Today WerewolfBook.com interviews Domino Finn Author of the Sycamore Moon Book Series. The first book The Seventh Sons is available for Free at this Amazon Link. ISBN 978-0692317068 ASIN: B00IWFPCXA The Three book collection can be found on Kindle or Audible at this Amazon Link. ASIN: B01DP1R92C
About the Sycamore Moon Book Series:
Homicide detective Maxim Dwyer is tired of small-town secrets. The residents of Sanctuary, Arizona whisper of creatures in the woods of Sycamore, a sprawling wildlife area undisturbed by the progress of the modern world.
Diego de la Torre is the latest stranger drawn to the mountain town. The brash biker is used to skirting the law, but his clashes with the local motorcycle club might make his stay a short one.
Together, detective and outlaw make an unlikely pair, but they aren’t the only ones under the Sycamore moon that are more than they seem. Criminals, bikers, and dirty cops are one thing, but Maxim and Diego quickly learn there are even worse things in the wild.
This box set contains the first 3 Sycamore Moon novels:
- The Seventh Sons
- The Blood of Brothers
- The Green Children
Think Supernatural, Sons of Anarchy, and X-Files wound into taut thrillers that don’t let up.
About the Author:
Domino Finn is an entertainment industry veteran, a contributor to award-winning video games, and the grizzled Urban Fantasy author of the best-selling Black Magic Outlaw series. His stories are equal parts spit, beer, and blood, and are notable for treating weighty issues with a supernatural veneer. If Domino has one rallying cry for the world, it’s that fantasy is serious business.
Now the Interview Questions:
Question: What inspired you to create Werewolf Bikers?
Answer: Ah, the eternal question. To some extent I think it’s a natural fit. You have a pack of nomads living outside the law. The wild Sycamore forest lends itself to winding, open roads and dark detours. Despite being fantasy, my novels focus heavily on the human elements involved, so I wanted a group that could be intimidating without blatantly showing their claws, so to speak.
Question: Please tell us about the process you went through in creating the Audio versions of your books.
Answer: Audio is fun but it’s a learning curve. My current process has matured quite a bit. Casting is important, making sure the main character dialog sounds right. Narrative should convey the proper ambiance and attitude too. I whip up a character sheet with all the important points outlined for my narrator, and ideally we’ll have a phone conversation before recording begins to cover theming and motivations. It really is a partnership between two artists. That’s what makes it so exciting.
Question: What was your inspiration for the dive bar Sycamore Lodge (for example a bar in Cave Creek, Arizona)?
Answer: First off, a road trip to Flagstaff, AZ most definitely inspired the overall setting. I was amazed at the amount of green so close to the Grand Canyon. It turns out Arizona’s not just a giant desert.
That said, Sycamore Lodge is actually based on a roadhouse in Ojai, CA called Deer Lodge. My version’s a little more rough and remote, of course.
Question: Why did you decide to frame the werewolves as a carrier of disease tracked by the Center for Disease Control?
Answer: The first thing readers will notice about this series is how gritty and grounded it is. Sycamore Moon takes after police procedurals in the vein of Harry Bosch, so showcasing a bleak and depressing world is a requirement. The supernatural elements provide tremendous flavor, but the books focus just as heavily on the monsters among men.
With this in mind, a measured, realistic approach to werewolves was necessary. The disease, like rabies, is deadly but easily vaccinated against. The high fatality rate further prevents exponential outbreaks of werewolves. Still, these are sick people and not simple monsters so the CDC is tasked with staying on top of the situation. The secret federal involvement provides enough intrigue and believability against an otherwise authentic backdrop.
Question: How do you approach Cover Design?
Answer: I hire the best in the business. James Egan has a unique eye for composition and really makes my covers stand out. It’s absolutely essential to nail the genre. The sum point of a cover is telling your target audience this book is for them and to excite them. I think books 2 and 3 in the series really hit the crime note that I wanted. The first book, The Seventh Sons, could actually hit that target better.
Question: Please explain how your werewolves work?
Answer: There are two sides to this. To start, I wanted to make werewolves cool even when in human form. It’s something vampires often pull off, looking badass but normal, so I wanted my wolves to have a little of that. They’re stronger than most people and have amazing endurance and resistance to injury. Any wounds they do incur tend to be nagging more than fatal, and when they turn to wolves they immediately regenerate to complete health.
The other part of this is their actual transformation. Like the cursed men of yore, my werewolves can’t control their change, but it happens twice a month instead of once. My turning is timed by the Earth, moon, and sun being perfectly aligned (which means every full moon AND new moon). It also doesn’t necessarily happen at night. Each instance of these moons has a peak alignment period – think the whole planet at once regardless of whether you’re on the side with light or shadow (day or night). So that’s more subtle science I inject into the mythos.
Question: How would you contrast your books to the Sons of Anarchy series?
Answer: This is an apt comparison, and one my readers made before I did. On the surface both series are about biker gangs. Dig deeper and you’ll find multiple allegiances and shades of morality.
