Friday, May 4, 2012

'Howl of the Wolf' Casting & Mind-Blowing Writing Exercise

I’m not usually a fan of science fiction, but when Diane Rapp starting writing in this genre, I had to try it.  Diane Rapp has a magical style of writing that immerses the reader deeply into the story. 

This tale takes place in the twenty fifth century on the planet Drako.  It’s a picturesque planet two moons, a bright and a dark, the latter providing night blooming flowers that perfume the air.

A society of telepathic wolves occupied the planet long before the humans arrived. They pass down wisdom from generation to generation. The peaceful integration lasted for lifetimes, with the highly intelligent wolves quietly observing the unique society. The primitive society is made up of colorful groups that include a royal kingdom, peasants and desert dwellers, to name a few. It’s an outer space version of the wild west.  

Things could change with the arrival of a handful of strangers.  They gave up immortality.  Will they regret that decision? The strangers represent all that the existing society hates.

Will they find allies in the wolves?

Can anyone stop the evil that is so powerful it can control minds & kill at will?

Interview with Diane Rapp

K- Thanks so much for joining us here to talk about one of your new books, ‘Howl of the Wolf.’ I fell in love with your writing, in the ‘High Seas Mystery Series’, so I was delighted to read the first book in your Heirs to the Throne series. It was great! Do you prefer the science fiction genre?

 D- I love reading science fiction and fell in love with Anne McCafferey’s ‘Dragon Riders of Pern’ series. I read every one of her books and moved on to read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s ‘Darkover’ novels. When these authors didn’t write fast enough, I imagined my own world. I wrote a crazy rough draft and friends who read the story nagged me to get it published. Last year I dragged out my old files and started rewriting until my eyes crossed.

K-Your writing is so vivid, I always feel like you take me on a journey, with every book. Your descriptions of the wolves felt incredibly realistic. I heard that someone very special inspired you.

D-My German Shepherd Dog, Kriegen, was the inspiration for the telepathic wolves. He had the most beautiful golden-brown eyes and stared as if he sent me messages I couldn’t understand. He’d stare and shift his gaze to the cookie jar (where we kept Milk Bones), and then he’d shift the stare back to me. His stupid human finally got the message. We lost him over a year ago, so I visit him often on Drako.

K- I’m sorry for your loss. I know how painful it is to lose your companion. This is a wonderful tribute to Kriegen.

Back to your descriptions, the futuristic technology that offered immortality was brilliant & quite believable. How do you research for something like that?

D-I watch the Discovery Channel and PBS series Nova to learn about scientific breakthroughs, and then I start to wonder. Scientists cloned Dolly the sheep and surgeons regularly perform heart transplants. I wondered if it wouldn’t be easier to ‘Transfer’ a patient’s mind into his own clone. The expense would be so high that patients might incur lifetime debt to pay for on procedure after another. Would scientists develop an ‘Institute’ to control the business, and lose control over their invention? The Institute could literally control life and death for everyone on the planet and beyond. These kind of “what ifs” float around in my mind until I write them down—scary.

K- A quick peek into the creative mind of Diane Rapp…very interesting.

The books beg to ask some deep questions. Would you give up your freedom for immortality? (Not me!) Do intelligent animals try to communicate with humans? (Yes!)

D-I believe human nature strives for freedom, and I know animals communicate. I wish we could understand them. The other question I develop is: 'What happens to human skills after centuries of mind Transfer.'   Do our talents evolve into the exceptional or very evil?’ 
I reveal the “back story” of the wolves during the series. Are they natives of Drako or did someone send them to the safety of a habitable planet on the fringe of space?

K-It sounds like I need to start reading the next book. Exciting!
Now let’s talk about the burning, provocative question. Casting! The first actor I thought of for Jarrack was Jack Black.

 D-When I first imagined the character of Jarrack, I visualized Gene Simmons. He was gloriously evil in the movie ‘Runaway,’ and it’s too bad he doesn’t have a young clone for the movie. Billy Zane is another actor who could play Jarrack. Donovan started out as a Tom Selleck kind of guy, but lately I see Nathan Fillian in the role. Krystal was a striking beauty—like Charlize Theron or Julianne Hough with mental powers and skills. Chella is like Jada Pinkett Smith or Tyra Banks, a statuesque black woman who looks severe until she smiles. Trenton has always been Crocodile Dundee in space with a big knife and flashy grin. I identify with Maggie, because I love to eat and can’t keep the weight off. I’d love a Transfer now and then to get skinny.  

K- Yes, I can see your choices working well. Billy Zane plays a villain so well. How we loved to hate him in Titanic! I like Jullianne Hough as Krystal and Tyra Banks would make a great Chella. 

