In some respects, I feel as if I already know Mike. My writer buddy and sister-in-Christ, Susan Reinhardt, maintains a prayer list and I’ve been praying for his healing for over a year now. I praise God for bringing Mike through his cancer journey, and I’m so very thankful that he’s a guest on my blog today. For those of you who are not familiar with Mike’s books, let me share a little bit about him.
Mike Dellosso is the author of The Hunted and Scream and has been compared to Frank Peretti and Stephen King in style. He lives in Hanover, PA with his wife, three daughters, and black Lab (who follows him around everywhere).
Some many readers will be inspired by your healing. Could you start by telling us how the long hard journey to being cancer-free affected your writing?
Did it ever. I can’t say cancer affected my writing much in the way of the craft itself, though it surely put me more in tune with the emotional aspect of character development, but it focused my priorities. Cancer has a way of clearing your vision, of helping you set your eyes on things that really matter instead of all those things we only think matter. It also puts the priority on making everything you do count. I want my writing to count. I don’t want to just write stories that keep readers turning pages (although that’s always nice), I want to write stories that cause them to think too, to do some soul searching, to look at life and God in a different way. Also, I care less now about what others say. I write what God has put on my heart and don’t worry about what critics may say. They’re gonna have their say and that’s fine. Not to sound harsh, but if someone doesn’t like what I’ve written or thinks it’s too preachy or whatever, I don’t care anymore.
Currently, you have two novels that have been released, The Hunted and Scream. Let’s start with The Hunted. What’s the book about?
I’m so terrible at answering these questions. I always feel like I don’t do the story justice by summarizing a 300-page book in a few sentences. At its core, the story is about faith and trusting God to be God. He’s not someone we can put in a neat little box and apply our own rules to. That theme is hidden in a story about a town, a secret, a mysterious beast, a comatose boy who prophesies, and one man trying to sort it all out–all the while struggling with his own lack of faith and issues with God.
I hate to say it, but I’m a sucker for a compelling book cover. The cover for your novel Scream definitely makes me want to read it. Can you fill us in on what the book is about?
Oh, here we go again. Scream is about heaven and hell and life and death. Hopefully, it’s a wake-up call to the reality that life is short and death is imminent and a call to action to make every moment and every contact with another person count. I wrote the story right before I was diagnosed with the cancer and it’s amazing how applicable it is to what I went through.
The story is about eerie screams over the phone followed by untimely deaths. It’s about a madman with his own twisted sense of justice. And it’s about a man trying to save his marriage, his sanity, and his estranged wife’s life. It’s fast-paced, it’s twisted, it’s two plots in one, it’s life-changing. But, I’m probably a little biased.
Check out the book trailer for Scream.
Every writer takes a different approach to how they work and how they successfully bang out new material. Tell us about your writing regiment.
My writing regimen is to write whenever I have time. Seriously, I work full-time, have a wife and three daughters, and am very involved in our church. Time is limited. To complete this latest book I’ve been writing late at night and early in the morning. I can knock out about a thousand words at night and maybe 500 or so in the morning. For me now, it works. Will it always? Probably not. Then I’ll have to come up with a new regimen.
The interesting thing is, I only have about ten weeks to get this latest novel done. That’s 75,000-80,000 words in ten weeks. The math is pretty scary. So I had to come up with a story I could keep my mind on and keep flowing. I developed a strategy and, unfortunately, I won’t reveal it here because it may give away some of the story, but it is really working for me and allowing me to write this book in record time.
Many writers have a passion for writing that is as natural as breathing air. But, as with most things in life, there is always some aspect of a job or a calling that isn’t particularly fun. First, tell us what you enjoy most about writing and then flip the page to tell us what you least enjoy.
What I enjoy most is writing the first draft. This is where the creative juices flow the easiest. I’m cruising along, letting the story run, just trying to keep up. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer so every turn and every twist is just as new to me as it is to the reader. It’s exciting stuff.
What I enjoy least is all the peripheral stuff that goes along with being a writer. The networking, the website stuff, the newsletter stuff, the marketing and promotional stuff. Not that I’m a hermit or anything, no way, but I’m not Mr. Social Butterfly either. My time is precious and what time I have for writing I want to be writing. Not playing on Facebook. That sounds so horrible. Please don’t get me wrong. I love interacting with other authors and especially readers and wish I had more time for it. But I don’t. That’s just reality. I do what I can and have to be satisfied with that.
I visited your blog and learned that you’re fast at work on your next novel titled Darlington. Would I be putting you on the spot if I asked for a sneak peak? Okay, I’m just being plain nosy. What’s the book about? Inquiring minds want to know.
Well, if by sneak peak you mean an excerpt, I can’t because the story’s not even done yet. But if you mean a snippet of what the story is about . . . um, here goes.
Darlington . . . where fear has teeth.
That’s it for now. Seriously, though, this is the scariest of my stories so far. It’s about conquering fear and lighting up the darkness. One man will learn how to do both.
Mike, it’s been a pleasure having you as a guest on my blog. Before you take off, could you put a smile on our faces and tell us about one of the goofiest things you’ve done in your writing career?
I went to my first writer’s conference green as a fresh string bean and thinking I was going to walk away with a contract in hand. I learned very quickly that’s not quite how it works. And boy was I disappointed. I did, however, walk away with a new friend who recommended me to my current agent. And that agent helped me get my first contract.