Natasha Blackthorne: Hello Bernard Lee DeLeo and welcome to BTS. Please tell us about your writing processes.
Bernard Lee DeLeo: Nothing is safe within my sight or hearing from possibly becoming a plotline, character, dialogue, or location for a scene. My interactions with reality everyday at my work or an event I read about on the Internet can trigger a storyline. Someone I cross paths with on the street while walking in the opposite direction could have a mannerism, outfit, tattoo, or facial expression so striking as to inspire me to include it in my writing.
The passion to create an alternative to reality drives my writing. I write to entertain myself by drawing everything around me into a cauldron of my own making with humor and action the main ingredients to the concoction. The chore of editing would drive me insane if I did not have a deep love for what I write, and the characters I create.
I get right to the story. I have writing friends who do intricate storyboards, outlines, and practically create the novel in sections. It works great for them. For me, I’d quit writing rather than do it. One thing I do is keep a character database and a timeline database for each novel as I write. In the timeline database, I include an ongoing synopsis. That way when I write The End, I will have readymade blurbs and synopsis for either querying agents or for marketing and self publishing.
I have my notebook computer by my side at all times at home or on trips to write at any time. At my auto repair shop, I have a backroom where I write. I go there in between jobs and write at every opportunity. I don’t write by routine. I write constantly. I write comments, blogs, automotive advice, short stories, novels, and anything I can think of. The quickest way to writer’s block is limit yourself to one work in progress, and hammer your head into the wall until it’s finished. If I have a slow spot in my ongoing novel, I’ll write an automotive blog, or a short story, or do some social commenting, or even start a new novel.
Natasha Blackthorne: What kinds of core issues do you enjoy exploring in your stories?
Bernard Lee DeLeo: I write strong female and male characters. They have some weaknesses, but they overcome them with common sense and logic, threading in a good moral base to guide them. We are challenged in life. The people who live a hedonistic lifestyle fail time after time into debauchery and death. My characters strive for a path where they can look at themselves in the mirror without looking away in disgust.
Natasha Blackthorne: Do you tend to write character driven or plot driven stories?
Bernard Lee DeLeo: It switches from one novel to the next. At times an idea forms because of something in real life I want to change, in which case I’ll create the characters I need to get the story done. At other times a character profile pops into my head and I’ll build a story around the character. My novel COLD BLOODED is built around a writer/assassin, Nick McCarty. His attributes came to me before the story.
Natasha Blackthorne: What kinds of conflict do you build in your stories?
Bernard Lee DeLeo: In this there can be only one answer for me – the story drives everything. I laugh when I read about authors wringing their hands, obsessing over their character’s ‘inner conflict’ or ‘moral challenge’. I write stories. If in the process of writing the story, the character changes or is challenged, so be it. I’m writing a tale of fiction. I’ve never read of a reader finishing a novel, and thinking ‘hey, where was the inner turmoil, what the hell?’ I believe all taglines about clichéd conflicts and turmoil came from people who have no idea what generates an entertaining story. I concentrate on creating an entertaining story. What happens in the process is called writing.
Natasha Blackthorne: How did your writing journey begin?
Bernard Lee DeLeo: I caught the writing bug in the fall of 1974 in a college Creative Writing class, where we were required to write short stories. My first was a story from a dog’s point of view. During critique time, a classmate said ‘you can’t write a story from a dog’s POV’. My professor said, ‘he just did’. I was hooked. I finished my first novel in college around 1975, and eventually earned a BA degree in English. I write alone. I don’t believe writing to be a group sport. The way to learn the writing craft is to write until you create a work you love to read and edit. If an author cannot enjoy what has been created over and over, the editing chore will be so daunting as to kill the creative urge.
I’ve written novels in many genres: Paranormal, YA, Science Fiction, Action/Adventure, Crime/Mystery/Police. I include romance and humor in everything I write. If a storyline intrigues me, I don’t care what the genre will have to be in order to tell the story. The most difficult time I had writing was completing a novel in first person point of view. I wrote my novel HARD CASE in first person. By the end of the novel, my comfort level improved from tedious to pure enjoyment.
My latest series casts a group of teenagers with an otherworldly dog they name Demon. The plot threads together an ongoing threat from monsters the teens call ‘Haunts’ entering our dimension.
Natasha Blackthorne: Please share the core premise to your latest work.
Bernard Lee DeLeo: My tagline for it describes the tenor of my series very well without spoilers – A paranormal mutt from another dimension saves a group of teens one Halloween night, and nothing is ever the same again.
The Demon Trilogy is pure entertainment with teen angst, humor, action, and an underlying message of friendship and loyalty.
The story begins in a present day Halloween setting. Mike Rawlins stops to help some older teens get their car started. Roped into a Halloween antic at a haunted house he had a bad experience at once, Mike only agrees to go if they get salt and holy water as a precaution. The night ends with a ghastly apparition penning the teens into Rawlins’ protective circle. Running out of time and options, the group owes their rescue to a mangy looking cur that dives into the haunted house and easily drives away the poltergeist. Mike names the dog Demon, and insists on walking him back home to keep him. One of the teen girls, Laura, joins him as the others leave them with beer and sandwiches for the happy Demon.
Demon’s instincts, perceptive behavior, and continuing surprises make him into an indispensible part of the Rawlins’ family. He loves watching Brian on ‘Family Guy’, eats ghosts like Rice Krispies, and is a holy terror when his friends are in danger. Recruited to find a lost girl on Alcatraz, Demon and his teen companions not only rescue the little girl, but film their exploits, making them into an overnight sensation. The idea of Demon Inc is born and their lives are never the same again.
Mike Rawlins in the Demon YA Trilogy maintains a strength of character, loyalty, and compassion while battling an inner darkness made worse when he is wounded by the ‘Haunts’ and healed with holy water. With Demon, the paranormal pup, Mike leads a group of teens by example. They reflect many of his traits, especially the courage he shows in the face of danger.
Mike and his friends handle teen problems throughout – bullying, teen pregnancy, sexual awakening, alcohol and drug use, jealousy, and disapproving parents. Mike refers to himself as Demon’s human sidekick, illustrated in the canine’s growing communication skills, revealed gradually in the series.
The teens recognize the ‘Haunt’ invasion surpasses any threat the world has faced. They dedicate themselves to enlightening the populace to the danger using every way possible, including battling the creatures under horrific conditions. With the aid of a genius fifteen year old teen, Denny Stossle, they develop weapons and tactics to defend their world.
Natasha Blackthorne: Thank you Bernard Lee DeLeo for joining us today and sharing your story.
Connect with Bernard Lee DeLeo:
Amazon Author Page
E-mail – email@example.com