Effective January 2014, the Blog-Zine is cosed to new posts and is going dark. The blog and its archives will stay "up," though, so please feel free to peruse the archives and discover all of the great books, authors, articles, and other features that have joined me here over the years. Thanks to all who helped make my Blog-Zine adventure a raging success! Read on!

15 February, 2013

The Daguerreotypist by Christopher Savio

The funny thing about life is that people seldom recognize its beauty or what they have until it’s gone. In 1842 New York City, Isaiah Whitfield, a pioneer in photography (daguerreotypist) and a religious zealot, is no different. Incapable of recognizing anything but the bad in the world, he embarks upon a crusade to perfect society and to bring about the Second Coming. If he can scare people away from sin, even if he has to kill the sinners to do it, Isaiah is certain that he alone can bring about Christ’s return. That is until Satan makes him an offer that he can’t refuse. In 2012, Rachel and her fiancé occupy Isaiah’s old apartment. Rachel, outwardly happy with her life, deep down wants something more. When an undeveloped daguerreotype is found hidden in her studio’s wall, it sets her life and the fate of New York City on a collision course with disaster. Rachel falls hopelessly in love with the man in the old picture and unwittingly frees the now demonic serial killer, Isaiah Whitfield, from Hell. True to form, he immediately goes on killing sprees in two different centuries. And as Rachel soon finds out, loving a time traveling serial killer straight from Hell has its downsides. As for Isaiah, complete blindness to the wonders of this world may have ruined him forever. Can the power and beauty of love change a demonic serial killer? Can Rachel come to her senses before she loses her fiancé and possibly her own life in the process? In the summer of 2012, the fates of many in New York City depend upon it.

                         Meet Christopher Savio, author of The Daguerreotypist.

1) Chris, thanks for joining us here on the Blog-Zine. Please tell us a little about yourself. I spent my life bouncing back and forth between Southern California and New Jersey. During my elementary school years, I discovered that I have dyslexia. Therefore, I learned to read with a lot of help from my parents and, eventually, got good enough to read novels. With the influence of my father’s interest in horror movies and history, I read two things: Stephen King and history books. It’s no surprise that my stories have a touch of both in them.

Working with the public, including in the rental car business, in my father’s diner, and, later, evolving into a teacher of Native American History, Criminology, and Special Education, has allowed me to draw upon experiences that reveal much about human behavior. My writing reflects many of the different personalities and settings that I’ve come to know firsthand. Of course, I’ve never come across a demon, witch, the devil himself, or a serial killer, but the personalities and people I’ve met are represented within each one of my characters.

On a personal note, I have a family, a house, and a white PVC picket fence. I graduated from college and have a dog that my kids call Roscoe (Max from The Beckoning).  But what’s probably of more interest to readers is that my favorite hobby is writing, the scarier the better.

2) Do you feel like your background or upbringing influences your writing style? If so, in what ways? I definitely feel that my upbringing has influenced my writing.  For one, being an only child, many times I had to utilize my imagination to amuse myself. When I was young I lived in New Jersey up until the fifth grade, in a small country town. If the one friend I had within walking distance was not around, either I used my imagination to entertain myself or I had to stare at a wall. So I chose to develop my imagination. As I got older, we moved around. First we moved to California, well, actually we moved back to California, as I was born there and we moved to Jersey before I could remember it. My father worked in the delivery business - beer, milk, and bread at different times - while my mother had various service industry jobs. The people I met through them while visiting them at work or having people over to our house definitely gave me good material from which to develop my characters. While I was in college we once again moved to Jersey, where my father became the owner of a diner, and you guessed it, that was another great place to get material on which to base offbeat characters. In addition to the characters, all the moving I have done and the people I have met, I believe, has given me a wider world view than perhaps the average person possesses. When I write, I feel that I can write with confidence about different parts of the country or how people would react to certain situations. All in all, I feel I have much to pull from when creating, which leads to more interesting stories.

3)  Describe The Daguerreotypist in seven words or less. A thought-provoking, imaginative, paranormal romance.

