Author Interviews

Q&A with author Mike Dellosso!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an interview on my blog; you may remember the first one was with the lovely Stephanie Grace Whitson back in June. (Take a look at that here if you missed it.) I love interviewing; it gives a whole new depth to the books I love as I start to get to know a little about the author and where he or she is coming from as a fellow believer. Understandably though, many of the authors I’ve contacted with interview requests are very busy and (while they’ve always responded kindly) haven’t been able to commit to a Q&A.

I’m especially thrilled, then, to have the opportunity to hear from Christian fiction author Mike Dellosso! I very recently reviewed Mike’s suspense/thriller Centralia and am looking forward to reading his other titles. To shamelessly steal Mike’s official Bio:

Mike is the author of eight novels of suspense, an adjunct professor of creative writing and popular conference teacher, a husband, and a father. When he’s not lost in a story or working or spending time with his family he enjoys reading and dabbling in pencil sketching. Mike has a master’s degree in theology and serves with his wife in their local church. He is also a colon cancer survivor and healthcare worker. Born in Baltimore, Mike now resides in southern Pennsylvania with his wife and five daughters.

Now that you know a little about Mike, let’s move right into the Q&A:

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First off, on your website you mention being a sinner saved by amazing grace! Praise God! I love to hear testimonies, would you mind sharing how you came to Christ?

 My dad came to Christ when he was 35. I was 9. He had been an alcoholic and I saw the dramatic change Jesus made in his life. I was a first-hand witness to my dad being made a new creation. A few months later I also made that decision. I was a “good” kid so there wasn’t a radical change in my life but over the years I’ve seen time and time again the difference Jesus has made and is making in my life. I’ve wrestled with stuttering, been through cancer, major disappointments, major hurts, significant life changes, and through it all God has remained faithful. He’s used every one of those situations to shape me into the image of Christ and draw me closer to Himself.

In another interview you mentioned that you have had a stutter your whole life and that through writing you feel you found your voice. While it might not compare, I sometimes feel as if I struggle to communicate my thoughts out loud to others. Do you have any encouragement or advice for others with stutters or similar difficulties?

Embrace who you are. For 25 years I fought my stuttering, struggled against it, cursed it, begged God to take it away from me. I just wanted to be “normal.” I wanted to be able to talk without it being a big chore. But every time God refused. Finally, through a series of circumstances I came to the point spiritually and emotionally where I was tired of fighting God and I gave in, I cried “uncle,” and just accepted who I was and who He made me to be. From that moment on my stuttering began improving. I was once a kid who loathed speaking in public, hated it, would look for every way out of it. And now I look for opportunities to speak. Yes, I still stutter some and at times it’s worse than other times, but I work with it now. It’s who I am and I’m okay with that.

Perusing through your old blog posts and other interviews, it would be pretty hard to miss how much you love being a dad to your five daughters! I’m sure they’re pretty proud of you too. That said, have you had any funny requests or comments from them about your books?

They haven’t read all of them. My oldest daughter says they’re too intense and scary for her. My second daughter isn’t a big reader to begin with. My third daughter has read them all and enjoys them. Number four is just seven and number five is only two. I’ve not had any funny requests from them but when they were little (and I still do this for the seven- and two-year-old) I would tell them bedtime stories and they’ve mentioned several times that I should compile them into a children’s book. Most of the requests come from other people. “Hey, I have a great idea for your next book.” I always listen politely but inside I’m rolling my eyes. I love when they say, “I’d write it myself if I had time.” I work a full-time job, a part-time job, have a wife and five kids, and am very involved in our local church . . . and you think I have time? Again, internal eye rolling.

You’re also a colon cancer survivor. What advice would you give to those, including me, with family or extended family who has cancer? I doubt this is an easy question to sum up, but was there any way you wish your friends had helped but they didn’t (maybe because they just didn’t know?)

Don’t patronize. If you don’t know what to say just tell them that. Don’t say, “I’m thinking about you.” I used to think: I don’t care if you think about me; what good does that do me? Pray for me. Let them talk, express themselves, cry. Just be there for them. Don’t tell them it could be worse (yes, people would say that to me). Don’t tell them they look good (they often feel like they’ve been run over with a septic truck). It’s about being real and honest and allowing them to be real and honest.

I just discovered your books so I’m a little embarrassed to admit that Centralia is the only one of your titles I’ve read so far (but I plan to change that soon!) “Scream” especially piques my interest… what would you recommend new readers start with? Do you have a favorite among your own works?

My favorites are DARLINGTON WOODS and A MILLION MILES FROM HOME. They are two very different novels in different genres and I loved writing both of them. I usually tell people to start with either SCREAM or CENTRALIA. If they don’t like suspense or thrillers, try A MILLION MILES FROM HOME.

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I’m so thankful to Mr. Dellosso for his honesty and time; if you’d like to learn more about him please take a look at his website, www.mikedellossobooks.com. He has two new books out: Midnight is My Time, “an end-times novel like you’ve never read before” and  A Million Miles from Home, “Southern fiction that is captivating people’s hearts.” You can explore his books here on his Amazon author page.

Author Interviews

Q&A With Stephanie Grace Whitson

Readers, some time ago I sent Christian fiction author Stephanie Grace Whitson an email asking her if she would be willing to answer a few interview questions for my blog, and she generously agreed. Stephanie’s fiction titles have been finalists for the Christy Award (among other honors) and you can find out more about them on her website: www.stephaniewhitson.com. Her most recent book is Messenger by Moonlight (2016). This is my first interview with a published author, and while my questions may be lacking, her answers are lovely, thoughtful, and warm. Please enjoy reading through our Q&A session below!

Your life as a novelist began in the 1990’s when you, your husband, and four kids all moved to an acreage in southeast Nebraska. You mention on your website being pretty sure you provided comic relief for the neighbors because of your lack of understanding about country living. Do any humorous stories or blunders stick out in your mind?

 I am from southern Illinois where my parents (born in 1913 and 1915) grew up in poverty, both taking advantage of the free food available via edible berries and greens that grew in the wild. I have very fond memories of picking dandelion greens and pokeweed for salads and roaming the countryside for wild gooseberries, blackberries, etc. in season.

Once we moved to our Nebraska acreage, I followed suit, making wild plum butter, sprinkling mulberries on breakfast cereal, etc. But the climate in Nebraska is different from that of southern Illinois, so there were wild fruits I wasn’t familiar with. One day I knocked on a neighbor’s door with a branch laden with wild fruit. Mrs. Boyce had been a farm wife all her life and she knew everything from “the old days” of hard scrabble life during the depression. Our conversation went like this:

Me: “Will I kill my family if I make jelly with these?”

Mrs. Boyce: “Well, honey, what do you think that is?” Continue reading “Q&A With Stephanie Grace Whitson”