I have been chatting and tweeting online for months with the lovely author, Sam Dei Lune, and recently felt inspired to request an email interview with her. Sam is the Author of Moon Tribe and currently working with John Ceallach for Retribution Pictures.
Weird: Can you give me a brief history for those readers of the Weird Review who are unfamiliar with your work?
Sam Dei Lune: I wrote a book called “Moon Tribe: Revelation”, which is a young adult fantasy fiction piece. I will eventually be releasing the sequel and prequels to “Moon Tribe”, but that will not likely happen until after “Katie”, the novel adaptation for the upcoming film, is out.
Weird: I met you as a result of my interview I did with John Ceallach, founder of Retribution Pictures, last fall.
Sam Dei Lune: Tell me about what you are doing with Retribution.
Well, I am a writer, and so I will be writing. Currently I am writing the novel adaptation to the screenplay “Katie”, a movie based on the Bell Witch legends which actually stem from John Ceallach’s family history.
Weird: How did you fall get the attention of Mr. Ceallach to get the gig with Retribution?
John is working on a lot of really exciting projects at the moment and when I started hearing about some of them, they just sounded like things I would have loved to be a part of. I reached out to John, and fortunately for me, he had already heard of me and was interested in taking a closer look at my work. After doing so he decided to find a place for me in his world, for which I am forever grateful to him.
Weird: What other new and exciting projects do you have going on now?
Sam Dei Lune: Aside from the projects I mentioned before, I am also working on a novel with a rising UFC star, Stipe Miocic. The hero of the series is inspired by this athlete, but the plot is fictionally based. As a character, he offers a lot in terms of mahatma as he is an undefeated professional mixed martial artist and firefighter in real life. If you want a character who can train with sharks and bears, Stipe is your man.
Weird: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Sam Dei Lune: I would say that as writers, we tend to be very hard on ourselves. My advice is to find a project you are passionate about, do your best, complete it, and then set it free. We will always feel like we could have done better, but that is a part of the growing process. Keep in mind that your next novel is almost always likely to be better than your last and consider that a blessing.
Weird: What inspires you as a writer?
Sam Dei Lune: Anything that moves me, from a full moon to an exciting MMA fight.
Weird: What keeps you writing and sees you through those “Writer’s Block” times?
Sam Dei Lune: Every time I feel stuck, I go for a drive. If that doesn’t work to clear my head, I create mini adventures for myself like hiking or rock climbing. I find some movement is sometimes what a writer needs as we tend to be stuck behind a computer for so much of our time.
Weird: A lot of my readers are comic book/anime readers so tell me what are your favorite comics?
Sam Dei Lune: I actually grew up reading comics and draw a lot of influence from them. My collection started when I was pretty young with Dick Tracy, but as I got older I became a little more enthralled by the Marvel Universe and DC. My current collection includes original and newer Iron Mans, Batmans, original and new Avengers, etc. As a girl, I was drawn to some of the stronger female characters and so my collection also includes all of the Phoenix series and Black Widows that I’ve been able to get my hands on. Less mainstream comics that I collect include the Red Menace series and the steampunk inspired FreakAngels. My favorites so far in the anime genre are Trigun, Princess Monoke, and Ninja Scroll, but there is still so much that I haven’t been exposed to that I feel that my favorites will continue to evolve over time.
Weird: If there were some wonderful question that cut to the heart of Sam Dei Lune and would yield the most awesome answer for your fans about you or your work, what would the answer to that question be?
Sam Dei Lune: Yes, I really am a ninja.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I would also like to take a moment to thank John Ceallach again for giving me the key to his world and to the fans of whom I am not worthy. Last but not least, thank you to my family, who remind me to keep my head down and to keep working.
Weird: Sorry Sam, I just can’t let the interview end like this… Tell me more of your martial arts studies. Where, when, and what have you studied? Have you ever competed? Have you ever had to use your skills in non-dojo situations?
Sam Dei Lune: Ha ha, okay. Well, I have been studying martial arts in some capacity since I was about ten years old, but not continuously. I began with Taekwondo for three years as a child. I took some time off to engage in other sports through junior high and high school such as softball, basketball, swimming, tennis, and cheer leading. Yes, cheer leading is a sport, and yes, it is very challenging, ha ha. (Weird: I have no doubt!)
In college I found myself spending a lot of time doing Bikram Yoga and realizing that I felt the need to challenge my body in some form again. From there I found kickboxing at the Minnesota Kali Group, which shares a lot of similar movements as Taekwondo, but in a much more dynamic form. While I really enjoyed the kickboxing, I still wanted more. From there I went to American School of Martial Arts, which I think is now American Top Team, where I was introduced to Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. I was hooked and the more I learned about the art, the more I began to respect it.
My journey did not end at A.S.M.A. My next place of practice was Gorilla Combat for a short period where I learned some new things about Muay Thai and changed my habits a little bit. My next home was Ambition MMA with Mike Reilly and Joey Clark, where I made some lifelong friends and learned some valuable lessons. While Ambition had done a great job of raising some UFC fighters, they have also done well at creating a family environment. That’s where I met world class wrestler Jake Clark, who taught me how to handle some sticky situations if need be. Beyond Ambition MMA, I found my way to Revolution Defense and Fitness, now Alliance Jiu Jitsu, led by Damian Hirtz, Klint Klass, and a part of Dave Camarillo’s Guerilla Jiu Jitsu where Jiu Jitsu is a way of life.
I learned some aggressive Muay Thai technique from a student of Master Toddy and joined an all female Jiu Jitsu class taught by Gina Frassen. Gina taught me how to grapple with the use of a woman’s body, rather than trying to use the techniques men who were literally twice my size would use. I should also mention that Marcus Levessuer taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid to push my stamina a bit, even though that’s where I tend to start feeling the squeeze.
And that is where my journey with martial arts has led to. While I have never and do not plan to compete, I can say that my ninja skills have come in handy a time or two. Let’s just say that I’m not completely helpless. Maybe in our next interview we can talk weapons training.
Oh, in addition to my Ninja Skills, I can do the impossible. I can lick my elbow!
Weird: LOL!!! You are totally AWESOME Sam! Thanks so much for giving the readers of The Weird Review the opportunity to see in the wonderful world of a real life ninja and author, Sam, and I will look forward to taking up the topic of weapons and other avenues of interest when next we meet!