Demon Heart follows a a cop in Osaka who must hide the fact that she’s a demon hybrid while stopping a fanatic from acquiring an ancient artifact. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this suspenseful novel?
There were three important factors that contributed to the creation of this novel. The first was the exposure to the Japanese animation and cinema after my immigration to the United States in 1987. I am a great fan of the movies of Akira Kurosawa and also a great fan of Japanese anime, which is very beautifully made and with great attention to detail and emotional realism. My second inspiration came from the exposure to the Japanese customs and traditions as well as a unique way of thinking. Japan is the most technologically advanced country in the world and yet it is deeply rooted in old traditions. I admire their hard work, their designs and their great emphasis on personal honor and respect of people and nature. The third reason for the creation of this book was my strong and enduring friendship with my beautiful Japanese female friend, a young lady whom I met in college. My main character Naoko Kitamura is partly based on her character and her looks, and she is very beautiful!
Naoko Kitamura’s lineage and background were immensely interesting. How did you develop her background and what were some aspects that were important for you to focus on?
In my character design of Naoko Kitamura I made a reference to the formula followed by the writers and artists of Japanese manga and American graphic novels. This formula is simple. If you are an extraordinary person, it’s very hard for you to live an ordinary life. This is true of all superheroes, and Naoko Kitamura can be definitely classified as one. In developing her background and human-demonic lineage, I wanted to present her as a unique creature of both worlds, material and spiritual, a being of darkness and light blessed and cursed with immense powers and capability for great destruction. At the same time, I wanted her to take responsibility for everything she does. Since Naoko is Japanese, she does receive guidance and wisdom from her demonic ancestral memory and her mother, who is herself a demon hybrid. I wanted to present my protagonist as a strong, intelligent and independent woman and yet vulnerable both emotionally and physically, even if she can recover from almost any injury.
Osaka Japan is beautifully detailed in this story. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure things were accurate?
It is very important for every writer to get things right, especially if he or she is writing about another culture and people that represent that culture. A full year of intense and fascinating research went into creation of this novel. I wanted to understand not only how the modern japan works but to understand the intricacies of the Japanese mindset, their philosophy, history and their attitude toward life and death. I explored everything from food to movies to Japanese novels as well as interviews of my Japanese friends and study of books about Japan written by both academics and travelers, as well as fiction writers who studied Japanese culture and shared their findings with the world. Working on research for this novel was a great fun and a labor of love. I often try to place myself in my protagonist’s shoes and visualize their thoughts and actions to achieve the best literary as well as cinematic effect.
Do you have more stories planned that include Naoko?
Yes, I do have more stories planned for my demon hybrid protagonist Naoko Kitamura. Demon Heart is the first novel of the trilogy, which I plan to gradually introduce to our readers in the near future. Sometimes it is hard to determine whether or not the story would have a continuation. To make the series featuring a single main protagonist required a large amount of material to work with. I ended the Demon Heart novel with a scene that would hint on Naoko’s continuing adventures and a new life and a new identity that she would have to assume after making a heroic sacrifice to save her city from destruction. In the following novels, Naoko Kitamura will once again rise to defend her country and people she loves not just on the national but international scale. To my readers I would like to stay tuned for the more upcoming adventures of Naoko. One thing I would like to add is that she will return!
Published in 2017, David Crane’s dramatic Sci-Fi novel, Demon Heart, is set in Osaka, Japan. It explores the roles of light and darkness in shaping the human experience. It is a powerful narrative about Naoko Kitamura, the protagonist who realizes that she is half-demon. Living amongst human beings, the character learns how to manage this dark side – by controlling the intensity of her powers.
Crane’s readers realize that learning one’s true identity has a significance in their life journey. All the challenges faced by Naoko, prove her strength and ability to achieve victory, regardless of all the tough circumstances at play.
I give this book a 5-star rating for numerous reasons. First, it was cathartic to read it in first person narration, as this made me feel closer to Naoko, the protagonist. It was easier to understand all the psychological battles within her mind, by progressing with her thoughts, throughout the story.
Furthermore, the book gives an account of the themes of good and evil, and the basis of human existence. Naoko reveals to her characters the importance of accepting one’s identity. Suppressing the shadows and demons within us only leads to chaos. If she wasn’t aware of her true identity, it’d be difficult for her to understand the origin of all the darkness around her.
Through the writing of Crane, the readers perceive demons from a different light. We have been taught, so often, that demons are destructive, and don’t want the best for humans. This is quite clear when Naoko is expected to keep her true identity a secret. Human beings cannot handle the intensity of divinity thus, they shouldn’t know much about this world. Keeping it a secret is also psychological since humans would not have the capacity to understand the healing powers of a demon-hybrid.
