Tell us something about your book.
The Rose Vol 1 is the first installment in what will be at least an eight book dystopian science fiction series. The first installment begins immediately after the end of World War 3 and follows the protagonist Sandy Cox who is rescued from the safety camp by a mysterious rebel fighter, Phil, who, for reasons unknown to Sandy at that time, has been tasked with bringing Sandy to the rebel fighters base in Atlanta. During the rescue attempt Sandy is captured and brought to an underground medical complex where she soon discovers the presence of alien greys and alien vampires who have conspired with elite humans to subjugate the human population. When Phil discovers she’s been taken to the underground medical complex he enters the compound, fighting through alien vampires, telekinetic greys, werewolves, and genetically mutated human beings to rescue Sandy. The book is a tour de force of action, martial marts, conspiracy, and heroism. The story is told through multiple points of view. I enjoy being in the heads of all my characters, whether they’re alien vampires, grey aliens, or rebel heroes.
Who is the ideal reader for your book?
Readers like myself. Readers who enjoy a fast pace, action packed, intelligent read with layers of character depth that rips out the heart of humanity and throws it on a slab to feast on. Readers who enjoy a story that delivers more than what’s on the typical book shelf, who want to be fascinated, enthralled, and entertained while losing themselves and escaping with a fast paced story and an in depth character driven experience.
Share the best critique/review of your book.
Okay, so there are more than a few reviews that I’ve fallen in love with, however, I do believe the best critique was received by Laura D. Childs from The Magic Book Corner. She’s a Goodreads Top 5 reviewer and an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction; her opinion of the book meant a lot to me as a writer, especially considering The Rose Vol 1 is my first science fiction novel.
Here’s the review with the Goodreads link:
Hands down one of the best thrillers I’ve read in quite a while.
And after that end… Come on!!! I need Volume 2 RIGHT NOW!!
True to the promise from the blurb, The Rose is masterful, dystopian science fiction thriller of, telepathic evil greys, mysterious rebellion, martial arts, and Alien Vampires.
Yes. Frigging alien vampires! And they are downright delightfully creepy.
In a world where humanity has made a mutually agreement with alien vampires and there is a whole civilization living underground, not quite happy with their living arrangements I might add, it’s only a matter of time till shite will hit the fan. And this is exactly what happens here.
The predators should have remembered the saying:
‘Don’t make deals with food. It may come back to haunt the future.’
It all starts with a vision, revolves around a little baby and is made possible by The Rose. What The Rose is exactly, you’re gonna have to read this to find out. But I guarantee you won’t see it coming.
Forty-eight hours after a World War III treaty is signed, Sandy Cox awakens in an underground compound, tied to a table and unable to move. She’s held captive by alien vampires, who’ve taken her unborn baby.
Phil is a rebel freedom fighter on a mission. Protect Sandy and her baby and get them to safety at all costs. Armed with THE BLADES, a sacred alien martial art, he enters the compound searching for the woman. But the baby has already been born and Sandy has her own agenda. Find the baby at any cost.
If that may involve trusting an alien vampire and battling genetically mutated humans, aliens and monsters alike, so be it.
‘Get Ready To Bleed!’ – is the only certainty of the day.
Joined by a crew of rogue soldiers, Phil and Sandy must navigate the underground compound, battling genetically mutated humans, aliens and monsters.
Alien vampires, evil doctors and pills turning people into slaves are the least of their problems.
The whole damn camp needs to be blown off the planet, as far as they’re concerned, but not before they get Sandy’s baby, and rescue everyone they can.
Fast-paced and addictive, this page turner here will have you in it’s grip from the very first page. And it will keep you turning pages till the end. It’s a unique, fast paced edge of the seat dystopian tale that manages to be both light and complex, as well as simple and sophisticated.
The gripping plot is nicely highlighted by beautifully fleshed out characters, all in different shades of grey. The wordbuilding is excellent and the pace fantastic.
But the highlight for me was the masterful mix of thrilling mystery, fantasy, suspense, dystopia and science fiction. This book has something for fans of any of these genres, including horror if I may be exact. Action, gore, medical experiments and supernatural powers, as well as a mother’s connection to her child… This author delivers on each and every count. And he does it in style!
If you love Star Wars, and Ancient Aliens you’ll be fascinated by this high-powered, intelligent, edge of your seat dystopian sci-fi action thriller.
It’s downright brilliant.
Happy reading everyone
‘Don’t believe it can happen. Know that it will happen.’
What inspired you to write it?
