Monday, June 02, 2008

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball--Mike Dellosso's Story

I'm pleased to introduce Mike Dellosso to you today. He has an inspirational story. And he also has a new book out now, The Hunted.

Congrats on the sale, Mike!

Okay, here's a little about Mike's story...

How did you first feel called to write?

My call to write was in no way gradual. It happened all at once and might as well have been God speaking directly to me. It began with a motorcycle accident that left my brother-in-law in a deep coma and a prognosis of death or, at best, persistent vegetative state. My wife, Jen, and I went to visit my sister and Darrell in the hospital and came away wrestling with emotions I couldn’t easily explain: anger, frustration, sorrow, confusion, you name it. When we got home I did the first thing that came to mind, I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and started writing.

Now, it’s important to know at this point that I’ve always struggled with stuttering. Lots of thoughts and ideas swirled in my head but I rarely voiced them because talking was just so laborious. I often kept my emotions under lock and key because it was easier than trying to express myself in words. Well, when that pen hit paper I knew I was on to something, I felt a freedom I had not felt before. I could say what was on my mind and in my heart and say it with perfect fluency. I had found my voice! That was almost ten years ago and I haven’t stopped writing since. Oh, and by the way, Darrell pulled through and is doing just fine now.

Do you have a day job?
I’ve been a physical therapist assistant for 10 years.

Will you share a little bit about your family?
I’ve been married to my lovely and supportive wife, Jen, for 10 years. We’ve been blessed with three daughters ages 5, 6, and 8. All fun-loving, sweet-spirited, and of course always well-behaved (ahem).

And how did your first sale, for The Hunted, come about?
Shortly after [a frustrating ordeal with a POD publisher] I began work on another manuscript, calling it The Hunted. A year later I toted it along with me to my first writer’s conference where I met suspense author Kathryn Mackel who critiqued it, liked it, and said she’d not only endorse it but help me find an agent. A few weeks later she referred me to an agent friend of hers, Les Stobbe. Les liked my proposal and chapters, agreed to represent me, and circulated the project to various publishers. Four months later we got an email from Realms Fiction (Strang Book Group) saying they were interested in the full manuscript and a few long, endless months after that they were offering me a contract.

That's so exciting! But readers may remember I mention in my title that life has thrown you a curve ball. Can you tell us about when you were diagnosed with cancer?
Yeah, cancer. Kind of a big thing. I was diagnosed on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. Here I was getting ready to launch into trying my hand at promoting my new book and in the middle of negotiating a contract for a second book when the doctor dropped the bomb: You have colon cancer.

Funny thing is, I don’t remember ordering colon cancer. Not part of my plans at all.

How has that diagnosis affected your writing?
How has it affected my writing? Well, immediately, it’s halted my writing. With the exception of daily journaling on my blog, I haven’t written a lick since being diagnosed. I love to write, it’s my passion, but this cancer thing trumps it. I took this diagnosis as a nudge from God that I need to set writing aside for a little while and just concentrate on the most important things: my relationship with Him and my relationship with my family. Sometimes it takes something like cancer to refocus you, to get you to evaluate your life and do a little re-prioritizing.

In the long run, I think the experience of traveling through this valley will only enhance my writing, give it more depth, more texture, more emotion and passion. I know firsthand what it’s like to traverse that Valley of the Shadow of Death, to question Why me?, to be scared of dying, not for dying’s sake but for my family’s sake, to live with a monster inside me that wants to kill me (hey, that gives me a great story idea), to be poked, prodded, scoped, and stuck, to live a life that revolves around the next test result or the next doctor’s appointment. I’ve been there now and I can incorporate those experiences into my stories, into the life of my characters. It’ll be interesting to see how my writing changes once I get back to it.

Mike, we wish you all the best. We'll be praying for your treatment and recovery. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Check out Mike's website, http://mikedellosso.com/blogtour. You'll be able to find an excerpt there and can sign up for his newsletter.

Again, the link to buy his book is: http://www.amazon.com/Hunted-Mike-Dellosso/dp/1599792966/

7 comments:

Belinda Peterson said...

Praying for you and your family. Great interview. Inspiring.

bigguysmama said...

Missy, thanks for this interview. I've seen the book posted before but not any interviews. It was good to get to know the author better. Prayers are going up for the success of your book and your health, Mike.

In Christ,
Mimi

Missy Tippens said...

Lindi and Mimi, thanks for stopping by to read about Mike!

A bunch of the writers on Writer...Interrupted got together and threw him a blog tour. I'm happy to get to take part!

Missy

Kit Wilkinson said...

Wow. One of those what ifs come to life. Thanks for sharing. Makes me put all my daily worries in perspective...Mike, you look so young and healthy--I'm sure cancer wasn't in your plans. But I'm glad God is. Easy for me to say "trust Him." Right? But He is Lord over all...

Missy, thanks for the interview.

Kit

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kit!

Missy

Mike Dellosso said...

Missy, thank you so much for participating in the blog tour and for the wonderful post. You have blessed me!

Mike

Missy Tippens said...

I was thrilled to take part, Mike. Thanks for stopping by.

Missy