However, Naoko manages to engage the readers’ empathetic sides, as she thrives to create a balance between good and evil in the world. She is indeed one of the genuine police officers, who attempt to create this balance, while greatly fighting against evil.
This book also teaches its readers about Japanese cultures, traditions and beliefs, and it is a great narrative for readers like me, with a keen interest in the spiritual realm.
The story captured my attention, right from the title, and I’ll be sure to give it a second reading due to how much I related with the protagonist and her experiences.
Pages: 272 | ASIN: B074DSSBPY
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Planet of Men follows Blackwood as he seeks the Heart of the Sun in an underground labyrinth protected by ancient monsters. Where did you want to take this novel that was different from book one?
Book One was designed to deal with Professor Peter Blackwood’s introduction to the world of planet Enigma, where he was delivered against his will by the powerful and mysterious alien intelligence, able to snatch the ships from hyperspace and use their crews for its strange and often dangerous experiments in human condition and survival. In the first book, Peter Blackwood becomes a stranger in the strange land, where he is forced to survive and adapt to the new environment until he gets to know the locals, the descendants of the people captured and exiled to planet Enigma centuries ago. In Book Two, informed by both the red cloud and the local rebels against the ruling tyrannical supermen, Blackwood once again has to go against his will to become a chosen messiah to fulfill the centuries old prophecy and eventually accepts this mantle in order to bring justice to the people he likes and wants to protect.
I enjoyed the imagination behind the weapons and battle methods used. What is your writing process like to come up with these ideas?
I am a huge fan of military history, and when I was working on the Book Two, I was inspired by the weapons and battle tactics used by the great generals from the ancient times to the present. My writing process included the detailed study of the applied military tactics depending on the situations Peter Blackwood has found himself in. In the book, Blackwood is not only a scholar, but also a former Space Marine officer with many years of experience in the field. I knew that this combination of knowledge and experience would greatly assist him in his survival and eventual defeat of his enemies who are very powerful and posses a great destructive potential. While working on this novel, I was trying to apply martial arts and military strategies of many talented battlefield commanders. There were three main principles of strategy and tactics that remain true from the ancient times to the present: concentration of force, deception and knowledge of the terrain. My greatest influence for this novel came from the Sun Tzu’s Art of War, which is still considered one of the greatest books on strategy and tactics ever written.
What were some surprising reader reactions you’ve had to book one, Planet of Gods?
Authors are often surprised by their reader’s reaction to their work, especially when the readers are introduced to the sequels. I was surprised a few times when some of my readers said that they had no idea which book they liked the most first or second. I realize that the readers have expectations, and many of them are realistic. Some of my fans were saddened by the death of Sachiko Nomura, while others have told me that as a main protagonist, Peter Blackwood could not love two women who were both dear to him and would have to make a choice. I was also surprised by the reader’s mentioning comic books and how my novel reads as a graphic novel where the readers have to visualize what is happening and imagine what the characters might look like form my descriptions. I do enjoy to surprise my readers when I can, whether by a plot twist or a powerful dramatic event that influences their feelings. Many readers get attached to certain characters and are sad to let them go, even if their sacrifice was necessary. I do get surprised a few times when I read novels written by other authors. Most of them are pleasant!
What can readers expect in book three in the Enigma series?
The Enigma series was planned as a two book series which clearly defined storyline, plot and structure. Initially, I considered to write it as a singe novel without breaking it into two parts. Back in 2013, when I was working on the first draft, I did not consider myself sufficiently experienced author to attempt the creation of a singular large novel in excess of four hundred pages. Breaking the storyline into two parts gave me enough space to maneuver without being overwhelmed. In the second installment of the Enigma series, Peter Blackwood fulfills the wishes of the mysterious alien red cloud, defeats the evil overlords and finds love of a beautiful woman on the planet he has come to love. Book Two marks the decisive and ultimately happy end for the main protagonist for everything he has endured. I am currently working on another science fiction novel whose main character is inspired by that of Peter Blackwood. Working on both novels was a great fun!
Professor Peter Blackwood has managed to escape the wrath of the powerful overlords. Brought back from the edge of death by the red cloud and assisted by the rebel smugglers, he finds refuge on exotic Freedom Island. Protected by the island’s magical soil that turns overlords into mortals, Blackwood should feel safe. But he cannot hide there forever.
Overlord Empress Yuka Sato and her chief henchman Edward Grant are preparing a massive invasion of Freedom Island. Torn between his love for his overlord mentor and lover Sachiko Nomura, and strong-willed and fierce tribal warrior Lita Sandir, Blackwood finds a new source of spiritual and physical strength to complete his mission. Now he is more than a man; he is a living and enduring symbol of revolution….
