Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Dakota Rebel

Thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday and so openly shared. Depression is so difficult--and different--for everyone. I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

Here's something to cheer you: Today's Wonder Writer, the incredible Dakota Rebel. Her books are a treat and if you haven't heard of her, you soon will. So sit back and learn a little about this up-and-coming writer.

Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.
I usually get up around 6 am, get my daughter ready for school, get ready for the day job, and feed and water the animals. (2 black Persians and a white Chihuahua.) I drop her at daycare by 7 am and head to work. Work till 5 pm, pick up the kid. Feed her. Watch Hannah Montana and the Suite Life of Zach and Cody or play DDR or Guitar Hero until 8 pm. She has ice cream and goes to read in bed for half an hour. I use this time to check emails (when I can get an internet connection). Tuck her in at 9 pm, finish emails, and I am in bed watching movies by 10 pm. Notice that nowhere in there does it say anything about writing. Yeah, being able to sit down and write is not so typical for me. It’s amazing I ever get anything done.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?
No. Usually an idea will strike me and if I am not near the computer I scribble like mad on anything I have laying (lying? that happens to lie?) around. Envelopes, napkins, and the back of my hands are popular items for me. If I have a deadline I force myself to sit in a corner with my laptop and not get up until my hands cramp. Is that a routine?

Where’s your favourite place to write? Describe your “writing space”.
My favorite place to write is at the local pub. I can't smoke in my house, and I like to have people wait on me while I write. So I head to the pub and smoke cigarettes and drink endless ice teas, and the occasional Guinness, and people-watch while I write. It gives great inspiration and it's really comfortable there.

What do you consider your greatest writing strength?
I would say my ability to come up with scenarios. Having a nine year old daughter has taught me the importance of asking why. Why? Why not? What if? I have a white board covered in novel ideas, titles, etc. If I could just sit on my arse and actually write down the ideas in my head I would never have to work at a "real" job again. I would put out a book every two weeks. I would be our generations Louis L'amour.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place? I would have to say all over the place. I can write in short bursts and for long stretches. I once wrote a 27k novella in one day. That was pretty impressive even to myself. But that was also a complete fluke, I have yet to repeat that miraculous feat.

A 27 thousand word novella in one day! I can’t imagine. How many words do you normally write in a day? Do you have a minimum goal?
I haven't written a single word in almost three weeks. As I mentioned, I don't have a schedule, I just write when the mood strikes me. And lately, there have been no strikes. And no time. It has been so crazy around here lately that my mind won't let the voices talk to me. It's too loud out here. *sigh*. I used to set goals - 1k words or 10 pages, but I never met them so I have stopped forcing myself. And now look at me, no words, no pages, and too many WIPS for my own good.

Do you prefer writing in first or third person?

I can only write first person. My editor won't let me have empty headed characters for some reason, and I have a hard enough time forcing thoughts into the brain of one person, I couldn't imagine doing it for two or more.

Do you have a favourite author or someone you look up to in the industry?
I am a huge fan of Laurell K Hamilton. I think she fixed what Anne Rice broke with the vampire genre. She writes smart, sexy characters and it is always entertaining.

What do you feel was broken about the Vampire Genre that LKH fixed?
I am NOT an Anne Rice fan. Not even a little. (Everyone who knows me right now is laughing at my politeness in that statement.) Her vampires are wussy, her writing is erratic, her characters are flat, and she was the go to girl for vampire fiction for years. It was really unfair. And then here comes LKH, and her vampires are hot, they are bad asses, and they are real people who happen to be vampires. I love that.

You write about vampires. Do vampires exist? And what would you do if you met one?
I do not believe in sharing my opinions about the existence of vampires. I usually end up sounding crazy or irrational or a little of both. I will say that legends stick around for centuries for a reason, but that is all I will admit. If I ever met a vampire I would probably beg him to let me drop 40 pounds and then turn me. Sometimes I get really scared of death. I think that is another reason that vamps fascinate me so much. Not having to worry about disease and pain and death seems pretty awesome.

What are you working on now?
Absolutely nothing. I am waiting for some edits to come back, and I am brewing up some ideas, but I have no projects that keep the fingers tapping (or the backs of my hands covered in ink.) I did have an idea yesterday that I think will be my next project, but it is going to be huge with lots of research and work and I don’t do really well with that.

How many books have you had published and for whom?
I have had a pretty good year this year. I have two novels and two short stories going into anthologies with Total E Bound this year. In fact two of them are available this month.

What’s your favourite genre to write?
Vampire Erotica is treating me really well. And I think that my stories flow better when I stick with vampires. I do have a non-vamp book coming out in March (Hello, March 17, 2008), and I really like it, but it wasn’t as “easy” for me to write as the vampire stories. Vamps just call to me. I can’t explain it, but it’s awesome.

Sweet Dreams just came out with Total-e-bound. Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?
Sweet Dreams is the story of a vampire hunter named Veronica who has been hunting down the last vampire of a rogue pack that killed her mother. But she begins to have erotic dreams about the master of all vampires and she becomes very confused. She has spent her whole life hating the creatures, and now she may be falling in love with one.

