Welcome to Coffee Times Romance! Are you ready for some romance? Romance from the dark side? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today I’m talking to Dina Rae, author of Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad JuJu. Welcome, Dina!
Thanks for having me!
It’s almost a cliché that women are attracted to bad boys. But Andel Talistokov takes “bad boy” to the next level. Why don’t you introduce us to him?
Andel’s celestial name is Armaros. He and a third of all angels fell with Satan during the uprising in Heaven. He convinced Satan to allow him a charter on Earth. He currently runs an advertising empire and uses mind control techniques to manipulate the masses. In his spare time, he likes to be worshipped. It gives him more powers. He latched onto a couple of Yezidi congregations who worship angels (yes, this is a real religion).
I think us poor humans have always been fascinated with angels, “fallen” or otherwise. What was your initial fascination? The one that led to this book?
Back in the early 1990’s while the Persian Gulf War was going on, Saddam Hussein made a very cryptic comment about the northern Kurds. He justified killing them by claiming they were devil worshipers. The media never expounded upon this. I’m guessing because it would not be politically correct, but who knows. Anyway, this stayed with me two decades later and I did my own research. Voila-Yezidi religion. This obscure religion worships angels, especially Malak Tawas otherwise known as Satan. A horror story was born.
Wow! That is fascinating! I remember the campaign against the Kurds. And I can relate because I’ve had a bit of the same experience—an idea that came out of a long-ago (very long-ago) incident and turned into a book. How much research was involved with this project? Were you familiar with the Yazidi religion before you began developing this story? Or the Book of Enoch and its history of the Nephilim?
I was unfamiliar with both of them. The more research I found, the more fascinated I became. Genesis touches upon Nephilim, inferring that they were the reason for the Flood. Some believe they still walk the earth. Skeletons of giants believed to be Nephilim were dug up all over the world.
Your heroine, Joanna Easterhouse and her sister Kim – they have some issues to deal with that the ordinary heroine doesn’t have to worry about. Did you have to “become” a Nephilim yourself in order to understand them?
Yes, I did! They are only part human. No one ever told them they were modern day Nephilim. Their mother leaves a trail about their past that changes their lives. Kim tends to lean on the human and “good” side while Joanna is still a mystery. She has a rocky past with drug addiction, but is eager to change. She’s very complex, like the rest of us. Good and evil are not clear cut in her world.
No, sadly good and evil aren’t clear-cut anywhere. Everything’s become a darker shade of gray. The big business world of advertising figures prominently in this novel. Have you got an advertising background of any sort yourself?
No, not at all. I do appreciate a clever ad. I also notice word repetition, sex, subliminal messages, jingles, etc. in ads. The industry has always fascinated me and I enjoyed writing about the conspiracy behind the business.
This is a very dark and sometimes bloody work. Was it difficult to make the transition into the world you needed to be in to write it? And equally difficult to come out of that darkness when you had to return to the real world?
No. I love horror. Violence sadly doesn’t upset me in books and movies (how sick am I?). Also, the main character is a fallen angel-anything less than dark, evil, gruesome, and sexy would not do Andel or the book justice in its theme. I love all good stories, but especially love the dark side.
Who’s your publisher for this novel? Do you publish with more than one house?
Eternal Press/Damnation Books is my publisher for Halo of the Damned and hopefully the sequel which I am almost finished with. They have been wonderful to work with, and I am happy to be published. I published with another publisher for my first novel, The Last Degree, and it was a terrible experience. After many broken promises, I canceled the contract and put the book on Amazon. I also did the same for Bad Juju. I try not to put all of my eggs in one basket.
Wise words for writers to keep in mind. What’s next on your writing agenda, do you think? Are you staying with this genre or do you have plans to spread your wings? (No disrespect to angels, fallen or otherwise, intended.)
The sequel to Halo of the Damned is almost complete. A radio program I was a guest on suggested I write a fictitious novel about missing children that’s not so fictitious. I’m very intrigued. Now that’s a horror story that would be hard to keep at bay.
It most definitely would be hard to keep at bay. Keep us posted on how that develops. Tell us about Dina Rae when she’s not Dina Rae the writer. And on that note, satisfy my curiosity. What breed is that beautiful dog in your picture? Canadian timber wolf-husky blend?
I am married with children, two daughters who are wonderful. My hubby is not too bad either-a fireman and he’s hot! I teach chess and substitute teach. I am very active in the Chicago Writers Association and my church (Christian). I love to read and watch movies. Some of my favorites are The Stand, Angel Heart, Left Behind Series, Angels and Demons, Fallen, Devil’s Advocate, Carrie, Game of Thrones, The Patriot, The Last Iman, …I could go on all day. I love dogs as you pointed out. I have a German Shepherd and a Siberian Indian Dog (the one in the pic). She’s a designer breed of 6 different dogs. We got her from a breeder in Michigan. She is my favorite of all the dogs that I’ve had over the years. She’s super smart, super affectionate, and super funny.
Now that’s a love story, when you describe your husband as “hot”! Though as a fireman, I guess we should expect some element of heat, huh? Oh, yes, I’m a dog lover, I’ve been dying to ask about the beautiful baby in your photo on Amazon. This has been a fascinating interview, Dina, and thanks for letting me pick your brain! Please drop in and keep us posted on your future projects. And to all our Coffee Times readers, thank you so much for stopping in to visit with us. And now, to give away my southern “roots” – y’all come back now, here?