Monday, May 9, 2011

Interview with author Mike Dellosso

I will be posting a review tomorrow for Mike Dellosso's new book, Darkness Follows. He offered to do a "mini-interview", so I was happy to take him up on it:

1) Why do you write Christian fiction as opposed to writing secular?

Mark, I see my writing as a calling, something God has given me to do. I remember the exact moment I became a writer. I wasn't one who "always wanted to be an author." It happened in September of 2008 and I picked up a pen and put it to paper as a way of dealing with the emotional struggle surrounding a family tragedy. That was the day, the moment, I became a writer, that was when God called me. That being said I write Christian fiction because it gives me the freedom to write the way I want to write, the stories I want to write, and the messages I want to include. There's always talk about how restrictive the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) is, the rules and guidelines and don'ts. But I don't see it that way. I see it as freeing to be able to boldly proclaim the kinds of things I talk about in my stories. I'm not sure the general market would be so kind to a writer like me. Also, seeing my writing as a calling puts extra meaning on it. It's not just art or a job, it's a responsibility. I've said this before countless times in other interviews but it's really the way I feel: God has given me a megaphone with which to reach thousands of people; I can't use it to just write a gripping story. I want my writing to mean something, to cause readers to stop and think, to change hearts and alter perceptions.

2) Your books are classified in a fairly new genre’ of Christian fiction: horror. The two seem so completely opposite, Christian and horror. What would you say to critics of Christian horror?

Here's the thick and thin of it. Christian and horror can get along nicely. Life is horrifying. Evil exists. Darkness is all around us. But there is hope, there is light, there is a Conqueror. That's it in a nutshell. I honestly think that there is no one more qualified than a Christian to write horror because we are well aware of both sides, the darkness and the light, and we know where the true power is. Only Christian fiction can portray evil how it really is and bring redemption into a story that deals with evil. That being said, I've discovered something the hard way. The CBA (maybe Christians in general) aren't ready for nor open to horror. Suspense, yes. Thrillers, yes. Horror, no. Sure there're the die hard fans but overall, speaking in broad generalities, horror just doesn't make in the CBA. In fact, I know of several authors (including myself) now trying to distance ourselves from the horror label. I think it's more the label that scares readers than the stories themselves. It's an interesting dynamic and one that I'm sure will be further explored and tested.

3) When you wrote your newest book, “Darkness Follows”, did you have any purpose in mind, have any reactions desired from those who read it? And what would you say are the themes of the book?

My purpose for Darkness Follows is to show the unconditional love of a daughter for her daddy which mirrors the love of our Heavenly Father for us. Sam Travis is a man on the brink of disaster and finds himself putting more and more distance between himself and his family. But his daughter never gives up on him. She continues to pursue him and assure him of her love. And isn't that a picture of God? No matter how much we reject him, no matter how far we stray, no matter how hard we push away His attempts to draw us near, He still loves us the same as always. That's real love, the kind of love we've all been looking for our whole life.

4) You are a father of 4 daughters, you have a full-time job, and you also write. How do you make time for everything?

I get asked this question so often but it's a great question. The short answer is, I don't waste a lot of time, I'm good at time management, and I'm persistent and driven. I'm fairly regimented so when I get in a groove I can put out the words fairly quickly. I get up early, before sunrise, and write. Seven days a week. Everyone else is sleeping so I'm not disturbed and not taking away from family time. I tell people I get up at 4:45 and go to my part-time job for an hour and a half before getting ready for my full-time job. That usually gets some sideways looks. I'm careful with my time and squeeze things in where I can, when I can. I'm usually multi-tasking.

5) If you have any spare time, how do you enjoy spending it, and if one way is reading, what do you enjoy reading?

If I'm not doing something with the family I enjoy watching movies. Some of my favorites are the Bourne trilogy, "Last of the Mohicans," "The Patriot," the Lord of the Rings trilogy, "I Am Legend," and "Secretariat." If I was a bachelor and had no life, I'd get the biggest flat screen TV I could find, equip my room with surround sound speakers, and spend all day watching movies. And stuff my face with snacks, and get morbidly obese, and die early of a heart attack. Boy, praise God for my wife and kids, huh? I also enjoy hiking and, if I'm in the mood, running.

6) What is your favorite Bible verse, or verses - and why?

From the time I accepted Christ as my Savior and heard Michael W. Smith for the first time, my favorite verse has been Joshua 1:9 (MWS sang a song based on the verse). "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid nor dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." What a great promise! Words to live--and write--by.

Thanks, Mike for answering my questions so thoughtfully and thoroughly. I hope you sell tons of books in the future and keep writing.

Check out Mike's website.




Annette W. said...

Thanks for the interview with Mike. Long ago I really enjoyed horror books and movies...I had pretty much written them off for me, but Mike made an excellent point about why and how Christians are equipped to write it. I look forward to the review!