I’m hosting an author interview today with Santino Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds is the author of suspense novel “Deliver Us”, which is currently on tour.
1. How did you come up with the inspiration for Deliver Us?
It was many years back when I first had the idea for Deliver Us. This was when I used to live in an apartment complex in the woods in Illinois. I had just finished an early draft of House Of Cards and I was driving somewhere. As I was going through the woods I started thinking of the seclusion that my neighbors and I experienced. But it wasn’t coming from immolation. I was thinking about how there must be countless other people in isolated situations with stories of their own. I initially wrote Deliver us to revolve solely around Rick, Javier and Claire. Except Javier was a female character that broke away from Rick and discovered her sexuality. It became more of a Lavern and Shirley thing (which I didn’t want) and I still wanted a chance to personify the angst of living a sheltered life in a remote location. Hence, Ryan Goodman was added to the cast. I just hope it all translates well and people understand where I’m coming from. There’s a soothing comfort in the close-knit relationships you build being tucked away in the woods. Yet there’s an emptiness and yearning to break free and explore the rest of the world, and what it has to offer.
2. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
For me, it was never really about “knowing” I wanted to become a writer. It was about me realizing that I am a writer and no other activity, job, or hobby would bring me the joy and satisfaction of crafting words. I tried the military, business, criminal law, bodybuilding and sales. But I was never truly happy. Those were all great moments in my life, but I’m a word smith, not a salesman. I remember writing and delivering a stellar invocation speech for the incoming chaplain of my company in the Army. The captain asked me to write it based off of the way I talk and my good nature. I had two hours to write and I hadn’t even met the new chaplain before. In the end, everyone loved the speech and it validated my work. That moment alone surpassed the joy of scoring a perfect score on my army physical fitness test, winning my weight division in a state bodybuilding competition and getting to experience the real Oktoberfest first hand. It was at that moment, standing at the podium and receiving the applause, that I realized what I am.
3. Who was your favorite character to write about in Deliver Us, and why?
Writing for Jake was so much fun. It was my chance to be goofy and play around with some new ideas. Writing suspense and horror, I rarely get to write the kind of character like Jake is. Several times I would have to rein him in because some of his dialogue and actions were so off the wall. Thank goodness I have my family and friends to rein me in when I get that way.
4. If you could do one thing differently about writing Deliver Us, what would you change?
When I finished writing and editing Deliver Us I was very happy with the end product. Even now, I look back at it and I am totally satisfied with the story. There isn’t anything I would change. Although, I can say that in an earlier version, Ryan and Sheila (Jake’s mother) were having a full-blown affair. I sometimes wonder how the ending would play out with that. I probably would have had to have Jake beat the crap out of Ryan in the end. Oh well, I guess we’ll never know. Or will we?
5. What does your writing schedule look like? Do you write daily?
Writing schedule. Writing schedule? Those words together sound funny. I have never heard that particular combination of words. A schedule…for writing…? All jokes aside, I really don’t have a writing schedule. Picture the Tazmanian Devil doing that tornado thing and papers just flying all about. When I’m working on a new novel I write just about every day. I would write every day but I have two other jobs to pay the bills and such. I typically write by inspiration. I could be at the gym working out and have an idea that I rush home to write out or burning a pot of oatmeal while I reword a paragraph. It’s always oatmeal. Writing and inspiration, for me, is like peeing my pants. It could happen anytime and at any place. And when it hits I have to run home and see what develops.
