Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Interview with Daniel L. Carter, Author of The Unwanted
HANK: Hi Daniel. Thanks for doing this interview. I read your short bio on your blog site, but why don't you introduce yourself here, too.
DANIEL: I just want to thank you Hank for inviting me to do this interview with you. I'm honored. My name is Daniel L Carter author of The Unwanted Trilogy. I'm married to my fantastic wife Margo for over fourteen years now and we live in Western New York by Rochester. I've been a New Yorker all my life... GO GIANTS!!! Huge football fan in case you didn't get that already. =) Margo and I do not have any children but we have our dog Joy and cat Cuddles whom she treats like her children. hehehe... Those who know me well, know that I'm a computer geek, video game lover, movie buff and all around strange dude. Oh and I love dude-lit!
HANK: Ugh. I was thinking we could be friends, right up until I found out you're a Giants fan. But you do get some points back for liking dude-lit. (So far as I know, dear readers, I coined this brilliant phrase, searching for a term for male-oriented literature which doesn't connote the poor writing and obligatory porn scenes associated with the term "men's fiction".) Tell us about some of your favorite books.
DANIEL: Well Robert Aspirin is one of my all time favorite writers. Unfortunately he passed away recently but I love his Myth series. They are Tongue N Cheek Fantasy stories that make me laugh. Stephen R. Donaldson is also one of my other all time favorite writers. His fantasy series The Thomas Covenant Chronicles are classic. Mr. Donaldson is for the intellectual in me. His writing is very probing of the inner thoughts of his characters and he's what I call a Wordsmith. He comes up with some doozies some times. I also admire Timothy Zahn who's written several of the Star Wars novels. I'm not huge on hard Sci-fi myself but his books are really good. I have a tendency to like more Urban Fantasy/Sci-fi where the story lines can seem more plausible to me.
HANK: Funny you should mention Robert Asperin. A few months ago I picked up a couple of his books at a library sale. They are now on my bottomless "to be read" list. Anyhoo, your blogger bio mentions you've acted on stage and did some stage writing as well. After working in theater, what convinced you to shift into writing books?
DANIEL: Theater, for me, was a way to express myself emotionally. The process of getting into my character's head and bringing that out into a performance is absolutely fascinating to me. However I've gotten older and had some health issues for many years, so I got away from doing acting. I still do some every now and then but not very often. This was a turning point for me. I found myself doing more directing and writing for skits or short plays and working on editing dialogues. But I missed getting into the character's heads and all that's involved with that process. Writing a novel was the next best thing. With a lot of encouragement from my wife I embarked on a journey to teach myself how to write a novel which is so much different than skits and plays. What I found was that a novel gave me the outlet to express multiple characters all at once. A novel allowed me to explore even deeper realms of the human condition while entertaining people at the same time.
HANK: I think that's one of the many perks of writing novels. Tell us about the Unwanted Trilogy.
DANIEL: Well Hank I could give you the synopsis we have on book 1 The Unwanted but I'm going to give you a little insight that I haven't really shared with many people. The Unwanted Trilogy is based off of Genesis chapter Six which is right before the flood and Noah. In that scripture there has been a topic that few preachers will teach on. The scripture deals with fallen angels taking (perhaps violently) the daughters of men as their mates. The storyline and idea of The Unwanted Trilogy stemmed from this passage which deals with their unholy offsprings. Now I could get into the research I've done on this subject but that would take a long time to share. The Unwanted Trilogy is based upon this premise. Genetic manipulation, other dimensional beings, heroes being born, demonic forces seeking revenge and the power of God make up this trilogy. Book 2 Children of Anak should be available in the next year and I'm currently working on book 3 Unholy Resurrection.
HANK: Whoa. You have really piqued my interest, now. I've considered the Nephilim potentially great fodder for science fiction plots for some time. It wasn't until I seriously pondered the bizarre events sumarized in Genesis 6 that I was able to reconcile, in my heart, the loving God who created and redeemed us with His commandments to the Israelites to put entire cities to the sword. I thought I saw something about Anak or the Anakites on your website, but dismissed it, assuming it was just coincidence because so few Christians (it seems) study the Old Testament, or believe some of the seemingly incredible history recorded therein. And we all know what happens when we assume. I also find your differentiation between extra-terrestrial and extra-dimensional to be astute. But before I hijack this interview right off the rails...back to The Unwanted:
If you were casting for the film adaptation, who might you choose to play Nick Catlin? Other key characters?
DANIEL: It's funny you should ask this question because when I wrote The Unwanted I did so with a movie in mind. Coming from a theatre background and being a huge movie buff I often had asked myself the same questions for casting. As for FBI Agent Nick Catlin I often envisioned someone like Jesse Williams from Grey's Anatomy for the younger version. With more hair but you get the idea.
The only other character I had a very specific look for was Marcus (Bezerker), the eldest of the five children. You also have to understand that these children are born of middle eastern heritages so I could see (although from India) Shahid Kapoor playing Marcus or someone like him.
As for the rest of the cast I would like to see as many unknowns as possible. That way you aren't having any preconceived ideas and the actors/actresses can make the roles theirs.
HANK: I think using unknowns is a wise choice for this type of story. Continuing our film adaptation theme, would you shoot it on film or hi-def video? What location would you prefer? What kind of music would be your score?
DANIEL: Wow that's a lot of questions! lol OK let me try and wrap my head around these. I would have to say that I would most definitely shoot the film in HD with a scope of 2.35:1 for a much larger than life feel (widescreen). I would actually like to shoot The Unwanted in Oklahoma which is where most of the book is centered around. And as a New Yorker I would definitely want to shoot in NYC but I know that costs for shooting in other cities or on the lot would probably be more affordable. =) As for the score, I do not want to go with any of the normal big names. Ones that come to mind are John Williams (Star Wars), Danny Elfman (Batman, Nightmare Before Christmas), Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings)... no... I would actually love to have Kevin MacLeod whom I use many of his works for my website and promo videos.
