Seven Questions with Author Dina Rae

Halo of the Damned was released in the springtime of 2012. It is a pleasure to have this seasoned author write a little bit about her craft for us. Here is Seven Questions with Dina Rae, explorer of the paranormal, with cunning stories of both urban and historical conspiracies.

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1) Hi Dina, welcome to my little corner of virtual space. Where in the world are you? Tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks so much for having me!  I used to be a teacher but got laid-off.  During my lay-off I wrote three novels and almost finished a fourth.  I currently work as a substitute teacher and chess instructor.  Although I live outside of Chicago, I take advantage of the city and enjoy all it has to offer.  Besides author, I am a wife, mother, Christian, and professional tennis player (in my mind, but I love to play)!

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2) I just downloaded your story, The Last Degree, what can I expect inside. Tell us a little about your other books.

 It’s a work of fiction, but a great deal of research about Freemasonry, Apocalypse, New World Order and other conspiracy theories, secret societies, and the prepper movement went into the story. The Last Degree is one of those books that you will either love or hate.  In fact, I haven’t received a three star review yet.  I have a 4.0 avg./23 reviews.  Some people were offended by it and others have no prior knowledge on any conspiracy theories.  If you like Alex Jones, Dan Brown, Jesse Ventura, History Channel, etc., you’ll love it!

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3) I stole this question from another author, now I ask it to everybody. The zombie apocalypse arrives: who do you want on your response team?

The cast from Doomsday Preppers, the Boy and Girl Scouts, FEMA, and whoever holds the keys to the Denver Airport’s underground maze of bunkers!

4) Who are your favorite authors and/or books?

I love Dan Brown, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George RR Martin, Tom Wolfe, Preston and Childs, LaHaye and Jenkins, Joel Rosenberg, too many to count.

I know this sounds bad, but I prefer male authors to female ones.  Generally speaking, men add a lot of researched details and don’t get wordy with descriptions whereas women generally sound like they are bullshitting––E.L. James comes to mind.  I’m of course the exception to this rule––LOL––and James is bullshitting her way to the bank!

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5) I know what scares me; what scares you?

The scariest thing in the world is losing someone you love.  Nothing can ever compare.  Heights terrify me.  Whenever a movie uses them for suspense my heart picks up several beats.

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6) I’ve heard really good things about Halo of The Damned, would there be any other fallen angel books on your horizon?

Thanks so much for asking. It’s a paranormal lover’s type of horror story.  Again, lots of research went into it. It’s about fallen angels, Enoch, a real religion that worships angels (Yezidism), nephilim, and the advertising world. It received some great reviews-4.3 avg/42 ratings on Goodreads and was chosen as the Paranormal Horror Group’s September Read-very proud of that.  It is currently being given away on Goodreads.  And yes, I am almost finished with the sequel.

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7) A friend of mine says these two movies defined our generation. He, my smart friend, suspects these two movies have great cultural significance. Do you like Star Wars, or Grease? Which is better?

Great question!  I’m 43 years old so am very much a product of the Star Wars vs. Grease segment of society.  I just took my daughter to see Grease the play and it sucked compared to the movie, but loved it as a little girl.  Played the record too many times to count and have all of the songs memorized.  Didn’t get Star Wars back then.  Watched it many years later as an adult-the lightbulb flashed on.  So many hidden symbols, made me think of the Bible, God vs. Satan.  Really brilliant series.  George Lucas was one of the smartest business men, really knew how to market his product.

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Here is an excerpt from The Last Degree by Dina Rae

Prologue

“I am sending you a master craftsman named Hiram-abi, who is extremely talented.  His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre.  He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood.

2 Chronicles 2:13-14

The mystery of Hiram Abif originates from the Biblical passage above.  Secret societies have given him credit for constructing Solomon’s temple.  According to legend, Hiram used talented craftsman and secrecy, such as passwords for orchestrating its construction.

Solomon didn’t like Hiram’s growing power, along with the attraction the Queen of Sheba had for him.  Some scholars imply he may have had something to do with his death.  Hiram remains the primary protagonist and martyr in modern day Masonic circles.

