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Interview with Dixon Reuel

Author of Rise of One

Meet Author Dixon Reuel

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to interview Dixon Reuel, author of Rise of One, the first in the Blood Brute series. Dixon’s artful writing and complex characters made this book a joy to read, along with the two prequel shorts. Here, we find out more about the author herself, the origins of Rise and where the series is going.

Rise of On e: When a zombie apocalypse ravages the world, head vampire Rise rescues human survivors to feed his coven. But apocalypse survivors are not the type to be merely  food. Nor could they ever befriend the coven’s lone human, the beautiful and pampered Cypriot. When Warwolves, an ancient order of vampire hunters, infiltrate the rescued survivors, Rise resolves to purge all threats to his vampire race. The world, although decimated, seems ripe for rule. Rise could set history on a new path, with the rise of one individual.

Tell us something about Dixon Reuel. Who is she? What’s happened in between you starting to write and now?

Dixon Reuel is very obviously a pen name, one that came to me while I walked home from work one day, about two years ago. I’ve had previous publishing success with poetry under my own name, so she is who I am when I write SFF or horror.

What was the inspiration behind Rise of One and the Blood Brute series?

I play a lot of video games, particularly ones with ‘emerging narratives’ where it is the player in a practically blank, customisable world and it’s the player that decides what narrative to play out or what story to tell with the game. While playing a Post-Apocalyptic title with tons of zombies (7 Days to Die), I was struck by the idea of what vampires would do if a zombie apocalypse ever hit and the people they drank from were under threat of being wiped out.

Quite often we can encounter characters in our work which prove elusive or refuse to fit in to the restrictions we have for them. Did you have any characters who presented any difficulties for you?

Ogrim is the ‘wise old man’ trope character, and I tried to force him into the restrictions such a trope demands. However, Ogrim’s great age and grumpiness and manipulative nature made him anything but wise!

Do you have a favourite character? What makes them so special to you?

One of my favourite characters is Salter, not just because she’s a writer. She would also have the same tendencies as myself: enjoying small spaces, the cosy dark, retiring from groups rather than seeking them out. To see the consequences of that played out on paper is a whole other matter, though!

Are there any types of scenes you found challenging to write? For example, fight scenes or love scenes.

Scenes where there has been a passage of time can prove tricky. It’s tempting to just info dump everything that’s happened in the past week/month, so it’s important to remember as a writer that you’re in this scene now for a reason, not just to talk about what happened previous.

In Rise of One, you’ve taken some old concepts and put new twists on them. Did you set out to subvert traditional monsters?

Not to deliberately subvert, I was more interested in what I personally would do in certain apocalyptic situations, which will of course differ from what, say, Hollywood or a different writer might imagine.

Between the first book and your prequels, you move through different eras of history. What issues did this create? How much worldbuilding went into your story?

Thankfully, due to getting my History degree during the 100-year anniversary of WWI, I have a lot of WWI books and references laying around! So it was an easy thing to, for example, imagine posters of Lord Kitchener looming at the post office at people. When it comes to worldbuilding, I’m very careful to never be too indulgent with it and to let the characters and the story decide the word without too much ‘Because The Author Says So’ happening.

What’s next in the Blood Brute series? Are there any nuggets you can give us going forward?

Mega Hint: Blood Brute’s five books are inspired by artist Thomas Cole’s series of paintings, The Course of Empire. I’m so inspired by those paintings and really wanted to incorporate their arc into a written work. So, when the zombie plague arrives and humanity is almost wiped out, this is when vampires leave their centuries of hiding and decide to take over. But this new empire, like all of them, will have its course to run.

As an indie author, what have been the main challenges getting this series off the ground?

The challenges are both internal and external: internal, you have to be confident / fearless to believe your work is good enough for someone to pay money for and be entertained by it. Externally, you have those who look down on indie publishing, who consider it substandard. You also run into unprofessional indie authors who give everybody else a bad name. Also, getting readers in the first place is a challenge, but that’s a challenge for trad published writers too.

The only way to surmount these challenges, I’ve learned, is to work hard and constantly improve your writing, your technique, and educate yourself on all aspects of indie publishing.

What appeals to you about being an indie author? If you were offered a traditional publishing deal, would you consider it?

I would love to trad publish and I have a trilogy out on query with a few publishers already. To me, there’s no ‘great divide’ between indie and trad, there’s only where’s best to publish a story. Some tales work better in the hands of the traditional agent/publisher combo, others (vampires versus a zombie apocalypse!) are better helmed by the author. It just depends on what you’re writing.

Tell us about your writing routines. How and when do you write? What things get in the way? How disciplined are you?

Since COVID, I’m able to work-from-home. So, when an outline is done and I’m drafting a novel, when midday rolls around, I grab my lunch, a coffee, and I can’t leave my desk until I’ve 2,000 words down. I know some authors can do double, triple that, but I’m not in competition with them. 2k words a day is 60k in a month: more than enough to get down the ‘meat’ of a story and see real progress every day. As I work full-time on top of this, I just have to be disciplined. The best method of discipline I’ve learned is just to accept that you need to sit and write, just accept that you need to go through that.

What do you do to relax? How much of your time is spent writing? Are you an author that finds writing a means to relaxation or do you need to escape it occasionally?

I’m super productive during the week, balancing full-time work with writing (and marketing and launching book 1 at the mo!), but on weekends I turn into a potato. I’ve zero expectations to do anything on a weekend. Zero. If I don’t get dressed and play video games all Saturday? That’s perfectly fine by me, because I’ll already have written 10k words during the week, kept up with my job, done all the other social media and marketing, too. If you don’t relax, one day your body and mind will make you. And I don’t have time for that, so I’m as disciplined in my downtime as I am in my writing.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Plotter. If a reader’s going to pay good money to read a book of mine, the tale will be well-planned out in advance.

What books have you enjoyed reading lately?

With a new book coming out this December and drafting/outlining its sequel, I’m loving my old favourites at the moment: The Age of Innocence and Dune.

What advice would you offer to someone starting out in their writing career?

It’ll take you double, if not triple, as long as you think it will. Don’t whine and pout about that, just get stuck in and accept the work that you need to do. You’ll get there, one word at a time.

Irish award-winning and best-selling writer, Eve Power writes as Dixon Reuel and is the author of the Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal series, Blood Brute.

 Dixon lives in Dublin, Ireland and holds a First in History & Early Irish Studies and another First in Creative Writing. She is a lifelong nerd and devoted hobbyist of cosplay, video games, and other surely worthwhile pursuits.

Dixon cannot stand monkeys or phone calls, and to receive a phone call from King Kong would definitely be her greatest fear.

Dixon’s book, Rise of One, is available now. Find out more about her and the vampires of Owl Court: www.dixonreuel.com, dixon@dixonreuel.com, twitter.com/dixonreuel, Instagram.com/dixonreuel, Facebook.com/dixonreuel, Goodreads.com/dixonreuel

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