Author: Saul Dellino
Release Date: 27th May 2015
BLURB from Goodreads
Architect-turned celebrity speaker, Vincent Wright, is determined that nothing and no one is going to stunt his ambition - not disability, not agoraphobia, nor the half-brother he despises, or even the haunting spectre of a misguided adolescence. But fourteen years on, old friend and partner in crime, Langston Bola, returns with a lust for revenge fuelled by a life of hard knocks. With his past staring back at him, Vin suffers a panic attack that sends him fleeing to the sanctuary of his penthouse flat, but as Carnival Weekend approaches, a mysterious, young home help arrives at his door who, unbeknownst to him, has the power to destroy his career for good…
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Saul Delino. I was born in Chelsea , West London and I currently live in South London .
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always wanted to be an artist and architect. At seventeen, I decided that going to art school wouldn’t make for a stable career and that training to be an architect would be like creating art in three dimensions so that’s what I did. Anyway, by the time I’d qualified, we were in the midst of a full-blown building recession so what the hell did I know!
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I guess when I first put pen to paper back in ’97 when I got the idea for Trespassers. I’m like that. Once I decide to do something, I own it completely. From then on, it was all about getting it published.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
It took eighteen years! Thank the Lord for Amazon. I don’t think it’s self-publishing platform was even available when I started.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I’ve worked several and all of them chosen to fit around my writing. After leaving my job in recruitment, I worked in a pub for a while, then as a model and extra. After that, I trained as a fitness professional and worked in the industry for a couple of years before going on to work for a property development company. I’m currently in telecoms.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
It’s called Trespassers. A disabled, agoraphobic architect-turned public speaker fights to regain control of his life when an adolescence crime comes back to haunt him.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Right now, I’m self-published on Amazon Kindle.
Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
I did have a rabbit’s foot, but clearly it didn’t work. The worst piece of shit I’ve ever bought. I want my money back! No, in all honesty I just pray. That’s enough.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Well, this one took eighteen years, but I’ve been through several drafts, discarded over seventy per cent of it at one stage and edited it down to half its original size. Plus there’s the small matter of teaching myself to write while holding down several jobs, dealing with relationship dramas, personal traumas, etc . . .
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
I also have another book for Kindle called, Writing Fiction FFWD, which is a beginner’s guide to writing a novel. That was much easier to write and much shorter. In fact, it was a complete joy to give something back, helping those who are considering writing a novel, but struggling to get going. Hopefully, this book will make life much easier and demystify the process.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I do have ideas for another novel in the crime genre, but right now I’m working on vignettes for my website, Rubbanecka.com. I also want to write another screenplay and some poetry. I’ve just created an Instagram account so you’ll be able to check out my pictures over breakfast in the near future (I’ll make my apologies now!)
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
When I do decide to write a new novel, it’ll most likely be written in the first person with completely different characters and storyline.
What genre would you place your books into?
I like to call it urban literary fiction. I may have even invented this genre.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Simply because it’s what came naturally and because I wasn’t seeing it reflected on the shelves.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I’d go with Trespassers, since it’s the only novel I’ve done so far. Excellent choice, I might add.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Yes, Kyshia. To me, she’s the conscience of the book and central to almost everything, in one way or another. She’s streetwise, but at the same time has a vulnerable side. She also has inner strength, a survival instinct and an unshakeable belief in real love. She has a hold over men too, which they find it threatening.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
Definitely Kyshia because she is true to herself and loyal to the people she loves. She’s also self-reliant and loves without fear.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing for eighteen years now. My sister was always on at me to write when I was a kid, but all I ever wanted to do was draw. I remember my headmaster giving me the best piece of advice ever, which was: “read, read, read.” Not that I paid attention at the time. Then one day years later, it just kind of happened. I got a flash of inspiration for idea about a teenager whose life changed when he discovered he had a half-brother and the rest is history.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
My ideas come directly from the characters. They talk to me. I just listen to what they say and try to shape it. I don’t have a specific person who inspires me, but anyone who writes something interesting which resonates gives me juice.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I started off being more of an afternoon person, but I trained myself to work at various times of the day. I like to put music on that reflects the kinds of scenes I’m planning to writing and then I just sit at the laptop and go for it.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I’ve had agents read my manuscripts. Some of them have given me useful advice, but quite often they contradict themselves. Writing is so subjective, so I guess that’s bound to happen.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I’ll happily hand anyone with a blog or review site a PDF of my book for them to read, if they want.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes I do. I like to review the reviewer. But I’m also genuinely intrigued to know what interested them about my work and read their criticisms.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I haven’t had any poor reviews yet, but the best review was from a woman who said that she started of not liking the book that much, but the plot twists and shocking ending converted her. That was nice to read.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, I’d never do that. If a review sucks that review is there for all to see just like my book is and readers will judge that review in the same way. I might take issue if someone completely misunderstands my book, but I dunno, is it really worth it?
