I recently sat down with Danielle Lenee Davis for an interview about the upcoming book. Check it out!
Your female characters, especially Katherine (Kate), are smart, strong, and ruthless. I love it! Kate needed to evolve in order to survive, but was her strength and ruthlessness your original intention when you started the story?
I knew Katherine would have to shed much of her innocence in order to survive. And not just survive, but assuage her guilt and learn to respect herself. Over the course of the first book, she often surprised me. Some readers did not appreciate her final decision, and I won’t tell them they are wrong to feel that way. Kate became her own person in that moment. I did not plan that ending out in advance, it just happened as I was writing the final chapter. When I wrote the final line of dialogue, I knew it was the right choice for the story, thematically. I don’t believe a central character should always do what the reader would do.
Read the full interview here:
Slight spoilers contained throughout.
World War Z taught me that in a zombie apocalypse, scientists, army, and government officials will stand around waiting for Brad Pitt (a magical guy who used to do important stuff for the government, or something) to show up and point out the obvious. Brad Pitt is also the only man on earth capable of investigation, the powers of seeing the obvious, and the uncanny ability to walk down a darkened corridor with a crowbar to obtain something vital. No one thinks to do these things until Brad Pitt shows up to take the initiative. And after escaping millions of zombies, he does the stupidest thing imaginable because ONE ZOMBIE is blocking his path.
They gave away every money shot of this movie in the trailers, and the last third is generic stuff that you’ve seen on any given episode of Walking Dead, only with an even less interesting leading character running around being the Perfect Male. And could they have cast a more boring woman for his wife?? She’s a complacent wife whose entire purpose is to make women in the audience feel like they’d have a chance with Brad Pitt. She has no personality of her own. She’s just so goshdarn lucky she got to make two boringly perfect children with Brad Pitt. And she doesn’t put up much of a fuss when he leaves, because The Government Needs Him.
It’s directed by Marc Foster, director of the insufferable Quantum of Solace. He has no sense of pacing or buildup. His shakycam shakes at everything except the things you want it to shake at. The movie is saturated only in shades of shit-brown. Actors are dubbed over when it’s not clear why they’re doing what they’re doing. At one point, someone is bitten, but the shakycam starts shaking in the wrong direction, and you hear the actor yell something to the equivalent of, “Oh no! I’m bit!”
The complete lack of blood is almost offensive. Marc Forster is either very desperate to get a PG-13 (and thinks that PG-13 movies must be bloodless), or he has hemophobia. Maybe he passes out when he sees red. He’s afraid of violent sounds, too. When a machete is used to hack off someone’s arm, it makes a pathetic “whoosh” noise. This movie had no balls, and thus very little impact. What’s the point of a zombie movie without a little gore?
The opening ten minutes of zombie-induced hysteria are somewhat intense. The jet sequence is suddenly not shit (kind of like the randomly good opera sequence in Quantum of Solace). The zombies are occasionally scary, when they’re not CG hordes. This is not the worst movie ever, but it reeks of too many cooks in the kitchen, and feels so very Hollywood. There are far better zombie movies.
If nothing else, it really made me want to watch 28 Days Later again.
The wait is almost over! The Devil’s Horizon is on track for a July 3rd release date on Amazon Kindle.
Ready your weapons and steel your courage. The third novel in “The Devil’s Fire” series is the most unpredictable entry yet, certain to broadside your expectations!
Captain Guy Dillahunt recklessly pursues the infamous Charles Vane across the Caribbean, risking the lives of his entire crew for one last chance at glory. Former strumpet Jacqueline Calloway uncovers a dark destiny she never could have imagined. The dashing Gabe Jenkins attempts to right the wrongs of his past, and meets an enemy he does not expect. Kate Lindsay engages in a final battle for her freedom, while friend and foe alike conspire against her.
The horizon beckons, but few will survive to reach it.
Astrid was a pretty thing, as long as she smiled with her mouth closed. Her big crooked teeth marred an otherwise youthful, slender face, framed in full golden locks that curled without any incentive and rested on porcelain shoulders. She had big brown eyes and full red lips, ripe for kissing. Her bosom didn’t exactly fill his hands, and her hips were too narrow, but her lovemaking was always so energetic that Gabe was willing to forgive her physical scarcities. When it was his turn to take control, he grabbed her by the waist and flipped her over. She shrieked with delight as he grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her head back. He exhaled into her ear. “Do you want me to stop?”
“No,” she gasped, reaching back to rake her nails along his thigh. Continue reading
The main problem with movie critics is that they’re doing a job. Many of them were clearly paying more attention to their watches than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Personally, I relished the time spent in Middle Earth. The leisurely pace allows every scene to flourish and breathe. This is old fashioned cinema.
Martin Freeman does a good job as the intentionally stilted Bilbo, who is far more courageous than he knows. Freeman never goes over the top with his performance, and he’s somewhat of a relief from the oh-so-innocent Frodo. However, my favorite character was Thorin. Richard Armitage was perfectly cast. The relationship between him and Bilbo is the heart of this movie, and it builds toward a wonderful payoff. If this hadn’t worked, nothing else would have.
