Tuesday, September 18, 2012

VBT: Division of the Damned

Storm Goddess Book Reviews is pleased to bring you an interview with  Richard Rhys Jones. I hope you enjoy the post, and we very much welcome comments! 

Hi Richard, and welcome! Glad to have you with us today. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! 

Tell me about yourself, and your writing.

Well, I'm in my mid forties and originally come from Colwyn Bay, a seaside town that sits between Rhyl and Llandudno on the North Wales coast. I left there aged 16 to join the army and sort of never went back. I now live in Lower Saxony, Germany with my wife, two kids and two cats.
After I left the army I sort of fell into music and writing lyrics. I also used to scribble little joke rhymes about my mates at work. About that time I tried my hand at short stories as well, all written in long hand with paper and pen. Nothing came of them and after a page or two I'd throw them away. However, I knew that one day, if I found the right topic I'd tackle a full length novel but I just kept putting it off. The crunch came when I bought my first computer. I had no excuse not to try something bigger so I did.

How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?

As I said, I've been writing for an eternity. I've had a few short stories published but have only the one full length novel, "The Division of the Damned".
I generally stick to Horror/Adventure, though I have tried my hand at fantasy.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

Oh my work is exceedingly cross genre. The Division of the Damned is about vampires working for the Third Reich. The story is absolutely packed with other elements though, things that all help make the story whole. Shalini Boland, a YA author I like, (look up the Marchwood Vampire series) wrote about, "Division",
"I would say it was a cross between Dracula, The Passage and Band of Brothers".
That explains the book perfectly... well it does in my eyes.

Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?

I started "Division" with a great beginning, (which I subsequently discarded) and a brilliant end, but the middle was a bowl of spaghetti.
For my short stories I'm pretty meticulous, but the longer stuff is a bit trial and error.
Let's just say I know the direction I want to go in and what I want to take with me for the end.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
I don't have one.
In my "real world" job I work shifts in a steel works. After early shift I'm normally a zombie, same goes for nights. However, after late shift it's my time to write. I arrive home around 2230 and normally everyone is in bed. I'll eat something and then go for it.

Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?

Bernard Cornwall, I haven't read one bad book with his name on yet. Ken Follett's another I always look out for. Their research is always good but their characters are the hooks that real you in. I tried to emulate them both in that I researched the crap out of what I wanted to put in, but I concentrated mainly on making the characters, the people in the plot, believable and sympathetic, (or obnoxious if the role called for it).
My favourite book? I couldn't say, really. I just love too many.
I'll go for "Pillars of the earth" but it really is just one in a library of faves that could dwarf an Amazon depot.

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I have no career goals in writing, I just want to write as much as I can, as well as I can. If anything comes out of that, all well and good, if not then I won't be hitting the Prozac about it.
However, hope springs eternal, right?

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
X ray vision? Does that count?

If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
Easy, a Succubus. Or does it have to have fur?

Tell us a little about your latest release.
"The Division of the Damned starts in January 1944. Standartenf├╝hrer Marcus Von Struck of the Waffen SS and a Doctor Rasch are sent to Transylvania by Himmler to broker a deal with a vampire Count. The doctor has an untried serum that will enable the Count’s vampires to walk the day, in exchange for their loyalty to the Third Reich. That's basically the underlying plot for the whole story. There are other characters involved, a British spy, the Sumerian demon Lilith, a Teutonic Knight called Michael, Russian soldiers, concentration camp survivors and Jewish werewolves, but the whole tale revolves primarily around that storyline.

What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)
The internet. I know, it sounds awful, but I love it. For me, it's up there with the wheel, the discovery of fire and sliced bread. I really struggle when I can't go online.

Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?
Mmmm, I've tried this already and it didn't really work out. We both had different plans as to where it was heading and though the idea didn't explode in a fury of egos, it just sort of wilted and turned to dust.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?
Ollie Reed!
As a young squaddie, (soldier), I used to hang around with a bunch of drunken reprobates and we used to say that, one day, we'd challenge Ollie Reed to a drinking competition.
It never happened, he would have wiped the floor with us anyway, but it was our fantasy goal as a group and we used toast his name... oh the folly of youth.
What would I ask him?
Simply, are they true? All those tales of drunken, lecherous prowess, were they real? I know this may be a tad, well sordid, but the guy was a hero of ours, (in a comical sense) and everyone else does Elvis, George Washington, Cleopatra, so why not Oliver Reed?