There’s so many inspirations behind The Rose Vol. 1 its unbelievable. Old monster movies, old books, pulp fiction magazines, Star Wars, The Joker, Star Trek, The Matrix, Mad Max: Fury Road, and vampires, tons of vampires. From Dracula to Nosferatu to I Am Legend to Salem’s Lot to Interview with the Vampire and beyond (except for those glittering vampires, I’m not into glittering vampires, sorry). I enjoy the mythology behind vampires and the maddening craving for blood but I also wanted to give depth to my vampires, they are aliens after all (at least in my book) so I made them sophisticated, with their own culture and mythos and belief systems while keeping the rage and blood lust. It’s a new take on vampires but from what I’ve read in reviews people are enjoying the change.
What message would you like readers to take away from your book?
Ok, so, this may be a bit long winded and I’ll get to the answer soon, but a little bit of explanation is required first. I write not only science fiction but also horror novels – I have a new horror novel coming out this October titled Golem – and I’m also a psychotherapist so I enjoy themes and stories that reveal the human condition. My book ideas always begin with an emotion and a theme then develops into a scene in my head like a movie, and the scene develops into a plot then to characters. I’m big on themes, metaphors, and human behavior and stories that drive into the heart of humanity. Themes often include: loss (but not just loss of life, loss of family, or loss of love, think also loss of self, and loss of identity), anger, hate, fear, resentment, treachery, self-deception, self-loathing, and corruption. What I’d like for any one reader to take away from my books are: 1. That was a really damn good book; 2. A lesson in the heart of humanity and the human condition with a realization that we can change ourselves and have the power to do so; and 3. Even though the world may seem bleak, when we are conscious of threats and ongoing streams of corruptive power and hatred we can overcome and lead lives filled with gratitude. There’s always a number four too: That was a really, really, really damn good book. LOL.
Share an excerpt from your book.
“It’s in the blood, dear,” said Ellen, one of the women Sandy shared time and space with, her skin worn by age, hard labor, and days spent under the sun. Blotches, liver spots and creases led the observer to the eyes. One dark, the other a cataract milky white and she always wore a dark shawl draped over the head and shoulders. Sandy was afraid of Ellen, she reminded Sandy of a gypsy or witch from a fairy-tale.
“Come again?” said Sandy, her eyes shifting from soldier to Ellen to soldier then back to Ellen.
Ellen had cut herself transferring a wood bucket filled with rice to add to an already large trough of buckets. A thick wood splinter pinned in the bottom of her palm dripping with a thick stream of blood. She turned to Sandy raising the bloodied palm and caught a drop of blood in her unwounded hand.
“The blood dear,” said Ellen. “All magic comes from the blood.”
Sandy cringed at the sight; she’d always been squeamish. Her stomach bumped, blood curled. Magic, Sandy thought. If only magic was real. How wonderful would that be? Sandy understood she was naïve, the result of an isolated childhood and her parents’ death when she was ten years old. Not that they had taught the young Sandy about the world she lived in either. They’d kept her under lock and key, never so much as offering a glimpse or advice on the outside world. They were always so cryptic with their explanations, living in an abundant and overgrown mansion as if luxury were a childhood friend. Sure there were plenty of rooms for a child to explore but as time went by those rooms seemed more like a prison than a home.
Years of neglect, isolation and secrets were as torturous as physical suffering. And she was tired of secrets. She wanted to know truth. Truth was like a blanket that keeps you warm in the coldest winter.
“The blood, Sandy,” said Ellen who clenched her fist around those crimson droplets, shaking her hand in front of her face. “All is in the blood.”
Did you dare to believe that your book will be published when you started writing?
I did actually. Understand that I love being an indie author; I enjoy the freedom to write and write stories I enjoy without the narrative required in traditional publishing. I’ve always been an avid reader and lover of all things literary, and I enjoy being a part of the community, giving a voice to my characters and themes. So I knew the book would be published, either as an indie (The Rose Vol 1 is my sixth indie book published), or traditionally published didn’t matter, what matters most is that the story sees the light of day.
How many times were you rejected?
I’ll have to go through my emails and excel spreadsheets for an exact number but off the top of my head I’d say I sent out query letters to about six possible agents. Heard back from some, and got crickets from others. Their loss!
Was the process of looking for an agent/publisher discouraging?
Usually for about one minute. Rejection is expected in publishing, so when I’d receive the classic rejection email, my heart would sink. I’d shake my head and drop the email into a rejection folder and move on. Don’t get rattled, that’s my advice. There are so many world-renowned authors who have gone through the same process and we need to remember that consistency wins the game. Keep plugging away, keep writing, keep honing your craft, keep reading, you’ll get there, without a doubt.
How long did you write the first draft? And how long did the editing and re-editing take?
First draft took about three months to complete and clocked in at over 94k words. Editing took a lot longer, however, this was due to my editors schedule (she has a lot of authors she works with), although the actual editing of the book on my end once I began took another three months. Between content edits, line edits, and proofreading, the entire process took more than six months in between waiting for my editor. Total and complete time from inception to publication was just under two years. I like to take my time with my books to give the story that extra special touch.
