Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of Reading Dillon Shafer’s debut novel “Blood Soaked Gemini” write my own personal review and interview Dillon.
About the Author
(Copied from his author’s page on Amazon) A college student from Edmonton, Albert, Dillon made his first forays into professional writing by entering the “Writers Digest Writing Competition” in 2014. His debut novel “Blood Soaked Gemini” was published in 2016.
The Synopsis of “Blood Soaked Gemini”
In the near future, MMA fighting has become boring without enough of a thrill for the masses. This has caused the organizers to up the violence and slackens the rules to the point where each of these matches has become a fight to the death. Each fight holds millions in prize money and the entertainment of the masses in the balance.
Ramshackle cities have formed around lavish arenas and every child dreams of getting a chance to be the best or die, trying. Cassius Slade is one such boy.
Blood Soaked Gemini is Dillon Shafer’s first book. I would classify it as a book targeted at young male adults. I would not recommend it for readers under fourteen, due to the violent nature.
I received the paperback edition to review – because I’m old-fashioned and still like to read real books.
Overall the storyline and plot are good. There are some twists in the book that took me by surprise. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to one of the main characters – Cassius Slade as a young boy. The fighting scenes on the TV are described between a “Big Man” and a “Little Man and at the school between “first boy” “second boy” etc. I would have liked these characters to have names. For me, it provides a better connection. Cassius Slade gets into a fight at school and the reader learns he’s an exceptionally good fighter. Where he got his skills, is a surprise. The story follows Cassius fighting career, with many descriptive violent fighting scenes and a romance in the mix.
For me, the story was good for a debut novel but does need some work which I pointed out to the author.
Cover design – 2 stars ( Paperback ) As mentioned, I received the paperback edition. The cover was a generic design and the book had no page numbers – which I found difficult when trying to refer to pages or write notes.
5 stars – (Kindle edition) For the nature of the book, the cover is perfect. It’s raw and informs the reader it has violent content. It would be nice to see this cover on the paperback edition.
CHARACTERIZATION – 3 Stars – Because some of the characters didn’t have names it was hard to make a connection.
STORY & PLOT – 4 Stars – Good story and plot even though the ending was predictable
OVERALL RATING – 3 stars – A good read but needs work in order for the story to flow. The paperback edition needs improvement on the appearance.
Interview with Dillon Shafer – Author of Blood Soaked Gemini
1 – How long have you been writing and why do you enjoy it?
I’ve been writing on and off for the last seven years. Although my writing has taken many forms, from writing elaborate campaigns for a roleplay group to novels and even a screenplay. I enjoy developing new worlds and the opportunity to follow characters through them.
2 – Other than writing, what else do you like to do?
I love role-playing games, it’s common to find me at the head of a D&D table, guiding a team of adventurers through a perilous quest. I also study historical European martial arts, with a focus on sword and shield techniques.
3 – What inspired you to write “Blood Soaked Gemini“?
The idea came out of a conversation between myself and two of my friends about the rise in popularity of UFC and it merits when compared to traditional combat sports, such as Olympic boxing and wrestling. One of my friends made the observation that when compared instead to sports entertainment programs like WWE, UFC has attempted to combine a real competition with WWE style character development.
That was when I wondered what that concept would look like taken to its extreme.
4 – In your bio on Amazon, you mention you entered the “Readers Digest short story contest.” How did you do?
I entered the Writers Digest short story contest in 2014. I got the standard ‘Thank you for your participation’ email a few months later.
5 – Who as an author, inspires you and why?
I am greatly inspired by Brent Weeks. I read his ‘Night Angel’ trilogy in high school, and they inspired me to start writing. It was the first time I really felt that the world I was experiencing was a real place, not just ink on a page.
6 – Name five of your favorite books and authors. Explain why these are your favorites.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams:
I was brought up listening to the Hitchhikers Guide on tape. It greatly influenced my sense of humor, and for me still holds the spot as my favorite comedy.
The Sword of Shannara – Terry Brooks:
This title was my introduction to classical high fantasy, so it is a nostalgia pick. Many D&D worlds I have created share elements with the Shannara series lore.
The Way of Shadows – Brent Weeks:
This is the first book of, in my opinion, one of the best short fantasy series of all time.
Origin in Death – J.D. Robb:
This is one of my favorite titles of the series, while it is the most ‘mature’ series on the list, it has some of the best interpersonal dynamics I’ve experienced.
Sabriel – Garth Nix:
As a tabletop role player, I find the idea of two very different settings that share a world intriguing. Paired with the in-depth descriptions of scenery and events, this novel was impossible to put down.
7 – What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Focus on your character development. If you know who your characters are, you can better write believable, character-driven stories. This also helps pull in your readers, build a character your readers can really get invested in.
8 – Are you currently working on anything now? If so, tell us a little about it and when it can be expected to be available.
I am actually working on my next novel. Looking for a release date in early spring 2018.
9- What genre do you normally write in?
My usual genre is high fantasy, so my newest book is a bit of a departure from my comfort zone.
10- Other than Amazon is there anywhere else, readers can purchase your book?
At the moment, Amazon is the only option to purchase my book.
11- Do you have a website, Facebook page or any other social media page where readers can follow you?
At the moment, no. I intend to increase my social media presence through Facebook in the coming months.
12- Is there anything else you would like to say?
I would just like to thank you for this opportunity, it means a lot.
As Dillon mentioned, his book is available on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle edition. You can purchase by clicking on the link below.
I want to thank Dillon for taking the time out of his day for this interview and I wish him all the best in his writing career.