"Is anyone in the genre still writing for adults? The answer is, yes, Sandy DeLuca."
Robert Dunbar author of Martyrs & Monsters
Please welcome Sandy DeLuca
Tell us about Descent. What separates it from other horror novels?
Well, it's got a nice mix of demons, but the trauma of rape, physical and verbal abuse and the intensity of love are all expressed from a woman's perspective. It takes place in the 70's, a time when cell phones and computers were unheard of. It has an ethic flavor as well (most of my novels do). The main character comes from an Italian-American family, so customs, superstitions and attitudes are woven into the novel. I'd like to think it's not only a horror novel, but the story of a girl named Julia and her somewhat offbeat and tragic family.
The concept of not knowing if Sammy in Descent is either the Devil himself, or in league with the Devil or neither puts a fresh spin on meeting the devil stories. Were you at all concerned that this set-up had become passé and cliché?
No, I wasn't concerned about my work being unoriginal. I felt as though my characters and story were strong enough to overcome those obstacles.
Reviews for Descent seem to agree across the board it is an extremely intense work. Was this level something you strove for, or did you finish step back and notice?
I actually realized "Descent's" intensity throughout my writing process.
Your novels seem to incorporate very relatable human experiences with the surreal horror elements. Whether it is Meg of Darkness Conjured dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, Angie’s battle with Cancer in From Ashes or the blizzard of Manhattan Grimoire; is this a conscience process?
Yes, it is a conscience process, whether from my own experiences or from historical data I've researched. I tend to weave together experiences, research and images from my twisted imagination. No doubt imagination plays the largest role in my work. My life is rather calm and uneventful, devoid of serial killers, demons and dark Goddesses, except for the ones inside my head. "From Ashes" was written after my own battle with cancer. "Darkness Conjured" was based on research I'd done on unwed mothers during the 60's. "Manhattan Grimoire" was inspired by the mysterious churches I'd seen while passing through Harlem.
You write both poetry and full length novels, is the process different for each?
Both are intense and wonderful forms of art, but the process is very different. A poem is a fleeting thought, a brush stroke in time, sometimes a mini sketch for a longer piece I have in mind. I write poetry quickly and there's normally no need for rewrites. A novel needs more research, more thought and many more rewrites.
What is your favorite character that you created? Do you love or hate him/her?
My favorite character is Ruby from "Settling in Nazareth". I love her because she's mystical, she's undaunted by convention and she loves her freedom.
What is the first book you remember genuinely being frightened by? Was your immediate reaction to run out and find other similar tales, or stash it in your closet and block it out?
"Salem's Lot" by King scared the hell out of me. It inspired me to find similar tales. I've reread it numerous times over the years.
What draws you to the creation of horror stories? Do you ever find the genre label restricting?
Horror allows me to explore the dark side of life, the mind and imagination. I don't like to be labeled as a horror writer, as I don't believe all of my work falls under the category. "Settling in Nazareth" and "Into the Red" are two works that can easily fall into mainstream categories.
What current genre authors are you following/reading right now? What draws you to them?
I follow authors such as Greg F. Gifune, Robert Dunbar and Christopher Conlon because of their literary achievements. They don't merely entertain. They make a reader think and one tends to keep thinking long after the read is over.
Both Gifune and Dunbar have editing experience and I think that skill helps them both put together powerful tales. Gifune possesses an impressive editing resume. At present Dunbar is doing a great job at juggling his writing career with his publishing company, Uninvited Books. Check out some of the great work available there if you get a chance.
Do you have anything new coming down the pipeline you would like to share with us?
I have a new novella coming out called "Reign of Blood"; scheduled for May, 2012. My novel "Messages From the Dead" is due for publication, too. I just finished writing a novel called "Prayers for Solstice" as well.
Thanks so much!