’m on Google, getting an idea of exactly what the place will look like, what kind of plants grow there, etc. For Dying Bites, I did research on Japanese wolves, the Yakuza, HP Lovecraft, World War Two, Easter Island, swing dancing, and martial arts—including a scene that a very good friend of mine, Lisa Gemino, helped me choreograph move-for-move. For Death Blows, I researched comics writers like Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, the life of Bela Lugosi, historical figures that ranged from Alexander the Great to Thomas Edison, Japanese Shinto, and how much chocolate will poison a dog.
Amber - I always thought Jace was a guy’s name. So I have to ask, how do you pick the names you use in your books and do they hold any special meanings for you?
DD – I usually put a lot of thought into naming my characters, but Jace was an exception. It just popped into my head and the character insisted that it was her name. It wasn’t until later that I discovered it’s the short version of Jacinda, which is Spanish. I always knew Jace looked sort of Spanish, so that fit nicely. You got a problem with it, take it up with her—I know better than to argue with her.
Amber - How many more books will there be in the series? Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?
DD –The series is open-ended right now. Killing Rocks will follow Death Blows, and I’m talking to the publisher right now about a follow-up to that. I have plenty of ideas for Jace, so I hope the series will continue for some time.
Amber - Have you always wanted to be an author? And why did you pick this genre?
DD – I’ve known I was going to be a writer since I was a kid. It was never even a question for me—just a matter of when I was going to buckle down and get serious. Once I did, I never looked back.
As far as the genre goes, I’ve always loved monsters. The first line of Dying Bites, “I think about monsters a lot,” is me being honest.
Another love of mine has always been THE TWILIGHT ZONE. There was something the original series did really well, that idea that you could just be going along, living your life, and then suddenly there would be a change, that some bizarre element would be introduced into the everyday. The world would still look much the same, but it wouldn’t be. You’ve crossed over into a different realm, with different rules. That kind of subtle dislocation seems to me to be where most of the paranormal romance genre lives and thrives.
Amber - What is the easiest and hardest part about being an author?
DD – The easiest part is coming up with ideas. I’ve got so many I know I’ll never be able to write them all. Coming up with new ideas will never be a problem for me.
The hardest part of being an author—at least in the beginning—is the discipline. Forcing yourself to sit down and write, five days a week, is the downfall of most beginners. It’s like any sort of regular exercise, though; it gets easier the longer you do it, until NOT doing it becomes the hard part.
Amber - How do you relax? Do you have any hobbies?
DD – Though I don’t own one—yet!—I love hot tubs. I’m pretty social, too—getting into interesting discussions at parties with my friends is one of the ways I love to unwind. As far as hobbies go, I will admit that I am addicted to comics. Been reading them all my life, studying every aspect of structure, dialogue, plotting and characterization, examining and analyzing how the great ones tell a story . . . I’ve done a little work in the medium but my career as a novelist hasn’t let me concentrate on it as much as I would have liked. Maybe I’ll be able to do some work in the field in the near future.
Amber - Alot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music that has influenced your books so far?
DD – I like U2 and Paul Simon a lot. Devo is fun to dance to. And I get a big kick out of artists like Jonathan Coulton.
Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?
DD – I don’t read as much as I’d like to, certainly not as much as I used to when I was young. In the paranormal field I like Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris and Jim Butcher. Mystery writers I like include John D. McDonald, John Connelly, Robert Ferrigno. Funny writers: Douglas Adams, Jasper Fforde, Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett. Thomas Harris. Stephen King. Dan Simmons is probably my favorite and excels at any genre he tries. Neal Stephenson, who defies categorization. Spider Robinson, William Gibson, John Varley, Joe Haldeman, Roger Zelazny and about a zillion other science fiction writers. And of course, some of my favorite comics writers: Gail Simone, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Brian Michael Bendis, Joss Whedon, Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid, Garth Ennis, Judd Winnick, Michael J. Straczynski, Geoff Johns and a bunch more.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
DD – I’d have to go with genie, because that way you can pretty much do anything. Plus you could hang with Robin Williams or Barbara Eden anytime you wanted. Or maybe even Larry Hagman—he played Major Nelson. And then later he was on Dynasty as an evil oil tycoon.
You know what I always wanted to see? Larry Hagman guest-hosting Saturday Night Live. Because then you could do this sketch where he’s playing the evil oil tycoon sitting behind his desk and all of a sudden BOING! Jeannie appears.
J: Hello, Master!
LH: Oh, no.
J: Where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you!
LH: (in Texan accent) I—I think you have me confused with someone else.
J: Why are you talking funny, Master? Is something wrong?
LH: Nothing’s wrong. You should just—go back wherever you came from, all right? You’re gonna screw everything up. You always screw everything up.
J: But Master—I only want you to be happy.
LH: Happy? Happy? You know how long it took me to reinvent myself after that crappy little sitcom? (Accent abruptly disappears) All people saw when they looked at me was bumbling Major Nelson. Hey, look,it’s that guy who used to be an astronaut! Guess the cosmic rays fried his brain, because he sure acts like an idiot now! Still going for regular therapy sessions with that shrink, Nelson?
J: Oh, Master. I’m so sorry. I’d do anything to make things up to you.
LH: Look, Jeannie, just stay away from me. I’ve got a new life now, lots of money, lots of power, and—
A look of dawning comprehension crosses his face, followed by an extremely evil smile. The next time he speaks, the Texan accent is back in full.
LH: Anything, darlin’?
SCREEN CAPTION: One hour later.
Larry sits atop a mountain of cash, dismembered human bodies, and cocaine. He looks extremely satisfied. Jeannie sits at his feet, chin on hands, looking mortified.
J: Oh, Master.
DYNASTY theme swells as the credits roll.
Um, of course, that’s just me. What was the question again?
Amber - Thank you for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog! I hope you will come back for another visit in the future!
One lucky winner will receive their choice of DD Barant book! That means you can choose Dying Bites if you haven't read it yet or the new book Death Blows if you already read the first book!
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