Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway Dragonfly: A Novel by Ronnell D. Porter

Published: October 21st, 2013


On the nights when 22-year-old Jessica Parker dreams, she relives one hellish memory—the day she was viciously raped in the woods by a man with a dragonfly tattoo. She wakes up feeling like the helpless child she used to be, and sinks back into her day-to-day life with her jaded mother, her mother’s live-in boyfriend and drug-dealer, Arnie, and her young sister, Rachel. Life seems stable enough for a while, and she almost believes that she can achieve some semblance of normality. That is until she catches word from Detective Sam Hayden that the monster that shattered her life has been released from prison. 

Jessica is asked to relive her nightmarish ordeal again in order to help Hayden unravel an underground network of child sex-slave trafficking known as Dragonfly. This network hides the face of a serial killer he’s been hunting for ten years, and Jessica may hold the key to finding his identity. Together they follow every lead and struggle to unveil the dragonflies hidden among them behind the guise of neighbors, friendly strangers—even officers of the law—before another victim vanishes in a web that leaves no trace behind.

Thank you, Mr. Ronnell D. Porter
Your previous books are in the Fantasy/Paranormal area. Why the change and how was to write a mystery/thriller that takes place in “real” world?
- As you get older your interests change, and over the last year or so I suppose I've been less and less interested in the paranormal realm and more interested in what takes place in reality. I guess I also needed a break from the fantasy genre, since that's all I'd written before, and thought going a completely different direction would help rekindle inspiration - and it did. It reminded me of why I love building characters and I
took care to be true to them in their journey and their endeavors.

Rape, child- slavery - they are not easy subjects, but ones that are hard to talk about. How could you transform them in a successful story that people will want to read?
I think reality draws us in. All fantasy villains are based on the worst people we've known in history, or personally, and even then, they're just shadows in comparison to what real human beings think, conspire, and do. And I think when it comes to the subject of rape, of human trafficking, or child abuse, there's a social taboo that I, for one, had had enough of hearing, which is: what happened to you was horrible, but no one wants to hear about it. Your story is too uncomfortable or disturbing, it might bother others, so just don't talk about it. Well, I want to talk about it, I want to get it out, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

What is the significance of the title – tattoo?
It's a bit of a major spoiler, but has to do with the founding of the human trafficking network in the story. As for the inspiration, a family friend from my childhood had a dragon tattoo. He had gone to prison for sexual assault not long after my mother and I had left town, and when I looked him up via the state sex-offender registry, he had been released from his ten year prison early on parole and currently lived in a halfway house. And in this halfway house, eight other individuals lived with him, two of which also had dragon tattoos and had served prison time for similar crimes. Now I couldn't really have my characters running around with dragon tattoos for obvious reasons, but I thought 'if they happened to share tattoos that weren't quite as common as a dragon, what could that connection mean?'

A manager at a nearby game store that I frequented with my friends had a dragonfly tattoo on his right wrist that wrapped around like a bangle. I told him about the project and story idea, asked if he would mind me taking his tattoo and running with the idea in the story, he said it was totally fine. So the dragon became a dragonfly, because a dragonfly tattoo is common enough to be considered a coincidence, but not so common that three individuals who served prison time for the same crime living under one roof could seem suspicious.

You said that “a novel written simply to entertain does its readers a disservice”. What do you think about „grant us a little more wisdom” in a pleasant, entertaining way? And can an Urban Fantasy story „change the way we perceive the world around us”?
Those are the bestsellers, of course; they are universally entertaining either by humor, by action sequences, by suspense - but there's a point to the story, it wasn't written just to have explosions in it. I once read a vampire novel that stumbled all over the place with no real point to anything that happened. A detective was attacked by a vampire, he sought revenge, and the next few hundred pages were just about him sniffing them out and killing them. He didn't learn anything, he didn't grow, I certainly didn't take anything from it, and overall I read through it just to reach the end. That's the type of book I think does a reader a disservice. There is no wisdom to impart, no lessons to be found, not even a tender moment to carry with you, or a string to pull sympathy out of your heart for this character.

Urban Fantasy novels are my favorite in the genre - I think I prefer them because characters (usually) endure problems we can all related to. It's not so far a stretch to empathize with them as in the average high-end fantasy. And I think they tie into our desire to believe that in our world there are fantastic magical secrets just waiting to be unraveled.

What is your opinion about gore and tension/suspense in a thriller story?
Gore had never really affected growing up because I was raised by an avid horror fan. So over the years I could watch gory films without batting an eye, even while eating dinner. But with gore in literature it's a different story, and I've really only learned that in the last five years or so. When you're seeing in film, you know it's all makeup and effects and the actor/actress is playing the part. With a book, you're reading it as though this character is a real person, and you've been intimate with them, been inside of their head, and care about them. So it's a bit more of a shock in a book, in my opinion. But I thought if I'm going to write this kind of story, I'm not going to play it safe, so I took the story exactly where I wanted to, gruesom as it may be.

