Michael DiMura – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My first book was published in October titled Between Heaven and Hell. It’s the tale of Kaine, who is the half Angel/ half Demon prophesized to decide the war between Heaven and Hell. What no one saw coming, was Kaine turning his back on both sides! Instead he chose to rid mankind of any and all supernatural influence and give man the fighting chance it had always been denied. Born in a time long before record, we follow Kaine throughout a bloody and complicated existence. From realizing his potential, to his time as a Knight in the 3rd Crusade and right up until modern times, his life is a constant war. We catch up to Kaine in New Jersey where he’s currently staying and having a bad feeling about things to come. In time he finds that an old friend thought long dead is hunting him, the emergence of a secret society and mystery mastermind pulling the strings Kaine’s intuition proves correct. For him it’s just a normal day stuck between Heaven and Hell.

Tell us something about yourself.

I’m 32 years old, born and raised in Central New Jersey. I still currently reside in the same small town I grew up in with my Fiancé. I’ve been writing short stories and things like that since as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until taking the encouragement of my fiancé that I decided to sit down and actually write a full book. I’m an avid NY Rangers fan, and have always been interested by ancient history, medieval history, Mythology and generally anything unexplained or unknown. I have a large collection of Medieval armor and weaponry I started amassing way back when I was 18 and still enjoy taking trips out to see the local Renaissance Fairs here in NJ and NY. I also love dark, scary things, Halloween is my Christmas! Ghosts and Goblin, the serial killer behind the door and Zombies clawing their way out of the graves make October my favorite time of year. I go all out with elaborate decorations and have even been building my own special effects and props for the past 10-12 years!

What inspired you to write this book?

My inspiration for this book and this story in general was definitely my love of Ancient history and the supernatural. I’ve visited many sites here in New Jersey of urban legend and local lore. That’s why I used a few of them in my book. It’s a trend I plan on keeping with as I write further books about Kaine and those he encounters. A love of religion and mythology is also a huge influence on me. I myself, am not religious at all. In fact I find a lot of hypocrisies in today’s organized religion that turn me off to it. But I am however fascinated with each religions teachings, stories and lore!

How did you publish this book?

I published the book through Strategic Publishing Group/ Eloquent Books. Without a name or an “in” to the major publishers I feel I was lucky to come in contact with everyone at Strategic. They have a variety of options open to first time Authors on how to get their work out there and promote it. I haven’t had a single bad experience dealing with anyone there. They are very patient, informative of every step in the process and obviously have a knack for helping first time Authors. I wasn’t sure about the ins and outs of the publishing business! I ended up deciding on Strategic because from the submission, to editing, to graphics and then print, they explained every step. It was as much an education as it was a business deal.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I knew I loved to write and create stories back when I was a little kid. I’d write my own scripts for established cartoon characters and act them out in front of family members like they were some kind of old time radio program before TV! To this day my Mother still has an old cassette tape where she recorded one of these sessions of me reciting a “Scooby-Doo” episode that made no sense, but was clearly cute enough for her to tape and hold on to! I always excelled at the creative writing assignments in High School which is good because it probably helped me graduate given my math grades were down so low Lucifer used to sign my report cards! I never went to College, instead opting to go out and get a job. That probably hindered me in starting to really sit down and write by a good decade or so! So rule #1 kids, stay in school! You’ll get where you wanna go much faster! I still had this idea for a book rolling around in my head during this time and even incorporated so it’s characters and ideas in the Halloween attractions I did each year. It wasn’t until my Fiancé lit a fire under me and believed in the idea so much that I started writing down. So what I waited 10 years to start, I completed in one year of staying focused and enjoying what I was doing.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Wow! Where to start? No, I think the hardest part of actually writing is when you get stuck on something. The worst times I had writing “Between Heaven and Hell” came when I either didn’t like the way something was written, or when I got stuck and didn’t know how to write something. There was many a night when I almost put my finger through the “delete” key on my laptop or better yet, put my laptop through the living room window! Nothing is more frustrating to me than writing the same thing twenty different times and hating it every time or staring at the screen, watching the cursor blink and not knowing what to write! I know when I write, I have it all in my head. It plays like a small movie. I can see every color and shape, smell every scent, hear every sound and visualize the action as it unfolds. If I read a section back and it’s not the movie I saw in my head, it drives me crazy! I’ve found that when this happens the best thing to do is walk away for awhile, or a day! I’ll go watch TV, talk to my fiancé, play a video game or watch a real movie. Anything to change my train of thought! Because every time I’ve tried to just push through it, I hated it after reading it back later and the same process starts all over again!

How do you do research for your books?

I do A LOT of research before I start writing. With the story I have, I use a lot of historical places and events as well as a few local legend spots. Doing this I want to know everything I can about the time period, buildings, surroundings and idiosyncrasies that are important. Years play a huge part in Kaine’s life, so to me it’s imperative I get them right! When I used the 3rd Crusade I wanted to know when it started, what cities were sacked in what order, who were the prominent leaders and what were the important battles that took place with huge significance. Usually this means several trips to the local bookstore’s history section and a ton of reading. The internet is a huge help, but I’m weary of using some things posted there as fact. My research mainly will consist of me sitting down with a notebook, surrounded by a pile of books about whatever it is I need to learn about. With the local stuff I take a different approach. I have already visited most of the sites here in NJ that I used and will use in future books. So to jog my memory, I take a daytrip or two out to these sites and refresh my memory with the details of each and see how they’ve changed since I was last there. If the place is gone, I rely on the memories of people that went there with me or who I know have been there in the past. I’m a sucker for detail so my research usually takes awhile!

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I guess if there was anything learned from writing “Between Heaven and Hell”, I’d have to say it was how the process works. You don’t just send off a rough manuscript and a few days later get back a published book! A lot more goes in to editing, proofing, graphics, legal approval and layout than I ever realized. I’m much more familiar with the process now and know what to expect in writing future books.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I always loved books that weren’t one and done. I always liked an epic story that made you anxious for the next installment to come out. That’s why I liked reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, or Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series. They were drawn out epics with central characters that they created a world around. That’s what I hope do to with Kaine. I’ll spend an hour in a bookstore picking up novels by unknown Authors and reading the descriptions just to try and find a few that I like. I think it’s important to read books who’s release dates aren’t advertised in the paper.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am currently working on the sequel to “Between Heaven and Hell”. The title is “Bound By Blood” and it picks up right where the first book left off with Kaine. I’ve spent the last 2 months doing research and I’ve just started writing it in the last few days. It will follow Kaine through another dark, violent journey through the darkest depths of reality!

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

The best advice I can give to other writers is never give up! It’s your vision, your dream! Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t marketable or that there isn’t a niche for it out there. If you believe in it and feel it, write it!

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I have a face book and myspace page, and am trying to get on radio shows and into newspapers that talk about new books and local Authors. Also in the process of setting up book signings at a few local stores.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

You can buy “Between Heaven and Hell” on Amazon, www.bn.com and through www.strategicpublishinggroup.com. For updates, videos and pictures from the sites used in the book, check out MichaelDimura on www.facebook.com.