AN INTERVIEW WITH SANDY DELUCA
Today folks I am very proud to have Sandy Deluca over for a chat. Sandy is a writer, poet and artist. She has in recent rears published a number of books to very high critical acclaim.
GNOH – Hello Sandy, how are you this fine day?
Hi, Jim. I’m doing great. Thank you for asking me to do this interview.
GNOH – Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I have been writing for several years now. In addition, I’m a painter. I recently left a day job in the corporate world to pursue my writing and art. I live in a big old house in New England with two cats and a massive library of occult books.
GNOH – What is the draw of the darker side fiction for you?
I grew up in a somewhat superstitious household. My parents were Italian-Americans, and they passed down a multitude of beliefs and strange stories which stirred my imagination while still very young. Dreams always meant something. Legends of the dead and ghost tales seemed natural to me, so they naturally occur in my fiction.
GNOH – Which term do you prefer, horror author, dark fiction writer or just plain writer?
I prefer writer.
GNOH – Who would you say are the biggest influences on your writing?
James Leo Herlihy, Ira Levin and James Dickey.
GNOH – And how would you describe your writing style?
Dark, surreal and poetic.
GNOH – You are also a published poet, speaking as someone who doesn’t get poetry, I know I’m a Philistine, what is the appeal of poetry for you?
I wrote more poetry when I was younger, and I write less poetry now than I did a few years ago. Sometimes I brainstorm, by jotting down ideas on a sheet of paper, and then string those ideas into one, or several poems. I also have been collaborating with Marge Simon, who is an amazing poet.
Poems to me are sketches of grander ideas, warm-ups for longer projects. They are the mini canvases displayed around the massive canvases. All of it is art in the end.
GNOH – How do the challenges of writing poetry differ to that of writing a story?
As a poet you have to make sure your ideas flow easily and that your message is clear within a smaller space and with fewer words.
GNOH – As well as being an author, you are also known as being an artist. Do the two artistic paths cross pollinate each other?
Yes, I often paint in between chapters, creating visual references to my characters and scenery. I exhibit at local galleries and sometimes, after visitors read the descriptions of my paintings, they ask where they can purchase my books.
GNOH – When you wake up in the morning, wait to feel to what you want to do, or do you maintain a strict writing / painting schedule?
I normally write until late in the afternoon, sometimes stopping in between to sketch and paint. My work methods are rather eccentric, but the end result is what matters.
GNOH – As an artist how much say do you have in the covers of your books?
I normally give the cover artist a rough idea of what I’d like to see on the cover; character descriptions or specific scenes. I’m not a commercial artist (I’m a painter), so I leave the final results to artists who have worked as professional cover artists.
GNOH – Who would you say are your favourite of the current batch of artists out there?
In the commercial field I’d have to say I think the world of Caniglia and Mike Bohatch. Chas Hendricksen is doing some amazing work for Uninvited Books. Artists outside of the commercial scene whom I admire are: Marlene Dumas, Beau Stanton, Gaia, Simone Maynard and Mickey Edtinger. I adore Clive Barker’s art as well.
GNOH – A lot of people have a limited knowledge and exposure to art, to the point where if they don’t know what it is, they don’t like it. Has anyone ever had a negative reaction to one of your works?
Of course. I paint what I “see” inside me, not what is before me, and sometimes viewers tell me my work is “too abstract…” or they say, “I like art I can understand.” We’re all on different paths in this life and I don’t expect everyone to understand what I’m “saying” with my art–or my writing. I don’t do any of it to please others. I do it because it’s what I feel and what I know. It’s part of me and I have to travel my own path, while still respecting others.
GNOH – Which came first the writing, or the painting, and how did it move on to the other?
They evolved together, although I studied visual art in college. My first art show was awarded to me during my studies at a local college. I exhibited thirty pieces of art; near each painting was a card with a continuing story. Later I’d exhibit paintings with framed pieces of poetry or short fiction in the midst of the visual pieces. It seems my paintings and writings have teamed up often during my lifetime.
GNOH – Descent was your first published work, I’m always interested in the journey from first putting pen to paper to the author getting their debut novel published. Can you tell us about how easy or hard this journey was for you?
Well, actually Descent was my second novel. Settling in Nazareth was the first, but it’s rather obscure and forgotten. I’d done a lot of short stories before that as well. However, Descent was one of the most difficult novels I’ve written and is considered my debut novel. I wrote it back in 2005. At times I wanted to give up, insist I was just a painter and writing was not for me. If it were not for Greg F. Gifune’s encouragement and suggestions the novel wouldn’t have been written. Greg has been a great influence and mentor and I have to thank him for being there when I wanted to give up.
