Year of the Witch is the thrilling conclusion to your Demon Heart trilogy. Were you able to accomplish everything you set out to with this series?
I found working on the third book of the trilogy to be a very enjoyable experience. I loved exploring Naoko’s character and learn about her personality and how her unique constitution allows her to be a kind of a superhero with a vulnerable human side. I did feel that I have accomplished all I wanted in this novel, given its new level of exoticism and complexity. It was fun to place my characters in different locals, which show great diversity of landscapes, customs and traditions, as well as the mysterious forces of nature, which humans are not yet able to understand. This novel definitely completes the adventures of my main protagonist Naoko.
Were you surprised at Naoko’s character development throughout the series? Or did everything develop as planned?
I think Naoko has matured and definitely changed as a person in comparison to the first and second books. She has a unique demonic ancestral memory, which allows her to consult the spirits of all the members of her demonic lineage, and of course her primary ancestor, the immortal demon Yoshiko Nagase. I planned this novel very carefully, and wanted Naoko to maintain her strong moral values, while exploring her demonic side for the thrill of combat against the evil forces. Being a creature of darkness and light, she is and must be a killer when situations demand blood to be spilled. I wanted this book to be very entertaining as well as informative, and I believe I managed to include in it all that was necessary for the readers to embark on another adventure.
Writers often have to make difficult decisions about what to cut and what to leave in during editing. Was there a particular scene that was difficult for you to cut from this book?
Yes, there is a process of elimination that every author has to initiate when there is a lot of information presented in the novel. In this particular book, I had additional planned scenes of Naoko’s random confrontations with dark magicians as well as serial killers and psychopaths. I had one scene where Naoko’s daughter Satori goes on a school trip around exotic island and the ferry is taken over by a group of terrorists and they are cruel and vicious and shoot her to prove their resolve but being a demon hybrid, Satori survives and Naoko arrives on the ferry, exacting a bloody revenge. After some thinking, I had to cut the scene out due to the large amount of data I already had. It was a powerful, emotional scene but I saved it for another possible situation in the future. So sometimes cutting is indeed necessary.
Do you have plans to continue this series, or characters, in some way? Or does it end here?
I believe that there is definitely a room to maneuver in these series and I actually developed a possible idea for another book that would stand on it own but be relatable to the Demon Heart Trilogy. This rough draft, that is still under consideration of development would involve Naoko’s daughter Satori as the main protagonist. I am currently working on another, different book, but I want to give this idea a very strong consideration. I am very happy to be able to conclude the adventures of Naoko in a trilogy form and will look forward for many other interesting possibilities.
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Demon Heart 2 Never Say Die finds Naoko fighting to save her family and country while struggling to maintain balance between light and dark. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
I always believed that diversity in action. levels of danger, locales but consistency in maintaining the personality of my main character would be the main driving principles of my story about Naoko. Although she is a fictional character, I always tried to feel what she felt during the moments of introspection or when confronting a problem or a dangerous situation. The main sources that inspired this particular novel were political as well as scientific, with elements of ancient mysteries and legends from all over the world. This novel takes place in several different locales, and I also had to take into consideration the history, customs and legends of each country.
What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?
Book One starts with Naoko’s introduction to the reader in a biographical fashion, which allows the reader to know here thoughts and feelings and learning experience as she gradually makes her journey from childhood to adulthood. In some ways, Naoko had to grow up faster than ordinary humans, and her transformation into demon hybrid was a forced necessity. In the first book, we follow Naoko through her physical and mental maturity, a career as a police officer and a secret agent for a covert government organization dealing with supernatural threats. In the second book, Naoko is a different person, living under a new identity and doing what she does best, while managing to be both, a protector of Japan as well as wife and a mother. The second novel also deals with old and new enemies, as well as corporate espionage, profound revelations and dangerous new weapon based on nanotechnology. The second book makes Naoko an important secret player on an international scene as she confronts powerful forces of evil.
I find that authors sometimes ask themselves questions and let their characters answer them. Do you think this is true for your characters?
That is a very interesting question. While I was working on the second novel, I was trying to understand my characters’ purpose, goals and motivations. Sometimes I asked myself, what makes each character unique and important to the story. I wanted to have characters whose presence was essentially necessary to move the story in the direction I needed to create gradual tension that would eventually lead to an explosive climax. Naoko seems like a simple character, but only on the surface. The same can be said of other characters, both good and evil. Then, there is an interesting gray area considering pure demons, whose immense powers are still limited by the even greater powers of ancient Japanese gods, whose wisdom and decisions might seem strange or incomprehensible to the conventional human mind. Life poses many questions to us, and we may not always find all the answers. As a writer, I want to say: Seek, and you shall find them!
