Sergio Pereira, Author of “Don’t Steal From The Devil”

DSFTD_600x800_hi_resWhat is your book about?

“Don’t Steal from the Devil” is a paranormal horror story about a demonic entity which inhabits the home of a broken family. One evening, two intruders enter the home, and a whole lot of hell is raised when they try to steal from the devil – hence the title. I like to consider the story to be a possession-themed horror in the same line as “The Conjuring” or “The Exorcist,” but with an added twist.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

I had wanted to write a horror story for some time, but I could never figure out a good plot or angle – I certainly didn’t want to just regurgitate what’s already out there. However, in terms of the actual idea for DSFTD, it probably took me about a month and a half to actually conceptualise the whole thing.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Way too much of myself. There are many quirks and mannerisms, which I’m actually waiting for friends and family to pick up on. Nonetheless, I do wish to go on the record and declare: I am not a demon.

What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Personally – although I’m bias – I think the story is unique, and something that I haven’t read or seen before. Not only will you be freaked out by a demon, but you also have the additional terror of an intruder invasion. Tell me, what’s scarier than that?

Who designed your cover?

The cover design was done by Wesley Smuts from Affinity92 Designs. Funny enough, I did the press release and biography for Wes’ band Climate Control.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

I view a story as a natural process; when it feels done, chances are that it probably is. I am a big fan of minimalism, and feel that it’s pointless to waffle on, if you’re just trying to fill word quotas.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Apart from a good fright and chill, I’d like for them to take away the lesson that everyone has their own demon, and the potential to do both good and bad. It’s all about choices and how you view morality.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I have about 10 Word documents consisting of several pages of ideas, and a notebook that I use to jot down just odd words and pictures. Being obsessive-compulsive, I fully intend on following through with every single idea, and more, but it’s just the matter of being in the position to write full-time and give my utmost attention to my writing projects.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

Absolutely. I’ve always possessed an extreme determination and drive to pursue my dreams, but I think this experience has really pushed me even more. I’ve been blown away by all of the support and kind words from the readers and the writing community. The mere fact that someone is willing to read something that I wrote is humbling and inspiring to me.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his creator?

Nah, not at all. I’m a bit like George R.R. Martin in the sense that no one is safe from extermination. If I think they’ve outstayed their welcome, they’ll be knocked off very quickly.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

“Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s probably my favourite book of all-time, and I just can’t get enough of the social satire and hilarious dialogue. It’s the best book ever, and I will fight anyone who disagrees.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment, I’m busy working on a geek comedy titled “Coffin Claus,” which is about an oddball 40-something man, who believes he is a vampire. Concurrently, I’m still piecing together the potential sequel to Don’t Steal from the Devil; I have plans on making it a quadrilogy, but I’m not entirely satisfied with the plots for each story, so I’ll continue to rework until I figure out something great.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

“Never cared, and never will. Sayonara, suckers!”

live2photo-8466-3-c1-t2-bwWhere can people learn more about your books?

You can find out more about my projects from my official website (www.sergiopereira.co.za). Alternatively, just get in touch with me via Facebook (www.facebook.com/sergiopereira27) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/sergiowrites), since I’m always posting news and details there, too. You can purchase a copy of “Don’t Steal from the Devil” from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Steal-Devil-ebook/dp/B00GAVRAD8).

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Victoria Anne Manning, Author of “The Perfect Nightmare”

Welcome, Victoria. What is your book about?

The Perfect Nightmare is about insanity – not the ‘padded room with a straight jacket’ insanity, but the kind that creeps slowly into your mind over time, and darkens your thoughts as well as the world around you. More so than insanity, this book (the first of three) is about Chaos taking over the world – that’s right, the chaotic forces in the universe take over Earth. Good times.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

I started writing it when the idea slithered into my imagination over 6 years ago. However, only recently (this past November during NaNoWriMo) did I actually finish it and didn’t want to rewrite it for a fourth time.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

My own dark mind, honestly. I was 15 when I started this story, and I was dealing with the foster care system in California, my mother who was certifiably insane, and being a teenager. I felt abandoned, so I created a character that also felt abandoned. I was angry, hurt, and more over, I was starting to see and hear things – so, I made the character have these traits. She turned into something different when I started writing, but she (Nightmare) definitely came out of the two years I was not quite all there mentally.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