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
The title was originally, Forgive us our Trespasses, but that sounded like a US made for TV movie. The central concept of the book was about people intruding on the lives of others and going places they shouldn’t have so Trespassers worked for me. As for the cover art, that’s all mine. I sketched out several different ideas for months until I found something that conveyed the message of the book as simply as possible whilst giving a sense of intrigue. Then I created it on DTP software.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The original title just jumped out at me all those years ago and over time, I shortened it to suit the book I was moving towards.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I have several methods, which I detail in Writing Fiction FFWD, like looking at their personalities and try to find names that fit. I also use the phone book, magazines, etc. And then there’s the ‘Verbal Kint’ method of naming, which I borrowed from the character in The Usual Suspects who plucks names from random things in his immediate vicinity.
Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
A bit of both. Some characters and places stubbornly refuse to be named so you just have to allow it and give them a close enough working name for the time being and trust that the right one will jump out at you later.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I tend to have an idea because the characters constantly talk to me, but I’ll add or remove some traits as I go to suit the natural evolution of those characters.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
In the beginning, I was winging it a bit because I didn’t know the mechanics of how to write. I’d see the scenes in my head and simply write what I saw. Then I’d try to shape them into something worth keeping. Doing it that way left me with loads of material, a lot of it surplus, but it was a great way to learn to craft my writing.
How do you market/promote your books?
I do guest blogs! I have my own website too, Rubbanecka.com, where I recently ran a competition. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter and I’ve just created my own Instagram account. And then there’s good old word of mouth.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
A really good book, for me, is one where I can see the characters very clearly and the voices are authentic. There also has to be a definite mood to the writing, like the book equivalent of cinematography. I’m immediately thinking of Quarantine, The Alchemist orThe Road now. It doesn’t have to be wordy or clever, but just truthful. As for a bestseller, a book can capture the zeitgeist and take off, but much of the time, a great book with lots of the right exposure, positive reviews, etc, will fly.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Oh yeah! There’s a chapter about that in Writing Fiction FFWD too. I got it really bad when I was three years into writing Trespassers before realising that I had no story, at least, not the one I wanted to tell, anyway. So I jettisoned most of the book, which was like a death in the family. I couldn’t write for months after that. So I just took time off, watched a load of movies, read other novels and generally had fun. All the while, ideas started coming to me again and eventually, I got my mojo back.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I like to work out. I also do hot yoga, which is great for calming the mind. I love music and film and I’m currently learning to speak French and Spanish.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I’ve tended to use snippets of things or bits of people’s character or appearance. For example, recently, my oldest friend was reading the book and suddenly twigged that one of the characters seemed suspiciously like our old headmaster.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
If the book had a premise, it would be: confronting one’s past leads to re-gaining control of one’s life. Control and the lengths people will go to to maintain control is the central theme of the novel. Other themes include the disempowering effects of the past on the present, loyalty and betrayal and the knock on effects of family dysfunction.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Not directly, but I do like Irvine Welsh, Toni Morrison, Yann Martel among others.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
Nothing beats the good old paperback for me. I love the feel of it, the first time you crack one open. ebooks are great, though and since self-publishing on Kindle, I’ve become a convert. It’s a bit like asking a DJ whether he prefers his iPod or hulking shed loads of vinyl around. It depends on the situation, I guess, but any purist would prefer something more substantial.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I love Life of Pi, which I’ve read in three languages. Stunning imagery and utterly compelling storytelling. Then there’s The Alchemist, which is simple and beautiful and has that mood thing I talked about earlier. And it also has a great message. I also love Life and Loves of a She-Devil. Filth is great too, but there’s so many I could mention.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
