Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Interview with paranormal novelest Dean C. Moore

Paranormal author Dean C. Moore is here today as we feature his new novel, Blood Brothers.

While Dean does a virtual tour through Goddess Fish Promotions, he'll be awarding a lucky winner a $20 Amazon gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too! 

Welcome, Dean. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I write sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventures and thrillers, or some combination thereof—usually with a strong vein of dark humor. Though, my works are dramas first; the humor is there to take the edge off as with the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Transformers, and Jurassic Park franchises. 

I wrote screenplays for a while, and while enjoying them, I found them a bit confining. After a while you just need the extra page count to flesh out characters better and do additional world building, especially when considering doing anything epic in scope. I also took a run at future forecasting and trend tracking, being as I always had my head in the future, things like Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. I also relished this, and can certainly see myself releasing a few titles accordingly in the nonfiction area. But since delving into novels, short and long, I’ve definitely found my home and my voice. For the first time I feel the restraints have been taken off of my imagination. I suppose all mediums have their limits, so I may end up doing a mix of things, but I suspect I will continue to spend most of my time with novels. Series add an additional dimension, allowing for even more depth and development both in the character and world building departments. But I remain at heart a divergent thinker, so, no surprise, I seem to have more series going than follow up installments at this point. That too may change over time; we’ll see. Until then, it may be best to just think of these books as one-offs if you’re fond of my writing style and some of the themes I work with.

My current catalog of twelve books represents a little over five years' worth of work. I'm currently averaging a couple books annually. Of my existing franchises with multiple installments, The Hundred Year Clone books can be read in any order, while the 5 books of Renaissance 2.0 must be read in sequence as they form part of a singular story arc (much as with A Game of Thrones.)

I live in the country where I breed bluebirds, which are endangered in these parts, as my small contribution to restoring nature's balance. When I'm not writing, or researching my next book, I may also be found socializing with friends, or working in my organic garden.

Please tell us about your current release.
Blood Brothers is a paranormal fantasy about fraternal twins with extraordinary powers. They’re taken by a secretive government department as infants and raised separately with the intent of keeping them from knowing of one another’s existence. Trained to be assassins, it isn’t long before their abilities graduate from making them exemplary at their jobs to making them something the government can no longer control. They are subsequently scheduled for cancellation and given their final assignment: take out one another. Not only does that not work out, they team up to go against the people trying to bring them down.

Heading the department tasked with eliminating the brothers is none other than their own father, who turns out to be several magnitudes of power beyond either of the boys. Even together, they’re no match for him. But they have an ace up their sleeves they don’t know about. Drawn to the same kind of women, they discover that their wives are sorceresses only now coming into power. But is the menagerie enough to take down dear old dad?

One reviewer said it best: “The series is called Blood Brothers, but this adventure is really a family affair: the brothers, their partners, children and even their old man in a starring role as the villain. Think Disney's Incredibles, but in a violent and bizarre fantasy world.”

What inspired you to write this book?
I would write not only Blood Brothers, but several other titles before consciously realizing that what I write isn’t fantasy so much as paranormal fantasy (at times blended with sci-fi). I would have thought my range was greater than that, but I guess not, lol. As with Nietzsche, I’m fascinated with the man into superman idea. And I’m constantly on the lookout for dark situations that put my heroes under the kind of pressures that would destroy baser mortals. There I will find the rare few individuals who manage to rewire their minds post their traumas to emerge as something more than what they were before, usually with any number of psychic and paranormal abilities.

My novels and my characters thus tend to take one of two paths to self-transcendence. In the case of my sci-fi, it’s usually some type of cyberpunk upgrade. Or the characters may in fact be robots determined to better themselves. But with my fantasies, such as Blood Brothers, the path from the human to the superhuman is different. Here I borrow more on ancient Tibetan scrolls, Zen wisdoms, Buddhist philosophy, the teachings of saints and sages alike, and studies done on Shaolin monks, to name some influences. I look at studies into peak performance among star athletes and mentalists and I stir in a little imagination and extrapolation to look at what’s ahead for us as we evolve individually and collectively into something more than human.

For some people, paranormal fantasy means stories about shapeshifters, werewolves and vampires. You’ll find these in my books also, but always coming from this private place, from the same nagging question, how can each of us—not just our fantasy escape characters—do this? So my books, if you read between the lines, are primers for turning each of us into something a good deal more extraordinary. No one book has all the answers. After all, I have to entice you to keep reading. And I have to keep the stories fun and fast-moving, as opposed to pedagogic, which means lightly sprinkling the technical details of how you too can follow a path into the mystical and magical.