Descent was originally published as a signed limited edition by Delirium Books in 2005; later released as an e-book. Uninvited Books produced the first paperback edition in 2011. I’m thankful that more readers are able to enjoy Descent with the paperback release.
GNOH – The book concerns an artist and her relationship with a man who may be in league with the devil. The book deals with some really intense subjects. Was it always your intention to write such a heavy and hard hitting book?
Of course it was my intention to do just that. I strive to produce material that makes readers think–and fiction that resonates. I want to scare the hell out of my readers.
GNOH – Is there any biographical elements to the story?
I once took a road trip to Florida with some freedom-loving kids. No murders, rapes or ghosts appeared on that journey and no madman drove the old Mustang. I grew up in an Italian-American family. Other than that all the murderous and disturbing elements are purely from my imagination.
GNOH – It was first published by delirium books with artwork from you, and it has now been reissued by Rob Dunbar’s Uninvited books, does the new version still contain the artwork?
I completed 100 original pen and ink drawings for the signed limited edition. It was a cool and unique idea initiated by Shane Ryan Staley. The artwork isn’t included in the paperback edition, but I truly appreciate the fact that both versions are out there and I thank both publishers for their efforts.
GNOH – What made you decide on publishing it through Rob’s press?
Robert Dunbar is producing some great dark literary fiction with Uninvited Books. He indicated Descent is a good fit for the publishing house and I am thrilled he feels that way. It’s awesome to be included with such great authors as Greg F. Gifune, Robert Dunbar and T. M. Wright.
GNOH – Did you rework any of the story for the new issue?
No, it remained the same dark and twisted novel I first wrote for Delirium.
GNOH – In From The Ashes, why did you use the Welsh goddess Ceridwen as the deity? Is her role in Welsh mythology integral to the plot and narrative of the story?
Ceridwen is sometimes considered a dark goddess and a being that deals with transformation–birth and rebirth. My main character, Angie, underwent a transformation during her battle with cancer. She survived, but her life transformed afterward. She’s haunted by a dark childhood secret and the Goddess gives her a choice–to repent–or to follow a dark path. Does Ceridwen truly appear, or has Angie imagined the Goddess in order to cope with her guilt? Give the novel a read and decide.
GNOH – The heroes of your novels are all women, is this just a coincidence or was it always your intention to have a lead female character?
No coincidence. I’ve spoken with a female voice intentionally and have felt comfortable with that role, but I’ve just completed a novel called Prayers for Solstice in which the main character is a man named Bernard Danser. I also am working on another novel in which the lead character is the detective from my first novel Settling in Nazareth. His name is Andrew Mansi.
GNOH – A lot of your books are now available as E-Books, have you embraced the new age of digital publishing, or do you see it as a evil that needs to be appeased?
E-book sales are great. I went out and bought a Kindle recently and I have truly embraced the new age of digital publishing. However, I love my library of hardcover books as well.
GNOH – Do you view the E boom differently as an author than as an artist?
I continue to enjoy exhibiting my art in traditional brick and mortar galleries, but I also
enjoy exhibiting art in venues such as Fine Art America; just as I continue to enjoy print books as well as E-books.
GNOH – Are there any plans to release Manhattan Grimoire as an E-Book?
I hope that happens in the future, but no immediate plans at present.
GNOH – Would you agree that your writing is geared towards the more serious side of horror writing, dealing with more serious subject matters, have you ever wanted to write a more light hearted sort of monster romp?
Yes, my novels are pretty intense. Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m not always the most serious person. I have written some whacky pieces for places like Sam’s Dot Publishing (under a pen name of course) and I partnered with Marge Simon on a book called Mad Hattery (Electric Milkbath Press). It’s a wild romp, including fifty of my most whimsical pieces of art, combined with Marge’s wonderful and brilliant poetry.
GNOH – How do you actually go about writing a novel, do you just sit down and write or do you plan out the whole novel before hand?
I normally sketch out a beginning, middle and end. Later I go back and flesh it out.
GNOH – Can you tell us about any future projects?
I am working on a new novella. The characters are like Bonnie and Clyde, only more sinister and deadly. The novel featuring Detective Andrew Mansi is near completion as well. A new novella called Messages From the Dead is due for release in 2013 as well.
Thanks so much for spending the time with me. I truly appreciate it.
GNOH – Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Sandy, it has been a pleasure.
Folks I highly recommend you take the time and read Sandy’s work, you’ll find it most rewarding indeed.
You can buy her books by clicking the links below