Can you share your writing rituals/habits/process?
Yes, as noted above the idea for a story always begins with an emotion and a theme, some thread of emotion I wish to expand on and show to the world, which is usually some form of heroism or overcoming adversity. Then the scene of that emotion manifests into a plot and characters. I’ll begin at this stage sending myself emails (I’ll also create a folder specifically for this new story) with characters and plot points.
Also, let me stop here for a moment, because sometimes I have a story in my head that I’d like to write and I’ll assign this new emotion/theme to the story idea. Case in point would be Golem, my upcoming horror novel. I always wanted to write a Frankenstein type of novel, my Dracula or Dorian Gray; in other words a classic horror type of novel. I’ve also always been intrigued by the story of Pygmalion, so combining Frankenstein with Pygmalion and using the age old folklore behind golem, when the theme/emotion hit me I assigned them to this new horror story (themes for Golem include: loss of identity, resentment, anger, fear, suffering, and self deception).
So, back to the question at hand, once I’m ready to begin writing (and usually by this time I have a good idea of where I want the story to go and specific scenes that drive the plot) I get ready to write. What does get ready to write mean? Emotion, I dig deep into the predetermined emotion, and this digging deeper is achieved through music, nostalgia, watching old movies with the same theme, recollecting a past time when the emotion cut deep, etc. This digging deeper gets the creative juices flowing and then I begin to write. And I’ll write everyday allowing the characters to drive the plot while the story unfolds before my eyes. There’s no telling where the story will go as I consider myself a passive observer to the events manifesting on the page. Usually I’m just as surprised by a character’s actions or change in plot as the reader is. I do take days off from the manuscript when I need to. You can’t see the forest from the trees and sometimes I need to step away from the forest to see the overall story from a different viewpoint. All in all it takes about three months to complete the first draft and I always write in the morning, punching out about 1000-3000 words per day. Hope that answers the question.
Who was your first literary crush?
Mary Shelley of course. I fell in love with Frankenstein in eleventh grade AP English and couldn’t get enough of the story. I’d read and reread and then reread again. Man vs. the world, man vs himself, man vs nature, man vs God, the story has all the best themes, and the writing is extraordinary. I could sit and talk with Mary Shelley for days if I had the chance, probably years and wouldn’t mind one bit if we met in a cemetery to talk and…well, you know.
Did you imagine yourself as an author in your teens?
100%. I’ve always considered myself an author. I’ve been writing all my life and wrote my first full-length novel at twelve years old. I can’t even fathom how many five subject notebooks I’ve filled up with poems, short stories, and story ideas. Some of us just take a bit longer to reach our goal.
What was the first book that made you fall in love with reading?
I’d have to go way, way back to answer this question. I’ve been in love with reading as far back as I can remember, but the story that comes to mind first is Peter Pan, which I must have read in kindergarten. My wife will tell you I’m still suffering from Peter Pan syndrome lol. But I also remember reading Pulp Fiction magazines at an early age, magazines like Amazing Stories and Weird Tales. I was lucky enough to finds boxes of old Pulp magazines my father had scattered in our basement. I was always fascinated with the imaginative depths in those magazines.
Did a book ever make you cry? (Which one?)
No, I’ve gotten teary eyed a few times but never a full out long cry. I went through a romantic literary phase in my early twenties, what I term as the Nicholas Sparks era. I’ve read most of his books, even read The Bridged of Madison County, which was highly popular in the early nineties (different author but the romance was there). Got close to tears a couple times with those books but nothing close to balling my eyes out.
Which literary character did you want to take to bed as an 18-year-old?
Lucy from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. So, so, so sexy, I just want to tear her apart. She gets under my skin, drives me batty. I just want to wrap my lips around her neck and go to town.
Do you sing under the shower? Or to your plants?
Of course. Shower and to plants and just about anywhere really especially in the car, riding down the beach with the windows down and belting out Led Zeppelin or Janis Joplin or Bob Marley or Pearl Jam or The Rolling Stones.
Do you like to cook? What is your specialty?
Ha, I do cook but mostly out of necessity. I feel bad for my older children who had to endure a few years of overcooked pasta and rampant PB&J’s. I was a single full time father for four years before I met my current wife and cooking was never one of my strong points. I can make a mean PB&J though.
Do you have a pet?
I have several pets. Two dogs (down from four a few years ago), two cats, a turtle, and various fishes. My wife and I love animals; our retirement plan is to have a big house in the Florida Keys with tons of animals and enough land for all of them. We’ll probably become a part of an animal rescue so we can give them all a good home and lots of love. I also would like to become involved and learn about birds of prey. I’ve always wanted to befriend an owl, hawk, or eagle, because that would be really cool.