As the fate of planet Enigma hangs in the balance, Blackwood must fight for survival and the lives of all he holds dear. Deep under the island’s surface, inside an underground labyrinth protected by monsters of ancient legend, Blackwood must find and unleash the Heart of the Sun, an ancient super weapon that will end the rule of the overlords forever.
It’s time for Blackwood to finish the game and reveal his true destiny.
Planet of Men: Book 2 of Enigma follows Peter Blackwood as he tries to save his planet Enigma from the lurking dangers of invasion and the alien red cloud. Accompanying him are a ragtag bunch of rebel smugglers as he tries to find and activate the Heart of the Sun before it is too late. Despite his personal struggles and sacrifices, Blackwood has to keep a brave outlook in the face of danger, inventing new, ingenious strategies and tactics to keep the enemy armies at bay.
The starting scene of the book immediately drew me in. The way the author kept lulling me into a sense of calm and then suddenly bringing in the action was startling and always kept me on edge. Peter Blackwood, the protagonist is one of the most relatable protagonists I have read in awhile. He is brave and trying to do his best in the hostile situations he keeps finding himself in. This is not to say that he does not have flaws, because he does. And the fact that we are let in to see him fighting his internal and external demons adds to his wonderful and very real character. He represented a persons desire for freedom and equality, without losing their humanity. I could almost see him as being the male equivalent to Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games.
The female characters in this story were also depicted as strong and inspiring. Both Sachiko Nomura and Lita Sandir were both well fleshed-out characters. Their lives existed beyond being simply narrative tools for the story, and I loved both of their personalities.
The imagination behind the weapons and battle methods used in the story were impressive. I usually find myself zoning out in fantasy fiction books when an extremely complicated and difficult-to-follow action sequence comes up. However, that was not the case here. David Crane is an expert at keeping the reader engaged throughout the scene, while keeping it easy to follow.
The insidious presence of the alien red cloud was also one of the most unique antagonistic presences I have come across in sci-fi. The omnipresent danger always lurking around the corner, catching every single misstep- I got chills at the simple but terrifying reality of the situation. This was a gripping book and perfect for anyone with an interest in science fiction and fantasy.
Pages: 231 | ASIN: B008D535S8
Planet of Gods finds Peter quickly embroiled in dangerous political games instigated by powerful aliens on a far flung colony. This being the start of a series, how did you develop the idea behind this series and is that different from writing other novels?
Planet of Gods was my first professionally published science fiction novel featuring a protagonist who becomes a stranger in a strange land forced to participate in a game designed by a powerful and enigmatic alien intelligence. The idea for the series actually came from my fascination with the comic book superheroes who are born with or have acquired superhuman abilities as a result of an accident or a laboratory experiment. In any story, superheroes always interact with ordinary human beings without whom their story could not be told. Considering all this, I had an idea: why not place an ordinary person into an extraordinary world where he will not only be forced to fight for survival but become a symbol of resistance mentioned in the centuries old prophecy. By giving my protagonist a military background, I wanted to present him as a man with a sense of duty and honor as well as a person who is vulnerable physically and emotionally, because he is after all an ordinary mortal in an extraordinary situation.
I enjoyed planet Enigma in this book and it’s rich backstory. How did the idea for this planet start and change as you wrote?
Working on Planet of Gods was a great fun. Not only because I had an interesting idea for the book but also because I had managed to see it through to completion with the help of a team of dedicated professionals. Planet Enigma had to be a believable, yet fascinating world, which in most ways resembles planet Earth but falls under an alien influence. I designed the mysterious and immensely powerful alien red cloud that is made of evolved pure energy and which is virtually immortal. I thought that such powerful intelligence could have monitored human activity and expansion into space for centuries before deciding to conduct its on unique experiment on a planetary scale. As I was working on Planet of Gods, I wondered what would happen if half of the humans captured by the red cloud were given extraordinary powers and the other half remained ordinary human beings? So I gave these enhanced humans called Overlords the inhuman powers of accelerated healing, ability to fly at will, generate deadly plasma bolts and be immune to old age. When I placed Peter Blackwood into this world populated by these remarkable beings, the stage was set for an adventure designed by the alien red cloud to test the limits of human potential in matters of love, war and desire for power.
This is book one in your Enigma series. Where will the story go in book two?