6. If you could give some advice to beginning authors, what would it be?
I could say “write every day” but that’s cliché and not practical for those of us that work or have social lives or kids or whatever. I have two pieces of advice for beginning authors. The first is to plan your work. Writing is fun and should be enjoyed by both the writer and the reader. However, there is a certain amount of research and planning necessary to create a good read. You have to know your audience, know your message/story and figure out how your book is going to be better than the 3,000 other books with the same message. We’re in the twentieth century, most of the ideas we come up with have already been done. What you write has to surpass the former. It has to have your unique spin. My second bit of advice is to live. Get out there and experience the world. Go to a poetry slam, eat at a different restaurant for once, camp in your backyard with friends, train for a mud run. Appreciate all the little things in life that others can’t, because someone out there has prayed and cried wishing they had two legs, that they had money to eat or didn’t have a mental handicap. Take advantage of all the things you do have at your disposal. And don’t be afraid to put yourself out on a limb. Whether you have fun or not, whether you succeed or not, you will always have those memories to share. No one ever wrote a book about their highest score in a video game or how they enjoyed the latest episode of Gossip Girl. Get out there in the world and make some memories. It’s memories, from new experiences, that are fuel for inspiration.
7. Are you currently working on another book? If so, can you tell us something about it?
I finished editing my fourth novel, The Borrowed Soul. It’s my best work to date and the new love of my life. I just need a publisher (insert blatant pandering). I’ve started my fifth novel which I tentatively refer to as Death On V-Day. It’s an anthology series that centers on Valentine’s Day. It will be done well before Valentine’s day next year, but it probably won’t hit the shelves until much later. I chose this idea for some of the same reasons I wrote Damnation: Judgement Of The Dead. There aren’t very many anthology horrors out there now and rightfully so. This subgenre has been done so many injustices, but when executed correctly, they can be some of the most impactful books/movies. Zombies and anthologies are two of my favorite genres and it’s time for my take on an anthology. I’m going to bring this subgenre back to life and hopefully bring even a margin of the entertainment movies like Trick ‘R Treat (2007) and Tales From The Hood (1995) brought me. I hope that I can bring the bedtime tales back, like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (Schwartz & Gammell). For more information or discussions follow me on twitter or visit my website. Finally I want to thank my fans and readers (however many or few there are) thank you for the validation and drive that you provide me. Stay in touch and I will do my best to keep you entertained. I have to go, I think I left a pot of oatmeal burning.
Thank you, Mr. Reynolds, for the delightful review! As an author of short horror stories, I totally agree with you that there aren’t many anthology horrors out there, and the ones that are out there, barely do the genre any justice. Here’s to changing that!
About Deliver Us
“I caused this, because I’m too afraid of…him.”
“I caused this, because I sat back and let life pass me by.”
“I caused this, because I let my anger and beliefs get the best of me.”
Three strangers share with you, the events that took place ten months ago that changed their lives forever.
Javier escapes his abusive relationship with Rick. But can he trust his traveling companion as they head to Arkansas for safety?
Ryan dreams of the world outside of Arkansas; his only way out is college. Meanwhile, Ryan’s friend returns for the summer with a shocking gift. Can Ryan stop dreaming and focus on the nightmare brewing around him?
Shawn is a family man whose hate becomes all too consuming. He pays the price for his hatred, but how much will revenge cost him?
Listen to three stories unfold and collide as Javier, Ryan, and Shawn share their thoughts, a twist you’ll never forget, and their fate.
Finding your passion can be quite a long journey, as proved by Santino Reynolds. The Chicago-born young adult traveled over fifteen states, living in many of them. From behind a desk to behind enemy lines, Santino’s vibrant list of accolades includes: becoming the Musclemania middle-weight bodybuilding champion, becoming an Iraq war veteran, learning sign language and so much more. But none of those titles filled Santino with the passion he has for story-telling. Santino first began writing short horror stories at the age of eight. However, his first full length novel was a romance inspired by a close relative “coming out” to him. As he continued to write, romance became more of a background and his love for horror took center stage. Even though the genres may change, Santino Reynolds never will. Remnants, hints and allusions to his earlier works are always evident in his latest books. Try to find the House Of Cards reference in Deliver Us. Santino now resides in Arizona and continues to write horror novels. His lifelong dream is a collaboration with the living legend George A. Romero.
For a list of fun facts and full biography be sure to stop by his website at www.AsWriteAsReyn.com and stalk him down on his Twitter handle @AsWriteAsReyn