What is the most romantic thing you ever did?
So, picture this, it’s my wife and I’s first wedding anniversary and between newborn twin boys and a new business to run, we hadn’t planned on doing anything truly special so I took advantage of what I saw was an opportunity. This is how it went down: I contacted my mother to see if she could babysit for the night (she said yes). I then had her go to my house and to tell my wife, Lisa, to check her text messages and that she needed to pack a light bag and as quickly as possible. Once my mom gained entrance to the home, I sent the first text message to my wife: Pack a bag, a car is waiting outside for you (I had a limo pick her up with instruction to bring her to a beach front hotel but not to let her know where she was going).
While she was packing a bag I was at the store getting flowers, champagne, and of course Lisa’s favorite, beer (she loves her Bud Light) to bring back to the hotel. Once she was in the limo I sent her another text confirming she was in the limo (she was). I needed to know her location because what i was doing required perfect timing (we’ll get there soon as to why). While she was on her way to the hotel I brought the flowers, champagne and of course the beer to the room. I put the champagne on ice as well as the beer and started picking off the rose pedals from the flowers (I bought a lot of roses) and spreading them across the room. The more the better. I scattered rose pedals across the floor, the couch, the chairs, the balcony, the armoire, the TV, the bed and bathroom. I then sent another text: Once you arrive go the front desk and give them your name. You’ll be handed a keycard and they will tell you where to go.
She was a few minutes away at this point so I ran the bath, got the water steaming hot and filled the tub. I also gave Lisa instructions to text me once she gets in the lobby (she did). I added rose pedals to the bath once the bubbles and water filled the tub and received Lisa’s text message that she was in the lobby, giving me a few minutes before she would be walking through the door. I left the anniversary card, another bouquet of flowers, and balloons on the table so she could see them once she walked in. I then slipped out the door so she could discover all these things on her own. Also, forgot to mention, I left her favorite dress in the closet of the hotel along with some dancing shoes I’d seen her wear before. I remember hearing the elevator ding the moment I stepped into the stairwell. I then provided instruction to take a bath, drink a beer, get dressed and meet me downstairs at the bar at a specific time. A little more than an hour later I watched as she walked into the hotel bar and order a drink (beer of course). I then walked up behind her and provided her gift and of course a kiss. We then danced through the night and made it back to the hotel to the bed with all those rose pedals on the top and the chilled bottle of champagne. Use your imagination to complete the story.
What is the most romantic thing someone did for you?
My wife when she said ‘I do’
Do you believe in love?
100%, and we need more of it in today’s world. More understanding and compassion. More joy and peace and more people heading out from their homes in the morning who take on the specific mission to bring joy to each and every place they go to during the day. Think vibrations and the law of attraction, should we not seek and find what brings each and every one of us gratitude and joy and should we not carry that vibration – or frequency – with us wherever we go? Energy is a huge component in the health of the individual, society and the planet. There are too many people arguing and eliciting hate and fear; you can feel it in the air, that angry treacherous vibration. It’s like poison in our system, infecting our thoughts, turning our hearts black with rage, and green with envy. Not good. Not good at all. Compassion, understanding, listening, hearing, intelligence and compromise win the day. Balance should be a daily task and not something we try to find once we leave for vacation. Why wait? Every day can be like Disney Land if that’s what you want. I always ask my patients (I’m a hypnotist and psychotherapist in the evenings) what are they waiting for? People are always waiting, waiting for something to happen, some event to transpire, or some goal to be attained in order to be happy but they’re miserable the entire time, struggling to get there. Happiness is bull shit because it is typically contingent on some outside event taking place, and once they achieve this monumental task, the happiness lasts for about a day before they slip back into what I call default mode. Default mode is how we feel and think on a daily basis and for people who are waiting for happiness well, they’re always waiting and miserable or discontent with life while trying to achieve their goals. No, don’t do that. Find your daily joy, daily gratitude, and daily reprieve. If the meaning of life is simply just to live – we are born we will die, the in between belongs to you – ask yourself have you been living, do you love your day no matter what happens (obviously major life events, emergencies etc excluded), and if not, change your daily life to reflect gratitude and joy. Sometimes this can take some time, however, consistency always prevails. Do not live in fear, live with the understanding that you are all-powerful and are creating your reality whether you believe it or not. So, make it what you want and bring that joy with you everywhere you go. That’s how the world gets better.
Love and light and great books make life absolutely extraordinary.
Keep living; keep reading, and thank you for reading my interview.
Sci-Fi & Horror Writer
For Books and Book Links go to my website: www.pdalleva.com