Posts Tagged ‘character interview’

What’s better than one character interview in one day? Two! While Rip’s getting interviewed on the blog, Zahara’s getting interviewed by another fictional character on the blog Creative Barbwire, hosted by fellow novelist Barbara G. Tarn. Definitely check it out, especially if you haven’t read Reborn City yet.

Barbara G.Tarn - writer

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

RC coverWelcome, guest! Tell me a little about yourself!

Hi, my name is Zahara Bakur. I’m fifteen years old, and I’m from New York City. I’m a Sunni Muslim, and I’m supposed to be entering my senior year of high school, but…well, things are complicated right now.

I don’t know why, but things on Earth are always complicated… *snort* Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Average height and weight, light-brown skin, blonde hair (it used to be brown). Sorry, that’s longer…

View original post 653 more words

VR CS front cover

Last time I visited with Zahara Bakur, the protagonist of Video Rage, to talk about what’s been happening since she left Reborn City. This weekend though, I’m visiting with the Reborn City series’s male lead, the quiet and gruff Rip. I’m a little nervous, because the last time I met Rip he tried to kill me, but I’m sure we’ll get along this time.

If not, I left my will underneath one of the couch cushions, and I want my instructions for the funeral followed to the letter! We’re doing that procession New Orleans-style, with lots of jazz and fanfare! And if that doesn’t happen, my ghost WILL HAUNT YOU!

So without further ado, let’s get started!

Notes and Stats:
Sex: Male
Age: Unknown (believed to be between ages 16-18)
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Birthday: Unknown
Eye color: Grey
Hair color: Dyed brown (grey prior to dyeing, brown prior to turning grey).
Religion: Agnostic bordering on atheist.
Affiliation: West Reborn Hydras
Special Powers/Abilities: Able to create neon-green claws using specialized glands in his knuckles capable of cutting through most substances. Skilled fighter in street and military combat. Average hoverbike rider.
Notes from the Author: In fiction, characters often go on a journey of emotional and psychological growth as well as on a physical journey from Point A to Point B. In Reborn City, Rip’s journey involved his relationship with Zahara. In Video Rage, Rip’s journey is a bit more complicated. Although he’s very tough and strong, in many ways he’s still immature and has room to grow. In this book, he’ll have to make some very tough decisions and learn from some mistakes that have far-reaching consequences. I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to this aspect of the story.

RU: Hey Rip! Long time no see.

Rip: Oh no, not you again.

RU: Happy to see you too. So Rip, these days you and the other Hydras are still on the run from Parthenon. What has that been like for you?

Rip: It’s a fuckin’ pain in the ass.

RU: Care to elaborate on that?

Rip: Not really.

RU: Why not?

Rip: Because I’m fuckin’ tired an’ stressed.

RU: Dude, that’s your life every day.

Rip: Well, it’s worse these days.

RU: I bet. Top of the Most Wanted list. Every law enforcement agency on the North American continent looking for you. Most are being encouraged to kill rather than capture.

Rip: All while sittin’ on a fuckin’ hoverbike an av’rij of twelve hours a day.

RU: Here, have this.

Rip: What’s this?

RU: Pre-war soda. Trust me, they don’t make them like this anymore.

Rip: They barely make ’em at all. Mm. Not bad.

RU: Look Rip, I know you’re a busy guy–

Rip: That’s an understatement.

RU: So just answer me one question and I’ll let you go. What do you hope to happen if you manage to get away from Parthenon and all your pursuers?

Rip: I doan know. I guess I just want us all to live in peace. ‘Specially Zahara. She puts up a strong front an’ she’s braver than she used to be, but a girl like that doan deserve a gangsta’s life. She deserves a quiet life. An’ I’m gonna try to give it to her.

RU: I wish you luck with that. Hoka hey, Rip.

Rip: Ho-what now?

RU: You’ll find out soon enough.

Remember folks, Video Rage is available from all retailers June 1st (that’s Wednesday if you don’t have a calendar). Right now, it’s available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo. And you can still get the first book, Reborn City, from those same sites.

All for now. If anything comes up, I’ll make sure to let you know. Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

VR CS front cover

Hey all! How are you this fine weekend?

