The story of a Young Adult paranormal romance writer who accidentally creates a dangerous cult, “Dragon’s Breath” centers on first-time writer Justine Drake is a first-time writer and her traveling through the worlds of e-publishing, fantasy conventions, and internet trolls in an effort to see her Dragon’s Breath books in print alongside the likes of “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight.”
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for the production? How did it all come together?
Michael O’Day: Short answer: the election of Pope Francis.
More elaborate answer: in South America, the chief rival to the Catholic Church in terms of appealing to parishoners is the conservative evangelical movement – the sort of approach to Christianity that claims to present a purer version of the faith while making up points of doctrine seemingly out of wholecloth, often in direct contradiction to the text of the gospel (google “prosperity gospel” for an example). And there was a lot of speculation that the new pontiff would likely come from Latin or South America precisely to counter this movement and restore a more moderate, sensible Christianity – even if nobody expected the zeal with which Pope Francis has gone about it. However, when I was watching the news coverage of the election, the commentator was so convinced beforehand that the choice would be an Italian cardinal, and so carried away with rhapsodizing over what it must be like to be in St. Peter’s Square the day the papacy came back to Italy, that the choice of Francis completely blindsided him. He had no idea what was going on or what it might mean. And as I was yelling at the television, trying vainly to explain to the broadcaster these finer points of theology, a question occurred to me. What if this same schism between moderates and extremists occurred, not with the Bible or another holy text, but with the most ridiculous book imaginable?
What if it happened, in short, with a YA paranormal romance series featuring sexy teenage dragons?
As to how it all came together – I’m still not sure about that. Mostly through knowing talented people, working with talented people they recommend, and just grinding out the hundreds of little tasks involved one at a time.
Review Fix: What do you think you’ve learned about yourself through this whole process?
O’Day: I’m far more patient than I ever thought I was.
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy it the most?
O’Day: Bibliophiles, fantasy geeks, people who care about current events, and anybody who lives by the G. K. Chesterton quote – “The test of a good religion is whether you can joke about it.”
Review Fix: Tell me about the cast. What makes them so special?
O’Day: Everything. They’re engaged with the material, they believe in it, and they keep finding amazing new ways to play with each other, surprising themselves, our director, and myself. In the best way possible.
Review Fix: What’s your favorite element of the show?
O’Day: If you look at our production photo, you’ll see two figures in the background in cultist robes and golden dragon masks. I’m the one in red. I get to wear that in the show. Apart from my pride in what I’ve written and how it’s been realized, just how freakin’ awesome is that?!
Review Fix: Bottom Line. Why should someone see this show?
O’Day: Dragons! Right there in the title! What more do you need?
Review Fix: How do you want the production to be remembered?
O’Day: As the start of something wonderful.