Monday, May 28, 2012

Interview, Casting & Writing Exercise with Diane Rapp

K- Thank you so much for joining me again, Diane.  I am such a fan.  I so enjoy your writing and this was a real page-turner! You develop the characters with such depth, even the animals. How do you get such great insight with the animals? I really got a kick out of Killer, the bossy Mongoose.

D- I’m addicted to nature programs—except for the icky stuff like spiders and gators.  I actually saw some mongooses grabbing snacks at “High Tea” when we visited the island of St. John in the Caribbean. They were so fast we only captured blurs on our still photographs—and I really wished we had a movie camera. They’re engaging creatures and I couldn’t write about Felesia without giving her a mongoose who loves to catch snakes. Killer was eager to feed snakes to the baby dragon, Flash.
Mother Nature produces the most interesting creatures, ones that authors might not have enough creativity to imagine.  Recently I watched a program about sea creatures and saw a cuttlefish.  This creature flashes colors over its body in the same way I imagined my dragons display colors in their wings.  It was mesmerizing and I immediately searched Google for more videos.  The video of the Flamboyant Cuttlefish is riveting.

K- You really got me curious about those Cuttlefish. I found a video and it was amazing. Here’s a link.
Back to the book: It was great to see the previously abused women become empowered and actually train to be soldiers in the battle against their abuser, Jarrack. Was that a political statement?

D- I didn’t think about that when I wrote the story.  It probably came out of my own experience as a child.  I wasn’t abused but my father and mother argued until he flew into a wild rage and hit her.  It scared me to death until the day I told him to leave the house because I was calling the police.  He threatened to hit me, but I calmly said, “Go ahead.  I’m still calling the police.”  I was shaking but he looked at my face and left the house in tears.  They got divorced soon after—his choice.  I eventually developed a good relationship with my father but my parents were toxic for each other. 
Whew!  I didn’t know that idea was lurking behind my Samurai women until I started answering the question.   I’m glad I gave them the power they needed to help defeat Jarrack.  So how much do I owe you in counseling fees?  When’s our next session, I’ll bring tissue.

K- Glad to help. My family calls me Dr. Patel : )

No interview would be complete without a discussion on casting. Who will play the roles?

D-Since the daughters are really the clones of Krystal (Dr. Alexander managed to change their eye color and hair color), they must be one actress or twin sisters.  I thought about the Olsen twins (too thin) but I did a Google search and two sets of twins look interesting.  Nicola and Teena Collins and twin sisters Connie and Cassie Pownie are beautiful (so I hope they can act).  Google their names and tell me what you think.  We have all the returning cast from Howl of the Wolf.  Nathan Fillian might still be a great Donovan but Sam Worthington could edge him out, the cute young hunk.  He was fabulous in Avatar and now he’s doing lots of different movies.  I hear Julianne Hough is doing another movie and she’d look good next to Sam Worthington.  (We’ll just clone them if they’re too busy.)  I think Zachary Quinto might make a good Jarrack.  He was a wonderful villain on Heroes and played a convincing Spock in the last Star Trek.

K- Between the twins, I would go with Connie and Cassie.  However, I found some other twins Kelly Aldridge and Sabrina Aldridge that you might prefer... I like Nathan Fillian as Donovan and Julianne Hough would be perfect. What about Jack Black (with black hair) as Jarrack? He’s chubby enough. But, it's up to you.

 Now, if you’d like, we can do the writing exercise.

D-Let’s try it.

K-Here you go:

I could hear the chanting. It sounded distant. I tried to sit up but to my horror I found that I could not move. I was completely paralyzed. My heart was pounding so hard it felt like it was vibrating in my skull. As I struggle to move the feeling of dark foreboding increased. Then I saw him. He was standing over me, his long black and gray hair hanging down like tendrils from a dirty mop. He smiled and that was when I saw the pure evil. The panic spread through my body like molten lava, burning a line from my toes to my head. He reached down and started shaking me by the shoulders.

“Wake up,  wake up Shari. You're having a nightmare.”


Smoke fills the room and music throbs in my head.  Someone wants me to come closer, compels me to obey, but I can’t move.  What’s wrong with me?  I’m burning hot and sweat trickles between my breasts.  The beat of the music vibrates through my skull and I feel the heat of his body coming, step by step, toward my bed.

I need to cover myself, but he won’t let me.  Now I see him!  Panic sears my veins like molten lava, shooting from my brain down to my toes, and it’s impossible not to look.  Intense black eyes capture my gaze and his stringy gray hair moves like snakes writhing as he bends over me.  That’s not the worst!  He smirks at my pitiful attempts to break free from his control, and his sick thoughts sink into my mind.  He’s evil, pure evil!  Please someone, help me get away!  I scrunch my eyes closed and shudder when I feel a hand grip my shoulder. 

“Wake up.  Shari, wake up.”  I hear my mother’s welcome voice.  “You’re having a bad dream, honey.”  I’m not sure Jarrack is just a dream.

(You set me up to show you a glimpse of Jarrack in this one.  Thanks.)

K- Wow!  I love it! You never disappoint : )

So, what is coming up, Diane?

D-I’m so glad you asked!  Dragon Defense is scheduled for release in July 2012.  I’m still teaching our dragons how to gently greet guests before the virtual Facebook launch party.  We have a few lessons scheduled before I dare let Earth humans pet them.  Their eating habits might be a tad…gross…but their wing colors are incredible to see.  I’m wondering how we transport giant eels and huskers from Drako so the dragons won’t consider guests…just walking appetizers.  It’s difficult to schedule an intra-planetary party.

I’d better explain.  I introduced one baby dragon, Flash, during Havenshire Resistance and she was most helpful during the battle against Jarrack.  In the next novel, Dragon Defense, Felesia makes friends with a whole flock of dragons—much larger than Flash.  The dragons might be instrumental in saving Drako from being destroyed. 

We’ve also got new characters.  Shariel is a grown daughter of Jarrack, who escaped from her father as a child.  She inherited the talent of mind control and worries that she might become evil like her father.  Donovan’s family must deal with Jarrack but he’s in a new form that might be more terrifying.  A desert rider named Salizar and a new lordling named Brandon stir up “courtship” trouble with the princesses. 
The best new characters in the new book are the dragons.  Blaze and Dazzle have so much fun rescuing people that they allow weak little humans to ride on their backs—a new game.  The humans need to make friends fast.  They must keep their dragons’ interest and persuade them to help save the planet.  Wait until you meet Sparkle…she’s waiting to take you for a personal tour of the dragon seaside cliffs.

K- I can't wait to read it!  Where can we find you on the web?


  1. Jack Black would make a great Jarrack because he has a evil look when he wants. Good pick! This interview was so much fun and I appreciate the chance to spread the word.

  2. Thank you, Diane. Please come back and we'll chat about'Dragon Defense'. It's always fun to have you here : ))

  3. Hey Kathleen, Just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you in my blog today. :)