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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A friend, a book and giving back

Writers write and writers read. I love doing both. What's super cool is when I have the privilege of reading as well as writing an endorsement for a friend's book. And I had the great honor of doing that for author Mike Dellosso.

What I only alluded to in my endorsement for The Hunted, I'll fill out a little for you all. This "spine-tingling tale" held me hostage in my basement office because I was too involved in the story and too scared to walk upstairs and catch some z's. The story, its characters and themes also stayed on my mind long after I finished reading.

I'll say one more thing about Mike before we jump into a more detailed look at Mike, The Hunted and links to learn more.

Mike is battling the beast of cancer. And one of the biggest things I hope will happen with his tour besides tons of readers becoming fans is that tons and tons of folks will lift up Mike, Jen and their three little girls. So please join me in praying for the Dellosso family.

Meet Mike:

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted, was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years, has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets, and has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters.

Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer’s Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master’s Graduate School of Divinity. To read more about Mike’s journey into writing, check out Mike Dellosso's website.

Mike can also be found blogging at Wide-eyed fiction. A visit there is a journey into the heart of a man who loves the Lord.

You can also check out Mike's first chapter. Just be sure to keep an extra flashlight handy!

Step into the story of The Hunted:

A town’s deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith…

Joe Saunders is determined to unravel the mystery surrounding the brutal mauling of his nephew.

Police Chief Maggie Gill is determined to protect her family’s deadly secret.

But neither is prepared for the truth lurking in the shadows of Dark Hills.

After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible.

But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence. As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God’s hands.

Praise for The Hunted:

A great first book from an exciting new author! A vicious enemy, a family secret, a thirst for revenge, and a need for reconciliation all drive The Hunted from intriguing beginning to thrilling conclusion. Skillful prose and great storytelling make Mike Dellosso a writer to watch. I can’t wait for his next book!
—Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished

Mike Dellosso delivers a spine-tingling tale of hidden secrets, buried hopes and second chances. Interwoven through page-turning drama is the truth about vengeance and the triumph of God’s mysterious ways. The Hunted is a story best read with all the lights on and an extra flashlight handy–just in case!
—Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams

Something’s coming for you… and you might not be able to stop it. Read this someplace safe as you experience the incredibly descriptive world of The Hunted through the vivid writing and spine-tingling imagination of Mike Dellosso. And sleep with the lights on.
—Austin Boyd, author of the Mars Hill Classified trilogy

With hints of Frank Peretti and Stephen King, The Hunted is a chilling debut. Author Mike Dellosso is certain to make his mark in Christian fiction.
—Creston Mapes, author of Nobody

Mike Dellosso’s pins and needles thriller hurtles the reader down a dark and twisted path. Flickers of faith light the way, and fateful decisions determine the outcome of a horrifying climax. I dare you to take this one home!
—Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief suspense series

From page one The Hunted grabbed me by the collar and wouldn’t let go. Full of intrigue, supernatural undertones, and true to life characters, I highly recommend this superb debut novel.
—C.J. Darlington, Co-founder & Book Editor,

. . . The Hunted places Dellosso on the list of authors to keep your eye on.
—Vannessa Ng, Aotearoa Editorial Service

A peek inside Mike:

Tell us a little bit about your family.

I’ve been married to my lovely and supportive wife, Jen, for 10 years. We’ve been blessed with three daughters ages 5, 6, and 8. All fun-loving, sweet-spirited, and of course always well-behaved (ahem).

What do you like to do when you’re not working, writing (which is work!), churching, or familysizing?

Read and fool around with my website. Oh, I also mow the lawn, trim the hedges, paint the porch, replace rotted boards, and all that other fun stuff homeowners do to pass the time away. Actually, I’m pretty boring (except when Toby Mac is in the CD player).

Tell us about when your cancer diagnosis.

Yeah, cancer. Kind of a big thing. I was diagnosed on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. Here I was getting ready to launch into trying my hand at promoting my new book and in the middle of negotiating a contract for a second book when the doctor dropped the bomb: You have colon cancer.

Funny thing is, I don’t remember ordering colon cancer. Not part of my plans at all.

How has cancer affected your writing?

How has it affected my writing? Well, immediately, it’s halted my writing. With the exception of daily journaling on my blog, I haven’t written a lick since being diagnosed. I love to write, it’s my passion, but this cancer thing trumps it.

I took this diagnosis as a nudge from God that I need to set writing aside for a little while and just concentrate on the most important things: my relationship with Him and my relationship with my family. Sometimes it takes something like cancer to refocus you, to get you to evaluate your life and do a little re-prioritizing.

In the long run, I think the experience of traveling through this valley will only enhance my writing, give it more depth, more texture, more emotion and passion. I know firsthand what it’s like to traverse that Valley of the Shadow of Death, to question Why me?, to be scared of dying, not for dying’s sake but for my family’s sake, to live with a monster inside me that wants to kill me (hey, that gives me a great story idea), to be poked, prodded, scoped, and stuck, to live a life that revolves around the next test result or the next doctor’s appointment. I’ve been there now and I can incorporate those experiences into my stories, into the life of my characters. It’ll be interesting to see how my writing changes once I get back to it.

What has cancer taught you?

One thing I’ve learned is to fully rely on God, to willingly submit myself and put my life in His hands. And of course, this carries over into my writing as well. We writers never know where the next contract is coming from or how much the next royalty check will be for, or even how the next story will unfold, if there is a next story. We are constantly at His mercy, and I’m learning that’s a good place to be.

