Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Interview With "Scream" Author, Mike Dellosso

Here is my interview with the author, Mike Dellosso:

WU: Why Christian Thriller/Suspense? How does Christianity fit into this genre? (Personally, I love this genre of writing)

MD: I'll take the why question first. I write supernatural suspense because it's what I've always loved. Ever since I was a kid I was into weird stories--The Twighlight Zone, The X-Files, horror movies (not the cut-em-up kind or satanic stuff you see nowadays but the oldies like Alfred Hitchcock), there was this comic book called Weird War my brother and I were in to, and now I'm totally hooked on Fringe. Besides, I have to write suspense because I have a short attention span and that fits with fast-paced, intriguing stories.

Now for the how of things. How does Christianity fit into suspense. I'll be honest, sometimes it's not easy. I want my stories to have a strong faith message but I don't want it to feel forced. I have tons of ideas for good scary, suspenseful stories but working a faith message into them is real challenge sometimes. I think Christianity and suspense are as natural a fit as any other genre. Let's face it, life is suspenseful. I just got done a 10-month battle with colon cancer. At 36 with a wife and three daughters, things got pretty suspenseful. How my faith wove through that journey and carried me along is the real story, though. The lessons I learned are the meat of the story. That's how Christianity and suspense go hand in hand.

WU: What did you want to be when you were growing up? How did you go from there to becoming a writer?

MD: Great question. I've never been asked that before! I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the worst way. I loved fighter jets. New them all and all their specs. But that meant getting into the Air Force Academy and that wasn't happening. I was one of those "do enough to get by" students. One of the things I regret.

Now, how I wound up being a writer is a different story. In 1998 my brother-in-law was in a very serious motorcycle accident that landed him in a deep coma. Wrestling with God and suffering and tragedy led me to pouring my heart out on paper . . . and the rest, as they say, is history. Scream is dedicated to Darrell for his near-appointment with death. I wrote for close to ten years before Kathryn Mackel (an excellent author and worth reading, seriously) noticed my work and recommended me to Les Stobbe, my agent. Realms showed interest in my first novel, The Hunted, and later offered me a contract for Scream. And that's how it's done. Sort of. Sometimes.

WU: What advice do you have for anyone who would like to be a writer?

MD: Don't rush things. Study the craft and practice, practice, practice. Read in a variety of genres. Don't ever give up on your dream. During those ten years I wrote before getting published there were many times I was millimeters from throwing in the towel and giving up on my dream. My wife pulled me away from that ledge every time and encouraged me to press on. Great advice . . . and it paid off.

WU: Do you have plans for future writing projects that you would like to share with us?

MD: I'm working on a story about a strange little town haunted by fear and a couple trapped in that town. They will face their fears in all their ugly reality and learn a lesson we could all stand to learn. I don't have a contract for it yet but it may be in the works.

WU: Which of your characters would you most like to be?

MD: Pastor Tim Shoemaker, the tattooed preacher. He is real, genuine, honest, transparent, and lives his faith without reservations and without regret. That's what I want to be.

WU: With which character do you most closely identify?

MD: Definately Mark Stone. He struggles, stumbles, falls, gets back up and presses on. He wrestles with real life issues, has doubts about God and faith and his own mortality. Regrets mistakes made in the past. He's a work in progress. That's me now.

WU:What Biblical truth are you trying to convey to your audience in this book?

MD: Oh my, that's the heart of the matter. I'm so glad you asked that. The Biblical truth is that death is sneaking up on all of us. It's that ticking crocodile from Peter Pan, hunting us all. We never know when we will fill our lungs for the last time so we better be prepared for eternity. It is appointed for man to die once, and after that the judgment.

WU: Please tell us a little bit about your book.

MD: It features Mark Stone, a guy who regrettably failed his wife, a guy who wrestles with his faith, a guy who hears the screams of hell on the phone. A guy who knows when others will die. It also features "Judge," a maniac abducting women and holding them captive in an old abandoned barn. He has a twisted sense of justice and an evil mission to exact that justice. The two stories collide when Mark's estranged wife is abducted by Judge and the screams predict her death.

WU: Do you have any quirky habits or rituals that you observe while you are working on a writing project?

MD: I like to take a break every 45-60 minutes, put on a little TobyMac or Superchick, and get down. I have no rhythm (total white boy, here) but it gets the blood circulating and helps me reboot my brain.

WU: When we’ve finished this interview, what would you like your audience to remember about you?

MD: That I'm trying my best to be honest and real and just want to use the opportunities and gifts God's given me to glorify Him.

1 comment:

HollyMag said...

Thanks for sharing this interview. I look forward to reading this book. Blessings to you both.