With Video Rage coming out in ten days, it’s time to do something I do every time I have a new book coming out: interview my characters. And who best to interview first than the protagonist, Zahara Bakur? After all, she was my first interviewee for Reborn City, so it makes sense that she would be the first for Video Rage as well. She’s also one of my favorite characters, which is even more reason for me to interview her first.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

Notes and Stats:
Sex: Female
Age: 15
Race/Ethnicity: Arab
Birthday: August 31
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: Brown (used to be dyed blonde, but she’s gone back to her natural color lately)
Religion: Sunni Muslim
Affiliation: West Reborn Hydras
Special Abilities/Powers: No special superpowers, but she is a prodigy when it comes to riding hoverbikes.
Notes from the Author: In the first book, Zahara was very timid and unsure of herself. She was also very adverse to violence. She’s still very adverse to violence, but having survived several violent events, she’s better able to keep it together when there’s trouble. Add in the fact that she’s a natural hoverbike rider, and she’s gained some confidence. I think part of the fun of Zahara is that you do get to see her grow in confidence throughout the series, and that affects her role in the story. At first she’s scared often and usually gets relegated to the sidelines, but as time goes on she becomes braver and takes center stage more and more. That, if you ask me, is my favorite type of protagonist.

RU: Hello again, Zahara. It’s been a while.

ZB: You again! Where am I now?

RU: Zahara, you left Reborn City a few weeks ago. Please tell us what’s happened to you since then.

ZB: Well, we’ve been screwed over, that’s what!

RU: Whoa, temper!

ZB: Well, sorry! I’m just upset, okay? Parthenon tried to have us all killed, and when their plans–and their building!–go kaboom, they turn us into terrorists! Just because I’m a Muslim, they make us into the new al-Qaida and send the whole world after us! Seriously!

RU: Oh yeah, the world you live in isn’t exactly nice to Muslims, is it?

ZB: No, it’s not. We thought before we could get to New York and find some safety, but with the whole “terrorist” label, that plan’s out. We’re just trying to find a safe place now. We don’t know where that is, so we’re just going, and hoping by the time we’ve put enough distance between us and Parthenon, we’ll know where a safe place is.

RU: What are you guys doing to keep yourselves from getting caught?

ZB: A lot. We’ve changed our appearances, for one thing. My hair’s back to its natural color for the first time in years–

RU: I’ve noticed. It’s very nice.

ZB: Thank you. Rip’s also changed his hair, he dyed it back to what he says was its original color. It looks very nice. And Owl wears sunglasses, and we’ve all stopped wearing black clothes, and we’ve even removed our tattoos! Those last two were huge giveaways, so they had to go. Still, it was a big deal for the other Hydras. The clothes and the tattoos were an important part of their identities.

RU: Not yours?

ZB: Well, I’m glad to be rid of the tattoo, and the clothes did make me warmer than is good during the summer. But…

RU: But?

ZB: I may not have the tattoos or the clothes, but I’m hunted. I’m hated. And people expect the worse of me without even knowing me. I’m just like the other Hydras, in that way. And I’m with them till the end, good or bad. Inshaallah, it’ll be a good one.

RU: I wish you the best of luck with that one.

Well, that’s all for now. Remember, Video Rage will be available June 1st from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo. You can also get the first book, Reborn City, from those same sites.

Join us next Sunday when we meet Rip again. I seriously hope he doesn’t try to kill me. He didn’t seem to like me the last time we met. But then again, if he does kill me, there goes the Anno Bombus universe, which means the end of his existence…and I’m thinking about this too much.

Have a good one, my Followers of Fear!


How far will you go for love and revenge?

I never get tired of playing this video. Guess how long there’s left till Snake hits the digital bookstores?

Thank you, creepy little girl on the other end of the line. Yes, Snake will be out in seven days, exactly two years from when I began work on the novel. It also happens to be about twenty-two years from when I was born, meaning that every book sold is a birthday present.

For those who are unfamiliar with the book, Snake is a thriller novel about a young man who, in order to save his girlfriend from a powerful mafia family, becomes a serial killer called the Snake and starts hunting down members of the family in order to find her. But in the process of saving his girlfriend from the monsters holding her captive, will the Snake become a monster himself?

I’ve really been looking forward to putting Snake out, and I hope you’ll be as excited as I am come June 10th. Snake will be available in both paperback and e-book, and will be available first from Amazon before becoming available on Smashwords later on. I don’t have the price for the paperback yet (Amazon determines that, not I), but the e-book will definitely be on sale for the first couple of weeks, so it’ll be a good time to download it right after it comes out.

And guess what else? One lucky reader will be able to get a free paperback copy of Snake signed by me and sent to wherever they live in the world. The details for said contest will be made available about three days before Snake is released.

If you’d like to read more about Snake, you can check out the character interviews I released last month, or read the page for the book. Also, make sure to check out the video for the book trailer, which I’ve posted below.

That’s all for now, Followers of Fear. Expect another reminder at the three day mark (I’d do one at the five-day mark, but I don’t want to annoy my readers. That’s too much work. It’s hard enough annoying my family). Have a lovely day, everyone.


