Tricia: Today, we’re speaking with Dariel Raye, author of the Dark Sentinels Series and Jordan’s Wings. Hi, Dariel, and thank you coming today. Can you tell us about yourself?
Dariel: I’m a musician, started humming commercials before I could talk, taught piano, voice, high school band, and chorus. Love animals of all kinds, consider blackberries and strawberries some of the best treats known to woman, and still believe love has the power to conquer all evil.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
Dariel: Like many authors, I started writing when I was very young, around 7 or 8, as soon as I learned how to transfer my stories from my imagination to paper, and I used to write short stories and draw paperdolls for my friends.
Tricia: Can you tell us about your Dark Sentinels Series?
Dariel: I could go on about them all day. The sentinels were created by Mother Nature to protect and preserve wildlife. Only two alphas are born to each wolf pack (one male, one female), and they’re bigger, stronger, with even more heightened senses than normal shifters. When they come of age, they have to leave their pack to find mates because their packs don’t want offspring in constant danger in case they’re born sentinels. A deranged geneticist has discovered the existence of shifters and started capturing and experimenting on them, putting the sentinels, always standing at the front lines to protect the pack, in even more danger. Read the blurb and excerpt to get to know a bit more about them.
Sable’s search for his twin sister leads him to Akila. Born into a rare species of wolf shifters whose main purpose is protecting others, he has always been forced to fend for himself, but Akila’s loving, protective nature draws him – and not a moment too soon. Together, they must learn to trust each other enough to overcome a new, deadly enemy.
Real estate lawyer, Stephanie Bates, has risen to the top of her field through meticulous sacrifice and goal setting. She has no time for distractions – and that includes pets, messy relationships, and loose ends.
Torin DuMont is a forensic scientist who chose the profession to avoid dealing with people as much as possible. Raised by a stepfather who hated him, he’s been forced to live a life of solitude, fueled by anger and distrust. When wolves and shifters start turning up dead, Torin must battle an enemy bent on destroying those he was born to protect. His greatest challenge, however, is Attorney Bates and the surprising effect she has on his heart. (READ AN EXCERPT BELOW THE INTERVIEW)
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the books?
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Dariel: I love them all, and all of my heroes, Sable and Torin from “Dark Sentinels” books one and two, Canaan from “The Alerians – Dark Progeny: Jordan’s Wings” (book one) and Gideon, from the upcoming “Gideon’s Light,” sequel to “Jordan’s Wings” have something in common. They’re all big, protective, and possessive. I don’t want to make any of them angry by showing favoritism. LOL
Tricia: Can you tell us about Jordan’s Wings?
Dariel: The Alerians are called dark progeny because they are the descendants of the Biblical Nephilim (angels who defied God and mated with human women). They are vamp-like angels who need human blood to live among humans. This one came from a dream. My Mom and I were talking about the law of supply and demand and how it affects relationships, so I dreamed of a world where there were so many more men than women, that men regarded women as treasures. In Aleria, another realm or dimension, the ratio of men to women is 500 to 1, and only the most powerful males have mates. The series tells the stories of Alerian warriors, working class males who look like angels and break the most sacred law of their brethren by “defecting” to our realm in search of a human mate.
Tricia: Let’s have a look at the cover and blurb for Jordan’s Wings:
Jordan Taylor is a feisty, take charge, Rubinesque beauty with a tough façade, but after a string of lackluster relationships, her dream of a man who truly loves and appreciates her strength seems impossible…Until she meets Canaan, the man her fiancé claims is his best friend! Instinctively, she knows her neat, if lackluster life is about to change.
Born more than 200 years ago, Canaan looks like an angel but he’s far from it. In his world, the ratio of men to women is 500 to 1, and although he’s a superior being, he’s willing to break the most sacred law of his brothers, even drink human blood, to have one meant for him alone.When he meets Jordan, he knows she’s the one he’s been searching for. To claim her, Canaan will have to betray his friend, humble himself enough to win her love, and risk his very life.
Tricia: Which authors have inspired your writing?
Dariel: Tananarive Due and Octavia Butler, definitely. Some of the first books I fell in love with and read over and over were Octavia Butler’s “Kindred” and “Parable of the Sower,” read them as a teen (I know I’m giving away my age. LOL), then Tananarive Due’s “My Soul to Keep,” “The Living Blood,” later, Christine Feehan’s Carpathians captivated me, and more recently, Nalini Singh’s “dark angel” books. Another series favorite is Jacqueline Carey’s “Kushiel” series – beautifully written with world building at its best!
Tricia: Can you tell us about the role music plays in your life?
Dariel: Music is a great passion of mine, and I often wish I’d known what I know now (don’t we all) when I was younger – I would have gone to school in CA to write movie scores. My bachelor’s degree is in piano and vocal performance, I’ve sang in several operas and even had a few principal roles, taught band, chorus, piano, and voice, and presently I’m a Minister of Music at my church, so music has always been a major part of my life. I almost always write to movie scores like “Troy,” “Gladiator,” and “Legends of the Fall.” I composed and performed the video trailer-short “Dark Sentinels” theme. Since I never made it to Hollywood, figured I could make use of my skills in my own little world. 🙂
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Dariel: “Dark Sentinels Book Three: Parrish,” “The Alerians – Dark Progeny: Rehobeth’s Passion” (book three. Book two is with my publisher and should be released soon), “Children of Cain,” another Nephilim series I just started – hoping to complete book one in Nano this year, a Beltane short with my first dragon hero, and another short, “Kaden’s Reprieve,” an erotic paranormal romance.
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Dariel: Read voraciously, take every writing class you can get your hands on, find two or three critique partners (CPs), and start writing to develop your repertoire or backlist before getting swamped by marketing and social media efforts. One of the best ways to develop a loyal audience is by maintaining a steady flow of work to keep them from forgetting about you. When a reader takes a chance on one of your books and wants more, you want to have more for them to read. It takes time for readers to be willing to wait more than a few months for your next book, so it’s best to have at least two or three books ready and available. Don’t expect family and friends to be the extent of your support system. Join some writers’ groups and develop genuine friendships with other writers – they usually become your biggest supporters. Next step – marketing. There are classes for that, too. Just take it one step at a time.
Dariel is a classically trained pianist and vocalist with a degree in piano and vocal performance and a master’s in counseling psychology from The University of Georgia. She also completed studies and passed comprehensives for a Ph.D. (ABD), and tutors algebra and statistics. She loves animals, nature, all things paranormal, and presently lives with 2 large dogs and a passel of black cats. Dariel is currently writing “Dark Sentinels Book Three,” two Nephilim series: “The Alerians – Dark Progeny” and “Children of Cain,” and two short stories, “Kaden’s Reprieve” and “Ashanti’s Becoming: A Summer Quickie.”