Planet of Gods has a sequel titled Planet of Men. This is the last book in the series, but I hope it will present an entertaining conclusion of these two volume series. In the second book, Peter Blackwood becomes a powerful symbol of resistance against the rule of tyrannical Overlords and is helped in his task by the men and women who populate a mysterious Freedom Island, the only place on planet Enigma where Overlords cannot go because there they lose their powers and become ordinary human beings. The second book features Peter Blackwood’s new and old friends as well as powerful and vindictive enemies, who will stop at nothing to destroy him and prevent the change of their society. In the sequel to Planet of Gods, Peter Blackwood would be finally able to complete his mission and fulfill the centuries old prophecy and find a place where he could finally live at peace and earn his happiness. I hope my readers will enjoy the second book and follow Peter Blackwood on his final extraordinary adventure on a faraway planet.
Professor Peter Blackwood, a former Space Marine turned scientist, looks forward to retirement on a paradise resort planet.
A powerful alien intelligence in the form of a vast red energy cloud cuts Blackwood’s plans short, snatching him from the hyperspace highway, and catapulting him light years away to a remote planet in an unexplored region of space.
With his ship damaged and unable to escape, Blackwood encounters a distant human colony on planet Enigma, a world controlled by the red cloud and populated by mortals and powerful overlords—immortal human beings with godlike powers.
When Blackwood’s desire to escape is replaced by his intense scientific curiosity, he becomes a player in a dangerous socio-political game designed by the red cloud. It’s a game Blackwood cannot afford to lose—for on his shoulders rests the destiny of millions of people.
Planet of Gods by David Crane is an exhilarating and intelligent sci-fi adventure set in the depths of space. The protagonist is a man called Peter Blackwood who is on the verge of retirement in the year 3500 AD. He’s looking forward to a relaxing and joyful life away from the stress that marked his earlier years. But those hopes are dashed when he’s suddenly captured and sent to an alien planet via a hyperspace tunnel. The new planet has a social divide and is filled with unrest. Through strange circumstances, Peter finds himself in the middle of all this turmoil. Using his military skills and expertise along with a diverse range of supporting characters, Peter navigates and revolutionizes this strange new world.
What impressed me the most about Planet of Gods is the unique and realistic touch to all of Peter Blackwood’s experiences. Although the novel takes place in a world that is vastly different from our own, the reactions and thoughts of the protagonist are perfectly captured to convey a sense that this character is real. I could picture myself thinking and doing the same things as Peter Blackwood, and that’s a pretty refreshing aspect to find in a book.
Although this is can be considered a dystopian novel, I didn’t find it unnecessarily dark or moody. The story is punctuated by a diverse assortment of exciting missions and varied characters that are constantly cropping up. The author manages to create a hard-boiled science fiction story with a thrilling plot. I enjoyed the rich history of the planet, making it an intriguing character on it’s own rather than just a backdrop.
Peter Blackwood as a character gave me strong Jack Reacher vibes. Both are middle-aged, ex-military men always finding themselves the unlikely heroes of their situation. Although I enjoyed the humanity in Peter’s character, he could be cold and calculating but also empathetic and sensitive. Although I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment in the series. This is an exceptional read that will be enjoyed by any fan of science fiction adventure stories.
Pages: 231 | ASIN: B007FL0KO8
Makers of Destiny is a thrilling novel following Tanya Grey through a post-apocalyptic New America. As a writer, what were some goals you set for yourself with this novel?
This novel is a direct sequel to the book Die To Live Again, in which the main protagonist Tanya Gray survives the global nuclear war, and is changed by the nature’s hidden defense mechanism that is activated as a result of the atomic detonations. I ended the first novel on a positive note, with Tanya being transformed into a new being superior to humans and exposing and punishing the people responsible for the nuclear holocaust. I had several goals when planning Makers of Destiny. The first goal was to show the United States recovering from the most devastating conflict in human history. The second goal was to explore Tanya’s character further as a person, presenting her in this novel not only as a warrior-healer, but also as a diplomat, a wife, and a mother. The third goal was to introduce new challenges and dangers that Tanya must overcome while helping to restore the country and combat hostile social and religious forces considering her species as enemies of mankind.
What were some ideas you wanted to continue in this novel from book one and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?
Writing a sequel is always an interesting challenge. The events in Makers of Destiny take place fifty years after the events in Die To Live Again. After exposing and punishing the members of a secret cabal of some of the most powerful and richest men on earth responsible for the nuclear holocaust, I wanted Tanya Gray to earn some measure of peace and explore her own potential as a member of a new powerful race that would have to coexist with humans. Although changed physically and spiritually, in her heart, Tanya is still human, with very human feelings, dreams and desires. Therefore, I wanted to present Tanya as a spouse and a parent, as well as a very important member of the United States government. In this sequel, I wanted to explore the new ideas about Tanya’s relationship with her old and new friends, as well as uneasy coexistence with humans who do not trust her because of her superior power and intelligence. For Tanya, new challenges arise when a mysterious force form the past awakens to challenge the New America, and fanatical movement against her species threatens the delicate balance. To summon it up, I wanted this story to be just as powerful and character driven as Die To Live Again.