Guten morgen, meine Anhanger der Angst!

I think I said “Good morning, my Followers of Fear” in German. I was teaching myself German, but the craziness of the semester kind of ended my lessons abruptly. Anyway, these past two weeks I’ve been doing character interviews for my upcoming novel Snake, out June 10th. The first interview was with the two investigators leading the hunt for the Snake. The second interview was with the Snake’s girlfriend, Allison Langland. And today, we have the Snake himself! How exciting! Let’s hop right into it, ja?

Notes and Stats:
Sex: male
Age: 18
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Birthday: January 2
Eye color: blue
Hair color: Dark brown
Religion: If he had to describe his religious beliefs, they’d probably align with Deism.
Affiliation: None
Special Powers/Abilities: Physical strength, a very high IQ, knowledge of various ways to kill people as well as deep forensic knowledge, adept at languages and chemistry, experience with training guard dogs and with reading body language.
Notes from the Author: The Snake hasn’t changed much from my original conception of the character as a serial killer whom people might root for. At the same time, I had to really work hard to make him a believable character, because I had to make it believable that he was normal until the events of the novel turned him into a serial killer. I like to think that in the end it worked out very well, though.
Oh, and another interesting thing about the Snake: I never reveal his name in the novel. Not once. I know what it is, but I find all sorts of ways so that I can avoid using it. I did that because I wanted to show that any one of us could be like the Snake: one day an average person, the next day transforming into a killer through circumstance and necessity. It is a scary concept when you think about it, because you realize that it is possible that could happen to just about anyone. Including you.

RU: Hello, Snake.

Snake: Hello.

RU: Wow, you didn’t ask me who I was or how the heck you ended up in Berlin. That’s a first.

Snake: I have an idea.

RU: …Okay. So Snake, how goes the search for Allison Langland?

Snake: I always knew that I loved Allison. I only realized how much my love for her went when I heard her kidnapped over the phone.

RU: Wait, you were on the phone with her when she was kidnapped?

Snake: In that moment, I realized how much she meant to me, how much she lit up my life and filled me with such joy. And I felt such a loss at the thought that something might happen to her. Like a great deep hole had opened up in me where she belonged. And every second that I’m not with her, that I don’t know if she’s okay or if something horrible is happening to her…it’s agonizing.

RU: I can’t imagine. You didn’t become a killer just then, right?

Snake: No, that happened later. After I witnessed something horrible.

RU: Well, don’t reveal it here. There are some people I’d rather not hear that particular story just yet.

Snake: I think you just partially confirmed my theory about who you are.

RU: Well, I hope you turn out to be mistaken. Anyway, where are you now in your search for Allison?

Snake: I can’t really be sure how many people I’ll have to go through before I find her. I’m now hunting a man named Veretti. He actually saw Allison, if my last victim is to be trusted. If he yields valuable information, then I’ll be one step closer in my search for her. That’s all I care about, really. Finding Allison. And I won’t let anyone get in my way.

RU: Well, I’ll let you get back to it. Good luck.

Remember, Snake comes out June 10, and will be available in paperback and e-book. And if you’d like to find out more about Snake before that date, you can read the other interviews or you can check out the Snake page here. And if you’d like something to tide you over until the book actually comes out, Reborn City’s e-book is still available for $0.99 on Amazon and Smashwords. Better download it before June 1st, or the price will go up a dollar.

That’s all for now. I’ve got a trip to a museum in a few hours. Auf weiderschein, as they say here. I hope I can write again before I come back!


Bonjour from Bayeux. I’m in France right now, and if you’ve been keeping up with that blog on OSU’s website I posted about a while back, you know how I’m doing. But enough about France. Last week we met the two investigators who are hunting for the Snake. If you’ve read the blurb for Snake (and if you haven’t, click here now), you know the Snake’s trying to save the woman he loves. It’s a messed-up way to save the woman he loves, but it’s why he’s doing it. And today I whisked her out of the book for you to meet. So let’s get this interview underway!

Notes and Stats
Sex: female
Age: 17
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Birthday: March 29
Eye color: Blue
Hair color: Red
Religion: she doesn’t really subscribe to any religion. To her, if there’s a god, then it’s beyond her understanding, so why bother thinking about it?
Affiliation: None
Special Powers/Abilities: None
Notes from the Author: The idea for the story of Snake started with a serial killer who people would root for, so I needed a good reason for the Snake to kill. That’s where Allison came in: she was meant to be the reason. With her kidnapping, the Snake realizes that his love for her is deeper than he imagined, and that facilitates his transformation into a killer. However, I didn’t want her to be one of those crybaby girls who always scream and cling to the nearest guy the moment trouble hits. So I made sure her personality had a certain fire to it. Even when she’s in the throes of terror and trauma, that fire shines through, and that’s the reason I love her, as well as why she’s able to grow in this novel.