That said, Sycamore Moon has three hearts: one is the detective story a la Harry Bosch, one is the outlaw tale a la Sons of Anarchy, and one is the unbridled monster book. This is a lot more than just outlaws trying to beat the law.
Question: How can the werewolves in your book be killed or die?
Answer: The Seventh Sons opens with a motorcycle accident. The victim is a werewolf who comes away with multiple lacerations and breaks. The trick is, he stabilizes. Werewolves in this universe are essentially super soldiers. They can definitely be hurt but they’re unlikely to be killed without overwhelming force, even in their human form. For example, there’s an instance in the series where a bullet fails to penetrate a werewolf’s skull.
Now, if we’re talking silver, it’s a whole different ballgame. Silver in real life is bioactive – it kills bacteria. This stymies some of the beneficial effects of lycanthropy (like strength and regeneration). Essentially, in the bloodstream it makes the powerful werewolf very human.
Question: Please explain a little about your process from writing, to editing, to promoting your books.
Answer: I always outline in detail first. This is more about stories and characters than anything else.
When it comes time to write the first draft, I plow ahead and finish the whole thing without getting too buried in details. Of course, police procedurals are research-heavy. It’s difficult to write an autopsy scene unless you’re intimately familiar with the process. Mysteries, also, take a lot of vetting to ensure that there aren’t any plot holes, that everyone has believable motivations, and the reveals are hinted at without being too obvious. It’s a time-consuming balancing act.
The next revision pass is about working out notes I’ve made along the way. I may have realized a better way for something to play out. Instead of going back and correcting errors, I jot them down and push forward. So there’s a lot of deletion and rewriting on my next draft.
After that I should have a full story that makes sense from beginning to end. I do additional passes to smooth out the language and that kind of thing before sending it off to my editor and responding to his suggestions.
I’ve been all over the place as far as promotion. If you’ve read about it, I’ve probably tried it (unless it’s unethical or spammy). Nowadays I release organically, without any promo, and simply package my book in the best way possible to find my fans. That means the cover, blurb, concept, and sample need to be flawless.
Question: It was refreshing to see that the second book The Blood Brothers was significantly longer than the first book. Please explain why that was.
Answer: The Seventh Sons was initially conceived as a short story. (The opening sequence, The Sighting.) I decided to add to it and eventually mapped out a full storyline, but at the time I didn’t have a target length in mind. It was also my first-ever novel so it seemed long to me.
By the time I got to The Blood of Brothers I was more experienced and had a meaty story to tell. Adding a new character really fleshed out an untold story but it resulted in a hefty book (my longest to date). This novel, above any others, is the purest police procedural I’ve ever written.
Question: What made you decide to include werewolves in your story?
Answer: From the beginning, I was interested in writing a grounded take on a fantastical element, so something supernatural was inevitable. As to why werewolves and not vampires or something else? I think it’s because lots of other creatures have really cool modern treatments, but there hasn’t been (in my opinion) a lot in recent pop culture that has done werewolves justice. Vampires, for better or worse, have graduated past horror movies, but werewolves really haven’t. I wanted to change that.
Question: What is your approach for writing convincing characters of different heritage and cultures?
Answer: Research is important, of course, but the main thing is people are people. If you’re gonna write believable characters, you need to make sure they have complicated pasts and motivations. We’re all full of desires and dreams. We all delude ourselves and want things we can’t have. Capturing a person’s culture is important but it’s not necessarily their defining trait.
Question: Who or what are the Green Children?
Answer: Well, that’s the whole mystery, isn’t it?
There’s a 12th-century English legend about a pair of children who mysteriously showed up in a village. They spoke an unknown language and their skin was tinged green. I don’t really attempt to explain these events as much as I took inspiration from them. Children in Sycamore are going missing and residents witness strange sightings. It’s another case for Maxim and Diego.
Question: Would you say the third book is the darkest in the series with elements of serial killers and cannibalism?
Answer: Without a doubt. This book dials back the police presence a bit and focuses more on vigilante justice. It’s a kidnapping thriller at heart, and with that premise comes dark themes. Each book in the series introduces new supernatural elements to Sycamore, and I wanted this addition to feel especially heinous. The Green Children is a captivating slow burn.
Question: What excites you most in the literary world right now?
Answer: The fact that I’m an author who makes a living off my work is really amazing for me. You have this idea that growing a fan base can only come after ten years of publisher rejection. I’ve been in creative fields for a while, but mostly technical stuff like professional game development so this career change was a huge pivot. The fact that I skirted the traditional system and found readers says a lot about the opportunities out there today.
Question: What are you working on next?
Answer: My newer series is classic urban fantasy. Audacious, over the top, everything and the kitchen sink as far as fantasy elements. Black Magic Outlaw follows a wizard through the streets of Miami as he searches for revenge and resolution. It’s fun, action-packed, and (most importantly) riddled with magic.
The series was conceived as a five-book story arc and I’m just wrapping up that last book now. That means pretty soon you can get a lot more reading material with a satisfying ending.
You can check out the awesome artwork for those covers and my latest projects at DominoFinn.com.