There were so many elements in this story that could be pulled from headlines or history. What were some sources of inspiration you drew from while writing?
I always felt that science fiction must be solidly based on scientific and political facts that define new technologies and new policies that do not yet exist. One of the most powerful sources of inspiration came to me from reading science fiction and post-apocalyptic novels that deal with potential dangers to the existence of mankind. The second source was the solid scientific data about the dangers of planetary pollution, corporate greed, political corruption and advancement of weapons of mass destruction. The third source of inspiration came from my interest in military history from the ancient times to the present day. Human beings are antagonistic species, and managed to find many reasons to turn the hunting implements into weapons of war. Struggle for survival and deep fear of the unknown is embedded deep in our genetic makeup. I wanted to explore this side of human condition when dealing with such things as the end of civilization and its aftermath. The fantastical elements in the novel were introduced to show the power of nature that always prevails against the misguided ambitions of men.
Do you plan to write more novels in this series? If so, where will the next novel pickup?
That is a very interesting question. In my spare time, I am doing some brainstorming in regard to the continuation of the series about the adventures of Tanya Gray. Tanya is a fascinating character that I created and consider as one of my strongest and most enduring protagonists in post-apocalyptic universe. If I decide to write another novel about her, it will likely be the last one in the series, turning it into a trilogy. The story, as I see it will most likely pick up one hundred years after the events in Makers of Destiny. Tanya’s species live for more than 400 years, and during that time, Tanya would gain more wisdom as she witnesses her children grow to maturity and face a world rich with adventure, discovery and danger. There will most likely be another powerful force that would try to lay claim over the resource rich territories and minds of men as well as many colorful villains. The third novel is still in basic stage of development but I want to see Tanya live again on the pages of my new book. Time will tell!
HER ACTIONS ARE THE LAST HOPE FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF NEW AMERICA. . . .
Fifty years have passed since the nuclear war. New America has risen from the ashes and once again becomes the new superpower. But peace and prosperity have come at a great cost. And the new American nation is still divided in the bitter struggle to save it from past sins. New political and religious forces are once again on the move, determined to shape the country’s destiny.
Surviving the Armageddon and the savage Second Civil War, Panther warrior-healer Tanya Gray serves as a presidential advisor. She now has a family of her own and is looking forward to a better tomorrow. But the balance of power is changed when a new ruthless and mysterious force from the past lays claim to New America’s remaining resources. And once again, Tanya Gray is forced to fight to extinguish the flames of a new Civil War.
Makers of a Destiny by David Crane is an enthralling mash-up of dystopian fantasy and a pulse pounding thriller.
The book is set in a post-apocalyptic New America, where Tanya Grey is one of the Panthers. The Panthers are a superior race, with a host of special forces that they intend to use for the growth and development of the other races in New America. However, a national emergency leaves Tanya Grey in the wake of a situation that requires all of her skills and power to fight the antagonists. They are the Neo Spartans, equipped with technological prowess and ruthlessness, they will stop at nothing to take down New America. Apart from this, an increasingly unstable political situation threatens the nation and Tanya Grey’s personal life.
Although this is a sequel to the novel Die to Live Again, reading that book is not required to read and enjoy this book. There are plenty of detailed explanations for all the characters, elements, and creatures. The descriptions of the Panthers’ lives and motivations were particularly fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised if in our own post-nuclear holocaust (I don’t suppose it’s too far) we find ourselves in the company of these creatures. Apart from the Panthers, there were elaborate depictions of new species and animals, like the Hunter leeches. Although these were equally fascinating, I felt that they were a bit lengthy and did not contribute much to the plot.
Apart from these elements, equal amount of focus was devoted to Tanya’s personal lives and the characters that surround her. Her attachments and vulnerabilities made me especially empathetic to her decisions.
While reading, I was struck by the number of antagonistic elements in the book that were comparable to the realities of today. From racism to an endless lust for power that threatens the foundation of humanity, it was not a far stretch for my imagination to conjure up this world. The possibility of technology being used for evil, suppression of minorities, colonialism, and other parallels can easily be drawn between our world and this one. History always repeats itself and it is quite likely that we will find ourselves in a future which echoes our past. This novel provides a perfect and terrifying depiction of such a world.
Pages: 342 | ASIN: B074YH9GJD
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