What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?
I play the drums in a Hardcore band. It's only fun, with no plans to do anything serious as we're all shift workers and just about manage to get it together once a week. We're just four dads who refuse to let go of what we like doing. You can check us out on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xObzsiga3ls
But I warn you, we're not playing Pop music and we're not very good.

If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?
Any of the Simon Scarrow, "Eagle" series of books. I love ancient Rome and Scarrow knows his stuff. He's another author I look out for, very similiar to Cornwall and Follett.

What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
I wish I had a talent for spotting the right lottery numbers, as I'm absolutely useless at it.
Then I could give up work and really start to work on what I love, beer... No, just joshing, writing of course!

Favorite color?
Brown, though it sometimes clashes with my hair.

Weather: Hot or cold?

Favorite place to read?

Favorite meal
Curry. I adore Indian food. Actually the whole Indian subcontinent interests me.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink.

If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?

India, a tour of all the forts, castles and palaces of the old Indian princes...
OR Egypt...
...or maybe the ruins of Sumeria, Babylon, Ur, Uruk etc etc.
Or what about Mexico to see the Aztec and Mayan ruins?
This is a damned hard question!
Oh I'll settle for a couple of weeks in Wales to charge my batteries and spend time with the family I left all those years ago.

Many thanks for having me here today and I hope you'll at least check out my book on Amazon... if not, I understand entirely; even my wife hasn't read it yet, (because it's in English and she's German, I hasten to add).
Reggie, (Richard Rhys Jones).

Division of The Damned
By Richard Rhys Jones

Publisher: Taylor Street Publishing

Date of Publication: April 5, 2012

Number of pages:298
Word Count: 90.000

Blurb/Book Description:

It was a brilliant plan to win the war.
What if the Third Reich could own the night?
What if they had a Division of Vampires?
And if those Vampires didn't stop?
If they had plans to conquer the whole world?

Even Heinrich Himmler hadn't thought of that. But in Transylvania someone had. And on the Winter Solstice of 1944, the world would be at their mercy.

Find the Author at:

Chapter 1

They flew from tree to tree, as silent and cold as the churning snow around them. Armed only with blade and tooth, they darted through the night with supernatural grace. The dark held no secrets for them as the day held no mercy and, slick and practised, they spread into formation as the quarry neared.

On a densely wooded hill five miles away from the German lines, a lone Russian guard stamped his feet to ward off the cold. It was the dead man’s stag, two till three, and he was bone tired. They had driven all day before halting to set up the communications post, then he had serviced his wagon, set up the tented area for the officers and helped position the radio masts. Now, after only three hours sleep, he was back on guard duty and he couldn’t see further than his dire need of a cigarette.

The war would soon be over. he reckoned. A couple more months and then he could go back to his hometown. There he would find a wife, start a family and work on a farm or in a factory. He would be a hero and, on family gatherings, he would regale them all with stories of how he single-handedly took on the might of the Fascist army and conquered them.

Like pouncing arachnids, they dropped from the trees on the unsuspecting camp. The lone Russian’s last sensation was the warm gush of blood spurting from his now lacerated throat and the voracious teeth that greedily violated the wound. As the blackness of death dimmed his sight, he heard the first screams of the officers and men he had been guarding as the enemy wreaked carnage and death.

With steel and fang, they killed and fed the way they had always done.

No mercy, only butchery and then gorging on the blood of the fallen.

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  1. Thanks very much for having me on your Blog, I hope your readers like the interview.

  2. Great interview. And thanks for the mention! I think my summary of your book was pretty spot on too ;-)

  3. Fun interview! The Division of the Damned has a very interesting premise - though it's not a genre I normally read - I might just have to give this a try - thanks for the spotlight

  4. I think so too Shalini, lol.
    Maria, nice to meet you and thanks for the comment :-)
    I hope it doesn't disappoint.