Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bad Juju Book Tour: Dina Rae Interview

Bad Juju Book Tour: Dina Rae Interview

Title: Bad Juju
Author: Dina Rae
Genre: Dark, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Thriller, Young-Adult, (R-Rated although teens would love it)
Publisher: Amazon
Words: 93,000


Amazon |

Book Description:

Lucien Nazaire flees his Haitian homeland and meanders around the United States for decades.  He settles in a Wisconsin trailer park filled with elderly tenants.  He meets Jake, his teenage neighbor, and hires him for odd household jobs.  As their relationship progresses, Lucien invites the boy into the world of Voodoo.

Jake LaRue lives in foster care with his abusive uncle.  The Voodoo lessons give him a sense of power within an otherwise helpless situation.  Although the boy is a loner, he feels an instant connection with his classmate, Henry, and introduces him to Lucien.
Henry Novak has Asperger’s Syndrome.  He fixates on historical events, most recently the 2010 Haitian earthquake.  Like Jake, he becomes passionate about the dark side of Voodoo.  They learn how to cast spells on those they hate and lust, leading up to dire consequences.

Several months after the Haitian earthquake, Henry convinces his family to volunteer with their church in the island's reconstruction.  Their mission turns into a nightmare when he mysteriously walks off of the campsite.

Bad Juju is a balance of horror, romance, and literary fiction intended for ages fifteen and up.   Research about the Voodoo religion, shapeshifting, zombies, and possession and themes of redemption and loneliness emerge throughout the plot.

Interview with Dina Rae:

1. Tell us a little about your own personal background. 
I was working full-time as a teacher but then got laid-off. I currently substitute teach and work as a chess instructor for kids. I am married with children, a Christian, avid tennis player, dog lover, and lover of fiction.

2. How has your experience in teaching been helpful to your writing? 
 Some writers tend to overwrite-too many details, too many characters, etc. I under-write and need to go back and give details, forgetting that the reader does not see the movie in my mind. One of my biggest problems that my first editor pointed out was extensive use of "that", "all", "just", and "however". LOL-I'm improving my craft. As an author I can never read another book again without noticing how the author puts the story together, ends the chapters, introduces the characters, etc. It takes me out of the story, but helps me learn my likes and dislikes.

3. Bad Juju is a cross-genre novel. Is that something you strove for from the outset? Or did you start out intending a specific genre and then it changed during the process of writing? 
No, I didn't want it to be a pure horror novel. My characters are very intentional. Hoping to appeal to paranormal, romance, and suspense lovers.

4. Talk about a couple things that might have surprised or fascinated you about Voodoo, regarding your research for this book. 
Voodoo is one bizarre religion! I read many books and watched many movies/videos/specials about Haitian Voodoo to get my lead character and the religion right. I found the possessions really fascinating-people walking on hot coals, putting flames down their throats, dancing when can barely walk, speaking different languages, etc. all amazing. Those who burned themselves didn't have any marks on them. There is something to it. Scientists try to explain mind of matter/hypnosis as the reason, but I don't buy that at all. There is something to every religion. One of my favorite books for research was Wade Davis's The Serpent and the Rainbow. He was a Harvard professor that went down to Haiti to find a plant he and his pharmaceutical employer believed acted as an anesthetic. He came back to the states with firsthand account of the supernatural happenings at Voodoo ceremonies.

5. Are you the type of author who is a heavy outliner or not when it comes to the plot, given that your book has many twists and turns in it? 
A little bit both. I don't have an outline as I begin, but then use one to help guide me to the finish.

6. Bad Juju, and other works of yours like Halo of the Damned, draw in spiritual/religious/supernatural elements. Are there any particular themes in this area that you like to explore? 
 Yes, my other novel has plenty of Christian prophecy in it as well. Religion fascinates me. I believe in God and believe that evil is a force we are all faced with. Heaven and Hell are real places.

7. Are you going to be doing anything else with the characters in Bad Juju or is this strictly a stand alone novel? 
Great question! Don't know yet. Currently working on a sequel for Halo of the Damned. Although the novel stands alone, I could keep it going. Time will tell.

