I grew up in a world of magic. By the time I was ten I understood nature, talked to the trees, and listened to the wind. When the kingdom of men conquered my town, I was murdered by one of my own—the betrayer of my kind. But I didn't stay dead.
I woke to find myself in a strange new world called Los Angeles. The only keys to the life I remembered were my father’s ring, my unique abilities, and the onslaught of demons that seemed hell-bent on finding me. Now I must find out who I really am, protect my friends, and get back to my beloved hometown of Orenda.
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Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: Hi, I'm Rick, and I'm a word-a-holic. Oh, wrong meeting. Well, let's see. When normal guys were relieving stress by playing bloody video games like Castle Wolfenstein and Doom, I was killing people off in novels. I wrote my first slasher novel when I was in my first year of high school. I attribute my love for all things supernatural and spiritual to the ghosts that lived in my basement when I was a kid. Now, I'm 30 years old and married to my amazing husband, at least in the states where it's legal. We have two beautiful children (of the furry K9 variety).
Q: What do you do when you are not writing?
A: I actually still have a day job as a software engineer. I really enjoy working my logical brain during the day while saving my creative brain for my writing at night – although if it were my choice I would write all day... on the beach... with a mimosa.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
A: Titles are probably one of my weaknesses as a writer. I always finish the book first, and then get stuck. I wrote down a few words that I found striking, that spoke to the themes and subjects of the book, but just couldn't make any of the titles work. My husband came up with 'Crossing Death' as the name for the series, and after that, Death of the Body just emerged (the next two in the series are Death of the Spirit, and Death of the Soul).
Q: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A:I get asked this question pretty often, and honestly, I really just want the book to entertain. I'm not trying to challenge the status quo, or deliver any particular message. However, there is something that has come out of the book—the religious controversy. I think that I really want the readers to grasp only one thing in this regard:
Edmund is having some life experiences that don't align with the religious principles he's taught in our world. This is an area in life that hits very close to home to me, and that I didn't even realize would be such a large theme in the book. So the book may expect people to ask themselves “What would I do, or how would my beliefs change, if the life I was experiencing didn't line up with my religious teachings? Would I trust myself and my experiences, or would I choose to trust the such-and-such church?”
Some people are having a hard time with that question, and that surprises me a bit. The book is not offensive toward religion in general, but from Edmund's point of view, the teachings are called into question. So if you are someone who absolutely cannot have their faith questioned, or are offended by that, then this book may not be for you (although if you are offended by those types of questions, I think you have some introspection to do yourself anyway).
Q: How much of the book is realistic?
A: I tried to make the magic system in the book as realistic as possible to the teachings of groups here who believe in magic and occult spiritualism. You'll find the magic system to be nature based... and I think that this type of magic system is as real as itcan get (although the extent of the magic isn't).The book also connects our religious beliefs to Edmund's life and experiences in a way that could be viewed as religious realism. So if you believe in heaven or hell, in angels and demons, in a spiritual realm, or in levels of existence (like in Buddhism), then I hope you'll find elements of realism in the book. Mostly, I wanted Edmund's experiences to echo the emotion of the human experience. The emotions you feel as you read the book will be real.
Q: What books have most influenced your life most?
A: Some of the classics are really important to me. Dracula, is one of those books. The Forbidden Game, by LJ Smith really got me into reading as a kid, and The Eternal City by Nancy Kilpatrick made me love dark fiction. The Shining, by Stephen King... I could go on and on.
Q: What book are you reading now?
A: I'm currently beta reading a few books, as well as reading Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus (although I'm super slow with my reading lately, unfortunately). I also recently read Through Glass, by Rebecca Ethington, and Alchemy by Sheena Boekweg.
Q: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A: I have the best readers in the world. I really do. They are so helpful. So, a big thank you is in order. Also, I'm a social kind of guy, I love hearing from you, I listen to what you think, I love meeting you and interacting with you, so don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: Crossing Death was actually the result of two exceptionally vivid dreams. But normally, the ideas come when I'm sitting alone, in a quiet room, or in the shower, for example. Then, I like to sit and write in the dark, letting my own imagination run away with me.
Q: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel that you would change?
A: I don't believe any novel is ever perfect enough for its author. I'm sure in a few years I'll look back and see a bunch of things I could do differently, but for now, even though I know it isn't perfect, I don't think there is anything I would change.
I've often been accused of having done more in my life than the average person my age, but if I were completely honest I'd have to tell you my secret: I'm really 392. So after all this time, I'm a pretty crappy writer. I have one book published but out of print, one coming out soon, and a bunch half written (when you have eternity, where's the reason to rush?). I've been favorably reviewed by horror greats like Nancy Kilpatrick, and my how-to-write-horror articles have been quoted in scholarly (aka community college freshmen's) papers. I enjoy the occasional Bloody Mary, although a Bloody Kathy or Susan will suffice. Mostly, I just try to keep a low profile so people don't figure out who I REALLY am.
- 1 $25 Amazon, B&N or Paypal gift card
- 3 Amazon or B&N $5 gift cards
- 5 Signed Print Copies of Death Of The Body ( US Only – Ebook & Amazon gift card for price difference for international winners)
- 3 Audible audio copies of Death of the Body
- 5 Tarot Readings via email by Rick Chiantaretto
- 25 Mother Tree bracelets