Where did you get your idea for The Hunted?

The idea for The Hunted came from the internet. I was surfing one day just looking for ideas or something to spark my imagination and get the wheel churning when I came across this story of a small town in Indiana that reported lion sightings back in the 1920’s. Several of the townsfolk said they saw an African lion in the fields surrounding the town. A couple cows were mauled and eaten. Then the sightings just stopped. No one knows where the lion came from or where it went. I thought it was a pretty neat idea and ran with it. Story born. Happy birthday!

What are some of the underlying themes in The Hunted?

Themes are something else, aren’t they? An author can write a story expecting to convey one message and then, when the book’s done, look back and find he’s actually conveyed several messages and none are the one he intended. And then someone can read the book and get something out of it totally different from what the author thought he conveyed.

So, here’s what I think the themes are, what I wanted the themes to be when I wrote the book (whether anyone actually finds these themes is another story entirely, and I’m okay with that, really I am, as long as they get something meaningful out of it).

One theme is the idea of not putting God in a box, of letting Him be God, letting Him work in your life and do some miraculous things. I think too often we put a leash on God and tell Him what He’s allowed and not allowed to do. That’s not our place. God can do anything He wants to do. He’s the one in charge, remember?

Okay, enough of that. The second theme is the danger of a vengeful heart. Vengeance is a powerful thing; I think that’s why God said He’d take care of it. In the hands of mere mortals, it’s a deadly poison, able to consume a man and turn him into a monster. Revenge is not something we should try to harness. We have no business playing with that fire. In The Hunted we see the end result of a vengeful heart unbound.

Lastly, there’s the theme of forgiveness and acceptance and redemption. Beautiful things we experience from the heart our Heavenly Father and pass on to others.

What is one thing writing has taught you about God?

I think part of being made in the image of God is our desire to create. I experience great joy by bringing people to life, forming a world for them to live in and things for them to do. Putting them in a situation where there is no easy out and watching how they react. I can only imagine the fun God must have had creating this world. What a wonderful thought, the Creator at play.

What do you hope to accomplish in your writing?

God’s done so much for me. He loves me while I am so unlovable. Lifted me up out of that miry clay, wrapped His arms around me, and set my feet on solid ground. Made me a new creation and gave me a new life. I’m so undeserving of His love, and yet He so willingly and freely gives it. Why wouldn’t I want to give all of me back to Him?

And that includes my writing. God’s given me a gift and I want to give it back to Him to be used for His service, His Kingdom. I hope and pray my writing and my stories impact people on a spiritual level, if they don’t then I will feel like I’ve somehow failed. Really, when life is all said and done, when we get rid of all the materialism and ambition and rat race stuff, isn’t our sole purpose to glorify God? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Really? That’s what I want to accomplish with my writing . . . to just glorify God and let Him take care of the rest.

To learn more about Mike, hop on The Hunted blog tour~ don't forget to keep the lights on!

A Peek at My Bookshelf
Alien Dream
An Author’s Life
Artistic Blogger
Behind the Mountain
Blog Tour Spot
Camy’s Loft
Canadian Prairie Writer
Chatter Matters
Dee’s Christian Fiction
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
Good Word Editing
Heart Chocolate
His Reading List
Home-Steeped Hope
In the Dailies
Kells Creative Musings
Life in the Midst of Writing
Life with Missy
Light for the Writer’s Soul
Margaret Daley
Mommy Come Lately
My Cup 2 Yours
My Name is Michael Snyder
Not Just Romance but a Love Story
Notes in the Key of Life
Novel Journey
One Day
Penning Prose
Portrait of a Writer . . . Interrupted
Real Women Scrap
Refresh My Soul
Relevant Blog
Savvy ReViews
See Ya On the Net
Terri’s Treasures
The Book Beat
The Law, Books and Life
The Surrendered Scribe
The Suspense Zone
The Write Message
wandering, wonderings of a whacked-out woman
Windows to My Soul
Wisdom Walk
Writing Career Coach
Writing on the Edge


Rel said...

Great interview, Mike and Amy :) I have The hunted sitting nicely in my TBR pile - who thought it was going to jump out and bite me - LOL!!! I'll be reading and reviewing it soon.

Warms hugs from down under, Mike from my family to yours (yep, we have the three daughter thing happening too (10, 7 & 4, just like Amy's!! You are in our prayers.

Mike Dellosso said...

Hi Amy! Hey, thank you so much for participating in the blog tour, for your kind words (sorry the story scared you :), and for your ongoing prayers. You have blessed me today!


Susan said...

Wow...this sounds like a book to read during the day! I'll have to add it to my summer list.

Thanks for the information.


C.J. Darlington said...

I had the chance to endorse The Hunted as well, Amy, and it was really a terrific read! Great job, Mike!

Amy Wallace said...

It's so fun to do blog tours and share a great story with others who enjoyed it or are looking forward to reading it!

And, Mike.... you did your job in scaring me. ;-) Well done! Glad I could be a small part of encouraging you today!

spaghettipie said...

Thanks so much for being a part of the tour. I'd love for you to participate in my little meme for Mike's tour as well . . . if you dare!

Mike Dellosso said...

Hi Amy! I've "tagged" you to participate in the scary story meme Tina's doing. I'd love to hear a real life scary story that heppened to you.

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