Rhani D’Chae is a visually disabled writer who was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. Because of her failing eyesight, she no longer reads as much as she used to, but she does enjoy falling into the worlds created by other Indie authors as often as her vision will allow. I am delighted to be chatting with her today.
Could you tell us about yourself?
I’ve spent the majority of my life in Tacoma, Washington. I have lived other places, but something always brings me back to the Pacific Northwest. I love to read, but now that I’ve lost the majority of my sight to various visual conditions, I don’t read as much as I’d like to. Writing is also much more difficult, so I bump my font up to size Theater Marquee, which does help. I also drink a lot and throw things, which helps when it gets frustrating. The cats have learned to duck, which lowers the casualty count. My housemates aren’t quite as smart, which does result in an occasional minor injury.
When did you decide to write and what got you started?
I started writing when I was quite young. I think I was ten when I wrote my first poem, and about fourteen when I wrote my first story. It was a Star Trek adventure, and it was absolutely awful! Honestly, there would have to be a new word invented to describe just how horrible it was.
Do you pick your stories or do you write and see where it takes you?
I always have a basic idea of what the plot will be when I start a new writing project. But, more often than not, the story takes on a life of its own and goes where it wants. I just try to keep up.
Do you have any inspirations for your writing? Other authors/people/events?
Stephen King has always lurked around the edges of my writing, even though I don’t write horror as of yet. I would also have to say that Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, being an amazing female author, was a huge inspiration for me. Also, George Gilman was the first author whose work told me that it was okay to not be “nice.” That violence and mayhem have a place in fiction, and it’s okay to go there. Had it not been for him, I think Shadow of the Drill would have been much different, and might not have been written at all.
What is the best part about writing and the worst?
For me, the best part is creating something that readers can jump into and explore. I love losing myself in the world between a set of book covers, and I greatly enjoy knowing that I can maybe give that same thrill to someone else.
The worst part about writing, in my opinion, is the freakin’ writer’s block! I can’t begin to count the times I’ve been moving right along, and then run headlong into that unmovable wall. Considering how many times it’s happened to me, I’m surprised I’m not wearing a permanent neck brace.
** I can relate to this. Worse though is not having writer’s block but having a really bad plot idea, which stays with you and is impossible to shift. You tend to try and force the plot around the bad idea, wasting a lot of effort. In the meantime the good ideas seem to give up on you!!
Tell us about one of, or your most recent book.
I wrote the novel Shadow of the Drill quite a few years ago, and self-published it as a paperback. A couple of years later, when I was working on the sequel, I went back and read it. It was then that I realized the book was absolute crap. It was crap with potential, but it was still crap. My beta readers were friends who didn’t write, so they were overly impressed with what I handed them. They told me it was awesome, and I went with that. I gave Shadow a complete update, and now it’s something that I’m incredibly proud of. It tells the story of Decker, an unrepentant enforcer known as the Drill, and the violent life that he leads. Shadow tells how Decker, after fifteen years, comes face-to-face with his oldest enemies. These are the people who put him on the path to becoming the Drill, so there is a certain degree of irony in the fact that they might die because he is what they made him. This novel is the first in a series and is intended for an adult audience.
What are you currently working on? How long before release?
I’m currently working on two short stories. One, Zombie Dawn, has a zombie theme, and the other, I’ve Always Loved Women, is about a guy who has an interesting way of dealing with breakups. Both of these stories will be coming out the first of July.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Pure Trash, a short story by Bette A. Stevens. This short story is a prequel to her novel, Dog Bone Soup, which is one of my favorite reads.
Which authors and novels do you recommend?
Beem Weeks is an excellent author, and his novel, Jazz Baby, is phenomenal! I also recommend Acts Beyond Redemption by Suzanne Burke. I belong to a fantastic group of readers and writers called Rave Reviews Book Club, which has connected me with far too many incredible authors and books to list.
Which of your books would you like most to be made into a movie?
I don’t even need to think about that. Shadow of the Drill would make a fantastic movie! It has everything that I would want to see in a film. Lots of action, beautiful women, and two dynamic, incredibly sexy, leading men. It also has a revenge-driven plot line that would keep eyes glued to the screen.
Film casting – which actors would you choose as your main characters?
That’s a very tough question. For the character of Tawnee, I’ve often thought about either Katie Cassidy or Nicki Aycox, but they’re both too old for that part, now. As for Rudy, I have no clue. I’m not familiar with that many Hispanic actors, although I’m sure there are several who could do the job justice. Decker, on the other hand, is an easy pick. Right now, the person I see when I think of him is Joe Manganiello. I would love to find a way to connect with him regarding this. I think this would be a perfect role for an actor. Think about it – it’s the starring role in a potential film franchise, and he’d get to be both very good and incredibly bad, all at the same time. Plus, it would be an action film which is pretty much always a hit. The fact that he would have a few scenes with his shirt off would be just a bennie for those of us who like that sort of thing.
Any funny cat stories you would like to share?
Oh my goodness, where would I start! There was a time when Sharif got his head stuck in one of those plastic bags from Safeway. He took off at top speed, tearing through the house until he’d torn about half of the bag away. But the one handle was still around his neck, along with the top half of the bag, so it looked like he was wearing a little plastic cape. We still tease him about being a kitty superhero. When it comes to stories, there are tons because we’re devoted staff to ten furry little dictators, all rescues. There’s just something about the relationship with the rescued animal that’s unlike anything else. While a couple of the boys did come from shelters, most of them were strays, basically living on the streets. Somehow, we managed to find each other, and the rest is an increasing list of scratches, shredded toilet paper, clawed furniture, and cat puke. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the cat hair! That stuff is everywhere! No matter how clean my clothes are when I put them on, if I’m dumb enough to sit down anywhere in the house, I will stand up looking like a wookiee. The only safe place to sit is the toilet, so I tend to do a lot of reading between the time I get dressed and the time I leave the house. Once my teeth are brushed and my hair is beaten into submission, there’s not much else to do in the bathroom.
Any fun facts about you that you would like to share?
I really enjoy going to movies, especially action and what passes for horror these days. I’m a co-host for two different podcasts, one through Rave Reviews Book Club, where I review books with my two partners in crime, and another on Mixlar with my friend G. E. Shaw, where we talked about social issues and current events. One more little factoid: two of my cats are on Twitter, and they have almost as many followers as I do.