I don’t think any narrative magic would have me reciting all of the dwarves’ names on command, but they are all visually distinctive, and they feel like individuals. They are constantly moving and talking, and I’m sure I missed a lot of what they were saying because their dialogue is not always focused on. Every once in a while I’d catch some hilarious bit of background dialogue.
The cameos were nicely done, especially Bilbo and Frodo (Elijah Wood does not age). I loved that the older Bilbo sequence takes place *right* before Fellowship begins. Christopher Lee’s scene mostly foreshadows coming events with Saruman, although he already seems so dark that it’s kind of strange no one sees his betrayal coming.
The movie is not as emotional as any given Lord of the Rings movie. Dramatic beats are not milked for everything they’re worth, and the camaraderie never gets as hammy as it could get in the previous movies. I found this to be a welcome relief.
Most of the effects are a step above Lord of the Rings, which makes the bad effects all the more jarring. Azog The Defiler looks surprisingly awful, as if he wasn’t finished. I’m honestly not sure why this character was CG. The Goblin King, on the other hand, is exceptionally detailed (with a chin that will have parents exchanging nervous glances). The warg effects are pretty much just as flawed as they were in The Two Towers (especially when they’re running around in a field in broad daylight).
Despite some questionable effects, this movie was very easy on the eyes. The detail and scale of Goblin Town (which was the inspiration for Pirate Town in The Devil’s Tide, FYI) blew my mind. I can’t wait to watch this part again, because there’s so much going on. Gollum and his cave look great. Rivendell is absolutely stunning. I wanted to pause the film at times just so I could drink in every detail of an image, even though Peter Jackson kindly lingers on establishing shots.
A 6.3 Earthquake jolted our theater in Anaheim right as Bilbo was posing his final riddle, but no one made any move to leave their seats. In fact, I heard this exchange: “Was that an earthquake?” “Yes. Shh.”
The action scenes in the final half are excellent, although I found the thunder battle somewhat tedious, and I’m not sure it even needed to be in the movie. Sure, it looks cool, but it didn’t serve much of a purpose. The physics are more cartoony than Lord of the Rings. Characters can survive falling from ridiculous heights or being crushed by debris.
Howard Shore’s score is like a familiar warm blanket. Themes from Lord of the Rings seep into several scenes. The heroic dwarven theme is so stirring that I wanted to jump into the action and fight alongside these guys. I’m guessing Shore will add more themes in future installments.
The final moment is touching. Again, Jackson never gut punches you with emotion in this film, but I did get a sizable lump in my throat when Thorin finally sees Bilbo for who he is.
Wordpreneur did a nice write up on my publishing history:
When he was between jobs several years back, Matt started researching pirates in great detail and decided to write a dark and realistic pirate novel. He had always been fascinated with pirates, and like everyone is a huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland ride. He finished a rough draft, let a few friends read it, and then forgot all about it after landing a new job.
He did not revisit the book until 2011, when he noticed the ebook industry was booming. He quickly began polishing the novel, adding detail where he felt it moved too quickly, and wrote a few more chapters. “It was helpful to have a fresh perspective on it after so many years,” he says. Later that year, he published The Devil’s Fire on the Amazon Kindle platform and watched it gradually build momentum in sales. It wasn’t long before enthusiastic readers were demanding a sequel!
I had the opportunity to sit down with Booksliced.com and discuss my ideal cast for The Devil’s Fire:
The heroine, Katherine Lindsay would require a young, fearless actress who is able to effectively portray the character’s emotional journey and evolution. At the end of the story, Katherine is barely recognizable from the timid girl in the first chapter. A daring, versatile actress like Emilia Clarke, who currently plays Daenerys on Game of Thrones, would be best. Another great choice would be Lyndsy Fonseca, who is demonstrating a lot of range on Nikita.
Several readers have told me they picture Daniel Craig as Captain Jonathan Griffith, and I can’t argue with that one. Griffith is commanding, charming, deadly, and sometimes vulnerable. I think Craig has effectively conveyed all of these qualities in his various roles.
An impenetrable black plume of smoke lifted from the center of Ranger’s deck into the clear morning sky. The pirate sloop had come to rest in a yawning inlet carved in the center of an island shaped like a horseshoe. The lake sat just beyond a long narrow channel that was flanked by treacherous rocky hills sloping in a steep, uneven V into the water. Apart from a white beach that lined the outer rim, and a few scattered coconut trees, the island was mostly barren rock.
James Lancaster surmised his wounded prey from the quarterdeck of HMS Advance, the tails of his standard issue blue coat flapping in the wind. He lifted his tricorn hat long enough to adjust the stubborn white wig beneath it, and then fitted the hat back in place. The curled locks were heavy with sweat, nudging his powdered cheeks every time he turned his head. The sun was particularly merciless today, especially for early February, and it was only three hours after dawn. Continue reading