Author interview and excerpt ~ with Sandy DeLuca and her book DESCENT.
Sandy DeLuca is here to share a bit about herself and her process, as well as an excerpt from her recent book. Perfect for adults during the Halloween season - as many may need some respite from the “candy fixation” of the celebration.
Lets welcome Sandy!
So tell us - why write horror? Why read horror? Well, I don't consider myself solely a "Horror Writer". I've written nonfiction articles, mainstream fiction and poetry as well.
I suggest reading all genres. There's always something to learn and works to be inspired by. I also suggest checking out what Uninvited Books is doing. Rob Dunbar is publishing a rare blend of horror and literary fiction and he's producing some amazing books.
However with that in mind life isn't all white lights and giggles. Most of us experience darkness, so why not embellish that aspect of our lives, probe into the depths of imagination and produce work that resonates with readers?
Your book is one of psychological terror, madness, and demons - what sort of research did you do to create this in your main character? My main character evolved without any research. However, I did pick up some books on Italian witchcraft and demons in my travels.
What prompted you to write a novel about this subject? Years ago, on a road trip from Rhode Island to Florida, a friend of mine commented about a truck filled with drunken men, veering from left to right in front of us, during a trek down a country road: "Somebody could run them off the road, kill them, and bury them out here--and no one would ever know." Of course the comment was in jest and everyone forgot about it once we hit the heat of Miami, but that comment stayed with me for years, and ultimately inspired Descent.
You have been nominated for the 2000 Stoker poetry award – tell us a bit about this? I was nominated for the 2000 Stoker for poetry award; for my poetry book Burial Plot in Sagittarius. Oddly enough, there's a poem called Descent in the book--a little tease for the novel.
You are currently editing or judging for this same upcoming horror award – would you tell us about this? I am on the Stoker Novel committee and the Stoker poetry committee for 2011. I've had the opportunity to read lots of new fiction and it's interesting to learn what publishers are putting out there these days.
How about any of your other novels? Favorite’s perhaps? I wrote Settling in Nazareth years ago. It was my first novel and received very little attention. The main character, Ruby, is one of my favorites, and I plan to bring her back in another novel at some point in the future. I also hope one day that a publisher would reprint SIN. It's a great read and I'd love more people to realize that.
What is your next project? Just a little tease would be wonderful. I'm working on a new novella. It takes place in an offbeat city where the dead reside.
What advice would you give for the aspiring writer? Strive for perfection, not for instant gratification. There are many readers who don't have the patience to appreciate good literary fiction. They want cheap thrills instantly and toss aside works that have been crafted and rewritten until the author is satisfied. Many of those readers seem offended by good and solid writing and will publically post their contempt on fiction boards. Don't write to please those readers--write to please yourself--and write until your work is perfect.
If you could attempt anything and know you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Run for Congress.
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what is your chosen weapon? My two pet cats. Fangs and claws always win against zombies.
Thank you for sharing Sandy! I am look forward to finishing your book.
Excerpt from ~ DESCENT
It all happened so fast.
Sammy had been sitting there with me, drumming his fingers on the table and calmly taking the place in, when suddenly, in one fluid motion, he stood up, pulled a rifle from under his coat and began firing. Jake had his back turned and was pushing open the door, more than likely on his way to his office to make the call. But a bullet hit him low in the back, near his kidneys before he even got through the doorway. Blood exploded across his white tee-shirt and he collapsed
face-down over the grill. His hands fell flat against onions and green peppers and the burger I’d ordered.Crimson swirled with cooking oil, grease popped and splattered, and I smelled a rancid, sickly sweet odor I later realized was the stench of burning human flesh.
It all happened so quickly that by the time everyone realized what had happened it was too late.
Marla stood looking at us, stunned and frozen, her mind trying to make sense of what she’d just witnessed, when Sammy swung the rifle in her direction and shot her in the head. Her head snapped back and blood and brain tissue sprayed the wall behind her as her body collapsed.
The two men at the counter ducked and started to run for the door. They never made it. Sammy shot them both with the same calm precision with which he’d murdered Jake and Marla.
I stood there trembling and trying to convince myself what I had just seen was real, because it all seemed so unreal. Like something on TV or in some movie only…only this wasn’t make-believe. Marla and Jake and the others weren’t actors. They weren’t going to get up and brush themselves off. Sammy was real. I was real. The blood was real. Death was real. The ringing in my ears was real. The smell of a discharged rifle was real. His laughter was real. The evil all around us was real.
“Sammy,” I gasped, choking back tears, “my God. Why?”
Still holding the rifle in one hand, he reached out for me with the other, pulled me into him and kissed me hard on the lips. “’Cause they wanted to separate us,” he said softly. “Nobody can ever do that, babe—ever.”
I felt like a rag doll in his arm, my body limp but still unable to pull my eyes from the carnage before us.
“And I’ll kill any motherfucker who tries,” he said, laughing lightly and slowly sweeping his hand across the room to indicate the dead. “See?”
I watched as Jake’s hands turned brown from the grill. The thin hair on his head caught fire, singed. I felt his fingers on my chin. He turned my head so I was looking into his eyes: Dark and smoldering portals to Hell. “I’d hunt you down and kill you if you ever leave me,” he said.
It wasn’t a question, but I felt myself nod anyway.
He smiled, released me and strode across the room to the cash register. He pulled all the cash free and stuffed it into his pocket. “About five hundred bucks. Cool, we need to get rid of the Mustang anyway. This’ll come in handy if the car dealer won’t do an even trade. We won’t have to dip into our stash.”
I looked down at Marla as Sammy pushed me toward the door. Her eyes were open—dead eyes that knew so much, that had once been kind. But like the others, she’d been no match for pure evil.
I looked at Sammy. The Devil looked back.
DESCENT (about): SLEEPING IN THE DEVIL'S BED? A beautiful young painter falls in love with a dangerously sexy man who may be in league with the Devil ... who may even be a devil. So begins her Descent into a world of violence and horror, a world of rituals and madness and unspeakable cruelty. Can she retain her soul despite the things he does to her, the things he forces her to witness ... the things he forces her to do? When you dance with the Devil, can you ever make it stop?
Bio: Sandy DeLucas is a mutli-talented person. She is a novelist, poet, and artist. She has six novels to her credit, several novellas, oodles of short stories as well a poetry book, Burial Plot in Sagittarius which was nominated for the Bram Stoker award in 2000. In addition, she has been a painter for over twenty years. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, and various other venues. Connect with Sandy via her Website; Twitter; Facebook; and Fine Arts of American.
We hope this interview and excerpt tingled your backbone with a little scare for the season. It did ours. Thanks for reading!