Monday, May 26, 2014

A Darker Rain by Claudine Kapel - Interview/Giveaway

“It’s definitely not a good time to be going into the woods of Hawkley Ridge.”

When a red-eyed wildcat starts threatening ranchers in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan Cole recognizes the danger is far more menacing than the ranchers realize. Cole specializes in tackling unconventional security threats, particularly those with alien origins.

His investigation puts him in the crosshairs of Antoine Drake, an international arms dealer with a penchant for weapons from other worlds. Both men are hot on the trail of powerful alien artifacts known as guardian stones.

Cole and his team of investigators embark on a dangerous quest to recover the guardian stones before they can be assembled into the ultimate alien weapon. To succeed, Cole must also decipher the wildcat’s deadly secrets.

But in the woods of Hawkley Ridge, it’s easy for the hunter to become the prey.

A Darker Rain is the first book in the Ryan Cole series.

Suddenly Cole stopped, raising his hand to halt Dalton’s progress. He heard something. It sounded like a growl, off to the left of the path. The forest became deathly quiet. The night creatures were also aware of the danger in their midst.

Cole reached for his gun. He sensed Dalton doing the same. The cool metal in his hand was reassuring, although he couldn’t forget what the leopard had done to Scofield.

Then he saw the shadowy figure, maybe twenty yards away. Red eyes watching him in the darkness, but well shielded by the forest.

Cole remained still, pondering his options. Memories of countless military operations that had unfolded in forests and jungles flickered through his mind. He had faced many opposing forces in his life, but never anything quite like this.

Cole knew they weren’t in a position to get a good shot, not with trees and brush in the way. He hoped the leopard’s options were equally limited. The animal was large as far as wildcats went, so it was unlikely it could advance through the brush with ease.

Suddenly the red eyes were gone. Within moments, sounds of life returned to the forest.

Cole heard Dalton exhale.

“What the hell was that?” asked Dalton in a whisper.

“A genetic nightmare on four legs,” replied Cole.

To get started, can you tell us what you are working on or have coming out?

My first novel, A Darker Rain, was recently published and I’m now busy working on the next two books in the series.

The series follows a team of investigators who tackle unconventional security threats, including those posed by beings and technology from other worlds.

In the first book, Ryan Cole and his team are on a mission to recover five alien artifacts known as guardian stones. But others are hot on the trail of the artifacts as well, including international gunrunner Antoine Drake, who will stop at nothing to secure the stones to augment his own power base.

Cole’s search for the stones leads him to assist a group of ranchers who are being threatened by a red-eyed leopard. Cole knows an alien threat when he sees one, and he knows the ranchers are in far greater danger than they realize.

To succeed in recovering all the guardian stones, Cole and his team must not only cross swords with dangerous adversaries, but also unlock the secrets of the mysterious wildcat.

The series follows Cole’s continuing adventures as he learns more about the alien presence on Earth, gains new allies, and faces new adversaries, both human and otherwise.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I love to travel and there are still many places that I want to see. There’s a certain magic that can be accessed by traveling. New worlds open up to be explored. And each place has its own unique characters and stories.

Some of my target destinations are somewhat conventional. I’d like to see more of Europe, including England, Ireland and Spain. I’d also like to visit Paris and Amsterdam again.

I’m very much drawn to places with a powerful sense of history and breathtaking natural beauty. So my travel bucket list also includes an Alaskan cruise as well as visiting Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands.

I’ve been to Africa, where I had the opportunity to visit a wildlife preserve. It was very exciting to see elephants, rhinos and giraffes – as well as a lion – in their natural habitat. But we didn’t see any leopards.

How important is the location or sense of place in your books?

A sense of place is very important in the books. In A Darker Rain, the action unfolds in various locations across the U.S. Pacific Northwest as Cole and his team make strides to recover powerful alien artifacts while also investigating the mysterious wildcat.

The physical environment is a vital element of the story as it contributes to the challenges the team must overcome to succeed in its mission. Both the search for the artifacts and the investigation of the leopard lead the team into the wilds of Hawkley Ridge, a fictional mountainous region outside Seattle, Washington. The team must contend with numerous adversaries while in the field – of both the two-legged and four-legged variety – as well as a lot of rain. It is the Pacific Northwest after all.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

I’m definitely a pantser. For those unfamiliar with the terms, “plotters” map out their storyline in detail before writing, while “pantsers” build their plot as they go – essentially “by the seat of their pants.”

For me, writing a novel is both a journey and an exploration. I generally start with a foundational story arc and a few pivotal scenes – although the points are mostly in my head. I don’t generally work with a physical outline.

From there, I follow where the story goes and where the characters lead me, and I’m open to new ideas and directions. I don’t necessarily write the entire book in sequence either. Sometimes a scene or section that takes place later in the book will demand attention – so I’ll capture it when it arises and then define a cohesive path to flow the story to that future point.

Compared to their plotter counterparts, writers who embrace the pantser approach may face more challenges in keeping all the plot elements integrated. So pantsers need to pay particular attention to the details to ensure they haven’t created continuity issues or ignored any loose ends.

Having a solid, professional editor is a critical success factor for any written work – and it’s especially vital for pantsers. I’m fortunate to work with an exceptional editor with a keen eye and an unwavering attention to detail. She keeps me honest and helps me ensure that the story unfolds seamlessly.

Tell us about your next release.

The next book in the Ryan Cole series begins just after the first book ends. Each novel represents a stand-alone adventure, although there are continuing themes and elements that link the books in the series.

In the second book, Cole and his team are on the hunt for a spaceship that has crashed in the Mojave Desert, while someone from Cole’s past engages him in a dangerous investigation that puts him in the crosshairs of his greatest adversary. The team learns more about the power of the guardian stones while Cole makes one of the most astonishing discoveries of his career.

A Darker Rain is Claudine Kapel’s first novel. She lives in Toronto and enjoys books, music, and travel. When not working as a consultant, she can be found writing, reading, or contemplating what else may be out there.

The second book in the Ryan Cole series is planned for release in 2014.

Claudine loves to hear from readers. You can reach her by e-mail at

Claudine will be awarding a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


  1. Such an amazing cover.


  2. Exciting excerpt. I really enjoyed your comments.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post :D this book definitely sounds interesting