RU: First off Allison, welcome to France.

Allison: Who the heck are you? And how the heck did I end up in France?

RU: They always ask me that when I bring them for interviews. Allison, tell me about what’s happened to you recently, starting with the night you were kidnapped.

Allison: I was accompanying my dad to some social. He’s a doctor for the rich, so he gets invited to some really big parties. When he doesn’t have a date, I usually end up going with him. That’s what happened that night. I decided to get away from the party for a little bit, but on the way back from the bathroom, I overheard something. The party was at this hotel and I passed this conference room, and…

RU: Take your time. What happened next?

Allison: I heard a friend of my dad’s, a Christopher Camerlengo, talking about something. He’s the head of his own mafia family, though he wouldn’t tell you about it unless he wanted to knock your teeth in. Anyway, it sounded like they wanted to kill somebody. I recorded it on my phone, but they saw me outside the door. I got out of the hotel and tried to get away, but they found me and grabbed me. They tried to get my phone too, but it fell into a drain.

RU: What happened afterwards?

Allison: I was kept at a warehouse for a while, but then they moved me to this…phone sex service they own. They said they’re going to let me live if I behave myself and don’t rock the boat. I don’t know how long they plan to keep me here though. I’m kind of scared…and disgusted. I mean, I’m operating the phones all day and through most of the night. You would not believe what these people who call in make me pretend to do.

RU: I think I’ll use my imagination on that one.

Allison: Well, I’ve got a plan. Someone called in today, a policeman. I think he could help me get out of here.

RU: Oh. Well, good luck.

That’s all for now. Join me again in seven days when I’m in Berlin and I speak to the Snake himself! It’ll either be the best interview I’ve ever had with one of my characters…or we won’t see any sequels on account of my being dead.

And remember, Snake drops on June 10th. It’ll be available in e-book and in paperback from Amazon and then later on will be uploaded onto Smashwords, and I’ll be counting down the days till it comes out. In the meantime, Reborn City is still on sale, so check it out on Amazon and Smashwords while the sale is still going on.

Until then, au revoir!

One month away.

One month away.

I may be in Europe right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m not taking a break! My novel Snake is coming out in a month, and I thought I’d sit down with Blake Harnist and Angela Murtz, two characters who are on the investigative team that is searching for the protagonist, to get their thoughts on the case.

Notes and Stats
Sex: Angela Murtz is female, while Blake Harnist is male.
Age: Murtz is 33, while Harnist is 29
Race/Ethnicity: Murtz is African-American, while Blake is Caucasian.
Birthday: Murtz is October 12 and Harnist is March 17
Eye color: Both are brown eyed.
Hair color: Murtz has dark-brown hair, Harnist is blonde.
Religion: Murtz is Baptist, while Harnist is Methodist.
Affiliation: Murtz is an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while Harnist is a detective with the New York Police Department.
Special Powers/Abilities: Both are trained law enforcement officials with several years of experience. In addition, Murtz is a criminal profiler who has profiled numerous dangerous criminals, her latest being the New York Mafia Killer.
Notes from the Author: When I decided that I would have the viewpoint of the investigators hunting for the protagonist, I also decided that I’d like a Mulder/Scully pairing for my investigative team. So that led to the creation of Murtz and Harnist. They’re both two very different characters, but they make a good pair and work well together. Of the two though, Murtz is probably the one I placed more emphasis on because she profiles the Snake and is one of the first to really figure out who he is, though I did try to give them both equal time on the page.

RU: Hello! Welcome to London, Agent Murtz and Detective Harnist.

Harnist: London?
Murtz: How the hell we end up here?

RU: So you guys are currently looking for the New York Mafia Killer. His body count’s up to…what now?

Harnist: Three. Thomas Luiso was just found dead in his mistress’s home.

RU: What can you tell us about the killer?

Murtz: At this time we believe he may be former Russian military with ties to the Russian mob. He’s probably spent a number of years in or around New York, and he’s probably employed as a cab driver.

RU: If he has ties to the Russian mob, why is he going after members of the Camerlengo family?

Harnist: The Camerlengo family is probably the most powerful family in New York. He may be trying to destabilize the organization by killing certain members off. If he continues to do so, the organization might crumble from internal problems or from other organizations trying to muscle in on Camerlengo territory.

RU: And what if I told you I know who the killer is?

Murtz: You what?
Harnist: Who is it?

RU: I’m not saying. That’s all for now, folks. Join me in about a week when I’ll be in France and when I interview Allison Langland, who has a very important connect to the Snake.