The idea was one of those rare ones that come fully formed…almost. The beginning and the end were definite from the moment I turned on my laptop to write it. The middle…not so much. But it finally came and worked out great.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? Etc.

I have been writing vampire stories since I was twelve years old. I have always loved them, they fascinate the hell out of me. I also started writing poetry, (bad, bad poetry) around that time too. (In fact, I still have the tattered composition book with the original poetry written in it. It is terrible, but I don’t think I could ever let it go.)

I learned pretty quickly after that that the only time I was really happy was when I was writing. So I began my first novel at fourteen. LOL. Wow, what a train wreck. But now that I think about it, it would have been erotica too. Really, really bad erotica, but still. It was the story of an FBI agent who falls in love with the criminal she is tracking down. Still sounds good in theory, but she caught him in chapter two and they spent the remaining 27 pages (yeah I think it was 40 pages in all) “banging” as young teenagers used to love to say. It was just awful. I wish I still had it though. I remember a lot of it, but I am sure that the writing itself is hilarious.

You’ve mentioned that you have a day job. What sort of work do you do? Do you find that your occupation or past occupations have help you in your writing?
I work for an automotive supply company. I handle "The Big Three" (Ford, Chrysler, GM for those of you not from Michigan.) And no, they do not in anyway help me with my writing. Ha ha, I have had the most boring jobs EVER. So no inspiration there, except maybe for the fact that having these jobs has made me want to write more so I don't have to work at these kind of jobs anymore.

You mentioned watching movies…any favourites? Any which inspire your writing? Any you feel should be cast into a bonfire and never spoken of again?
Gone with the Wind and Tombstone are two of my all time favorite movies. I also adore the Harry Potter Movies. I try not to let movies inspire my writing because I fear that I will accidentally steal something, a line, a character, etc. So I watch for fun, but I want to write things that are new. Something that has never been done before.

As for bonfire movies - Casino (I know this movie is very popular, but it is the only movie that has literally made me sick. The Joe Pesci murder scene, ew. I had to throw up watching it.), Adaptation (What the hell was up with that movie? I have tried to watch it twice and I still don't understand it.), I Spit On Your Grave. (Again with the ew.) Oh, and all of the Lord of the Rings crap. (Have you seen Clerks 2? Yeah they are dead on with their description of those movies.)

I know you’re a Buffy fan. Who’s your favourite character and why?
My favorite Buffy character? Wow. I don't know that I can just pick one. I like to look at Giles (Anthony Stewart Head.) I LOVE evil Willow. She is so bitchy and funny. But I guess if I HAVE to pick one, I will go with...Spike. Spike is not only HOT, he always had the best lines. He was funny, he was mean, and he loved Buffy. He was a fantastic character.

Favorite quote: "I'm sure he has a classic mid-life crisis vehicle outside. Something big, red, shaped like a penis."

Coke or Pepsi?
I don't really drink soda (or "pop" if you are from Michigan.) I can drink gallons of iced tea every day though. I suppose if I HAVE to have one, like if a restaurant only has fountain tea (ick) I will drink Diet Coke. But I hate Pepsi. Won't touch it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
I love to hear from readers. If there is anything you want to share with me please email me at Dakota.rebel@hotmail.com. Any questions, concerns, complaints, and especially praise will be most welcome. I hope everyone enjoys reading my work as much as I loved writing it. Also be sure to visit my blog at http://www.vampsmut.blogspot.com/. I will be running contests and updating my calendar throughout the year.

Thanks for being today’s Wonder Writer!
Thank you for inviting me. You know how much I love to talk about myself.
XoXoXoDakota

Dakota's books and bio can be found at total-e-bound!

Here's an excerpt from her current book Sweet Dreams:

The helicopter was gone as soon as my feet hit the ground. I crouched in the underbrush listening for signs we'd been spotted, but the jungle was silent. With any luck the Chinese government would never know an American military copter, carrying a vampire hunter who had completely taken leave of her senses had entered their airspace.

It took almost half an hour to pack my repelling gear in the small gunny sack I had brought with me. I didn't want to leave it to be found because I couldn't afford for anyone to be able to track me. I was just hoping the vampire I searched for had not been as careful.

I was pretty sure I knew where he was headed, but there were no guarantees, especially with vampires. What little intelligence I had gathered before leaving base seemed even sketchier in the dark, quiet jungle. But it was all I had to go on, so I'd trust it. If I had landed where I'd intended, I was about two miles south of the temple he should be headed for. I said a silent prayer that he hadn't been there and gone, then started walking.

The path through this part of the jungle was well-worn, indicating the Chinese government also knew about the temple and that I was headed in the right direction. I walked quickly, the path lit by a bright moonlight that should not have been able to shine through the dense trees. But it was as if nothing grew over this path. The trees lining it were still standing, but had died long ago from the looks of them.

I reached a clearing and stared at the temple much sooner than I'd expected to arrive there. It was small, built of smooth grey stone with a single door opened toward the path. A flickering light shone through it. He was in there.

If I had been thinking clearly, I would have just blown the whole fucking thing up and gone home. But I wasn't, instead I was drawn to the building with an overwhelming need to go inside and find him. I stepped into that flickering light and looked around.