Excerpt from Blood Brothers:
Just beyond the perimeter of the military encampment, Clay and Jared soared in with the F-14, still moving relatively slowly under the influence of Clay's telekinesis, the jet’s fuel long spent.

They observed the drama with the dragons breathing fire on the soldiers and having it deflected by the force field.

And then they watched as Rydell took out the two-headed dragons one after the other with blasts from his eyes, boring basketball-size holes through each of their hearts.

The beasts emitted agonizing cries as they fell. The first to land, the one with the more pointy snouts, managed to penetrate the shield with her heads as she landed on top of it. With her dying breaths, the fiery boluses she emitted took out a healthy allotment of soldiers already panicked and fleeing beneath the energy dome. Then, with her body limp and arched to accommodate the shield, she slid off.

As the second dragon crashed, it flicked its tail, penetrating the shield, and slicing any number of running soldiers in two, before the shield pushed it back out, resuming its perfect spherical shape.

The last of the second dragon’s heads hammered the ground moments after.

Jared took over the F-14, firing up the afterburners. “We're outta here.”

“And the defenseless women we're arriving like knights in shining armor to save?”

“We'll say a prayer.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
One of the ones I’m working on now, Odd Man Out, is a darkly funny tale about a FBI profiler who hunts serial killers by day, but is a serial killer himself by night. Fans of the Dexter TV series will feel right at home here. Though ostensibly a high-tech thriller, as always with my writing, paranormal elements lurk just beneath the surface. Part of the fun with this series is watching the FBI profiler cum serial killer mentoring his protégé on how to take his game to the next level. Sharing best practices includes divulging some of his meditative curriculum, and other mind-enhancing disciplines for being all he can be. His ability to stay ahead of the best and brightest the various world agencies have had to throw at him over the years, after call, can’t be explained entirely by simply being smarter than they are.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had a palm reader look at my right palm once and say, “Hmm, you’re very fickle.” She promptly handed my arm back to me and turned forward in the car seat. We were driving someplace at the time. I hated her for that. I thought, “The audacity of the woman!” But she’d clearly hit a nerve. Some years later I decided for myself, “Dean, you’ll never be able to be one thing for the rest of your life unless that one thing allows you to be everything else.” Through my writing I can be a lawyer, a doctor, a spy, a mad scientist, a health nut, and the hundred and one other things I would like to have been in real life—if only I weren’t so fickle. Better yet, I can enjoy superhuman abilities that only people who live in fantasies much of their waking life can ever hope to enjoy.

The above realizations came to me during my college years at Cal Berkeley. It was an age of revelations, all in all. I’ll save the rest of the shattering insights into myself and my world made back then for next time.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full time. You would think that without the distractions of a day job that it would all be downhill skiing as far as resistance to getting my daily allotment of pages written. You’d be wrong. It requires years of discipline and technique to keep the pipes open and flowing, to circumvent writer’s block, to know how to balance the writing with the editing and the researching of the next book, and with some semblance of a social life that keeps you from becoming a peculiar form of recluse. All of which explains why I started writing late in life (when I was younger I had none of those things going for me.)

And then there are the health issues surrounding such a sedentary life. I constantly have to interrupt my writing to do my twenty-minute exercise breaks if I expect to keep my mind sharp and in the “zone” of peak performance. And then there’s the issue of what to do about those hundred and one errands I’ve been putting off, just so I can write, all screaming for my attention. Unfortunately, I’m not British royalty who can afford to hire out for every little thing. That means when the faucet is leaking, I have to fix it. When the car needs a tune up, it strangely won’t drive itself to the shop and take care of this on its own. (Ask me why I also write sci-fi, if not to ensure that cars of the future do just this. And houses clean themselves, and yard work gets done by robo-lawn mowers, which I hear they actually have, I just can’t afford one. Please buy my books so I can, and so I can feed this strange, insatiable addiction that really does want to gobble up the rest of my life, and which I’d be happy to let do just that, if only life didn’t have a mind of its own.)

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m into power drinks. I’m constantly seeking out new exotic ingredients to throw into the blender before hitting “purée.” Spirulina. Chlorella. Acai berries. Noni. You name the superfood, I’ve tried it separately or in combination. Then there are the herbal supplements for mind enhancement, better memory, better focus, faster mental processing—I’m a huge fan of lecithin on that score. I think it’s a post-40 thing. You hit that age and you’re told your heart beats less, sending less blood to your brain. Did I mention the yoga and the part where I stand on my head for some of the day to compensate? Writing is mind-work. Being told your mind is heading south—not encouraging. I jog. I do tai chi.