And in the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Snake, you can click here to read an excerpt or see the book trailer. And remember, Snake drops June 10 on Amazon, and available for e-book and paperback. Get excited for it, because I already am.

And a reminder, Reborn City is still on sale throughout the month on Amazon and Smashwords. Get it now, because it’s the best time to do it.

Until next time. Cheerio!

Reborn City

I didn’t get to do this with The Quiet Game (I forget why), so I’m doing it with Reborn City. Guess what:

Yes, seven days! Reborn City will be coming out November 1st in both print paperback and e-book formats. It’s been a long process, but it’s finally almost time! And I could not be more excited. Well I could be but I’m pretty sure it would involve illegal drugs, so I’ll stay at my normal levels of excitement.

You know, it’s been over four years since I first sat down and started writing Reborn City. I had an idea for a novel–possibly one with a sequel or two–on the way home from the library while listening to a CD with a lot of rap and rock music. I stopped by a Dairy Queen for a treat and started thinking about how to develop this idea, which had street gangs at the center of it and a sci-fi twist. Then at my sister’s birthday, after the cake and presents had been put away, I started writing some notes down in a journal. Then I started researching, and typing a manuscript, and then after many breaks and a lot of painstaking work over the course of two years, I finished the manuscript. Another year and a third of editing, eight months spent emailing chapters to my dear friend Matt Williams and making more adjustment based on his suggestions and the final copy was done. Finally I created a cover on CreateSpace (which you can see above) and I sent it all off to the copyright office.

A few months pass by, a book trailer comes out, and now we’re finally at the end of this long journey. I’m hoping for wonderful things to happen with this book. I’ve poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into RC, and I hope people really like reading it. It’s not as scary as some of my other work, so that may appeal to less fear-loving readers. And it’s sci-fi dystopian fiction, so considering today’s market that’s good to have.

But there’s more to it than that. The novel tackles some powerful themes, like racism and Islamaphobia, drugs and gang violence, and a number of other issues. And I’m hoping its those themes that will resonate with readers and help them fall in love with characters, rather than some dashing heroine and a couple of good-looking guys rebelling against a government that’s pure evil (how many franchises did I just describe there? I think I got Twilight in there too).

So without further ado, I’m going to give you guys a treat in honor of RC coming out. The first treat is the RC book trailer, which is right underneath the next paragraph. Immediately following the video is an excerpt from Chapter One of RC, for all your reading pleasure. I hope you like the video and the excerpt and that you’ll be interested in reading the actual book afterwards.

Also, if you haven’t already read them, please see my interviews with Zahara Bakur, Rip, and Jason Price, three very important characters from Reborn City. They’re very amazing people…though two of them did threaten to kill me for various reasons.

Reborn City, former Nevada

28 Anno Bombus (2056 CE)

June 28

Zahara and her family had decided to eat out at a restaurant in North Reborn that served kosher meat, the closest they could get to halāl. “I know it’s for Jews mostly, but it’s a very nice place and the Jews were very nice to us in New York.” Zahara’s father, Emir Bakur had said when he’d suggested it. “They know they don’t have to fear Muslims anymore. And the Chaplinsky family in 4F was nice enough, right?”

However Emir had taken a wrong turn on the still-unfamiliar streets and highways and they had somehow ended up in West Reborn. The sight of the place gave Zahara chills, and it just wasn’t the reports of gang violence: the area had a grittiness that Zahara didn’t like. The cold brown houses, the rusty lamp poles, the cracked, light-grey concrete. West Reborn looked unkempt, uncared for, like the city had kept up the other areas of the city but had forgotten about this one. The only buildings that looked in any good condition were casinos, bars, and strip clubs, displaying three-dimensional holograms of cash prizes and sexy women drinking beer while looking at passerby with bedroom eyes. The sight of them disgusted Zahara.

In the front of the car Emir and Aaliyah were arguing, trying to figure out how to get back to where they were going. Zahara closed her eyes and tried to let the music from her filepiece filter into her right ear. Surrendering to the small device, she wondered if she’d ever get out of this city and get back to New York where she belonged. Somehow, Zahara had a feeling she would never come to like Reborn City, no matter how much she lived here.

After a few more minutes of her parents arguing about which direction, Zahara opened her eyes again, prepared to tell them they should just check their phones for the directions. Her eyes widened as she saw an arm swing up from the sidewalk and throw a rock at the windshield. The glass cracked as the rock rebounded off the windshield and into the road. Aaliyah and Zahara screamed as Emir braked the car and jerked at the steering wheel. The car skidded to a screeching halt, the nose pointing towards the middle of the road.

