Friday, October 5, 2012

Interview with Chris Rakunas, Author of The 8th Doll and Giveaway

Today I will be interviewing Chris Rakunas, author of The 8th Doll.

What are your favorite book(s)?

If I had to just pick one, it would be a toss-up between Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Herman Woulk’s Caine Mutiny.  Heller’s Catch-22 is probably the single best book ever written by anyone in any language hands down. It’s a difficult read, but when you understand it and go through it again, the book keeps getting better and better.  I try to re-read it every year, and every time I pick it up, I catch something new.  Herman Woulk has a way of writing that is so simple to read and yet gives so many details about the story.  It’s the perfect balance of information that is necessary for the story without being chatty.  Caine Mutiny is a great story with wonderful characters and action that just delivers. 

I also enjoy some more modern books, too.  Paula Sophia’s Shadowboxer is a really interesting look at LGTB issues.  Usually I don’t read a ton of YA and paranormal books, but Melanie Wilderman’s Ghost Glimpser series is very interesting.  Of course there are some of the “OMG, you’ve gotta read this!” type of books like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Hunger Games that have been out in the last few years.

Who is your favorite author?

I really enjoy reading, and my tastes are all over the place.  There are some classics that just grab onto me like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Shakespeare.  Ernie has a way of writing with compact sentences that end up being terse but super-packed with meaning.  Fitzgerald has this way of being really easy going in his stories so that I feel like he’s just telling me a story while we’re sitting in some 1920’s speakeasy, and Shakespeare is perfect for reading aloud.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere.  I try to keep my eyes and ears open at all times to find things that interest me.  Sometimes it’s the setting that I find interesting, which is actually how The 8th Doll came about.  Some of the pieces I’m working on now came from trips I’ve taken, and some of them just came from me letting my imagination wander and see what sort of stories I would like to hear.  Travel tends to play heavily into my writing, which is convenient since I’ve been to about 30 countries and spent months abroad.

Where is your favorite place to do your writing?

Anywhere.  I do a lot of my outlining in random places.  I was flying back from my buddy Brendan McDonnell’s wedding, and I was stuck in the San Diego airport for 8 hours.  Some people would complain about that, but I used the time to outline my third book, The Eye of Siam.  I wrote The 8th Doll at my dining room table, and I’ve written books in libraries, too.  It just depends on what the best place at that time is for me.  I hate the idea of being limited by a location to create a good story.  I’d rather just tell it.

What made you decide to write a book about the Mayan end of days prophecy?

My wife and I actually were in Dzibilchaltun for New Year’s this year, and I was standing in front of the Temple of the 7 Dolls.  We walked all over the ruins, and when we got to the temple, I noticed that there were 8 statues around the top of the façade.  The story just popped into my head from there, and the rest of the trip I kept thinking about it.  It was very convenient since I was able to do some research while we were on site, which allowed for the writing process to be much quicker.  There has obviously been a lot of discussion about the end of the world this year, and I thought it would just be a great way to combine the story in my head and the apocalyptic prophecy.

What was the hardest part of writing your novel?

One of the hardest parts of writing anything is letting go of the idea when you’re editing.  Sometimes you have an idea of what characters are like or what a situation is like, but you have a hard time making it mesh with the rest of the book.  When we were editing The 8th Doll there were a couple of places where the book really needed clarification as to what was going on or some additional explanation for why characters acted in a certain manner. It’s hard as a writer to let go and make those changes sometimes because, to you, you already know what the characters are like, what the setting looks like, or how the action takes place.  But when your editor says, “Hey…this doesn’t mesh with the rest of the book,” you need to listen and make it work.

Tell us about your new novel.

The 8th Doll is a fast-paced thriller that is set in the Yucatan.  The story follows the investigation of a ritualistic murder that happened in the ancient Mayan ruins at Dzibilchaltun.  As the investigation unfolds, the team begins to see ties between the murder and the apocalyptic prophecy, and they have to race against the clock to discover what truly is going on before the calendar ends.  There are many elements of Mayan culture, architecture, and the geology of the Yucatan that play heavily into the plot, and while the story and characters are fictional, the entire setting is real.

About the Author.

My wife and I live in Clinton, Oklahoma.  This month we’re celebrating our 1-year anniversary, which I think means we’ve been married longer than all of the Kardashians combined.
I grew up just west of here in a small town called Los Angeles, California, and I went to college at UC Berkeley and also earned an MBA from the University of Southern California.  Most of my career has been spent in healthcare, and that’s what actually brought me to writing.  My first book, Tears for the Mountain, is the story of a 2010 medical mission trip to Haiti after the earthquake there.  When I’m not working or writing, I love to scuba dive.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment