About the Book
After finding his family murdered, Matthew Burke is arrested and sentenced to life in prison. The next day he is mysteriously released and given a briefcase of money. Needing answers, Matthew finds a pile of old documents in his house and discovers his wife was once part of an organization called D.R.E.X, who were responsible for hunting and killing supernatural creatures. Even though D.R.E.X had been shut down for years, his wife was murdered just after she tried to reach them. Matthew reluctantly joins with the remnants of her old organization and investigates a new problem arising in France. But the more he discovers, the more he realizes how few people he can trust….
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
First of all, thank you very much for the opportunity to be in the author spotlight. I am a Canadian author living on Vancouver Island. In my spare time, I also review horror books and produce short films with my husband.
What inspired you to write?
My mother was a writer, so it ran in the family, the main difference being that she wrote non-fiction and I wrote fiction. I have been trying to write books ever since I was a kid in class. It didn’t lead to them being published, but it was great practice.
What inspired your novel?
That’s a tough one to answer. In the end, it was a bunch of little ideas that came together. I am a huge fan of both spy and horror genres. It seemed natural to bring them together.
What is the genre?
D.R.E.X Blackout is primarily horror with military action and a dash of mystery thrown in as well.
What draws you to this genre?
A couple of things. For me, horror is more liberating than other genres. The main characters are under no obligation to survive in the book or have a happy ending, which gives me a bit more freedom to work with. At the same time, it is a very easy genre to write in. In fantasy, for example, you normally have to create a great deal of world-building and establish quite a few things before you can write about the actual characters. Horror usually takes place in a very real-world setting, where many things have already been established. And in the end, I simply love horror.
How did you develop your plot and your characters?
Some writers spend a considerable amount of time drafting out an outline for a book. Usually, I have a rough idea of what the main idea is, and what drives each character. I then usually write my favorite scene in the book, and the ideas naturally flow after that.
What inspired your protagonist?
Matthew Burke is a man who has lost everything. His wife and child have been murdered, and he is arrested for their murder. The next day, he is mysteriously released and given a briefcase full of money. Finding answers is what leads him to D.R.E.X.
What inspired your antagonist?
The antagonist, Father Jacobs, is a priest who has lost faith in himself and God. He is simply going through the motions rather than be passionate about anything. When a stranger offers him genuine power, he decides to see where it takes him.
What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Anything that is focused on action is a bit of a challenge for me to write. Since the ending is very action-heavy, that was the last part for me to finish.
What was your favourite part of your book to write?
There is a significant scene where the team arrives at a town and the people inexplicably try to kill them or commit suicide. It also introduces two important characters and overall was a great deal of fun to write.
Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
Unfortunately, I have met very few writers who can successfully write full-time and make ends meet. I myself am a part-time author. My 9-5 job is working in the administrative world providing sales support. In my spare time, however, I also like to produce films with my husband, review books, and learn how to design video games. We always have something to do.
What are you currently reading?
Currently, I run a book review site at http://www.blackhavenreviews.com. At the time of this interview, I am reading the House that Death Built by Michaelbrent Collings. However, I typically read a few books a month.
Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Stephen King is without a doubt my favorite inspiration. I know it’s a bit obvious, but a horror author who is known throughout the world and has several movies after his work is definitely something to aspire to.
How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
I grew up reading J.R.R Tolkien and a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I also love reading anything by Stephen King and my blog has given me an opportunity to read many diverse horror stories. So far my favorite is Massacre of the Mermaids by A.Manzetti.
What are your future projects, if any?
At the moment I have two novellas which are out for consideration with publishers, and I have quite a few book ideas and short stories on the brain. Please check out my facebook for my latest updates. I promise don’t bite… 🙂
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I am the most social on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/natasha.bennett
Otherwise, there is my twitter page: https://twitter.com/Natasha_Bennett
And my goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2963817.Natasha_Bennett
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Be prepared to work hard. Even after you are published, there is still a lot of work goes into editing, marketing, etc. Be sure to also look closely at your contract as well. Being published is a wonderful feeling, but you don’t want to sign away all of your rights at the same time.