Zahara saw her father unbuckle his seatbelt and before she could stop him, stepping out to inspect the damage. “What in the name of Allah—?” he said, but stopped as he heard the click of a jackknife being opened. He turned around and saw two men, one of whom was holding a long, deadly-looking blade. Leaning forward in her seat, Zahara could make out the details of the two men: both of the men had a ruddy tan complexion, were wearing green clothes, and had looks on their faces that said they did not like making new friends. On the neck of one Zahara could make out what looked like a tattoo of a pitchfork with a sombrero hung over the right prong.

One of them, who was large and muscular, spoke to Zahara’s father. “Hand over yo’ fuckin’ money an’ yo fuckin’ car.” he said with a Spanish accent. “Ya got that?”

“Sure!” said Zahara’s father, holding his hands up defensively, looking so unlike the corporate lawyer he was. “Just take it easy, okay? Just take it easy—!”

“Hurry the fuck up!” said the other man. “Who ya think yo messin’ with, estupido?” This man was thin and gangly and had a strange leer on his face, like he would rather punch Emir than talk to him.

“Okay, okay!” said Emir, backing back up to the door and turning off the engine. Zahara’s mother Aaliyah saw this and as her husband stood back up out of the car, unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the car door.

“Mother!” said Zahara in English. Aaliyah looked behind her to where her daughter was sitting on the edge of her seat, fists balled in her lap, chewing her lower lip. “Don’t go out there!” Zahara hissed; Zahara rarely used English with her parents and she was only using it now because she didn’t know if these two men in green were fans of Muslims or not. Either way, it was not a good time to find out.

Zahara’s mother looked at her daughter as if she’d gone mad. “I don’t have a choice, Zahara.” she said in Arabic, pushing a loose lock of hair back under her hijab. “Our car is being stolen.” She opened her door and slid out of the seat. Zahara watched with disbelief as her mother closed the car door. Did her mother think things would go peacefully?

Suddenly the skinny gangster stared at Zahara’s mother and pointed at her hijab. “Hey Manny!” said the skinny gangster. “Check out the headscarf. Musulmàns!”

The fat gangster, Manny, stared at Zahara’s mother, then turned back to Emir, his expression livid. “So, you thought you’d get the jump on us, huh?” he said, thrusting the knife at Zahara’s father. “Fuckin’ terrorist! Let us jack ya car an’ explode us too?”

Zahara winced. Fuckin’ terrorist. She had been right, these two men hated Muslims.

“No, that’s not it at all!” said Emir, looking terrified as the skinny gangster pulled out a gun. “Please, you have to believe me—!”

“Shaddup!” yelled Manny, stabbing Emir in the belly. Emir went rigid as the knife plunged into his belly, then collapsed as Manny pulled the blade out. Blood poured out of Zahara’s father, pooling around him in a big red circle.

Aaliyah screamed in horror, staring at her husband as tears flooded down her cheeks. “Emir!” she cried. “Emir—!”

The skinny gangster pulled out his gun and shot Aaliyah in the forehead; her eyes rolled into the back of her head as Zahara’s mother fell lifeless to the ground. Zahara gasped, trying to keep her tears and screams inside herself. If the gangsters saw her they’d kill her too. And maybe…just because she was a teenager and a girl…they’d do other stuff to her, too. Zahara shuddered to think of what they’d do to her if they did that too.

Manny was kicking Emir’s lifeless body casually, making sure he was dead. “Think they’d play us, did they?” he said to his companion. “Fuckin’ terrorists.”

“Yeah, well they’re shittin’ in hell now.” said the skinny gangster. “Shows what happens when ya mess with Diablos.”

“Yeah.” said Manny, looking up from Emir’s body. “Come on, let’s go—wait a minute.” Manny’s piggy little eyes fixed on Zahara in the backseat of her parent’s car. Zahara squeaked as Manny took two steps towards her. “Yo, Che. Come check this out.” Manny called to his friend, followed by something in Spanish. Zahara nearly froze up as she realized she’d been discovered.

Quickly Zahara unbuckled her seatbelt, threw open the car door and ran, throwing her filepiece as a distraction. Manny and Che jumped back as the filepiece hit the ground, probably thinking it was a grenade or something. By the time they realized their mistake, Zahara already had a head start on them. They set off after her, angrily yelling in Spanish at her. Zahara turned around, saw them catching up, and ran faster, determined to get away.

As Zahara ran, bumping into people and flying past holograms, she began to cry; her parents were dead, she was miles away from any familiar place and with no familiar people to help her. The heartache she was feeling was so intense that she could just keel over and die, but she wouldn’t die here, and she would not let herself be caught by the gangsters chasing after her. She’d get out of West Reborn, find the house (she still hadn’t thought of it as “home” yet), and then she’d call New York and get help. Or maybe kill herself. Either way, she had to get out.

