Interview with Dino Simonetti author of Shape-shifters and Succubae.
Dino Simonetti hails from Winthrop Massachusetts, a small town east of Boston. Simonetti lived his first 28 years in this historical town and can recall stories told by Edward Roe Snow, a neighbor at the time. He also took a liking to Poe’s works as well. He credits much of his influence to King, Koontz and Barkers works. He stated some of the light, breezy prose is influenced by Janet Evanovich as well.
Why are you taking part in the author blog challenge and what do you hope to achieve?
I’m taking part in this blog challenge because I like a good challenge-ha, ha, ha. But seriously, I think its important for writers/publishers/marketers or anyone involved in the literary world to air their opinions, insights and vision. What I hope to achieve? To ventilate my mind and share some of the millions of ideas that run through my head on any given day. Also I’d love to tell everyone about my latest “brand-name platform”
How long have you been writing for?
I have been writing all my life in one form or another most often in the fiction/fantasy genre. I am influenced heavily by the works of King, Barker, Koontz, Evanovich and most recently by the twilight books, Harry Potter and Tolkien. I was a comic book buff(neurotically) and would spend hours and hours reading them-all sorts. I entered the world of the fantasy as a way to escape the crappy life I grew up in-too much to write about here. I recall times when my father would flip out about all the comic reading so I was relegated to reading them in the hallway coat closet sitting on the vacuum cleaner hidden behind the coats using a spelunking light-yes I got caught once in a while. Dad said they would ruin my mind and I should be reading things about World War II or animals or other boring stuff that I now watch on television-who knew!
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?
Revisions-revisions-revisions! I have revised my first serious novel no less than 5 times-each time making it more exciting, more visceral and just outright great! Do I sound biased? I had released the book then retired it when I decided a title change would serve me better as far as marketing and visibility. Another challenge is keeping it all in the same voice,, having smooth prose, and being consistent. I had researched some of the content in my book for about a month calling on all the witches, magical folk, demon experts and Wiccans. I also spent a great deal of time learning some Latin and Cherokee phrases. Wikipedia served me well too at times. I researched some old Chinese folklore and tattoo art. All the characters in the story are real people and in fact, the two major players lived upstairs from me in Salem Massachusetts. I had to use my imagination on one of the girls as she had a fight with her partner and returned to Louisiana.
What genre do you generally write?
Genre? Well I’d call myself a horror thriller erotica sort of a writer because I can write all those styles well-and even mix them in one story.
Do you have a favorite author and why?
I don’t really have a favorite author any more. Evanovich tickles my funny bone with her Stephanie Plum series. If you like fun but danger in a story-she’s your gal.
What is your book called and how did you choose this title?
The name of my book, book 1 in a series, is called Shape-shifters and Succubae. It was originally Ba’Gatz’s Succubus but I thought from a marketing perspective it would sell better with the present title.
The great demon Ba’al, leader of 76 legions of demons from hell was trapped under a mountain and imbedded in clay many years ago. He wants to escape and cast the world into darkness. Its taken many years for the coven named CAOS (pronounced chaos) to locate him. The ‘elders’ of the coven are actually demons in disguise-they have an ulterior motive obviously. Well CAOS is a demon that has the ability to make something from nothing and will attempt to help free him. She just wants him to be freed and thinks she’ll be able to calm him down so he wont destroy the world. The girl Hillarea I mentioned earlier has a special ability as she was borne from Cherokee ancestry. She’s recruited by the coven to be their new leader. Mean while, a few good witches figure out what’s going on and want to put a stop to it. A detective Simon has been called in to investigate all the strange deaths and disappearances. He gets sucked into the whirlwind of the covens activity. He’s skeptical when the good witches tell him they have it all figured out. Of course there’s a nosy reporter, lots of blood, lots of terrible deaths and a key ingredient is a special blood type called O-negative Bombay-quite rare. There’s many sub plots, much convolution, much treachery and lots of interesting characters-all people I know that I fashioned for the story.
Has your book been published and how did you go about this?
I’m going to refer you to the blog entry on publishing- and a 5* review
Rebecca Scarberry with World Literary Café I give this one 5 stars
This is the first book I have read by this author and I’m very impressed. The story is set in the present tense and seems to be written from the point of view of a spectator at a movie recounting every scene in their own words. The author has a fascinating way of capturing the verbalizations and colloquialisms of young adults. Normally not one for profane language, I found the profanities to be strategically placed and oftentimes humorous. The dialogue resembles a screenplay and it seems like it could be handed to a set of characters to memorize their lines.
The portrayal of a mid-sized city feels authentic and the perfect backdrop for all the wild things that happen. Some of the scenes are so descriptive and extremely gory if you have a weak stomach this may not be for you. The character development and their inherent interactions is well written.
The author uses different fonts to portray the dialogues between man and demon. The cemetery scene feels real as does the appearance and disappearance of the demon and succubus. There is a fox, which flits in and out of the scenes and it’s significance left me wondering throughout. The cast of characters is quite large, about twenty in all, but he managed to keep them all clear for me to follow; truly an amazing feat.
There are some explicit scenes but they’re written in such a way most would find them inoffensive. The writer describes lesbian relationships well and the characters seem to blend with the rest of the cast; all but one.
The beginning chapters seem almost Pulp-like and the author did a fine job of helping me visualize how everything will overlap. The book has plenty of ups and downs but I was completely engaged. The author did a good job of capturing my interest and made me want to read on to see what happens next.
The author introduces random occurrences, which left me wondering throughout my read if I would find out what they meant; he must have future plans for them.
My suggestion, keep the lights on for this one.
“I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?
I started on Labor Day 2008 and finished the draft for what will be books 1 and 2 by Halloween 2009. It went through tons of editing and as I said, was released a few times from 2010 until 2011. I pulled it late 2011. I released the new version January 1 2012 in physical copy. It can be found on Amazon by title or under my name. I prefer folks go to my personal Createspace web site as I plan to take 50% of the royalties to donate to Autism research-my son is afflicted with this poorly understood disorder. Amazon pays dirt for royalties so I chose the personal web page.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Well since I’m still an aspiring author I can’t really comment save for telling them don’t give up. Case in point-it took me 23 yrs to finally get to it and its gone from a short story based on a gross joke I shared with an anesthesiologist back in 1987 to what will end up being a series of about 3000+ pages under the series name of The Witches and Demons of Clay Mountain
Do you use social media to promote your book, if yes then which social networks do you like the most?
I use Twitter mostly because I can’t seem to figure out how to get FB to work to my advantage. I have a time line there with all sorts of recent activities. I use my blog (with little success) and the other things associated with my links. You can Google me and find out all sorts of stuff on me; just ignore the picture of the scary looking bald guy that looks like an ax murderer-I assure you-that ain’t me.
How did you go about designing the cover for your book?
I designed and will continue to design my own covers and illustrations. Not only do I write novels, poetry, play music and draw; I have an eye for art. In fact I have mentioned this service to many writers that I will be happy to do the covers and would probably do the first one for very little money to see if the author and I hit it off conceptually
Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?
DO I HAVE A DAY JOB? I love this question! Yes of course-unless I sell books I cannot expect to survive on paltry sales. I am currently in a sales position at a company called C3. We are working on a marketing campaign to provide on campus products for college students; it’s going well.
I attend Massage Therapy School and graduate in December. The choice was prompted by the fact I can set my own schedule and write when I’m not providing wellness to people.
Prior to this recent smattering of activity I spent 33 years in pharmaceutics.
Where is your book available to buy?