4) Where does your inspiration come from when writing paranormal novels? Dreams, nightmares, visions...what? I could easily say my ideas come to me in a dream or a vision, but with me it is much more than that. Most of us believe in something, something greater than us, and very few of us believe that after death there is nothing. I believe in that wholeheartedly. Ever since I was young, I have often wondered what it would be like to be a ghost. What would I do? Where would I go? From there, my interest in reading Stephen King was born and I believe that our minds must work in the same ways. (I hope I can someday write as well.) Because of these beliefs and thoughts, I have always wondered what lies beyond. When looking at old pictures, some people look at them and see people who are long ago dead. I look at them and wonder where they are.  They must have gone somewhere, but where is that somewhere? Is it Hell? Is it Heaven? Or maybe they are still here watching us, seeing our every move? These are creepy thoughts to some, fascinating thoughts to others, but thoughts and questions that can only be answered when we pass on and become one of them. So in a nutshell, my ideas and persistent thoughts of what lies beyond are where I get the ideas for the majority of my work.
5. Do you feel that a writer has to possess a certain "something" to be able to successfully write in the paranormal genre? Personally, I believe that everyone who writes has to have a certain something. That is not meant to sound superior in the least, although it is hard not to sound that way. What's meant is that no matter what one writes about, they have to have a certain interest or “something” within their genre in order to be believable. For example, Grisham is a tremendously gifted author, but if he tried to venture outside of his realm and write about vampires, he may not be as successful. Could you imagine Stephen King trying to write a book that should be written by Nicholas Sparks? Although it would be well written, I don’t think that King's voice would come across the same as Sparks' does. That is why I say that every writer has a certain something. Just as a pure romance author has a knack for romance, an author of the paranormal has a knack for making you sleep with the lights on.

6. What are your thoughts about the cross-cultural appeal of paranormal literature? I hope that I don't contradict myself here, but I do look for a cross appeal. I would like to think that my books would appeal to a broad range of readers. I try not to write strictly paranormal. I like to make it exciting and tug at the heart strings, as well. My next work will not only have the YA romance element in it, but it will also have Steampunk vampires and some western adventure. I  figure if Lincoln could kill vampires, then Billy the Kid would have been even better at it. I am constructing the book to make Billy the hero and have a bit of the character, Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry), in him. Blending romance and the poetic justice of Billy the Kid killing the bad guys, along with some Steampunk, I think, will be a pretty good combination. So yes, I think that the cross cultural concept can be a great one, as long as it is done correctly.

7. In The Daguerreotypist, if you were the main character's BFF, what advice would you give him or her? That is a great question. In my book I have two main characters, due to the fact that, for part of the book, the story bounces back and forth between time periodsIn the case of my antagonist, Isaiah Whitfield, I supplied him with a friend, whom I imply has tried to talk some sense into him. Of course, his efforts were fruitless or there would be no story. What I would have told him, however, was to enjoy life. Stop trying to change the things you can't and obsessing over them. Isaiah Whitfield tries to change society and spends so much time worrying about everyone else's actions and mistakes, that it drives him mad. That puts him over the brink and is the stressor (as Criminal Minds fans will appreciate) that starts his killing spree.

In the case of protagonist, Rachel Wilson, I would give her the same advice. My characters are similar in many ways, the most important of which has to do with being unhappy with the life one is given. Even though she has a wonderful life going with her fiancé, Brian, she yearns for something more and, when she finds Isaiah's picture in the wall, she starts dreaming about him. So much so that she becomes obsessed with him and neglects everything she already has in this life. It just may be her downfall. So I would say the same thing to her - it is okay to dream and better yourself, but it is a necessity to recognize all the beautiful things that have already been given to you. They just may be what you have been looking for all along.

That is the central message in The Daguerreotypist.

8. Tell us about your next literary project. I am currently writing a book that is tentatively called Airship Down. It is the one I previously mentioned about Billy the Kid and the vampires, and it promises to have plenty of strong female and male YA characters and be chock full of romance and adventure. I personally feel it will be my best work yet. Although one would have to read The Beckoning and or The Daguerreotypist to judge for themselves (hint, hint).

9. Where can readers find you online? My website would be the best way, but that has somehow been taken over by payday loans. I have no idea how (ghosts, maybe?), but I am working with Wordpress to resolve the issue. Alternatively, I am on Facebook as Scaryreads and on Twitter as @Scaryreads.

10. What book did you just finish reading? How was it? I just completed reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I loved the book and how it blended history into the story. The ending was not at all what I was expecting, but how can one predict the ending of a Stephen King book? I just started reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and so far it is very promising and keeping my interest.

Well, readers, I don't know about you, but I am thoroughly intrigued! For sure, I'll be picking up a copy of The Daguerreotypist for my personal library. Will you? You know my motto here on the Blog-Zine...read to tell about it!

Thanks so much to Christopher Savio for taking time out to visit with us today. Click HERE or on the banner below to find out where Christopher and The Daguerreotypist will stop next on his exciting virtual book tour! Enter to win a copy of The Daguerreotypist while you're at it!


Deanna Mancuso said...

Another great interview. I love your thoughts on ghosts. I always think the same thing when looking at old photos. Thanks for sharing!
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Chris Savio said...

Thank you for hosting me today

Terra Little said...

Thanks for joining us, Chris! The book sounds intriguing and I've added it to my TBR pile! Also, I agree with Deanna - love your thoughts on ghosts!