This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
Thomas Nelson - December 29, 2009)
by Robert Liparulo
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
Thomas Nelson - December 29, 2009)
by Robert Liparulo
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ROBERT LIPARULO is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first novel, Comes a Horseman, released to critical acclaim. Each of his subsequent thrillers—Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock—secured his place as one of today’s most popular and daring thriller writers.
He is known for investing deep research and chillingly accurate predictions of near-future scenarios into his stories. In fact, his thorough, journalistic approach to research has resulted in his becoming an expert on the various topics he explores in his fiction, and he has appeared on such media outlets as CNN and ABC Radio.
Liparulo’s visual style of writing has caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for Germ and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall "a brilliantly crafted thriller." March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, "best of high-octane suspense."
Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers, released in January, and number four, Timescape, in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series, Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”
With the next two Dreamhouse books “in the can,” he is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects supernatural elements into his brand of gun-blazing storytelling. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on his acclaimed short story, which appeared in James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining...Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.
Visit Robert Liparulo's Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/LiparuloFans
by Robert Liparulo
Published by Thomas Nelson
ABOUT THE BOOK
Which door do you go through to save the world?
David, Xander, and Toria King never know where the mysterious portals in their house will take them: past, present, or future. They have battled gladiators and the German army, dodged soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, and jumped from the sinking Titanic. They've also seen the stark future that awaits if they can't do something to change it--a destroyed city filled with mutant creatures.
And they've still got to find a way to bring Mom back and keep Taksidian from getting them out of the house. The dangers are hitting them like a whirlwind . . . but the answers are becoming apparent as well.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Whirlwind, go HERE
Readers, buy your copy of Whirlwind today!
The Dreamhouse King series is a phenomenal series. If you haven't read any of them, you'll want to start with the first, House of Dark Shadows. Otherwise, you'll miss a lot of the character development and feel like you're walking into a movie that's nearly 3/4 of the way done.
I had the pleasure of recently meeting Robert at a book signing in Colorado Springs. You'd never guess from appearances that he can write the types of novels he does. :) An excellent example of not judging a book by its cover. The same goes for the books in this series. There is so much more to each book than meets the eye upon first reading.
You would think at first that it's impossible to maintain the forward momentum with each sequel, but Robert does this with an expertise that keeps readers begging for more. Good thing only a few months take place between each release. In Whirlwind, he takes the existing tension that's been building since book 1 and amps up the nail-biting suspense as he escorts the reader on yet another thrilling adventure. He also deals with an age-old question of finding God's purpose for your life--what you're designed to do--and deciding whether to take that path for not.
Now, only six more months until the conclusion is reached. And I have it on good authority that the themes from all the previous books along with God's providence in our lives and throughout time will culminate with the conclusion in Frenzy. Do you think you can wait?
1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
The basic plot of a house haunted not by ghosts, but by time actually came to me as a dream when I was eleven years old. I was living in the Azores (a group of nine islands in the Atlantic), where my father was stationed in the Air Force. It’s a mystical, magical place (and I mean that in the Godly sense of the words): lush forests, misty grounds, cobblestone roads, beautiful lakes hidden in steep valleys, stone walls. One day, I found an old playground in a forest clearing that caused my imagination to soar. I started dreaming of this place. In each recurring dream, my mind added a new element: the ability to fly in this area only, shadowy figures watching me from the woods, and finally an old house.
Between the dreams and my continued fascination with this place, I started thinking of what I might find inside the house. Over time, I decided that it was a place that God had created with a very specific purpose, but to know that purpose, I’d have to experience a lot of adventures, I’d have to go through a fire, if you will. The progression of the Dreamhouse books is toward that purpose, through that fire.
Of course, when I finally sat down to write the story, I replaced what had always been me in my imagination with the King family. As far the dramatic details (such as Mom getting kidnapped), I think they come from my belief that our true characters come out in times of extreme stress, when we feel the heat of a life or death situation. I wanted the Kings to find out who they are inside: what do they really believe in, what things are they willing to fight for?
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?