More than a little, haha. I’d say that each character carries a part of me in them, a part of my life. I can’t think of a writer who doesn’t put at least a single thing in their characters that is from their experiences or just themselves.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Well, there are 5 main characters in the book – Jack and Charlie, Nightmare, Troy and Elena. I really can’t choose my favorite. They all have their merit, and they all have a special place in my heart. I guess, if forced to choose, I’d say Nightmare; not because she was the first character created, or because she has the most of me in her (because a lot of what is within that character is now no longer within me). It is because of her life – her parents hated her (which is where her name comes from, she was such a nightmare), no one at school would be her friend, her teachers thought that she was a scary little girl, and so on. She had a sad childhood – the only person who understood her passed away, and she was blamed for it. I understand why Nightmare let the house into her mind the way she did – anything to escape the reality where she was useless. She is a sad character, but I believe for all her maniacal glory, Nightmare is my favorite.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Depends on the story – the current book I am working on is taking so much outlining and research that it is crazy! I have never written a high fantasy story, so this is a completely new topic. However, because it is a challenge, I am having so much fun with it. However, The Perfect Nightmare was a single concept – a character in a house that has hallways to nowhere and she must feed the house death ß that was the very first concept for the story. So, I started writing with just that concept in mind. That is usually how I do it – no outlining, little research unless necessary.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

For The Perfect Nightmare I had to do some research. I had to develop magic for each character, which took a bit of research on what types of magic were already out there, as well as for the one non-magic character, I had to research ways for him to kill. That was a hard one, because I was terrified the FBI or something was going to knock on my door – I was researching some pretty intense chemicals and poisons, haha. All of my research is done online because it is the most convenient and readily available research tool for me to use.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I took different parts of insanity and divided them up, sort of… Haha, I can’t really explain it. Jack and Charlie are two halves that make a whole; their insanity and their powers compliment each other, and writing their interactions was difficult. You see more of their relationship in the second part of the first book. We already talked a lot on Nightmare, and I am afraid if I say more, it will spoil it all. Troy is the most human of them all, and that was his differentiation – he has no powers, and even begins to regret everything he did for the house, and for Nightmare; he was a necessary human element to the story. And Elena, the final character introduced in this book – she is Nightmare’s complete opposite, and that was how she was developed. I took Nightmare and more or less reversed her, and added some other things to make Elena a little more believable (but again, I don’t want to spoil it!)

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

It’s just a feeling I get. During NaNoWriMo, I tried so hard to force 50k out of my mind, but at about 41k I was done, and I knew it. The book had detailed all it could without being overly descriptive of the characters and the setting. It’s just a feeling.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I don’t really know. I didn’t start writing it to get it published, I wrote it because I needed an outlet for my own insanity at the time. The concept has changed so drastically over the past 6 years that I can’t adequately say what I want readers to take from it. You don’t get the gist of the whole story from the first book – it’s just death and darkness and some magic thrown in. In the end, when all three books are out, I want people to read them and see that history really does repeat itself, because that is one of the main themes of the whole story.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

Don’t walk into a dark doorway that wasn’t there before… haha. Not really a message, aside from history repeating itself. I will probably have another answer for this question once the second and third books are done and published, because this first book is mindless insanity really.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

When I was crazy, it helped get everything out, it helped me balance – but as I finished writing it in 2011, after having gotten my issues under control, I started seeing and hearing things again. Though this time it was more having to do with my story. I have a very vivid imagination, and my characters often come to life for me… and not just my human characters. I was scared of the dark again, hearing creepy sounds in the apartment… you know, scary stuff. It was probably because this story holds more terror for me than it will for most other people.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

Of course! I finally finished something, which is hard for me to do, which made me feel accomplished. I got out my insanity, which helped me feel more balanced. While working on this book, I had two amazing miracles happen – I have two wonderful and beautiful children (probably not because of the book, but hey, it happened during writing it). I’ve lost friends, made friends, and have started a family, all while writing this book.

How has your background influenced your writing?

Dark, depressing, brooding and insane is how I describe a lot of my earlier work, though I would describe it all as fantasy. As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be someone else – not your average “Let’s play dress up!” kid, but the “I don’t want to go home, why can’t I be Sailor Moon” kid. It sounds harsh, and I don’t fault my parents for raising me the way they did, but I always wanted to be someone that I wasn’t. This is why all of my stories have the fantasy element in them – in fantasy, I can create worlds and live in them with my characters, and not be scared. Haha.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

COFFEE. ^__^ And always have a cigarette on hand – I don’t smoke inside, but man a cigarette is nice after pounding out 1k.

Where can readers learn more about you?

Writing Blog: http://victoriamanning.wordpress.com/

Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/VAM.writer.photo

Officer Lincoln Carter, hero of Ghost Prints by Jason Gehlert

Who are you?

My name is Officer Lincoln Carter. My experiences recently have been quite overwhelming. My partner and best friend, Joe Buchanan, recently solved a pair of cases involving ghosts and spirits. I’ve been exposed if you will, and can hear voices from beyond, especially my dead friend, Zach, who talks to me and helps Joe and I catch spiritual criminals.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

I can honestly say Mr.Gehlert has fleshed out my character, giving me a full range of skills, including a unique three dimensional line of thinking. And, he’s made me the hero of the stories, which I’ve learned has been picked up by Damnation Books. Joe and I have a new adventure in New Orleans, set for a March 2012 release.

