Alex Guidry has been called to Mexico to help solve a ritualistic murder that has taken place on the grounds of an ancient Mayan temple. Is it tied to the multi-national company that is drilling for oil nearby or something greater?
The 8th Doll is a fast paced thriller that uses aspects of Mayan architecture, geology, and the 2012 apocalyptic prophecy to weave a story that will keep you turning pages until the last chapter.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Absolutely. The 8th Doll was actually inspired by a trip to the
. I was standing in front of the Yucatan of the 7 Dolls and just marveling at how the Mayans built something so amazing. My first book, Tears for the Mountain was also inspired by a trip that I took to Temple . I find that writing is so much easier when you can clearly picture what is happening in your mind, and I love to read books that talk about the small details that truly paint a picture for you. I love when readers tell me, “I felt like I was there with you!” Haiti
I have been very fortunate to have traveled extensively during my life. I filled up the last passport I had, sent it back to the State Department to get additional pages inserted, and then I filled those up, too.
Mongolia, Lithuania, and are probably the best places I’ve been, and the people there are all very nice. My wife and I try to take one trip out of the country every year, and we are looking forward to going to Turkey next year. Germany
Probably the one place I haven’t been that I would like to go to is
. Aside from the fact that I’m a huge fan of Morocco Casablanca, the landscape and people in just are so beautiful and fascinating. Morocco Morocco has beaches, mountains, and of course the Sahara. It might be the desert draw for me – I’m from Los Angeles, which is nothing but a big desert, and I’ve gone exploring in the and loved it. There’s just something amazing about sitting on a camel atop a sand dune. Gobi Desert
Well, the next release is the second book in the Alex Guidry series. It’s called The Eye of Siam and is about a jewel heist in
. There have been a couple of books that I’ve read that used flashbacks really well to drag me into the story and want to know what happened before. Steig Larssen and Joseph Heller both really are excellent at that, and I tried to use that element when I wrote The 8th Doll. There are references to things that happened in Thailand Thailand, Eastern Europe, and of course there’s the cliff hanger ending to the book. That’s pretty much the basis for the next 3 in this series. Eye of Siam covers what happened in Thailand, and I have yet to title the book on Eastern Europe or the final book, but I do have the plots outlined already. Those two will probably be out in 2013.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to a wonderful woman, and we live in
Western Oklahoma. I have an older brother who just finished his first book, and he and his wife live in with my niece, who is 2 and pretty much runs everything these days. A lot of the writing bug in our family comes from my mom who was the editor of her college newspaper and always made sure we were reading and writing something good when we were kids. When I think of my dad, the first or second image that pops into my mind is him reading a Tom Clancy novel, or anything else that pits a US spy against the USSR/terrorists/some generic governmental bad guys. It’s a very fun family, and we pretty much don’t take anything seriously. When my brother and I get together it’s like a bad mash-up between vaudeville and stand-up. Los Angeles
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I’m pretty sure I changed my mind every week when I was asked that question. I’m sure it ranged from being an astronaut to making table candles. I don’t remember all of the phases, but I do remember one of those conversations when I was six. In 1st grade, our teacher, Mrs. Whalen, went around the room and asked us what we wanted to be. Kids said all the usual stuff: policeman, fireman, president. My best friend, Chad Smouse, raised his hand and said, “I wanna be a DINOSAUR!” I’ll never forget the look on Mrs. Whalen’s face as she tried to muffle her laugh and explain to Chad that we can be anything we want when we grow up…except dinosaurs.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
First I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut. Then I re-read the review to make sure that’s what was really said. Then I email my older brother and say, “Can you believe they said that?” And when he writes back and says, “Be glad you were reviewed, and write better next time,” I tend to forget it and move on.
I think of writing the same way I think of sports. You’re not perfect all the time, so accept the mistakes and improve going forward. Kobe Bryant doesn’t make 100% of the shots he takes in a basketball, and 100% of the words I write aren’t going to be brilliant. The onus of improvement is on me, not the reviewer.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
I was just loading an Avett Brother’s album when I read this question! I listen to a ton of music all the time, but it really depends on the mood I’m in and what I’m trying to accomplish. If I’m really exhausted and need to write, I might put in some old Rush, like Spirit of Radio. If I need to focus down, it could be Avett Brother’s or Dr. John (I saw them both at a show in New
this year, so in my mind they’re tied together). When I’m already in the zone and need to just plow through 10,000 words in one sitting, then it’s either Counting Crows, The Highwaymen, or The Killers Day and Age. Those three groups just let me zone out and go someplace else in my mind. Orleans
More than once in my life I’ve been in a band as a guitarist. A pipe dream of mine is to jam with Stephen King and Dave Barry at a dive bar in
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
Yes, I have a set formula: think of an interesting story, outline it, and write it out. That’s pretty much it. I don’t like the idea of having the same plot with different characters and settings because I think it would get boring for me and my readers. I’d rather each book be very different and feature different things. For example, in the Alex Guidry series, the first book is action-thriller, the second is like a summer block-buster movie. The third is very dark, and the final one is…well, wait – I need to leave something for people to be excited about! The last one is top secret!
Do you play any sports?
I love to play sports, and I love competition. Unfortunately, I am no longer 18, so I usually regret it the next day. I ran track and played basketball in high school, but now I usually just work out in the gym and scuba dive when I can. It’s a little hard here in
, but there are some good lakes and springs to dive. It’s a little different from when I used to drive down to the Keys in Oklahoma and spend a weekend blowing bubbles with sharks, but I still love it. Florida
Who should play you in a film of your life?
I would like to think it would be Brad Pitt, but Zack Galifinakis is probably more accurate.
Do you have a Website or Blog?
I post regularly to www.facebook.com/chrisrakunas
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Chris Rakunas is the 2012 Silver Winner at the Dearborn Street Book Festival. A native of Southern California, he grew up in
Costa Mesa, CA, later moving to Berekeley to attend the . While earning a Bachelor's in Molecular and Cell Biology there, he was initiated into Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity, the first non-discriminatory Fraternity. University of California
After living in the San Francisco Bay Area for 8 years, he moved to
Los Angeles to attend USC's of business where he earned an MBA. Marshall School
Rakunas spent 6 months travelling the world after finishing business school, including time climbing the Great Wall of China, living on the steppes of
Mongolia, traveling on the trans-Siberian railroad, hitchhiking through the Baltic states, and living in . Istanbul
He is currently married and lives in
Western Oklahoma where he teaches.
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