All of the characters I’ve written have possessed traits I have myself, to varying degrees. But the Dreamhouse Kings books have more of me than anything I’ve ever written. I found myself mining my own childhood for nuggets to give the King family. For example, fifteen-year-old Xander loves movies. He often relates the things that are happening around him to movies he’s seen, and he makes short films and puts them on You Tube. I was exactly like that at age thirteen. I even made a movie about the social impact of Jaws, which a few PBS stations aired.
I didn’t realize it until I finished House of Dark Shadows, but twelve-year-old David, also, is precisely who I was at that age: inquisitive and fairly adventurous; afraid of dangers, but willing to try new and wild things anyway. He knows himself and is comfortable in his own skin. At the same time, he’s caught between the innocence of his nine-year-old sister and the rebelliousness of his older brother, so he exhibits a bit of both. It was actually my mother who pointed out how similar David’s behavior is to the way mine was. She was surprised when I told her I hadn’t consciously written myself into the story in the character of David.
A lot of the emotions the Kings feel—familial love, fear of losing a loved one, trying to be brave in order to do the right thing—are ones I feel all the time. The story helps me explore these feelings. Dad’s love for his kids, his family, his willingness to do just about anything to protect them is me through and through. I don’t think I’m over-protective, but I pray a lot for their safety and have taught them how to protect themselves.
3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?
Well, I’d have to choose a main protagonist first, and while Dreamhouse is an ensemble piece (the King family), David is the real “star.” All but one of the books use his POV for most of the story. I’d say he’d have to be Rocky Road. He has it pretty tough throughout the series. He breaks his arm, gets cuts and scrapes all over, rides an emotional roller coaster. He’s also multi-dimensional: very smooth and easy-going, but can be tough when the situation calls for it. Plus, he’s a good guy at heart—and I like Rocky Road ice cream.
4. Are there any themes in Whirlwind that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?
Several themes weave through the entire Dreamhouse series, each slowly developing as the story progresses toward the final chapter in the final book. Primarily, it’s that God has a purpose for each of us, and we have to choose whether to accept our calling or not. I try to show that there are huge repercussions for either doing or not doing what we were designed to do, in our lives and in the lives of many others whom we may never even meet. It’s like the quote from Gladiator: "What one man does in a lifetime will echo throughout eternity."
One theme that solidifies in Whirlwind is that we have to take a stand against evil. David slowly develops incredible bravery through the story. We learn early in the series that he has a big heart for people; he doesn’t like the suffering of other people. By Whirlwind, he learns to use courage to help others, to stand up against people who are hurting other, even when his own life is on the line.
I always knew where David was heading, what his arc would be. But how definitely he would embrace bravery and takes a stand surprised me. Without consciously realizing he’s doing it, he embraces the concept of bravery and fighting for others when they can't fight for themselves. He takes the lessons of the house to heart and it changes him.
5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
I love the story and thoroughly enjoyed writing every aspect of it. History, the way the family learns to work together and love each other unabashedly, the action and adventure—I love it all. If I had to chose the most difficult parts, it would be when the characters get hurt, physically and emotionally. I wanted readers who would not normally enjoy fantasy or, in the case of the Dreamhouse Kings, time travel, to like this story. I wanted them to be surprised that they like something they normally don’t.
To accomplish this, I decided to make everything that wasn’t time-travel-related to be very real, almost gritty. I’ve had a lot of people say how real the story feels, despite the fantasy elements, so I think it worked. But in doing it, the family faces horrendous dangers—an antagonist who used to be an assassin and saves body parts of his victims, people dying around them, their own brushes with death, and a lot of injuries. It’s very hard to put these characters through that. I cringe when I write scenes like Xander getting hit in the back with a thrown rifle, or when Toria wakes up to find a big, strange man in her room, or when David breaks down and cries for his mother—more than cries; he wails out of anguish, grief, and despair. Each time, it feels like when my own daughter broke her arm and just cried and cried from the pain. Terrible.
6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
The next release is Frenzy in April. It’s the final book in the Dreamhouse series. Right now, I’m writing the next adult thriller, called The 13th Tribe. It’s the first time I incorporate a supernatural element into a story. It’ll have the save level of action and adventure, of intrigue and gun-play as my other novels, but with a completely new twist. It’s a big story, both thematically and globally. I can’t say any more about it at this point, but I think it’s going to blow a lot of socks off.
Thank you for the interview. Great questions!
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