A DARKER RAIN by Claudine Kapel
An action/adventure science fiction novel
“It’s definitely not a good time to be going into the woods of Hawkley Ridge.”
When a red-eyed wildcat starts threatening ranchers in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan Cole recognizes the danger is far more menacing than the ranchers realize. Cole specializes in tackling unconventional security threats, particularly those with alien origins.
His investigation puts him in the crosshairs of Antoine Drake, an international arms dealer with a penchant for weapons from other worlds. Both men are hot on the trail of powerful alien artifacts known as guardian stones.
Cole and his team of investigators embark on a dangerous quest to recover the guardian stones before they can be assembled into the ultimate alien weapon. To succeed, Cole must also decipher the wildcat’s deadly secrets.
But in the woods of Hawkley Ridge, it’s easy for the hunter to become the prey.
A Darker Rain is the first book in the Ryan Cole series.
Beecham exhaled sharply. “Antoine Drake and Cassandra Chase are ruthless. They’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. If they’re acquiring both alien weapons and alien allies, that could give them a major military advantage. Who knows how powerful these weapons are or what they can do? We don’t even know how they work.”
“So what did your people learn about the weapons before they were stolen?” asked Cole. “Did Ivan Johnson shed any light on how the sonic rifle works before he was killed?”
Beecham rubbed his eyes wearily. “He didn’t give us a hell of a lot. We tested the alloy the rifles were made of and confirmed there’s no match for such a substance anywhere on Earth. But beyond that, we didn’t learn much.
“We ran a whole battery of tests to see if we could uncover the mechanics of the weapon. But nothing. No one has been able to figure out how the rifles operate. As you can see in the photo—not to mention in the files your buddy Ashcroft downloaded—there’s no visible trigger.”
Beecham looked at Cole, his face etched with deep concern. “We need to get these weapons back. And we need to stop Drake.”
Cole looked at Beecham with a frown. He had heard that refrain before, and it had been a prelude to disaster.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH CLAUDINE
-What made you want to write?
Writing has always been a part of my life. Even as a child I wrote short stories, poetry and songs. Writing has consistently been a part of my professional life as well. I started my career as a journalist before moving into corporate communications and then consulting.
For me, there have always been stories seeking to be told and characters waiting to come into being. Writing is a way of bringing those stories and characters to life. It is a way of sharing a journey with others so they can be part of the grand adventure.
-What draws you to your genres of choice?
The evolution of A Darker Rain’s genre was a journey in itself. The book was initially intended as a straight action and adventure novel. But as the writing unfolded, elements emerged that were more science fiction in nature. It became clear that beings and technologies from other worlds would be central to the storyline.
The resulting genre – which blends action and adventure and science fiction – is rich with possibility. It enables us to examine the world through a fresh lens, while exploring resonant questions. What if there’s more to this reality than meets the eye? At the same time, the story includes more traditional action and adventure elements – a highly classified mission, powerful adversaries and a search for mysterious artifacts.
In this case, however, the artifacts have otherworldly origins and not everyone is who they appear to be – which gives the adventure an alien twist. This opens the door to new possibilities and new adventures – which is a good thing since A Darker Rain is the first book in the series. There is ample room for the characters to grow – and plenty for them to learn about beings from other worlds and the nature of the cosmos.
-Name a fun fact you learned researching this project.
The mysterious black leopard is a key figure in the novel. It was fun doing research to determine just what type of animal would serve the storyline best. A sense of place is also important so I also did a lot of research on the U.S. Pacific Northwest, which serves as the setting for the book.
There are wildcats in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, including the bobcats and cougars (also known as pumas or mountain lions). But black leopards are definitely not indigenous to that region. So one of the mysteries that Ryan Cole and his team need to solve is just how the leopard got there.
Black leopards have black spots – known as rosettes because of their shape – just like their golden or tawny colored brethren. But the spots of a black leopard are hard to see against the black fur. Leopards can be found in sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, central Asia, India, and China.
They are skillful and stealthy hunters and are experts at climbing up and down – and even hunting from – trees. They're the largest cat species that regularly climb trees. And they’re strong. Leopards can drag an animal carcass up to three times their body weight up a tree.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
I think drinks with Ryan Cole and his team would be great fun. They’re friends as well as colleagues and they’ve seen and done a lot of interesting – and highly classified – things. But like Caitlin, I would stay away from the bourbon.
If I had to choose only one character to have drinks with – or in this case perhaps a coffee – it would be Sarah Jennings, Sigma’s resident clairvoyant. I am fascinated by paranormal capabilities and it would be interesting to listen to her describe what she experiences when she obtains psychic insights.
-For aspiring writers, any tips?
Write what inspires you – but at the same time, be willing to let the story take you where it will. While the actual writing is obviously an essential part of the process, taking the time to engage in some inner listening is vital as well.
Today there are many options for getting your work to readers, so don’t view the publishing process itself as a barrier or a reason not to move forward. If you have a story to tell, follow the path that emerges and see where it leads. You may be amazed by who turns up to give you a hand.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
Hmm. I generally try to avoid saying never. Currently, I’m working on the next books in the Ryan Cole series, but I’m open to exploring other genres as well. I read across many genres, including action and adventure, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance, and I read a lot of non-fiction as well.
That said, I generally don’t read horror novels and can’t really imagine myself writing books in this genre.
Ultimately, I’m open to going where the characters lead and I look forward to seeing where my muse takes me next.
A Darker Rain is Claudine Kapel’s first novel. She lives in Toronto and enjoys books, music, and travel. When not working as a consultant, she can be found writing, reading, or contemplating what else may be out there.
The second book in the Ryan Cole series is planned for release in 2014.
Claudine loves to hear from readers. You can reach her at claudinekapel.com.
Let’s thank Claudine for a great interview!
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