A few years back, I came across a brilliant horror author and instantly became a fan. His work evokes not just fear, but heartache, truth, and life depicted in stunning prose. I am more than thrilled to introduce Joseph Pinto and his latest novel Dusk and Summer, which I reviewed here. In our recent interview, here’s what Joe had to say about his writing, his novel, and himself:
ENGLE: Tell me about your most recent book. What’s it about? Where did the story idea come from?
PINTO: My most recent book is actually a novella titled Dusk and Summer through Sirens Call Publications. It chronicles the tale of a dying father who whispers a cryptic message to his son: “Must find me…she…come back from Tolten.” How does a freighter sunk off the coast of New Jersey in 1942 by the Germans factor into the realization of the father’s wish? Who exactly is the mysterious she the son must now find? It’s a secret revealed only to the Chosen in the fading moments between dusk and summer.
Dusk and Summer was written in tribute of my father more than six years ago after his fifteen-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He loved the ocean and used to be an avid scuba diver. He explored many shipwrecks off the New Jersey coast, the Tolten actually being one of them. After my father passed away, I became lost and struggled daily to grasp and make sense of my emotions. Strange as it may sound, a voice inside my head eventually said ‘write for him.’ An actual story, inspired by elements from my father’s life, soon evolved.
I don’t wish for readers to be mislead – Dusk and Summer wasn’t written about my dad per se but for him, and I believe that the fantasy plot found in my story will be quite unexpected and endearing.
ENGLE: It definitely was. You are also a fabulous horror writer and founder of the amazing “Pen of the Damned” writers. Brag about the group and your own horror stories.
PINTO: Thank you very much, Jaimie. I’d like to make something very clear from the get go – Pen of the Damned wouldn’t be what it is without Nina D’Arcangela. She founded it right alongside me and has shared my vision ever since. I’ve never met a more generous or unselfish person when it comes to aiding and supporting others. Nina is one of a kind and I’m confident that anyone who knows her will agree.
Pen of the Damned was started a little more than two years ago with the intent of establishing a platform wherein likeminded individuals could share their craft with not only each other, but with a wider audience. Promoting and marketing yourself by yourself is hard enough, so why not join forces with others? Nina and I decided to keep the group’s membership to no more than ten writers at a time. Our focus is horror fiction and prose of a dark and angst-ridden slant – but the catch is that all work must be 2,500 words or less, making for a short, impactful read. New material from our weekly featured writer is posted free every Tuesday.
Pen of the Damned has developed a dedicated following and we couldn’t be happier! It’s just a great group of people who I admire and respect so much and without a doubt, our love and dedication for the craft shines through every week.
Now as for me, I’m not much of a bragger. I usually keep very quiet about what I’m working on until it’s time for it to come out. So I guess you’ll just have to wait and see… 😉
ENGLE: I guess I’ll sit patiently, though I’m not too good at that! And yes, Nina is a truly amazing person! Nina is not only an amazing editor, but also a fabulous and brilliant writer. Love ya, Nina. Anyway, back to your interview, Joe. What is an interesting fact about yourself that most people don’t know? How does that shape your writing?
PINTO: I think an interesting fact that most people don’t know about me is that I actually once had thick, long flowing hair – lol. I’ve chosen to shave my head for so long now that people can’t ever imagine me with hair. But I had it, I swear to you!
It really doesn’t shape my writing at all, aside from the fact that I’ve nothing to pull when I get frustrated. lol
ENGLE: Very funny, yet somehow hard to imagine after seeing your current headshot. Are your books self-published or traditionally published, and are you agented? Explain how that came about.
PINTO: Dusk and Summer, originally self-published six years ago, is now published and rereleased through Sirens Call Publications. The ladies of Sirens Call Publications are simply amazing – Nina D’Arcangela being one of them – and so professional at what they do. Nina actually won Dusk and Summer in a contest I held long before we started Pen of the Damned together. She admired my drive behind self-publishing it – raising awareness and funds for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. It also helped that she absolutely loved the story and eventually presented it to her partners. All agreed on picking it up, and I am forever grateful for it.
I also self-published my first horror novel, Flowers for Evelene, back in 2005. Back then, self-publishing wasn’t as accepted as it is now, but I wanted people to read it. I never made a concentrated effort to have it ‘traditionally’ published. I’m hoping to rewrite Flowers for Evelene in the near future due in part to the fact that my writing voice has greatly evolved since then.
ENGLE: That’s pretty cool how you utilized the self-publishing option and later were able to rerelease the novel to a larger audience. Tell me what you have discovered to be the most rewarding part about being an author.
PINTO: What I’ve discovered to be the most rewarding part about being an author is the interaction with readers. Learning that my fiction or prose has made an impact upon someone is an indescribable feeling. This is especially true with the feedback I’ve received from the readers of Dusk and Summer. They now know they’re not alone when dealing with their grief or the isolation it can cause; my book was able to provide a measure of hope in a whimsical way. It’s very humbling to be quite honest. Knowing that I’ve managed to seize a reader’s imagination and entertain them is a true privilege.
ENGLE: Now that you’ve wet our whistles, where can we find your book? Do you have a website/facebook/twitter you’d like to share?
PINTO: As I mentioned earlier, I’m once again donating a portion of all sales from Dusk and Summer to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. You can find both eBook and print versions on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, an eBook version on Kobo as well as other formats on Smashwords.
You can find my unique spin on horror fiction, poetry, life and many musings dedicated to the light of my life – my daughter – on my website JosephPinto.com; and of course read my work along with the other members of the Damned on PenoftheDamned.com.
For the truly adventurous, you can chat me up on Twitter @JosephAPinto.
ENGLE: And finally, if you could be a Muppet, which would you be and why?
PINTO: Jaimie, without any doubt, if I could be a Muppet then I’m walking down Sesame Street’s path as Cookie Monster. Aside from the fact that he’s my daughter’s favorite of all, I mean, c’mon, it’s Cookie Monster! I’d sport some mean googly eyes, get away with saying ‘me’ instead of ‘I’ all the time, and eat cookies like it’s nobody’s business. I’d be blue, fuzzy and cute, and craft some mean prose about the letter C!
Thank you so much for stopping by. I absolutely loved Joseph’s book and hope you check it out too. Here’s some more info about Dusk and Summer:
Does Heaven await beneath the waves? One man needs to know.
When his dying father whispers a cryptic message to him, he has no choice but to summon his courage and begin the quest of a lifetime. It’s a race against time to realize his father’s wish and fulfill his own destiny; it’s a discovery of the unbreakable bond between father and son. It’s a journey of the heart that unfolds where only the Chosen exist – in the moments between Dusk and Summer.
“A poignant, metaphoric conversation between son and father. A story that will warm your heart.”
–Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., bestselling author of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters
The author will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Joseph A. Pinto is the horror author of two published books and numerous short stories; he is a member of the Horror Writers Association as well the founder of Pen of the Damned, a collective of angst and horror driven writers. Indulge in his unique voice on his personal blog josephpinto.com and PenofTheDamned.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JosephAPinto. Joseph hails from New Jersey where he lives with his wife and young daughter.