Monday, June 2, 2008
Mike Dellosso - Hunted Blog Tour
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.
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.
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.
Okay, so what themes were you thinking about when you wrote the book?
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.
Why did you choose to write supernatural suspense?
Because I’m weird. No, not really . . . well, maybe. Plenty of people think I am weird after reading my stories. It was a natural gravitation for me. I grew up loving The Twilight Zone and The X-files and any kind of monster movie. I’ve always been intrigued by legends like Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster. The unexplained has always fascinated me. I honestly can’t see myself writing anything else. I have so many ideas now, but maybe when I exhaust them I’ll try my hand at something else . . . maybe westerns.
With which character do you identify most and why?
Boy, that’s a tough question. I think each of my characters have a bit of me in them; I’m a composite of each of their personalities. Yes, that means there’s even a little of me in the psychopath bent on revenge—and that really scares my wife. I think the character with whom I identify the most, though, is Joe Saunders, the agonist. Joe is complex and real in that he struggles on a daily basis with his faith and how God works. He’s got God in a box and has set neat little boundaries and guidelines for what God can and can’t do and how He can and can’t work. And if I’m not careful I can fall into that same trap. When I put God in a box I miss out on witnessing those strange and mysterious ways He works. During his journey, Joe has to learn to let God loose and trust Him to take care of things in His way, not ours. That’s a lesson I need to review every day. Now, that’s not to say I identify with Joe in every way. He’s much braver than me. There’s no way you’d get me to go hunting a man-eater in a fog-blinded woods. I’m too much of a fraidy-cat.
How much research did you do for The Hunted?
I have to admit, I’m not a research-aholic like some authors are. I honestly don’t like it. One well-known author once suggested to do enough research to make the story believable. Readers want a good story, not a textbook or how-to book. I try to keep that in mind. Are all the details of everything in my story right on? Probably not. Is it a good, entertaining story with a solid moral message? I sure hope so!
I’m not a hunter and don’t own any guns so I did research on different weapons and how they work. I did a fair amount of research on lions and their behavior and on man-eating lions. I also read up on schizophrenia and the common behavior of schizophrenics. Then there was the normal research on the fauna and flora of central Pennsylvania, sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset, that sort of thing. The research I enjoyed the most was that on lions. Did you know a lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away? Or that lions are lazy beasts and really don’t want a fight so they go for the back of the neck first to paralyze their victim? And then there were stories of man-eating lions in Africa—just creepy stuff.