Mike Dellosso writes novels of suspense for both the mind and the soul. He writes to both entertain and challenge. In addition to his novels, Mike is also an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and a faculty member at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
A: I’m 38 years old, I live in Hanover; I have a wonderful wife named Jen who I have been happily married to for 13 years, and we were blessed with three beautiful daughters who are in third, fourth and sixth grades.
Q: Do you have any other part time/full time jobs?
A: Yes, I am a full time physical therapist, and I enjoy it just as much as I enjoy writing.
Q: When did you first start writing and what/who inspired you to write?
A: I started writing back in 1998. It’s an interesting story how I got started. Back when I was in high school, I hated writing, English class, and most things associated with it. But in 1998, my brother-in-law was in a tragic motorcycle accident and he was in critical condition and was in a coma for quite some time. At first the doctors said he wasn’t going to live. He had only been married to my sister for two weeks when this had happened and it was pretty tough. They lived in New York at the time so I had to travel to see them. So, yeah, when all of this was over, I came home and I was so full of all kinds of different emotions and I didn’t know how to express myself. So the only thing I could think of is grabbing a piece of paper and a pen and writing it all down. And that’s when I fell in love with writing, and I found a new way to express myself.
When I first started writing I was writing non-fiction, mostly inspirational stuff, and creative writing things. I was writing for anything, really, like a church newsletter or website. I even got a column in the local newspaper—I started writing feature articles and really anyone who would take my writing. So I just kept on writing more and more and just giving it out to whoever would take it. o in 2004, I got this crazy idea that I wanted to write fiction, which then turned into a novel; it was the first book that I wrote called The Hunted. I came here to Pennsylvania in 2006 and had a manuscript and I got to meet some people and show them my writing and stuff. And one of my meetings was with Kathy (Kathryn Mackel); and really, she’s my hero. She loved it and found me an agent and sent the proposal and such. Realms, it’s called, and they were interested and signed me a contract for a book. And they liked the first one so much that they signed me another contract for Scream, and they liked that one so they signed me for two contracts for two books, and before the third one, Darlington Woods, even came out, they signed me for a fourth one! So I thought that was pretty cool, but from the time I signed with the agent to the time that Realms said, “We wanna’ give you a contract,” was almost a year. . . and the process of it all is so long and complicated, and it made me want to know what they were going to say and when.
So they told me they were going to get back to me on it in a month; and so I waited a month and I didn’t receive anything, and I waited and waited for it, and they said that the meeting was long and that they would put it in next month’s meeting. nd it was this whole big thing and I was getting nervous and waiting for awhile; and this one lady at the publishing house really liked it and she sent me an email saying that she sent it to another publishing house. I thought the whole thing was going to stall and stuff. It was one of those times were you feel like you are waiting forever for it; like your waiting at the computer for an email or by the phone for a phone call. I think the whole publishing house and things don’t really know what the author is going through, because you really wanna’ know and they just keep putting it off and putting it off. But anyway, it did work out eventually.”
Q: What is your genre and why did you choose it?
A: I chose it because I am really “weird.”. But growing up I have always liked scary things, like the haunted house type stuff and scary movies and such. Not like “cut them up and slash them up” type stuff but more like the creepy, suspenseful type scary stuff. I’ve just always liked it so when I started writing it was like a natural thing for me, writing all the supernatural suspense horror stuff. So most people out there are like, “Christian Horror?” you know, they think of it as an oxymoron, but I tell them that it can be scary but still have some kind of a faith message to it. As far as the supernatural aspect of it, I don’t really get into the whole angels and demons warring against each other thing so its more people with the special abilities, for example, Caleb, in The Hunted when he was giving those messages while he was in a coma is like a supernatural thing its just subtly there that gives you this creepy feeling. It’s still scary but not like people getting cut up by chainsaws and demons. But I like to get into the monster thing and that’s what I like. But most people see me as a shy type of guy and they read my books and think, “you wrote this?” and they’re always asking things like “what kind of creepy stuff do you have going through your head?” and things like that. But I have a very big imagination and I like to write things like that.”
Q: Where did you get your characters from?
A: Well, they come from a lot of people that I know or work with, mostly. But the thing is that each character has a little bit of me in each of them. Some people find that to be scary because they always ask me questions like, “So from The Hunted you have a little bit of Steven in you?” and stuff like that, and it made my wife a little freaked out at that too.”
Q: We heard that you’ve been battling with cancer for awhile—how has your faith been an important part of your recovery?
A: The part of my life with cancer was basically my whole life—it all revolved around the chemotherapy and surgery and doctor appointments and medication and such. Most of the time. it was really scary, probably one of the scariest times of my life. However, I am thankful for it in a way. It has taught me things and it showed me and my family how to focus on the stuff that really mattered in life instead of the little things that we make a big deal out of when they don’t really matter as much. It also made me focus on my relationship with friends, family and God. And I’m also thankful for it because most families don’t get to experience such a scary and life threatening event like that, and it really makes you think about the true value of life.”
Q: What age group did you think your books would mostly sell or appeal to?
A: At first I thought I was writing them for people around ages, twenty to forty. But I’ve received a lot of emails and comments from teens and even a few younger kids who said they’ve really enjoyed my book(s). I’ve also received comments and emails from people around fifty and up. So basically it’s kind of a broad audience for my books that I didn’t really expect.”
Interviewed by Judah and Eden Flinchbaugh