I remember when I was younger I had this dear friend in his 40s, and I thought, “God, what a hypochondriac.” He’d run from his Sufi dancing and Whirling Dervishes class to his Chinese medicine and acupuncture class. Spirulina wasn’t good enough for him. (This was before superfoods was even a big thing). He wanted Klamath lake algae (something about targeting the brain better than Spirulina.) He played Mozart the livelong day because it helped with secretion of hormones that aided peak performance. And he flew to Findhorn, a New Age community in Scotland, to find out how they grew tomatoes the size of watermelons for his organic garden. I used to laugh and make fun of him (in a loving, chiding way.) Then somewhere along the line I became him. Though I do take the same time out that I did with him to laugh at myself. After all, it’s only fair.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. I was humble enough back then to realize, “Dean, you’re not rocket scientist material. But getting out of the space capsule, going over and introducing yourself to the alien, that’s very you.” As it turns out, they have standards for being an astronaut. Go figure. One of which I think requires not being at all claustrophobic for those long journeys to never never land. Scratch that idea. Writing, however, has no such limitations. And rather than wait for a space program that would never get me where I wanted in my lifetime, I opted for the more audacious scheme of dreaming up entirely alien worlds all for myself. Some of these worlds fit far more solidly within the fantasy paradigm, as with Blood Brothers. Others are more get out the phaser, and require more of a Star Trek Into Darkness approach. But wherever I go with my mind, you can bet I’ll be able to do things there I could never do back on Earth. Not even if I could be anything I wanted.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
There’s definitely a “Dean heavy” and a “Dean light.” “Dean light” includes my shorter works like Blood Brothers, Escape From the Future, The Warlock’s Friend, and Love on the Run that are just unmitigated fun, and shameless escapes from reality. “Dean heavy” includes my big, fat books, the epics, like The Hundred Year Clones and Renaissance 2.0 franchises which are a return to the days of heady sci-fi. They’re part psychological thrillers, and they delve into ethical and other thorny dilemmas facing societies that rely increasingly on more and more technology, until even people have to become upgraded, that is to say, part machine or part computer, just to keep up. Or they must find some paranormal pathway to self-transcendence if they have any chance of staying atop the food chain.

But with “Dean light” and “Dean heavy” both, the underlying question remains, how do we get from here to there? How do we survive the shift in global consciousness that insists if we are to survive into the future we must find a way to be transcendent? There are many ways to be transcendent. For some of these paths, fantasy stories work best, for others, sci-fi, and for some, a hybrid version of the two. But if you’re experiencing what Alvin Toffler termed Future Shock, and what another writer has more recently coined Present Shock to indicate just how pressured we’re all feeling to hang in there, as the demands of the workplace and of survival continue to ratchet up, then you may find some help by way of my novels. Just keep in mind, all that helpfulness is disguised in the subtext. After all, God forbid it get in the way of the fun of telling a good story.


Thank you, Dean!

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Anonymous said...

The excerpt is hugely impressive. Moore certainly knows how to depict an action sequence.

Unknown said...

What an awesome website, and what a pleasure to be on it! Thanks for hosting me, Lisa. I’d also like to thank anyone who might be stopping by and leaving comments or questions for me (perhaps based on the answers to some of my interview questions). I’ll be in and out throughout the day to interact with readers.

Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Rick. I see I'm not the only early riser out there! Glad you enjoyed the snippet from Blood Brothers.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Mary. That's two days in a row you've showed up to comment now! I appreciate that, and hope you continue to enjoy the rest of the tour.

Roshelle said...

Blood Brothers already sounds promising with the description. I can't wait to see how this tale brings on the action. Odd Man Out also sounds like it's right up my alley.

I really liked your story about the palm reader. And I have a penchant for spirulina and acai myself (now to get my son to like it...) It's been great getting to know about you and your stories, Dean!

Unknown said...

Nice extract there, although I feel sympathy for all those poor soldiers.

Do you really get a benefit from standing on your head? I'm getting a little closer to 40 every day so I probably need to start planning this stuff myself...

Kate Cudahy said...

Having really enjoyed the first part of Renaissance 2.0, I can say this interview has definitely encouraged me to read more of Dean's work. The excerpt from Blood Brothers was further proof of his phenomenal writing talent.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Rochelle. On the son front, let me see if I can help you out. I just recently discovered that Chlorella helps with neuronal repair and growth in the brain. Needless to say I have the bulk powder wheeled in for me now on a dolly. Maybe you can tell your kid to include it in his SAT prep work!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Alex. Yeah, those soldiers probably deserve some sympathy. They're like the rest of us in life, caught between a rock and a hard place. In their case, between their boss, a paranormal Rydell, and the magic of the two sorceresses which procured the dragons. Those are two-headed dragons, by the way. Reading the excerpt out of context like this, I realize I should probably have prompted the reader accordingly.

