I have the pleasure of bringing you my conversation with D.M. Annechino who wrote an excellent book, They Never Die Quietly (Boogle review right here). In fact, it is so good that it was recently picked up by Amazon Encore. Way to go Daniel! Good luck with the exciting “2nd round” release of your great book!
The Boogle: Thanks for taking the time to participate in this virtual interview. Why don’t you start by telling us what They Never Die Quietly is about?
DMA: Although it seems like this novel is about a serial killer, the main theme is more about Sami Rizzo—the homicide investigator assigned to head the investigation. She is a woman trying desperately to define herself as a competent detective, good mother and someone worthy of love. In spite of my desire to have the limelight focused on the protagonist, the general consensus is that Simon, the serial killer, stole the show.
TB: He certainly did. Quite a compelling and frightening man! What inspired you to write this book?
DMA: To be honest, there was no obvious motivation. I had already written three prior novels—all thrillers. But I wanted to kick it up a notch by creating a villain so evil that he pushes the reader’s imagination to its limit.
TB: What did you enjoy about writing this thriller?
DMA: Actually, it made me a little uncomfortable. Because the villain is a religious fanatic and I was raised Catholic, I did have to take a breath every now and then to keep focused. What I enjoyed most was writing, “The End”.
TB: How did you research this book?
DMA: First I read several books that outline police procedures. Then I researched several nonfiction books that dissect the minds and motivation of serial killers. I put the pieces together, added a sprinkle of this and a sprinkle of that and Simon was born.
TB: Simon is a fascinating character. Walk us through the process you used to put him together.
DMA: I didn’t want to stray too far from the profile of the most notorious serial killers. So, I started with a handsome, intelligent man whose outwardly appearance seemed non-threatening and well bred. I added a lunatic dead mother who lived in his brain, a twisted idea that he was enlisted by God to purify the world, and just to make him even more terrifying, I created “another self”, whose rage made him capable of the most unspeakable acts.
TB: You and I have talked at length about some of the themes and characters in They Never Die Quietly. What sets your book apart from other suspense/thrillers?
DMA: More than anything, I tried to keep turning up the heat with each new scene. For the grand finale, when detective meets villain face to face, the pace of the book is almost exhausting. Many people have told me that they actually had to put it down, walk away from it, and take a breather. My goal was to create a story with non-stop action and relentless dramatic tension. Also, Simon’s method of killing his victims is, arguably, more horrific than any serial killer—real or made up—in history.
TB: How did you go about getting it published?
DMA: Like many novelists today, I self-published in hopes that the book fairy would bless me with a publishing contract. And that’s exactly what happened. Amazon.com recently launched a new division called Amazon Encore. And they have expressed interest in acquiring the exclusive rights to my book. In fact, I signed a contract with Amazon on August 17, 2009.
TB: This is the ideal situation for many of the authors who visit this site. Can you walk us through the process of how you landed a publishing contract with Amazon Encore?
DMA: When Amazon Encore was created, their goal was to identify exceptional self-published books that were well written and commercially marketable; books with greater potential than their sales indicated. The editors at Amazon Encore performed a comprehensive search on the Amazon.com web site looking for books with outstanding reader reviews. Then they would order a copy of the book, read it, and decide if they wanted to acquire the rights. In my case, the editor who read my novel loved it and contacted me. In a sense, I guess you could call it dumb luck and good timing.
TB: What advice do you have for other authors with regards to publishing?
DMA: The publishing world has truly evolved. The big guns rarely give a first-time novelist the time of day. But now that there are a number of high-quality sources where an author can self-publish, the publishing game has really changed. The big thing is not to get discouraged. Since 1992 I’ve written four novels and each has earned a truckload of rejection letters. But you have to keep writing and must focus on the fact that each “no” gets you closer to that “yes”.
TB: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are some of your favorite books?
DMA: Although I write thrillers, I prefer to read literary fiction; stories with beautiful narratives, well-developed characters, and poetic-like passages. Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy is one of my favorites. I also enjoyed Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and Peace like a River by Leif Enger.
TB: What’s next? What are you currently working on?
At the urging of Amazon Encore and my literary agent, I am writing a sequel to They Never Die Quietly. My goal is to create another serial killer who is so beyond evil he will make Simon look like a choirboy.
TB: Good luck! And be sure to keep us posted on your progress!