The best examples I can think of are The Godfather, Life of Pi and The Body, a short story by Stephen King adapted into Stand By Me. Also Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. Polanski did a superb job. He really caught the essence of the book. Talking of Ira Levin, there are the two versions of his book, The Stepford Wives, at totally opposite ends of the spectrum. The original was great, but the remake stank the place out as did the She-Devil film. Hollywood really ruined it by trying to make it funny.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m all over the place at the moment. I’ve just finished reading Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, which was very sad, but funny in places. I’m now reading the late Wayne Dyer’s latest book, I Can See Clearly Now, and teach yourself books in French and Spanish.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No chance. If you just take literature out of the equation for a minute, there are so many books on art and architecture that have the most stunning pictures that can only really be appreciated on paper. Viewing them through a screen just isn’t the same. People will always love the printed word and want to own something that feels more substantial. It’s the same reason I still buy CDs or vinyl rather than downloading things straight to my iPod. But ebooks are incredibly convenient and have a lot to offer.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
Children are not encouraged enough, period. Most parents seem to have given up. Let’s face it, you can’t get children to read if you don’t read yourself. I’ll stake my future mortgage that the kids who grew up reading came from households where reading was prized from an early age.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I initially felt nagged into reading when I was a kid because people were constantly ramming the classics down my throat when I just wanted to look at comics or football annuals. I started writing comics very young and attempted a short story too, so I guess the makings were always there. The key thing is to get kids reading things they like. As with music, when they get older, their tastes will naturally mature and they go from listening to boy bands and Hannah Montana to Hendrix and Prince. Just get them involved and trust them to come good. I started my son off with The Brothers Grimm. Now he’s reading To Kill A Mocking Bird.
Did you have a favourite author as a child?
Yes. Sue Townsend. Adrian Mole was only a couple of years older than me so his ordeals resonated. I also started writing a diary a few years later. Looking back on it that may even have been my inspiration. I’ve kept one every since.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and ¾. Also Lord of the Flies, which again featured children. That was the first grown up book I really fell in love with.
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
No, I just love great writing. Most of the books I read come to me by word of mouth recommendation.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
Yeah, Lord of the Rings or anything Tolkien, but I’m sure you’ve heard this before. No offence, but I’ve seen the movies and I don’t want to see enough candles on my birthday cake to burn the house down by the time I’ve finished reading the books.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Yes. Emma Healey. Beautiful, simple, evocative writing. There’s also this guy called Saul Delino. I hear he’s a bit special and his writing is unlike anything you’ll have read before.
Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
No. I stopped writing when I’d written the story I wanted to tell. I’ve read the book several times and I always find it satisfying so that tells me what I need to know. Plus the characters have finally stopped talking to me now I’m finished and that’s the way I like it!
What do you think about book trailers?
Personally, I think they’re for real book lovers otherwise I get the feeling that the average Jo will be expecting something cinematic and will feel let down when it doesn’t materialise. It’s a bit like a padded jock strap; major potential to over promise and under deliver. Also, if you have actors in a trailer, they may seem at odds with your own impressions of the characters you once you start reading. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me being an old fart.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Don’t wait for anyone’s approval, just get stuck in and learn on the job. Listen to your inspirations and in the words of Charles Bukowski: “If you’re gonna try, go all the way or otherwise, don’t even start.” I’m sure there are writers who dream of huge advances and that’s all good, but writing Trespassers was a real labour of love for me. You need to really love it.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Saul Delino is my pen name.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
I’d go for the following: Irvine Welsh for his no-nonsense diatribes, Toni Morrison for her lyricism and Stephen King for his insights on writing and sheer versatility. That’s a party right there!