 

Chapter 1

Chicago, 2000

It was a rainy, dark fall day in Wrigleyville, an upscale north-side neighborhood.  The rain violently splattered onto the concrete of Waveland Avenue.  Although a big city, in this neighborhood crime generally amounted to alcohol related offenses such as DUIs, bar room brawls, and public intoxication which was usually festive Cub fans oblivious to the limits of celebrating. This day was different.

“911?  There’s a body in my alleyway, behind a dumpster.  I’m behind Waveland Avenue, 1269 West.  I think he’s dead!  He looks like my neighbor…don’t know his name.  I’m checking for his pulse right now, but nothing,” reported an elderly resident who was walking her dog.

At 10:02 a.m. an ambulance appeared on the scene, minutes after the initial phone call.  The paramedics confirmed no pulse, and then called the coroner for an official ruling of death.  The scene was then turned over to Lead Detectives Ann Wilson and Rich Stephanski.  By 11:00 a.m., the 1200 block of Waveland was declared a crime scene.  The detectives yellow-taped the area while uniformed officers coned off the street.

Due to the relentless rain, both detectives wore raincoats and carried traditional black umbrellas. They hurriedly moved in to investigate, fearing the rain might wash away the evidence.  The victim appeared to be a young white male without identification, dressed in a gray wool cable-knit sweater and blue jeans.  He was clean shaven with dirty blonde hair.

Ann took several pictures of the surrounding area and body with her Olympus digital camera.  Her partner lifted the shoulders of the body to have a better look at the victim’s face.  Rigamortis began to set.

“Ann, check this out.  His throat has been slit.  This sweater is soaked with blood.  The wool acts like a sponge.  Maybe we’ll find some blood in there that isn’t his,” Rich said.

“Let’s move the body into the meat wagon,” insisted Ann as she motioned for assistance from two uniformed cops.

“Looky what I’ve found,” yelled Detective Dan O’Leary from across the alleyway.  “Is this a human tongue?”

The detectives surrounded him for a closer look.

“Good work, Dan,” praised Ann.  “It’s definitely a tongue.  The tendons are hanging off of the thicker end, like it was ripped out of the vic’s mouth.  Look at the tip.  It was intentionally split.”

Detective Wilson crawled into the back of the ‘meat wagon’ and unzipped the body bag.  She took her pen and pried the victim’s mouth open.  “What do you know…We have what looks like a tongue and a victim that’s missing a tongue.”  Ann glanced back.  “Coincidence?”  She had a hard time seeing through her soaked grayish brown hair that was pressed against her small face.  She had to keep putting her umbrella down in order to take more photographs of the scene.

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Dina has me over at her site, here is the link — http://www.dinaraeswritestuff.blogspot.com/2012/10/author-jake-elliot-stops-by.html

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Seven Questions with Tim Marquitz

[This was my first interview, cool huh? My we’ve come a long way, and Tim Marquitz was a good sport to be my Guinea Pig.]

 

I’m a fan of Tim’s Demon Squad series and his third in series, At the Gates, is to be released tomorrow, Dec 1st. Coincidentally, my first novel, The Wrong Way Down, will be sitting on the virtual bookshelf right next to his.  Having the opportunity to interview an author as vividly imaginative as Tim Marquitz has been a real honor.

 

JE: Who were your early author influences? What have you read that convinced you to seek writing your own story?

 TM: There have been a ton of authors who’ve influenced my writing, from Michael Moorcock to Anne McCaffrey and Stephen King, but I’d have to say Clive Barker was the most influential in making me want to write. His dark perversity wrapped up in such gorgeous prose was something I initially wanted to emulate, but lacked the poetry to properly pay tribute to.

 Jim Butcher is a more recent influence. He is the most responsible for my creation of the Demon Squad series. He showed me with the Dresden Files that you can write a great, emotionally impactful story without having to prettify the language.