The gangsters were only a few feet behind her. But a few blocks ahead there was a police station. Maybe, if she was able to get there, she’d be safe. She could tell the police what was going on, they’d arrest her parents’ murderers, and then she could go back to New York—

Suddenly Zahara tripped on a shifted slab of concrete and fell. Thrusting her hands out in front of her, Zahara cried out as she scraped her hands and knees. She tried to stand up again but then someone grabbed her shirt from behind and yanked her up. Zahara stared into the faces of Manny and Che, the Hispanic gangsters who had murdered her parents. Che grabbed Zahara’s arms and twisted them into a painful armlock.

“Hello, Little Miss Terrorist.” said Manny. “Thought ya could get away so easily. Thought the po-po would help ya out. Wrong!”

Both of them laughed cruelly, and Manny brought out his knife, holding it close to Zahara’s jugular. The blade gleamed with the blood of Zahara’s father still fresh on it. Che and Manny laughed harder at the expression on Zahara’s face. “The po-po are just pussies.” said Che. “Fuckin’ pussies. They couldn’t catch us an’ throw us in the clink, an’ they would never help a fuckin’ Musalmàn. Besides, even if they would, them assholes can’t see us. It’s dark out, ya know.”

Manny pressed his face close to Zahara’s, grinning wickedly. The foul smell of his breath wafted over Zahara’s face, making her want to puke. “And the nearest streetlamp is right ovuh there.” he added, cocking his head in the direction of the lonely streetlamp.

With a great effort Zahara twisted her head away from the knife. “Somebody help me!” she screamed.

“No one’s gonna fuckin’ come to your rescue, Little Miss Terrorist.” said Manny, pressing the blade to Zahara’s neck; a little bit of Zahara’s blood trickled onto the knife, mixing with Emir’s. Zahara whimpered as Manny pressed his face even closer than before, so close she could see the pupils in his beady eyes. Behind her Zahara could feel Che’s hot breath on the nape of her neck.

Suddenly Manny’s free hand swooped down and grabbed the button on Zahara’s pants, undoing it in an instant. His hand reached into her pants and began feeling around.

“No, please.” said Zahara, tears spilling from the corner of her eyes. “Please don’t do this—!”

“Shaddup!” said Manny, looking up from what he was doing; Zahara felt the blade of the knife dig a little deeper into her neck. “Ya shaddup an’ try ta enjoy it. Maybe aftowards we’ll let ya kill yoself, got it? But no bombs; ya might hurt someone.”

Che giggled as Manny worked Zahara’s pants off, exposing her white underwear. As he did Zahara felt the fight go out of her. She was going to die and painfully too and at the hands of her parents’ murderers. She’d never see her friends again, she’d never see her parents again, and like the two men had said, no one was going to help her—

“What ya mothas doin’?” said a voice. Zahara looked away from Manny as a figure dressed in a black hoodie and jeans stepped into the lamplight. Manny paused and then stood up, pulling the knife away from Zahara’s neck.

As he did Zahara felt her energy disappear. Black edged into her field of vision as Zahara strained to discern the face of the newcomer. But the darkness took her and Zahara couldn’t see his face. The last thing Zahara thought before she fainted was that she would’ve liked to see the face of her potential rescuer.

That, and how embarrassed she was that her pants were lying uselessly around her ankles.

Reborn City

Today I do the last character interview before Reborn City comes out in two weeks. And today I’m interviewing Jason Price, CEO of the Parthenon Company and the main antagonist of the novel. Price is one of those characters that is full of himself and full of hate and power. He’s a dangerous character, and I would not want to get on his bad side.

If you would like to read my other character interviews with Zahara Bakur and Rip, click on the links.

Now here’s Jason Price:

Notes and Stats:
Age: 65
Race/Ethnicity: African-American
Birthday: December 12th
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: White (originally black)
Religion: atheist
Affiliation: Parthenon Company
Special Powers/Abilities: Went to the University of Michigan as an undergraduate before earning a degree in biochemistry. Later joined the United States Army as a lieutenant before being honorably discharged and joining the Parthenon Company. Later became a member of Parthenon’s board and then its CEO.
Notes from the Author: I based Jason Price on Samuel L. Jackson visually, but his character is based on a number of different villains. He’s a war-monger, a corporate executive with no conscience, a racist, and he’s just plain nasty. For a man of his age he’s still incredibly fit, his mental acuity is undiminished, his vision is unshakeable and he’s very dangerous to mess with. Go against him at your own risk.