8. Asking you to be a little self-critical here, in what areas do you feel you grew stronger as a writer in creating Bad Juju? 
I think that my work is very plot driven. I get too caught up in the story and often short-change the development of the characters. While writing Bad Juju I really made a conscious effort to humanize my characters. I want the reader to connect with them and then let the plot run its course. My first draft was 85,000 words and then I went back and gave them feelings, back stories, better dialogue that fits their personalities, and revealed their thoughts when it was their POV. It's now 93,000 words. Hope it worked. I felt the main characters were my "friends" once the book was finished-how sick is that? LOL!

9. Turning to the career side of things for a moment, what are the toughest things for you about being an author in today's publishing climate? Conversely, what are some of the better aspects?
The toughest is promoting. I'm both "traditionally" published and self-published. Seems to be little difference in terms of promoting-it all falls on my shoulders. Budgets are small, so a great deal of time is put into free or inexpensive types of things to help promote my books. Really like blog tours and radio bookings. Would love to afford glossy magazine ads, TV, and banners for high-traffic sites. I remember when James Patterson advertised his novels on TV-shows the power of the airwaves. The best part of writing is the wonderful people who I've "virtually" met. Really having fun in this online/artistic community and so happy to be a part of it. And of course writing it the best part of being a writer. It's a compulsion that I hope I never have to give up.

10. What's next for you in terms of book or short story releases for 2013? 
 I wrote one earlier this year called Be Paranoid Be Prepared. It's up on Amazon and been published in the Windy City Magazine. I don't have any shorts in my planner, but would love to write one about doomsday prepping-kind of a fascination with me. I'm even sort of crossing over to the other side. Got a bug-out-bag and looking at how much a PSS (primary shelter site) would cost. Might go even farther.

11. Do you have any last comments for readers here? 

Thank you so much for having me. My links are:

Dina Rae's Blog
BadJuJu on Amazon
The Last Degree on Amazon
Halo of the Damned on Amazon

About the Author:
Dina Rae is a new author here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots. Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character. Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs. When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.

Website | Blog | Twitter: @haloofthedamned | The Last Degree | Halo of the Damned

Try out a sample of Dina's writing! Here's an excerpt from Bad JuJu:
Jake rolled out of bed and army crawled to the doorway. Looking through the opening that separated the door from the carpeting, he saw Leah’s head bloodied. She lay limp on the floor. Pete stopped hitting her. His whole demeanor changed. With a wolfish expression, he began to unbuckle his belt. Rhianna’s screams got closer. She must have darted to the other side of the living room, putting her smack-dab in front of Jake’s bedroom door. He could now see her foot. It partially blocked his view. Shit! Can’t get involved! If I open the door…

“Pete, what the hell is a matter with you? Stop it! She’s passed out. You beat her into a coma, man! And now you’re gonna…Sober up and think of what you’re doing! Right in front of your daughter!” T.J. yelled.

Is he suicidal? Jake knew his uncle would make T.J. regret his words. Like Leah, T.J. was small. He was filled with faults, but violence was not one of them. On perfect cue, Jake could hear his uncle’s bare fists hooking T.J. in the jawbone. Rhianna’s screams turned into full-blown hysteria. The poor girl was hyperventilating while desperately grasping Jake’s locked doorknob for refuge. I don’t want to be involved! Go back to your closet and lay still!

“Jakey, Jakey, pwwweeeze!” Rhianna sobbed. Jake couldn’t take her suffering any longer. Quickly unlocking the door, he grabbed the little girl and pulled her inside his room and then relocked the door.

The living room had grown eerily quiet. Jake had a difficult time hearing while Rhianna wailed. “It’s okay now. Try to be quiet,” he whispered, straining to hear. Nothing but silence was on the other side of his door. His heart rate doubled. Always quiet before the storm. Was it over? Or was I next? He slid on his gym shoes, took a can of Comet cleaner from his bathroom, and crept up to the only window in the room. It was small, but Jake knew he could fit through. Then came the sound he was waiting for. Click, click, click. Pete was delicately trying to open the door. He now knew it was locked.


  1. Thank you Dina! It is a real pleasure to have you featured on the site today!

  2. This sounds really intriguing--you're hitting several of my favorite interests with Aspergers, religion, mystery and more...