Talking with John Reinhard Dizon
Please give a warm welcome to author John Reinhold Dixon as he sits down with me to answer a few questions and to let us know about his latest release, Nightcrawler.
To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
Nightcrawler is about Sabrina Brooks, the heiress of a chemical manufacturing company turned vigilante. She’s an intelligent, physically-gifted woman who gave up her hopes of joining the NYPD to keep her deceased father’s company open. A terrorist group, the Octagon, is planning to use WMDs against NYC and she feels she has the best chance of stopping them with her network connections. She also finds that both she and the Octagon have strong connections to the LGBT community which they end up using against each other. It’s a high-octane thriller that addresses a number of important social issues.
If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why?
My novel Generations is my family saga, but the original publisher got bought out so the project’s up in the air right now. I’d suggest Tiara - 10th Anniversary Edition as vintage JRD. It’s all about Northern Ireland (my Mom’s family place of origin), one of my best female protagonists in Princess Jennifer, one of my best anti-heroes in Berlin Mansfield. Plus it’s got a classic matchup between the IRA and the UDA that you may not find elsewhere.
Where do you find the inspirations for your stories?
It usually comes from a fresh challenge. I had never written a horror novel before, so I took a shot at it with The Fury. There’s such a market for it that I went ahead with Wolf Man, and have Transplant on the way. I’d never done steampunk before, I didn’t even know what it was. There was a big market for that, so I went ahead with Stxeamtown. I always wondered why no one ever attempted a Goldfinger remake, so I took the basic premise and came up with The Standard. I was having trouble marketing The Bat because everybody thought it would be a Batman knockoff---far from it. At any rate, I knew I would have to do something far and away from ‘the box’ if I was going to sell a vigilante novel, and it seems Nightcrawler fit the bill.
Do you have a book that was easiest to write or one that was the hardest?
I probably did as much research for my novel The Standard as any of my works, if not more. It was a James Bond-type spy thriller with the characters working the South Florida area. I had to provide authentic details about top-dollar hotels, restaurants, cars, clothes, et cetera, as well as describe the poverty and crime of Liberty City and other nearby areas. Some days I did more research than writing, but it made for a solid experience for readers.
What makes your characters so vulnerable yet strong? Can you describe them to us? What do you do when characters stop talking to you when writing?
The female protagonists usually have to put their feminine instincts on the shelf, which is the hardest thing for a woman to do. The paradox is that it’s what helps them make the right choices that dictate the course of events in the novels. Bridgette Celine in The Fury comes across as a bulldyke, but the closer she delves into her family roots the more fragile she becomes. Sabrina Brooks uses chemical weapons to avoid physical combat because she knows a man would fight to the finish before succumbing to a woman. They think she's a man because of her uniform. When characters start drifting, I normally let them go their way. Enrique Chupacabra in The Standard was the major antagonist but somehow got pushed aside by Emiliano Murra. His voice just wasn’t strong enough as the dialogue progressed.
Has there been any character that started off as supporting character, but then developed into a more prominent character?
I would have to say Darko Lucic in Wolf Man. He started off as your typically flat gumshoe character. As the story progressed, it became obvious that he was going to be the only one Steve Lurgan was going to be able to rely on for help. That bumped him up into a foil position. As the project progressed, I realized it would be wise to leave an opening in the bag in case the publisher decided to go for a sequel. That all fell in Lucic’s lap as he ends up with the girl and a return in Wolf Man II.
What has been the defining moment in your career that made you think “Yes, I am now a writer!”?
It had to be when the original edition of Tiara was released by Publish America. There is nothing like seeing your first novel published. Unfortunately, they are one of the companies who prey on that, and it took five books and ten years for me to realize it. I’m now on the next level with eight books through eight different publishers. Plus I’ve self-published Tiara - 10th Anniversary Edition, so we’ll see what rakes in the most money.
What is the last song you've had on repeat?