RU: Mr. Pirce, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Price: Where the hell am I?

RU: That’s not important. Mr. Price, I know you are the head of Parthenon Company. Could you tell me a little bit about what your company does?

Price: Parthenon is an entertainment corporation that also leads several cities whose main business is entertainment, such as Reborn City, Seattle, and Marvolo, the new adventure hotspot for families and adults. Our corporation is based in Reborn City and we’re also currently expanding our enterprises into virtual reality video games, as well as travel, new forms of music, and–

RU: Enough with the salesman’s pitch. Didn’t Parthenon used to be a weapons developer and supplier for the military?

Price: True, but after the Third World War we became an entertainment corporation. We started with Reborn City, and through trial and error we’ve become one of the biggest suppliers of fun on the North American continent and in the world.

RU: So you guys aren’t working on anything military? Nothing that might involve the Hydras in West Reborn?

Price: How’d you know about that?

RU: I’m clever that way. So you don’t deny the Hydras and Parthenon are linked?

Price: Look kid, I don’t know who you are or how you know about our involvement with the Hydras, but if you poke a dragon, prepare to get roasted.

RU: Sounds tasty. Now tell me, why would an entertainment compnany that’s supposedly left the weapons industry still be working on weapons projects, especially projects that might still be considered illegal by other city and nation-states?

Price: Oh, don’t get into the legal crap with me, boy! It’s only a matter of time before some Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden comes along with plans to destroy the free world. And guess who’s going to be supplying the weapons when that person does show up?

RU: Okay, better safe than sorry. I get it. By the way, can I get a tour of the Facility underneath Parthenon World Headquarters?

Price: You know too much.

RU: Yikes! That’s a gun! He’s pointing a gun at my head! Okay, time to cut the interview short! Join me next week when I give you readers a preview of the first chapter of Reborn City itself…that is if I survive till next week! Help me!

Reborn City

Last week I did an interview with Zahara Bakur, the protagonist of my novel Reborn City (out November 1st). Now I’m here with a interview with Rip, one of the Hydra leaders and the deuteragonist of RC. I hope he’s as friendly as Zahara was, otherwise I might be in trouble!

Also, if you want to read Zahara’s interview, please click here.

Now without further ado, let’s meet Rip!

Notes and Stats:
Sex:  male
Age: Unknown (believed to be between ages 16-18)
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Birthday: Unknown
Eye Color: Grey
Hair Color: Grey (originally brown)
Religion: Agnostic bordering on atheist.
Affiliation: West Reborn Hydras
Special Powers/Abilities: Able to produce neon-green claws from his knuckles by converting energy from his body into living matter through special glands in his hands. Because they are dependent on energy, the glands will automatically convert the claws back into energy if Rip’s energy levels are dangerously low.
Notes from the Author: In Stephen King’s The Stand, the protagonist Stu Redman was described as a quiet man. For a quiet guy, he talked a lot. That is why when I formulated Rip, I decided I wanted him to be so quiet that he would make it a point to let people know he wasn’t into long conversations. It’s led to some interesting situations, and I think he’s a better character than he might’ve been if he’d been a bit more talkative.

RU: Rip, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Rip: Where the fuck am I?

RU: Okay, not as friendly as Zahara.

Rip: You know Zahara?

RU: We’ve met once or twice. She’s a nice kid.

Rip: That’s just what she is though. A kid. Doan know a thing ’bout the world. I gotta teach her ’bout ev’rythin’.

RU: Do you like her though?

Rip: I guess so. I doan hate her.

RU: That’s good to hear. So Rip, I hear the Hydras are getting pretty powerful in West Reborn. You must be proud of that.

Rip: It’s cool. Got a lotta hard workers in the Hydras. I should be proud.

RU: I bet you and the other leaders having powers may be a big help to that.

Rip: Ya know ’bout our powers?

RU: I know a lot about the Hydras. But you can trust me. I’m not going to sell you out to anyone, like a certain man I could name who watches Reborn City from a giant rotating skyscraper.

Rip: Ya know ’bout him too? Who the hell are ya?

RU: A friend. Well, we’re almost out of time. I’ll send you back to West Reborn. Tell Zahara the weird blonde guy with the glasses said hi, okay?

Rip: Whatever. Just doan do nothin’ ya shouldn’t, or ya might meet my claws!

RU: Oh wow, they really do glow like neon, don’t they? And they seem really sharp. Well, that’s all the time we have left. Join me next week, when I do another interview, this one with antagonist Jason Price, CEO of the Parthenon Company. That is, if Rip doesn’t gut me first! Reborn City, out November 1st!