Meet the UNDERTOW cast (STORMFRONT) – Rillin Blackwood
“Are you alright? I saw you fall,” he said. His voice was deep, velvet, but with a rugged quality. It held an aged, slightly gritty undertone that spoke to the life he had lived. He looked to be in his late 20s and he reminded me of a warrior – rough, confident, and a bit worn through. He was Thor . . . if Thor came from the worst part of L.A. and hung with the Hell’s Angels. — Eila Walker’s first impression of Rillin from STORMFRONT
When I was in the very first stages of writing UNDERTOW, I knew I needed to draft the entire series if I wanted to write a very different paranormal story. I wanted a tale about soldiers – young soldier, not unlike my grandfather who was 17 when he landed on Iwo Jima.
The entire series (with the exception of CRUEL SUMMER) is about the fall-out from a history of violence between two warring races. So not only did I need the current story line, set in the present around Eila and Raef (two genetic enemies), I needed all the back history regarding Eila’s 4th great grandmother, Elizabeth, and what she did in her time.
I believe we are who we are because of WHAT we have experienced, never living in a vacuum where only a couple of people impact our lives. Rather, we live in a wider timeline within an intricate web of multiple lives. Who we are is a direct result of how those lives before and with us, intersect.
I took that same view of the world, and set my characters into the web. One of the most critical characters in the web is Rillin Blackwood. For me, as an author, I believe he will be the biggest shocker in STORMFRONT. If I do my job, people will both love him and hate him . . . and they will be desperate to read more about him in the novella, REBEL.
Rillin, physically, is very different from the other boys of the UNDERTOW series (MJ, Raef, Kian and Christian). Originally cast using a firefighter from a local house, Rillin was recast with the help of Christa Mullaly, who is the face of Ana Lane. Christa’s friend, Phil Gardner, embodies the rugged fighter that is Rillin, and I can’t wait to put him back in the studio with stunning Emily Penn who is the face of Elizabeth, and Jeremy Peacock, who is the face of Christian.
Without further ado, here is the 4-1-1 on Phil Gardner, aka Rillin Blackwood:
Hometown: born in Newburyport, MA. But lived most of my life in Londonderry, NH
Favorite bands: Authority Zero, All That Remains, The Beatles, Parkway Drive, Led Zeppelin, Tool. My music fits my mood so however I’m feeling I can listen to whatever.
Hobbies: reading, writing really bad poetry, going to the gym…though I could more easily classify that as a job.
Favorite quote: “You can fool all the people some of the time. And some of the people all the time. But you cannot fool all the people all the time.” AL
How did you first find out about the fact that some random author (me – lol) wanted to use you as a cover model? I heard about this from Christa. She was already a part of this and it sounded like an amazing experience.
What made you say “yes” and what did you think of the studio space? The way we shot characters? I said yes because who wouldn’t want to add something like this to their life experiences? Plus I’ve always dreamed about being famous! The studio was the first I’ve ever been in. The artwork everywhere was amazing. I thought the shoot itself was easy and a lot of fun. Being nervous in front of the camera melted away instantly.
Your character is a crazy twist in the UNDERTOW series and only my Beta editors really know about him. Not knowing much about this character (except what I tell you) must make modeling for Rillin a challenge – when you come back into the studio, will you bring with you a bunch of ideas from movies and tv in channeling the character? I immediately started thinking of who my character was even while shooting. I would love to add my ideas and help develop the character for the next shoot.
What did you think of the shoot when you were there? Did you have any worries?Like I said before, I was very nervous to start. I’m that way with most things. But I said to myself just do it. It turned out to be something I actually really enjoyed. Who wouldn’t enjoy taking a break from who they are?
What has your family and friends thought about the whole thing? What does your daughter think . . . especially since some day she will probably read this series! My family has been a riot. Already asking for signed copies and contracts to be my official makeup artist (my daughter’s mother is a special effects makeup artist). My daughter just says, “Daddy, you’re weird” I think she will gloat about it later thought…hopefully!
There are a whole bunch of women who think the current “boys” of the series are . . . uh . . . smokin’ hot! I suspect Rillin will quickly gain adoring female fans as well – especially with his physicality and history. If I am right about Rillin, will it be weird to be the face of a character that so many adult women adore? Will it be weird? No it will be pretty normal. Ha! Sorry, Christa told me to add that. Since I’ve been a server I have the senior citizens down. Not sure why they love me so much? If it never happens that a woman comes up to me to ask me if I’m Rillin I will be taken back a bit. Definitely an adjustment.
Would you be willing to be shot again for the UNDERTOW series in the future if need be? Maybe sign books as the character, Rillin? I am absolutely more than willing to shoot again. And really hope I do. I’ll have to work on a cool signature, but I am definitely willing to sign books.