What do you regret?

My biggest regret is not being there for my friend Zach, allowing years of feuding over my brother’s death to alienate our friendship. His suicide hit me hard, but now we connect on a whole new level.

Where do you live?

I currently live in New York’s gorgeous Hudson Valley with my wife and kids.

Have you ever had an adventure?

My adventure would be hunting down spiritual criminals and not the real warm blooded ones! Either way, I still deliver justice.

Who is your enemy?

Our main enemy, is the Crowley bloodline. We’ve encountered both a spiritual version and a warm blood ancestor, each with their own unique skill set.

How do you see yourself?

I’m healthy and a very determined cop. I also believe in loyalty and teamwork. I also have a lot of honor in my work.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is tacos and a good beer with friends, and I’m a devoted family man.

What are the last three books you read?

The last three books I’ve read? Contagion, Ghost Prints, and Demon Revolver all by Jason Gehlert. He writes with passion and heart.

If you were shopping what three things would be in your cart?

Three things in my shopping cart? Taco mix, batteries, and a newspaper.

What is your favorite music?

My favorite music? Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osborune, and Scorpions.

Do you embrace conflict?

I embrace conflict, it drives my ego, fuels my passion to catch the bad guy. Without conflict, my mind would collapse and become stale. I need a good challenge to keep my mind fresh and firing on all cylinders.

How do you envision your future?

I envision my future as continuing to play this heroic yet compassionate role Mr.Gehlert has created for me in Ghost Prints and our new adventure, Ferrymen, coming out next spring. He’s also writing another adventure for us as we speak.

David Rhodes, Author of Risen

What is your book Risen about?

Conveniently located directly across from the city cemetery, Ramsey Funeral Home has ghosts coming and going.

The century-old mansion has been the last stop for numerous town residents, and some just don’t want to leave. In fact, many have Risen. But all the spirits who visit are not friendly. One is the ghost of a long-dead child killer and cannibal. The murderer has taken over the soul of Karl Ramsey, the mysterious mortician who runs Ramsey Funeral Home.

Adam Ramsey, Karl’s nephew and heir to the family estate through his grandfather, returns to his hometown, only to relive ghostly childhood memories. He seeks to discover if the terrible rumors about his uncle are true. Adam teams up with a woman whose eight-year-old daughter has disappeared to find out what is happening.
Nothing, however, can prepare them for what they will discover.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The cemetery inspired me most of all, as I lived right next door. I was constantly seeing funerals, more than I had imagined would occur regularly.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

There is a lot of me in Adam, with the childhood memories and such. I grew up enduring nightmares almost nightly, and it slowed down a little in adulthood. I could sympathize with Adam at having to return to his childhood, one that would have just as soon forgotten.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It took a little more than a year to write the first draft of Risen, as I was still working a full time job at the time. I did all my writing in the middle of the night after work, before going to bed and sleeping until after lunch, only to wake and do it all over again.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

This particular novel demanded a lot of research. I knew nothing of the actual processing of the deceased, and the preparations that take place to ensure a respectful send off for loved ones. So that took up a lot of time. I wanted to make sure I went into that project knowing exactly what I was talking about.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I usually begin with figuring out just what characters are going to be needed for a novel, and I let it grow form there, as demand for others ensue. I make character profiles for all my characters, and kind of resume for each person. Later, they usually grow on their own.

What has changed for you personally since you wrote your first book?

I think what has changed the most since writing my first novel is my writing style. Risen was my second novel, and as I wrote it, I noticed immediately the changes in style, overall the elements of sentences and paragraphs. But this is normal if you write on a regular basis. Your own style begins to emerge, and you write with more ease.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I am working on several different projects. I completed an anthology called Door 13 around the same time as Risen, so I only need to do some revisions and editing to prepare it for publishing. I am also working on a new novel called Dark Asylum, and another anthology called From The Shadows. I really love the short stories, and I expect many more to come.

Does writing come easy for you?

Writing has always come fairly easy to me, but don’t let anyone fool you – writing a book is no easy task. There is a lot of work involved in writing, and I think that is why a lot of new writers give up too quickly. If you really want to write something significant, you must have what I like to call “sticktoitness.”

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

The one person who gave me the best writing advice I ever had did not actually give it to me, but to anyone and everyone who asks, and that is Stephen King. Long before I heard his advice, I had notice just how important these things were, and how they applied to my writing. The advice was: read and write a lot. It is simply true. Keep reading constantly, and write as much as you can. And never get too discouraged. If you set out to write something, and finished it, good or bad, you are a success.

Where can people learn more about your books?

To learn more about my books and future projects, my web site is Writerdavidrhodes.com. All the information you need is there.