What can readers expect from Demon Heart 3 Year of the Witch?
My answer to this question will not contain any spoilers, so I can safely share this informational preview with my readers. Those who have read the previous two novels will find Naoko once again operation in her element, as she faces off with forces of international terrorism, evil and ambitious humans practicing dark magic and the new dangerous players in form of the powerful western witches selling their services to the highest bidder. In this third and final novel, the readers will be introduced to the elements of both, Eastern and Western mythology, particularly the Nordic legends. Naoko and her friends and allies would once again travel to different countries, trying to solve great mysteries of the past, while fighting for survival against nearly impossible odds. One of the events would actually involve the incredible Tunguska meteorite impact in Siberia in the year 1908 and some incredible revelations how life on planet Earth had started and how it would eventually end. There will be surprises in this final novel, trust me on this.
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In Demon Heart 3: Year of the Witch by David Crane we continue to follow Naoko Kitamura who is a demon hybrid and a government secret agent. After saving Japan from a mad genius who tried to destroy her country, Naoko’s enemies continue to grow. As the world approaches a supernatural singularity in the New Year, known as the year of the witch, she encounters dangerous supernatural entities and human wizards practicing dark magic. The order comes to retrieve a powerful supernatural weapon that is capable of dramatically changing western society. Once again Naoko must make a sacrifice for her country and her family.
David Crane’s characters are, as usual, both emotive and exceptionally developed to create uniquely extraordinary people that enthrall you from their introduction. I continue to enjoy reading about Naoko’s character because even though she is a complicated person she still remains selfless and relatable, if only in her grounded desires to protect her family. Crane has done a fantastic job of showing Naoko’s superhuman side while balancing it wither her sensitive human side. An almost yin and yang balance to her actions and abilities. I loved reading about Naomi’s relationships, especially about her relationship with her mother. I could tell that she appreciated her mother’s sacrifices and meant to honor her well. David Crane takes the reader on a wild journey that involves a exotic country rife with strange characters. The unfolding of events will put you on edge as the author ensures that every page continues to build upon the tension. This series is like a combination of Marvel’s The Iron Fist combined with Jim Butchers The Dresden Files book series. If you’re a fan of either then you’ll enjoy this book, if you’re a fan of both, then this book was written for you.
The plot of the Demon Heart 3 brings a thrilling conclusion to a spellbinding series with both antagonists and protagonists trying to outdo each other. From the start of the book I was consumed by the story. I enjoyed reading about each character and seeing how they evolved and what they became in the end. The chaos, intense action, suspense, and adventure in Demon Heart 3 will leave fans of the series satisfied.
Pages: 340 | ASIN: B088N6L1TW
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Demon Heart 2 Never Say Die by David Crane follows Naoko Kitamura who is forced to start a new life in Japan after saving her city of Osaka from a nuclear meltdown. With her new life in Tokyo she gets married and has children. She lives a normal life in the suburbs but secretly works for a covert organization sworn to protect Japan from supernatural threats. Unable to leave her past behind her she must face off with an old enemy that is determined to destroy her and her hometown. She must use her extraordinary powers of darkness and light to protect her country and, most of all, her family.
Crane has done an incredible job developing captivating characters in this spellbinding story. Naoko is a complicated character but you begin to connect with her and understand her battle with her inner darkness. I enjoyed reading about the characters’ history and their abilities. David Crane has a fresh take on demons and what they are capable of doing. The author’s description of Tokyo is picturesque and eloquent. His description of the culture implies that he has done his research and maybe even spent time in Tokyo. This book makes for a fast paced read that is full of action and explosive story development. At times it was a little tough to keep up with the story because of all of the action and movement of different characters. This does not take away from the story though. The non stop action and drama made it feel like I was watching an action movie.
Demon Heart 2 Never Say Die is an action packed supernatural thriller that has you rooting for Naoko the entire time in hopes that she will save her country and her family. I had high hopes for David Crane’s follow up novel to Demon Heart and I was not disappointed.
Pages: 322 | ASIN: B07F1BFC7V
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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