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Interview with author Joseph Nassise

Posted on March 8, 2006 by Flames

How did you get started as an author?

I wrote my first novel on a dare in college just to prove I could do it. I didn’t have any real intention of being a writer and so the manuscript, written long hand on legal pads, went into a shoebox and was forgotten for a number of years. After I was married, my wife found the manuscript and suggested I try to do something with it.

I cleaned the work up, typed it into a computer, and submitted it to a small press publisher who scooped it up. RIVERWATCH was born. Shortly after publication, RIVERWATCH was nominated for both the International Horror Guild Award and the Bram Stoker Award. That brought it to the attention of several other folks, including a senior editor at Pocket Books who went on to acquire the mass market rights for publication in Oct. 2003.

How has your writing style changed since then?

Other than being more aware of the typical rules of writing, my style and methods of writing haven’t changed all that much since those early days.

Do you prefer writing short fiction or novels? Why?

Novels. Without question. Writing short fiction is far harder than writing a novel for me. Writing short fiction takes me almost as long as it takes to write a novel so I’d rather go for the bigger bang for my buck.

How long does a writing project (such as a novel) take to complete?

Usually takes me around four months to finish a novel. That’s after I’ve let it percolate in my head for a bit, work through it mentally before sitting down to put in on paper.

What can you tell us about Heretic: The Templar Chronicles?

It’s a multi-part dark fantasy series with the story taking place in the here and now. The ancient Templar Order has been resurrected as a secret combat arm of the Vatican, charged with defending mankind from the supernatural enemies that surround us. The world at large is unaware of the Order’s existence and the Templars take great pains to keep it that way. “Sometimes the Lord’s work is best accomplished in the shadows”, is a popular saying among the troops.

At center stage is Knight Commander Cade Williams, a veteran of the Order and a man torn between his thirst for vengeance and his need to discover what happened to him during an encounter with a supernatural entity five years before. Cade leads the famed Echo Team, a special forces-style unit that is called in only when the situation has become particularly dire. Echo is the best of the best, there is no doubt about that, but the fact that they are led by a man rumored to have more than a few unusual abilities of his own leave many within the Order more than a little uncomfortable in dealing with them.

Darkness surrounds us, even in the light of day, and the series is designed to reflect this. In the Templar world, all is not as it seems, and it is up to the Order to protect man from his own ignorance.

Book one, HERETIC, is now available from Pocket Books in mass market paperback , as well as a hardcover book club edition from the Mystery Guild, the Doubleday Book Club, and the Military Book Club.

You can learn more about the series by visiting the official website, www.thetemplarchronicles.com

What sorts of research went into the Heretic and the Templar Chronicles in general?

I’ve been a Templar fan for years, so I knew a lot about the Order prior to making the decision to write the Chronicles. Once I made that decision though, I went back and researched certain specific areas so that the modern Order would be a logical extension of the original one.

Have you had any controversy in regards to the religious elements of the Templar Chronicles?

No. Other than the occasional critic arguing that the Order would never align itself with the Vatican (given that it was the Pope that ordered there destruction so many years ago), I haven’t had a single issue of a religious nature rear its head.

What can you tell us about More Than Life Itself?

MTLI is a novella coming soon from Telos LTD in the UK. It is the story of Sam Dalton, a man who’s world crumbles when his young daughter contracts a mysterious life-threatening disease. Her internal organs are slowly shutting down, one by one, and her doctors are unable to even pinpoint the cause, never mind find a cure. With weary shakes of their heads, they give her less than a month to live.

A chance meeting with a terrifying bleeding-eyed vagrant offers a despairing Sam a possible solution … but at what price?

It’s a story born out of my own experiences when my second daughter was rushed to the infant ICU immediately after her birth. Writing it was a way of exorcising some demons and taking a long look at what a person might do when faced with a situation that they simply refuse to accept. It is the darkest work I’ve written to date, but one I’m rather please with, to be honest.

Can you tell us about your time as President of the Horror Writers Association?

What would you like to know? I can say I greatly enjoyed my time running the organization, helping it grow and adjust to the current environment that writers are now working in. It allowed me to meet a tremendous amount of other writers, many of whom have helped me with my own career.

Do you consider Horror to be a mood or a genre? Why?

Interesting question, that. I think there is a specific genre that can be labeled horror, though exactly how that is defined is up for grabs. For me, a work can be labeled as horror if the overwhelming emotional reaction to it is fear or dread.

Do you have any advice for the hopeful authors out there?

Keep writing. Learn your craft. Don’t be so much in a hurry that you push your work out into the public before your are ready to do so. Learn from those who have gone before you.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently finishing book two in the Chronicles, A SCREAM OF ANGELS, which has been sold for foreign publication in Germany and Russia. We hope to have some news on a U.S. publication in the very near future.

I’m also beginning work on a graphic novel that I’ve been hired to write and I’m very excited to be involved in the project. It will be part horror and part SF, with some tremendous artist to bring the work to life.

After that, book three of the Chronicles, THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS, is due by October 1st.

For more information on Joseph’s upcoming fiction and other projects visit his website www.josephnassise.com.

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