Sometimes you get hooked on a theme or concept that your mind associates with a particular project. I would play Judy Collins’ Both Sides Now after I finished work on my romantic comedy by the same name, and it would bring a tear to my eye. I’m glad I finally got over it!
Nightcrawler by John Reinhold Dizon
Genre – Action/Adventure
Publisher – Black Rose Writing
Buy link – Available for pre-order at http://www.blackrosewriting.com/action/adventure/nightcrawler.
Nightcrawler is about the exploits of Sabrina Brooks, the heiress to the Brooks Chemical Company. Bree is trying to pick up the pieces after her father’s death, and is now in a position to live up to a commitment to use her resources to benefit the oppressed. She becomes obsessed with the notion of conducting a guerrilla campaign against drug gangs in New York City, and accesses top-secret archives detailing Government contracts for developmental research of chemical weapons. She uses her chemistry wizardry to concoct her own weapons for personal use, and sets out on a mission to terrorize the top crack gangs in the City.
She took the ten-minute drive to the BCC campus and headed inside to look over some contracts and proposals. She took the elevator to the second floor and was surprised to see Jon Aeppli’s office light on in the darkened suite.
“Hey, Jon,” Sabrina leaned into the doorway. “I hope your wife isn’t blaming me for this.”
“I really didn’t try and give her much of an explanation,” Jon’s pale blue eyes bored into hers. “That friend of yours really made an impact tonight, didn’t he?”
“Who was that, Hoyt?” she asked weakly, slipping into the armchair in front of Jon’s desk.
“I take it you haven’t seen the news or gotten on the Internet.”
“Well, not really.”
“That Nightcrawler friend of yours attacked a man in his own home with a chemical weapon a few hours ago,” Jon was nettled. “The man happened to be a distant relative of the Mayor’s partner. He’s got the Mayor out for blood. The NYPD has an all-points alert out for the Nightcrawler. Your guy was crazy enough to leave a handwritten note on the victim’s refrigerator.”
“You mean the Mayor’s a sissy?” Sabrina was wide-eyed.
“That’s really not the issue here,” Jon leaned over the desk towards her. “Besides, if you hadn’t spent so much time partying over the last couple of years instead of watching the news, you would’ve known that. At any rate, the Mayor’s partner says his
nephew was gassed because he was a black man living with a white woman, and the assailant allegedly told him that when he attacked him. He even said the zero tolerance note was a warning to blacks who date white women.”
“That lying dog!” she exploded. “He beat her so bad she was taken to the hospital the night before! It had nothing to do with race, it was a warning to guys who beat on women!”
“Now how would you know that?” Jon said gently.
At once the tension boiled over, and Sabrina cupped her forehead as she covered her eyes, weeping softly. Jon got up from his desk and walked around, patting her shoulder softly.
“It’s okay, kid,” he consoled her.
“It happened so fast, he made me so mad, and he was acting like he was going to hit my friend Rita,” she sobbed as Jon handed her a handkerchief. “He was treating that little boy so mean, and I knew he had just put that poor girl in the hospital. I knew I
should’ve never gone over there, but they didn’t have anyone else and the Pastor couldn’t go. I was just so upset.”
“Bree, you’re not telling me you’re the Nightcrawler,” Jon said in disbelief.
“I didn’t say that,” she sniffed halfheartedly.
“For crying out loud,” Jon walked over to the plate glass window and stared out unseeingly at the river. “What on earth have you gotten yourself into?”
About the Author
John Reinhard Dizon was born and raised in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn, NY. He participated in local and high school sports at Bishop Loughlin MHS, excelling in wrestling, hockey and football. The lead vocalist of the Spoiler and the Ducky Boys, he was a key figure on the Brooklyn rock scene during the Punk Revolution of the 70's. Relocating to San Antonio TX in the 80's, he moonlighted as a pro wrestler while working as a legal assistant. He successfully pursued a BA at UTSA and degrees in Korean martial arts during the 90's. He currently lives in KC MO where he is studying for his MA in English at UMKC. Mr. Dizon has been writing suspense and thriller works for over twenty-five years.