Inside the temple was big. Much bigger than the outside walls should have allowed. As my eyes adjusted to the candlelight I could see the walls were lined with enormous candelabras, every one lit as far as I could see. The floor sloped downward, creating the feel of a long tunnel stretching deep below the jungle outside.

I hadn't gotten much information about this place before I'd left base. All I really knew was that it was supposedly built to pay tribute to the Master of all Vampires. There were rumours he was actually here, lying in torpor, unable to rise.

That was what had brought the vampire I was hunting to China in the first place. He believed the rumours and had come to drain the Master's lifeless body of its power.
I walked quickly, listening for signs that he was near, but it stayed silent for what seemed like hours. Finally, about a mile down the path I heard a faint grinding sound. I fought my urge to break into a run. I pulled a gun from one of my holsters, clicking off the safety as I walked faster.

I stopped at the first break in the path. Pressing my back against the wall, I looked around the corner into a small room. He was standing about twenty feet into the room with his back to me, his long white blond hair glowing like angel's wings in the candle light. His broad shoulders were squared, the muscles on his bare arms showing the strain he was using to try to wrench the lid off the coffin sitting in front of him.

I stepped into the doorway and brought up my gun. I fired, but he dropped to the ground, the bullet soaring through the spot where he had just been standing.

"Veronica," he hissed.

I fired again, and again he dodged it. The bullet lodged into the coffin instead.

"Joaquin."

"I'm kind of busy," he replied.

I fired at him again and missed again.

"I can see that. Whatcha doin'?" I moved slowly to the left, my gun trained on his forehead as he moved with me.

"Visiting an old friend. You are being very disruptive in this holy place," he hissed.

I nodded my head toward the coffin. "I don't think he minds right now." I fired again, but he was too fucking fast. The gun was wrenched from my hand and I dropped quickly to the ground. I watched his arm sail over me then launched myself at his body. I caught him off guard and we tumbled to the floor.

He ended up on top of me with his hands around my neck. I pulled my knee up into his groin and shoved him off of me. I brought my arm down to where his throat should have been, but it slammed into the stone ground instead. My elbow throbbed painfully as I rolled to my knees and tried to stand. Before I could get to my feet, he hit me across the shoulders. I barely managed to catch myself before my face landed on the cement.

I rolled quickly to my feet but his arm closed around my throat from behind before I could turn to look for him. He was too tall for me to reach his face but too short to get a good elbow shot into his crotch.

"You're kind of a pain in the ass," he whispered in my ear.

"So I've been told." I struggled against his arm, but he was too strong.

"Your mother struggled too. Did you come here hoping to die like her? You keep coming after me, and I keep defeating you. Your mother asked for it too you know. I warned her like I have warned you, but she kept coming. Just like you. I am starting to think you want me to kill you Veronica. Well, I would hate to disappoint a Duff woman."

I stood helpless as he sank his fangs into my shoulder. I screamed. Loud voices exploded from the hallway.

Joaquin released me, cursing, and I collapsed over the coffin. A cool breeze blew over my face as I lost consciousness.

I woke in a hospital with my commanding officer staring down at me.

"Joaquin?" I asked.

He grunted. "Gone. I don't know what the hell you were thinking coming here. The Chinese government has been kind enough to let you go home with us. But they want me to inform you that they could have just finished you off in that temple and we would have had no recourse."

I nodded. He was right. They could have charged me as a spy then killed me and the U.S. government wouldn't have been able to do anything about it. I had come without orders, without them really knowing I was coming at all. I had called in a favour to get a pilot to drop me in the jungle, taken top secret weapons out of the U.S. and come to China half-cocked with no real plan of return. Worse, I had shot up a sacred vampire temple that was obviously well known to everyone in the Chinese government.

But mostly, I was pissed I hadn't caught Joaquin. That fucker had gotten away from me again and had almost killed me. I was getting really sick of coming home with scars every time I found him.

"Are you listening to me," the Commander asked.

"Sorry. I'm a little groggy."

"Bullshit. You're mentally kicking yourself for letting him get away again. I would be too. But then, I wouldn't have come after him in the first place. You're in deep shit, little girl."

"Yes sir."

"I will deny this if you ever repeat it, but I have to tell you. It took some major balls to do what you did tonight." He shook his head at me. "Let's go home."

"Gladly."

This book is smokin' hot. Check it out!
~~ Brynn

7 comments:

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Awesome interview, ladies!

That's one of my favorite Spike quotes, too. :)

Dakota Rebel said...

Ooh that's right Bron, you love Buffy too. Hooray!

Dakota

Molly Daniels said...

Fantastic interview...it's scary how much you and I have in common...

Anny Cook said...

Excellent interview and excerpt! Good questions!

Catherine Chernow said...

Loved the interview, Dakota! I learned so much about you and your writing.

: )

Catherine Chernow

Ashley Ladd said...

Another great interview, Brynn, and intriguing excerpt, Dakota. I love your love affair with vamps, Dakota.

Dakota Rebel said...

Thank you for the interview Brynn. And thank you everyone for the lovely comments.