Dee Arianne Rockwood is from a Small town in South West Ohio (Middletown/Hillbillyellegy). As a misfit in school and to redirect her energy, she began her martial arts (Judo) training in 1958 at the local YMCA, winning her first trophy at the age of nine. She achieved her black belt at 12 years old, and began Tae-Kwon-Do lessons, earning a black belt at 14, in 1964. She then found her next challenges: Aikido and religion. Dee received a black belt equivalent at 16 and began studying to become a Presbyterian Minister, earning a BA in Theology and Physiology. While in the Seminary, she found another martial arts challenge: Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, and achieved yet another black belt at 18.
After a disagreement with her church over racism in the late 1960s, Dee left the ministry and changed her studies to focus on Engineering, earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering. While in Engineering school she became a student of Lu Lee Chang, an exiled Shaolin Tao Buddhist Priest and Kung-Fu master.
While working a part-time security job to pay her way through school, Dee became involved with police work and later became a hand-to-hand combat instructor for SWAT and Military Special Forces, becoming a civilian asset for both police and government agencies.
After graduating from college, Lu Lee sponsored Dee into a Shaolin Temple in Tibet to finish her training in Wing-Chun /Wu-Shu/Kung-Fu (International Karate Assoc., Grandmaster 6th Deg. Black Belt). Upon returning from Asia, she went to work as a field service engineer. She began traveling, working, and competing all over the world.
Dee Arianne is now retired from the field of engineering and has been inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame Hall of Heroes. Now in her seventies, she still competes a couple times a year, covering over 65 years and eight decades of competition. Using and combining that vast experience of travel, police, military, and martial arts, she now spends her days spinning fictional accounts of Jade Crystal Stone’s crime-solving adventures with her USEXI organization and team.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
The title came from a discussion with a phycologist friend of mine and a discussion about the phycological effects that being sexually molested has on a person. That it takes more than innocence; it takes and affects their entire life. Hence the title Stolen Lives.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
The first time I saw the proposed covers, the reality of having a published book became tangible, real and actually happening. It really was quite thrilling.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
I have been an avid reader my whole life. In the eighties I began doing seminars for area colleges for several professors. One in particular, Dr. Fredrick L. Peterson, would every time I spoke to his classes insisted that I should write my story down. I found that it was very therapeutic and helped with childhood, as well as my adult traumas. With the completion of my autobiography, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was published in Canada. I had joined a writer’s support group and started writing fiction using my real-life experience.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I have a BA in Theology/Physiology and still hold a license in Ohio and Indiana. I am a retired BS Mechanical Engineer having worked in the field off and on for 40 years. My passion, however, was practicing, competing, and teaching martial arts, using those skills in law enforcement and as hand-to-hand combat instructor for the military and various local and government agencies.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
Accomplishment—I have lots of awards, trophies, and certificates, mostly for athletics but, like most women, I wanted to be acknowledged for my mind.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
Wow, the book covers such a wide range of geography, action, emotion, humor, and personalities. Writing the musical score would be an almost Star Wars / Star Trek epic compilation. I think Kenny Loggins’ Holding Out for a Hero, Top Gun, Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild, and The Troggs’ Wild Thing, just to name a few.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
The answer to that is deeper than you might think… The subject matter is child abduction and sexual exploitation. The procedural stuff—the hardware (guns, surveillance equipment)—is all real. The worldwide criminal organizations exist: the stealing, kidnapping, and grooming of children and teens is a billion-dollar business, yet we don’t hear much about it. The Cincinnati/Dayton area is one of the crossroads in the US that is targeted by these criminals. Stolen Lives shines a light on these crimes.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I have the Jade Stone sequel to Stolen Lives—New World Pirates, Old World Seas—nearly completed.
I also have a fantasy book, Unicorn Valley: an Adult Fairy Tale, which features an adult plot and themed story of unicorns, mermaids, fairies, and a dragon, for which I am looking for a publisher.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
Atmosphere Press is very professional in its approach and in choosing the right assistance for your individual needs. The book cover work is amazing, and the printing, paper, and finished product are outstanding.