JE: You’ve got a few other books out, how many is the total count, including your latest, At the Gates?  On the topic of your other works, what is the Sepulchral Earth series about?

 TM: As of December, when the third book in the Demon Squad series comes out from Damnation Books, I’ll have seven releases.

 Sepulchral Earth is my attempt at writing in the zombie genre while trying to create my own little niche. The story focuses on a necromancer, Harlan, who has lost his family to the undead. He wants nothing more than to free their spirits so they can rest in peace. Along the way, Harlan encounters the undead in all their forms and worst still, the living, most of whom want nothing more than to see Harlan dead.

JE: How many books do you foresee in telling the Demon Squad series?

 TM: I’ll write the Demon Squad books until I feel I’ve jumped the shark or they become boring to me. I like the idea of a flagship series that I can keep going back to, and the DS world is so wide open that I can’t picture myself running out of fresh ideas for books.

JE: One of the things that drew me to reading Armageddon Bound was that on the Damnation Books Author Page it said you have a background in grave-digging. That is a unique job, how much did it contribute to your dark, yet very funny sense of humor?

TM: Grave digging has certainly enhanced my descriptive skills when it comes to the smell and sight of dead bodies. As for my sense of humor, I’m not sure it did much. I was already a twisted, sarcastic asshole before I started digging graves. If anything, it may have added to my irreverent attitude toward death. It’s hard to worry too much about it when you see it so often it becomes mundane.

JE: What inspired such a grim tale of modern day wizards, angels and demons?

TM: Short answer, the Dresden Files. After reading Jim’s books, it really inspired me to be more honest with my skillset and leanings. As much as I love Clive Barker’s writing, I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to match his grace when it comes to storytelling. Jim showed me you can write great stories without having to dress the language up in a tux.

 Once I had the framework for what I wanted to do, the story that would become the Demon Squad just spilled out of me.

JE: Frank is a very complex character, being half-angel, half-devil, he has shown a great display of paradox. It is one Freudian conundrum. What spurned the idea to tell this tale from the twisted and very-split perspective of Frank Trigg?

TM: Frank is actually half-devil, half-human. Scarlett is the mix of both angel and demon. As for the enigma that is Frank, he is definitely a spawn of the weird, perversely violent, and extravagant world he was raised in. He just fit the role.

 I wanted a character that had the inside track to what was going on, but I needed a flawed character who was still some measure of an outcast. The role didn’t call for a character who was a super badass, but one who would be challenged by the changes in the world. I very much wanted a Died Hard (Bruce Willis) type MC who won through on heart more than he ever did on skill. There’s a primitive satisfaction in seeing the underdog rise up against the odds and succeed.

JE: You really did your homework on religion to put this series together. Is religion a lifestyle for you, or is it a hobby? Or both, maybe neither…

TM: Neither really. I did some research as to the relationships of certain angels to one another, and studied some of the Christian mythos, but I didn’t do much else. I wanted a framework people could grasp immediately, but I also wanted enough freedom to smudge the lines. Growing up in today’s world, you can’t help but have a passing familiarity with the world I’m working in, regardless of your religious background. That was what I was counting on when I did my world building.

JE: What scenes have you written that you are very proud of? Which ones were the hardest to get right?

 TM: I’m proud of everything I’ve written, to a degree. The worst, and also the best, part of being a writer is that I grow with every story I tell. While I can find something I like in every story I tell, each new piece brings with it new challenges and new opportunities to learn, as well as the growth from the last piece. As such, every new story I write is the best in my eyes.

 I think the hardest stories to write are the ones where I step away from my experiences. When I create a character whose experience is different from mine, I have to dig deeper to flesh that character out and make it real. It’s a challenge where I’m stuck relying on the media I’ve absorbed in my life or on the social consciousness of the world.

JE: Thanks Tim, this interview was fun. Within the next couple months, (mid-January to early February) I plan to read Greg Chapman’s The Noctuary, a tale of a tormented writer and his dark muse. Then I’ll see if he wants to do an interview. (It is far easier to interview after I’m familiar with the author’s work.)