As to standing on my head, I learned this trick from Yoga Lady in Stanley Kubrick's film, Clockwork Orange. It certainly didn't extend her life expectancy. And strange and unlikely film inspirations aside, honestly, the shoulder stand in yoga probably does as much and is less challenging. As to whether any of these things work, I'm not exactly waiting for the scientific corroboration. If someone said staring at the sun for an hour a day would give me 50 extra IQ points, I'd probably be blind.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Kate! As the two books go, they couldn't be more different. But some themes carry over, the dark humor of course, and, well, I'll leave it to the reader to find any other parallels.

Andra Lyn said...

Hi Again Dean!

So tell me...do you have any literary greats that you base your writing style after??

Unknown said...

Great question, Andra. Chances are if they’ve ever been on the bestseller list for months or years on end and they’re in my genre (sometimes even if they’re not), I’ve made a careful study of them at one point or another. You’d be surprised at the similarities among bestsellers; there really are tried and true formulas that can work for anybody if you apply them well enough. Of course, that’s the trick; some writers make it look easy, while others make it look like paint by numbers.

The writer at the top of my mind right now is Robin Cook. You may laugh, because, hey, he writes medical thrillers, while I write largely sci-fi and paranormal fantasy. But I learned from Robin how to tell a briskly paced story filled with compelling characters that also teaches something about science and technology and how changing trends in both are reshaping us and what it means to be human. It’s no small feat maintaining that delicate balance between being profound on important social issues affecting us all, and entertaining. Too often one comes at the expense of the other. So while he might be surprised to learn that his tricks of the trade are affecting writers like myself in other genres, I assure you they are.

Of course, these days, I read a lot more indie authors than I do best sellers, though many of the former are spiking the rankings charts on Amazon. I do this because if we want to sustain the new renaissance in publishing we have to give some of our time to unknown and undiscovered writers. It’s the only way writing as a whole can continue to evolve. So we all have to learn to pay it forward a little and to step off the sidelines a bit where we’re spectators to the whole phenomenon, and participate in the renaissance, whether that means picking up the pen yourself, or reading more indies. (Notice how I managed to get a shameless plug in there for myself without mentioning my name at all. )

Moreover, as over time, the market has continued to polarize. From mainstream publishers these days and bestsellers it’s hard to expect anything new because they’re too afraid to mess with what works. So you get a lot of regurgitated pabulum, hackneyed plots and scenarios and characters that you’ve seen far too many times before. If you want to read writers who take risks and have original voices and something fresh to impart, you have go to indie (to my thinking.)

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Serena S. said...

I liked very much the interview.

Rob May said...

Hi Dean - I see you are a "novelest" ... I could always tell from your writing that you are one of a kind ;)

Unknown said...

I'm super excited to be on this blog next week-but Dean you have one of the greatest quotes I've ever heard about why we write "Dean, you’ll never be able to be one thing for the rest of your life unless that one thing allows you to be everything else.”--I used to think this way about acting-but you just summed up writing for me! Great interview and I look forward to reading some of your work!

bn100 said...

Interesting background

Unknown said...

Ha-ha, Rob. Nice of you to stop by. For those of you who don't know Rob May, he's the author of a wonderful book entitled Dragon Killer, among others. We write in the same genres so it was natural that our paths should cross; I'm glad they did. I would say, Rob, that you have a fairly unique narrative voice yourself, so I'm not unique to the "novelest" club.

Unknown said...

Nice to meet you, Ben! Thanks for stopping by. I'll definitely keep my eye out for your book when it launches. As to the quote, I'm not surprised that it resonates with a fellow writer. As you say, we're all shapeshifters and chameleons by trade.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Serena. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. :)

Unknown said...

bn100, Thanks. I feel I owe it to the colorful people, places, and things that formed my life to go back and pay them all homage in some books, if only I can keep my wild imagination from stealing me away and plopping me into one paranormal fantasy or sci-fi world after another!

Ken Magee said...

Having enjoyed a number of Dean's Scifi/Fantasy works, I'm looking forward to Odd Man Out. I'm a big Dexter fan, but I can't wait to see what twists and turns a mind like Dean's will no doubt embed in the story

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ken. For those of you who don't know, Ken is a wonderful sci-fi and fantasy writer in his own right. I highly recommend his Dark Tidings, the first in a trilogy. We're kindred spirits in that we both employ a hefty dose of dark humor in our writing.

Heidi said...

I liked hearing about what you envisioned becoming when you were a child. It connects the reader more in depth with the writer.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Heidi. Answering these questions provided a chance to think about things I haven't thought about in a long time. So it was like getting to know myself all over again as well.