Thanks so much for giving me the time and space, I hope to swing by here again in the near future!


The interior of the car was quite lavish; the lush, soft leather seats were heated and the temperature of the cab was programmed on a large LED screen on the dashboard. Rachel could see it clearly from her seat behind the driver, a man she’d never met nor seen before that morning. But Arnie said that he was a friend and that she could trust him. Besides, he said that Jess wasn’t feeling well, and without her presence in the morning walk to the bus stop the ritual lost its magic. Plus, driving up in a luxurious vehicle that looked as though it could belong to the POTUS himself would make her the envy of the day. Kids in school would look through their classroom windows and see the man open the door for her. She would hold her head high like she was the queen of the freaking playground and sashay all the way down the path to the entrance. Sissy Renner would lose her mind with jealousy, and that alone was worth the extravagant entrance.
“Have you known Arnie long?” Rachel asked. She couldn’t even see the back of his head from where she sat, but she could see his eyes in the rearview mirror. It was difficult to tell if they were blue or gray, and the lack of any sort of mood behind his lashes made those beautiful eyes somewhat depressing.
He reached over and opened the glove compartment. He lifted a small bottle of water over his shoulder, waggling his hand until she took it. He snapped the compartment shut and then set his eyes on the road. “You looked thirsty,” he said. His accent gave his words rhythm, and he pronounced his vowels in the back of his throat, unlike anything she’d heard before. “Oh, I’ve known Arnold about seven years now. My name is Olav.”
Rachel looked down at the bottle. She was a little thirsty, and she would have been more than happy to take a drink, were it not for the fact that the cap had already been opened. The tiny little plastic bridges all the way around the cap had been snapped. She shook the water as modestly as she could. There were little white flecks and particles floating around. Were it tap water, she might have excused them, but she’d never seen anything floating freely in bottled filtered water before. It settled like dust at the bottom, dissolving a little more each time she shook it.
When she looked up, she saw him staring right into her eyes. It startled her, made her chest ache and her hands run cold. But she ran a hand through her hair to pretend as though everything was okay, and untwisted the cap of the water bottle. She held it up to her lips, tipped it up, but kept the water from entering her mouth. When she wiped her lips and smiled, he nodded contently and returned to watching the road. She spun the cap back onto the bottle and stared out the window.
This wasn’t the road to her school. This street would eventually curve in the opposite direction. She ground her teeth and tried not to jump to conclusions, but she couldn’t ignore the facts. She’d been handed tampered water, which had been laced with God only knew what, and this man—this stranger—was taking her somewhere far away from where he was supposed to.

She’d been taken. She wasn’t an idiot, she knew the signs. She’d been stupid enough to trust the word of a man she’d only known a year—a drug addict and dealer—just like the girls in all of the Stranger Danger Awareness videos she’d sat through at school. She couldn’t believe she’d been so naive. But, as much as her teachers had done to educate them in how to avoid being kidnapped, she had no idea what she should do next. No one ever told you what to do when you became one of the unlucky ones. What was the drug that he’d tried to slip her, and what would he be expecting it to do to her within the next few minutes? What would he do if he found out that she hadn’t taken even a sip? Who was he, and why had Arnie sent her away with him? Where had her mother been all morning? Was Jess really sick? Would she make it home? Was this man going to kill her?

About the author:
Ronnell D. Porter was raised in Ogden, Utah, and now resides in Denver, Colorado. During his free time he plays the violin, dabbles in graphic design, and, of course, thoroughly enjoys writing stories. He believes that a novel written simply to entertain does its readers a disservice; instead, a book’s narrative should always change the way we perceive the world around us, and grant us a little more wisdom than we had when starting the story.

Author's US/INT Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bianca said...

That's a fantastic giveaway!!!
Thank you so much!!!!

Unknown said...

I love books based on reality. Being a sociologist/psychologist, I studied the types of crimes your book is based upon. The world is an ugly place; your novel sounds like it is written in a way that addresses dealing with the ugliness in an interesting and compelling fashion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the giveaway! So cool that secret prize.
The book is interesting, but I don't like so much that subject. The cover it's scarry me.

Unknown said...

That's a fantastic giveaway!!!
Thank you so much!!!!

Unknown said...

omg Dragonfly sounds so goo!!! I was gonna ask the author if i could read and review but i think ill wait and see if i win.. lol Thanks for the giveaway!!!

nurmawati djuhawan said...

thx u for INT giveaway :)