I picked up The Dragon Delasangre by chance and I'm glad I did, as it's one of the most engaging horror novels I have read in years...
Q: What is your background as a writer?
I don't have any formal education in writing. I graduated U of M with a degree in marketing. But I've always been an avid reader, have always admired those who could craft such wonderful worlds, images, people and stories out of words and have always wished I could do such things myself. For years I wrote small things; birthday poems for people I cared about, promotional business letters, speeches, hand drawn hand lettered books for my young children - until I finally wrote - and sold - a personal essay to a local magazine. I began freelancing in my free time after that, selling more essays and articles and even some poetry and I began to work on my first book. While that garnered some interest from agents and publishers, it didn't sell. So I shelved that one and began work on a new book about a contemporary dragon and his challenges.
Q: When I think of a dragon, movies such as DRAGONHEART and ERAGON come to mind, with these big creatures. But in the Delasangre books you've really made them relatable and down to earth. How did the idea come about for the book(s). Why dragons?
Some sort of dragon myth seems to exist among almost all cultures from Mexico to India - from England to Japan. Asian stories describe dragons as benevolent, intelligent beasts that ensure good luck and fortune. European mythology casts them as terrible monsters that horde wealth, eat virgins (female, young and pretty, of course)and must be slain by heroes before they do great harm.
Obviously there's something about these creatures that have kept them in the human psyche since as long as history has been written. I think it's because a dragon is the most magnificent predator man has ever imagined. It's more powerful than any tiger, lion or bear, able to fly as free and high as any hawk or eagle and capable of matching wits with any human. I've always felt a fascination for these mythic beasts, envied their great power and their freedom from human constraints. That attraction was only deepened when, for my sixteenth birthday, my mother gave me a gold ring fashioned in the shape of a dragon, with a blood red, uncut ruby clenched between its teeth. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now, forty-four years later, I still think so. Even as I write this, a dragon ring is on the fourth digit of my right hand. It's a replacement for the original - lost a few years ago - which I wore through high school, college, the army - through two weddings, the births of two sons and through every other important event in my life.
Over the years that first dragon managed to attract others (gifts from family and friends) so that now dragon figurines crowd three shelves in our living room while others (plus a dragon painting) hang over my desk. I even confess to a dragon tattoo permanently inked on my right arm. No wonder then, when I looked about for a subject for a novel, I turned to these wondrous creatures. How, I asked myself, could a dragon live in today's mechanized, computerized, militarized world and what problems would one face?
The answer was a new dragon mythology featuring Peter DeLaSangre - a dragon and a shape-changer, capable of living in both worlds, comfortable in neither and in need of finding a female of his own kind.
Q: I thought the idea of combining Caribbean Pirates and dragons was brilliant, as they both horde gold and riches. Will there ever be a "flashback" book about Peter's father, who was one of the pirates?
I hope I'll have the opportunity to eventually write a number of prequels to Pete's stories, including a look at the early days, when dragons ruled the earth. Unfortunately when I pitched the concept (2 stories about Peter's father and his pirate days) to my editor, she turned it down. At that time she wanted more Peter DelaSangre stories.
Q: In the second book, DRAGON MOON, you get more into the mythology of different types of dragons and in the third, THE SEADRAGON'S DAUGHTER, very much so. As the different types can interbreed are you ever going to introduce the "parent species" of them all?
If I get the opportunity I'd love to explore all aspects of their mythology - from the earliest days to those past Peter's time. (His children are growing older you know.)
Q: Each book gives a broader perspective, as Peter learns more about his species, revealing a much more pervasive influence of the dragons in the world. In A HOST OF DRAGONS you present a European council of dragons. Is there going to be a lot more interaction with them in future books? Is there a "Dragon War" on the horizon?
It would be hard for Peter to avoid more contact with Ouder Raad, the dragon council, and being that dragons don't play well with others, there would no doubt be some conflict. I'd planned to explore this in book five but right now this doesn't look like it's going to be happening any time soon.
Q: Also, in the fourth book you mention "The Skunk Ape" of Florida....does this hint that you'll be introducing other supernatural creatures. I mean, if there are dragons then there has to be other types of monsters...
Ah, you noticed, though I wouldn't consider them supernatural. I think Peter and his kind are a logical take on what dragons would have to be like to survive - and share space with us humans - in this world. And I think its humbling for us to look at another species that may be higher up on OUR food chain than we are. (I always think it's interesting how offended some readers get that an intelligent carnivore could eat them without suffering any dire consequences or guilt.)
Q: When is the next book coming out?
I'm working on a new novel right now, but not a dragon one. Unfortunately my publisher has passed on any new Dragon DelaSangre books. (It's pretty much the same thing as a TV series getting canceled.) It didn't help, of course, that my first editor left the publisher after book 2, my second editor left after book 4 and my agent abruptly died. Since, usually, if one publisher refuses to continue a series, none of the others will pick it up (Isn't publishing great?) my new and very alive agent has encouraged me to explore other story concepts - which I have to admit is fun to do.
Hopefully my new project will make it to the bookstore shelves sometime in the next year or two. Though I also hope to eventually write more installments in the DelaSangre series. Peter and his clan can get cranky and pretty vicious at times but, I have to admit, I'm real fond of them.
Q: How can people contact you (your web site, et cetera)
The best way to contact me - and learn more about me and my books - is to go to my web site www.DragonNovels.com. Those who care to can e-mail me from the site and let me know what they think of the books. (They can still be found in both local and online bookstores) Those who are curious about my non-fiction writing can go to www.NewMobility.com and www.Disaboom.com and search by my name for articles on disability issues written by me.