Desert Chimera was first envisioned as the play Desert Wolf, and presented at the Interact Theatre Company, directed by Dave Florek, and starring Dave Florek (Prince of Belle Aire, Grace Under Fire, Captain Ahab, Audi among countless other television and film roles) in the role of Luke Stone with Greg White as Armand Jacobi, Tina Carlisi as Mack Starr, Ivonne Coll as Consuelo Arroyo (later replaced by Denise Blasor due to Ivonne’s demanding schedule), Bette Rae as Eppie Falco, and Jeris Pondexter as Leo.
After a very successful performance at the Interact, I decided to adapt the play to a novel to delve more deeply into the tantalizing relationship between Luke and his nemesis the black magician Armand Jacobi, the man who picked him up off the streets of New York City as an urchin run-a-way, healed him, and tutored him in the occult arts.
Desert Chimera explores the complicated relationship between these two men, Luke Stone and Armand Jacobi, and more deeply, the complicated relationship between good and evil.
When I first began developing the material, I read biographies of Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard as well as biographies of Church of Satan leader Anton LeVay. Both of these larger-than-life figures inform the character of Armand Jacobi.
I was also reading Tom Brown’s books about the man Grandfather who lived in the woods of New Jersey and lived by his preternatural tracking skills. Mr. Brown’s work influenced me greatly in the development of the character of Luke.
Desert Chimera delves into Luke’s paranormal universe, his psychic visions, and his power of healing. But balancing the metaphysical aspect, the book explores Luke’s budding romance with one of the fellow travelers he finds at Eppie Falco’s Desert Inn and Cafe: the beautiful Consuelo Arroyo. These fellow travelers have gathered at Eppie’s Desert Inn in the midst of a torrential rainstorm. Now, with the arrival of Luke’s nemesis Armand, they are held hostage as the mercurial Jacobi exerts his will and power over Luke to gain his ultimate desire.
Throughout the book, throughout his journey both in the physical and on the metaphysical plane, Luke struggles with the concept of good versus evil, and ultimately with the even larger question: why should he choose good?
Not unlike the question ordinary people face every day, but on a rather magnificent scale. Luke struggles in the heart of Death Valley as torrential rain strikes, and as Armand Jacobi holds the fate of fellow travelers and his newly beloved in his powerful twisted grip. As the battle builds between the rivals, Luke is confronted with the full horrors of his past, horrors he’d thought he’d escaped from seven long years before.
But, Luke learns. no one can run from his past.
No matter how far or how fast you run, your past will always be there– whether it be just around the corner up ahead, at the tip of the next rocky mountain peak, or in a cafe in the heart of Death Valley– to slam right up against you.
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Those of you who follow my blog my have seen my guest blogger Richard Stephenson’s post last week. His best-selling novel Collapse will be offered free on Kindle on April 14th as well.