HANK: Your blog is called "A Christian Man's Perspective." What is your perspective on today's entertainment in general and fiction in particular?
DANIEL: The main reason I wrote The Unwanted was because of the misrepresentation or lack therein of God whether it be in movies, TV or the media. I wanted to write a story that took both faith in God and pure Sci-fi/Fantasy elements into one. Also, I had to get rid of cable TV in my home because of the oversexed adds and blatant lack of morals every show I watched was inundated with. I couldn't watch a show without seeing Victoria Secret or condom adds every other minute. I'm as warm blooded as the next man but stop flashing lust before my eyes so that you can sell your products. We've forgotten how to blush as a nation and something that 10 years ago would have seemed absurd and unthinkable to show during prime time has now become standard practice. Hank it makes me sick to think about it.
HANK: You said a mouthful there, Daniel. I admire your discipline to boycott the networks. Hope it wasn't a bone of contention between you and Margo. What infuriates me even more than the pandering to lust are the impudent, unceasing anti-Christian and blasphemous messages spewed out of the bowels of pop culture. For me, 10 years ago it was hard to imagine it getting much worse. Well, it's much worse.
That's a good segue to my next question for you: Would you consider The Unwanted Christian fiction? If distribution to brick-and-mortar bookstores was still the only game in town, would we find your title(s) in normal outlets, competing with secular work, or in Christian stores? I ask this because it's something I struggle with as a Christian who writes. The decision I came to is to appeal to a general audience, rather than limit it to only those who are already believers. However, some friends have made strong arguments for taking the other road.
DANIEL: This is a great question to ask. I cannot tell you how much I hate the fact that people categorize books as 'Christian Fiction'. Come on people! Do we create a genre called Atheist Fiction or Hindu Fiction? No we don't. Because a character in a story has Christian morals doesn't make it a Christian book per say, however that is what the general public does. They classify it as something less than real fiction. To answer your question more directly Hank, no I would not consider The Unwanted as Christian fiction. I purposefully steered clear of preaching to people through the story. Does it have Christian morals and Christian characters, yes. Does it have an atheist who is hell bent on the destruction of America, yes. Does it have a guy's guy in agent Nick Catlin who wishes he had more time to socialize with the ladies, yes. So I guess if we were going by the worlds rating system we should categorize my book as a Heathenistic-Athiest-Christain Sci-fi Fantasy Fiction story. LOL
HANK: Hyuck-hyuck! Excellent points...and I think I saw some passion leaking out there. Well-put. I think we see eye-to-eye on this one.
There are items on your blog which hint that you have an interest in superheroes. If this is the case, care to say a little about that?
DANIEL: The Unwanted, for lack of a better description, is a superhero origins story. Do the characters run around with costumes and capes hiding their identity? No. The story is not so much about super powers but rather about the characters which makes it unique in my opinion. I love superhero stories and movies but The Unwanted is more than your typical X-Men type story. It's about five children who've had their DNA messed with and the consequences that they face because of it. Unlike many superhero stories where the heroes suddenly have these abilities and off they go to fight crime, the characters in The Unwanted suffer. I wanted a sense of plausibility to the story which always helps me connect with a story on a much deeper level.
HANK: Aha! The "Children of Anak"--I think I get it. Hmm. Maybe some time in the future we can discuss the whole Nephilim phenomenon. There is some speculation of whether these hybrid creatures are redeemable, whether they are free moral agents with souls and so forth. BTW, I tracked down the Book of Enoch after studying those curious verses in Jude. I must say, I'm even more flabberghasted after reading it than before. Well, you've definitely got me interested in your story, now. What are your literary plans after the Unwanted Trilogy?
DANIEL: The Unwanted Trilogy is literally the beginning series of The G6 Chronicles. You'll see references often to G6 and I've been asked what that means so I'll tell you. It is actually a short version of GSIX which stands for Global Security of Inter-dimensional X's. X's originally stood for extra-terrestrial but as you'll find out in future stories they are not terrestrial in nature. Again this is all based off of Genesis 6 (G6). In book 3 Unholy Resurrection I introduce everyone to G6 Headquarters and what that all entails. My plans as they stand now are to launch The Spirit Walker series after The Unwanted Trilogy.
HANK: Cool. Very cool. What are our options for getting your books, and where can people go to interact with you or read more of your words?
DANIEL: Book 1 The Unwanted is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbooks.com, Parable or you can simply purchase it directly from my official website www.theunwantedtrilogy.com via PayPal. Also the first three chapters are available for free so that you can see if the story is something you will like. Also for those that have already read book 1 I have the first three chapters of book 2 Children of Anak available as a sneak peek. There are also pages that I have on my official site for Internet Marketing, Superhero News, Newsletters and even Prayer Requests. Hopefully there is a little something for everyone. If anyone would like to contact me directly they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Hank grins, having already voted for The Avengers as the next superhero flick he'd like to see, since Tony Stark's cameo in The Hulk set it up so nicely.)
On a more personal note I have my blog 'A Christian Man's Perspective' where I do author and blogger interviews as well as book reviews, giveaways and share my life's experiences. http://dlcacmp.blogspot.com/
I want to thank you again Hank for letting me ramble on. It's been an absolute pleasure being able to do this interview with you. Blessings.
HANK: My pleasure, Daniel. I really enjoyed it, and it's been great getting to know you better. Here's to a prosperous 2011 for both of us, and strength to keep running the race.