Oh, yes, transfers would be the best diet breakthrough ever!

If you would like, I’d love to do the writing exercise. I give you a scene and then you re-write it in your own captivating style.  Are you game?

D—I’m always game.

K- Okay, then here it is: 

 Anil sat quietly in the dark room, staring down into the amber liquid in the glass he held in his hand. He quickly swallowed the whiskey, in one gulp. Then he screamed out filthy obscenities, while he hurled the glass to the floor. He grimaced as a large glass shard bounced up and lodged in his bare ankle. He reached down and grabbed the glass shard, and pushed it deeply in to his skin, and then pulled the shard through his leg, all the way up to his knee. 

He screamed out in pain and then grabbed the glass shard and threw it back on the floor. He didn't notice the blood gushing down his leg and pooling on the floor. He felt a little better now. He had discovered that cutting himself seemed to calm him down. Sometimes he became so irate and agitated it took more than just a few cuts. It was starting to escalate. Like a drug, he needed more and more. 

The month before he was not able to soothe himself until he had sliced off his pinky finger

D-You didn’t give me an easy one but here goes:

Anger raged through Anil’s chest like a monster threatening to consume his sanity.  He remembered similar monsters from childhood.  He needed something to help calm down, maybe a drink.  The golden whiskey swirled in a glass, beckoning him to drown his sorrows in the amber liquid.  He never drank.  The liquor smelled sharp, antiseptic, but friends claimed it soothed the soul.

The dark room closed in on him, crushing his brain.  He gulped the whiskey all at once and felt it burn down his throat to an aching belly.  It stole his breath but the rage grew hotter.  Smashing the glass down onto a tiled floor, he cursed obscenities until a shard of glass bounced back and pierced his ankle.  He stared at the glass fragment and blood oozing from the wound.  He felt calmer.  With trembling fingers he gripped the jagged shard and pulled it slowly up his leg.  It formed a crooked line from his ankle to his knee.  Pain shot up the leg like a scorpion racing through his blood stream.

Tossing the shard back onto the floor, he failed to notice blood seep down his leg and pool like red syrup on the floor.  Calm rushed over his body and bubbles tingled in his brain like fizz in champagne.  It worked the same way he remembered as a boy.  He’d cut slices along his arm until he felt a buzz, but he could no longer stop with a few cuts.  The pain was a drug and he was an addict. Last month the agitation escalated until he sliced off a pinky finger—now he realized he could never stop.

K- Diane-you’ve outdone yourself! I felt my hair stand on end.

What can we expect to see next, Diane?

D-The Havenshire Resistance (book 2) follows Krystal and her three daughters as they struggle to rescue Donovan from Jarrack.  Krystal organizes an underground resistance of old soldiers, peasants, and Samurai, while she waits for her daughters to mature.  Jarrack holds Donovan captive in stasis and collects a harem of kidnapped women in Havenshire castle.  Desert riders have orders to capture Krystal’s daughters when they reach the breeding age of sixteen. 

Readers will meet the talented sisters: Felesia can link minds with her animal friends.  She has a giant panther, a hawk, and a mongoose, and she raises a dragon chick named Flash.  Lauryn is a powerful healer and empath raised in a convent.  Tessa, raised by Trenton and Maggie in their trapper’s retreat, doesn’t know she’s a telepath until she meets a wolf named Amber.  The sisters come together and develop their special skills, but they must convince the wolves’ Council of Elders to help humans save Havenshire.

In Dragon Defense (book 3) new characters are added to the mix with more problems to solve.  The Institute tracks the Zebulon crew to Drako, radiation sickness is spreading from an aging nuclear reactor, and Felesia gets a flock of dragons to rescue kidnapped children. Have you ever dreamed of flying on a dragon?  The dragons of Drako communicate with swirling colors in translucent wings.  Sons and daughters of Drako race the clock to learn banned technology and fly dragons in a defense against an Institute attack.   Drako means dragon and they might be the key to the planet’s survival.

K- They sound like great books- fast paced, action packed and full of intriguing characters! I can’t wait to get started on the rest. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us.

You can find Diane’s books here        

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Find Diane’s website here    



  1. Kathleen,

    Thanks so much for the chance to explain more about my science fiction series! I'm blushing at the glowing review but don't stop--I need all the help I can get to draw readers to Drako. These characters are real (in my head) and grumble if no one visits.

    Thanks again,
    Diane Rapp

  2. Diane- It was my pleasure. I can't wait to visit Drako and hang with the characters again! Anyone who reads the book will be hooked on the series...that is...unless they're crazy ; )

  3. Great writing exercise! Loved the direction that Diane went in providing more back story about the character and the motivation for his actions. Awesome job!