Not many people know this, but for about a year I took fencing lessons. I even competed in a couple of tournaments. (I’m way too sober at this writing to tell you the story.) So when I came across author Matthew Carauddo and learned he was heavily into stage combat and the like, I had to talk to him. He tells us about his “Diamond Dragons,” series and more.
So who are ya?
I’m Matthew Carauddo. My overall background is 30+ years as an actor, director, and performer. I was also a licensed fencing instructor at an academy of the sword since 2000/2001. In addition to instructing and competing as a saber fencer (12+ medals), I later created a website titled SaberCombat.com (now legacy/archived), which revolved around my live fight choreography, special events/workshops, L.E.D. saber designs, and sound effects work from 2006 to ~2018. However, from 2018 forward, I’ve primarily focused on my screenplay and book series/hexalogy known as “Diamond Dragons”. As of the moment I typed this, DD1-3 were published over 2021-2023. DD4-6 launch over 2024-2026. #Solstices
More information about my past, present, and future(?) can be found on the website: Diamond-Dragons.com
What’s the Diamond Dragon series about?
“Diamond Dragons” is a series of six, but tthe introductory story introduces readers to an ancient society of intelligent dragons on a foreign planet that is closer to the size of Jupiter or Saturn rather than that of Earth’s. In short, the “good guy dragons” seek to re-discover and protect a legendary, mysterious creature–presumably a “Phoenix”–from the “bad guys” (bone/ghost dragons). A race against Time itself ensues, and, a final confrontation at the “Night Pyre” (an array of volcanic spires) is inevitable.
I won’t bother mentioning any protagonists or antagonists–people can discover these superheroes for themselves.
What about this story appealed to you?
I can safely say that after 30+ years of experience in live production, directing, acting, storytelling, design (graphics, sound, video, props, costumes, etc.), and even many aspects of music… I was dying to craft an epic series revolving around dragons for years. In early 2018, I began crafting the SCREENPLAY version of DD1. With a powerful ending to the story in mind from the very beginning, I created a competent cast of characters and their approximate ages, skills, personalities, etc. By 2019, I’d developed a truly robust screenplay. Additionally, I’d even hired V.O. actors (including myself!) to record a few examples of character voices/vocals, commissioned a few artists to craft some concept art, and I also found a talented arranger/composer to work with me on realizing my vision for a 12-note, 3-chord primary theme for the series.
Fast forward to 2023 (currently the present, but if you’re reading this it MIGHT be “the past”), and “Diamond Dragons”, books 1-3 comprise ~420,000 words, 250+ illustrations, 3 gorgeous cover designs, a dozen teaser videos, many tracks of original music… aaand a paaartriiidge and a pear tree! 🙂
Whew. That’s so much work. What are the roots of the story?
Akin to the teachings of Joseph Campbell, “Diamond Dragons” (book/screenplay #1) is loosely modeled around the skeletal structure of a typical hero’s journey. For those unfamiliar with what that means, DD1 is comparable to SW, LOTR, The Matrix, HP, etc.
The remaining stories (books/screenplays #2-6) build upon subtle hints and purposely “hidden in plain sight” details from the first story. In short, they reveal the true vision of each thematic underpinning interwoven within the the series as a whole. Without giving anything away, I might merely type: “What is Armageddon’s Ballad?”. Anyone reading my words here, right now is welcomed and encouraged to find out just how far the portal of fire (from book one) leads. Reflection is truly key.
Who are the authors you really enjoy?
Rostand, Moliere, Aristophanes, Goldman, Shakespeare, Poe, Stoppard, Poe, Bukowski, etc. In addition to traditional authors, I’ve also been GREATLY inspired by storytelling which stems from other sources–such as filmmaking, video games, animation, etc. For examples in that scope of things, I’ve always been a huge fan of Garriott (“Ultima”), Jon VanCaneghem (“Might & Magic”), Ed Zwick (“Glory”, “The Last Samurai”), Ang Lee’s version of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, Ion Storm’s “Deus Ex” (helmed by the legendary Warren Spector), and certainly world-renown projects such as “Chronotrigger”, “Phantasy Star” (I, II, and IV), etc. And, obviously, famous creators such as Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, Coppola, the Coen brothers, the Wachowskis, etc. etc.
Pretty large list, I understand. 🙂 This is what happens when you’ve been studying and creating for 30+ years.
Where can we learn more about you and your book(s)?
The YT video channel–also listed on my website–is also a fantastic repository of (free) information, imagery/illustrations, teasers, and pre-visualizations of the DD series. And though I have accounts on TT, “X” (lol), Vimeo, etc., I don’t really have the hours to update them. YT is the best place to digest videos regarding DD1-6.
As a matter of note, I think it’s important that anyone reading this understands that I (Matthew) pretty much do everything alone. That means: outlining, writing, development, editing (all types), illustrations (most), formatting, cover designs, website(s), videos, V.O., etc. Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend this to 90% of creators out there for a myriad of reasons I won’t (and shouldn’t) go into here.
“Time is the only resource for which no creature may bargain…” –DD1
Johnny Lycan & the Last Witchfinder is coming May 2, 2024 from Black Rose Writing. It’s not too late to get started on the series now!