ABOUT THE AUTHORDaniel M. Annechino, a former book editor specializing in full-length fiction, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, in 1992 while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. His second book, Resuscitation (Thomas & Mercer 2011), a follow-up to his first novel, hit #1 in Kindle sales in the UK and reached #26 in the USA. He is also the author of I Do Solemnly Swear (Thomas & Mercer 2012) and Hypocrisy. A Piece of You is his fifth novel, the third in the Detective Sami Rizzo series.
A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.
Connect with the author:
Website | Facebook | Twitter
SAMI RIZZO SERIES
INTERVIEW WITH D.M. ANNECHINO
What is your favorite thing about the writing process?
When I write a novel, I work as quickly as I can to get the first draft completed. Even if the writing is blah and the plot and characters are skeletons. My goal is to structure the story and scene sequence and have all the characters in place. Then, the fun part is editing. Most authors hate the editing process, but I enjoy it as much as writing. I really love transforming a loosely-structured story into a rich, complex, engaging tale with three dimensional characters and a compelling plot.
How long is your to-be-read list?
Surprisingly, I am one of the few authors who doesn’t read much. A book a month is about my limit. Why you ask? Since I first began writing, I discovered that I could no longer read like a “reader” and totally immerse myself in a story. Instead, I read like an editor and find myself scrutinizing everything. Consequently, it’s become very difficult for me to kick back, open a book and enjoy the ride. This really disturbs me, but one day, when I write “The End” to my last book, I’m going to forget that I was a writer and read books for the sheer enjoyment. (I hope.)
What books do you currently have published?
They Never Die Quietly, Resuscitation, I Do Solemnly Swear, Hypocrisy, and A Piece of You
Can you share some of your marketing strategies with us?
When I first started writing, I thought that the only thing authors did was write and edit. That may have been true a couple decades ago, but not any longer. Unless you’re a “big name” author with a huge following, for a writer to successfully market his or her work may be even more important that the literary quality of the book itself. Have you ever heard the expression, “The sizzle is more important than the steak”? “Sizzle” is the marketing and promotion. The “steak” is the book. With a brilliant and comprehensive marketing plan, inferior products — including books — will sell very well. Conversely, a poorly executed marketing plan will almost certainly ensure failure, even if your book is the equivalent of Gone with the Wind or Silence of the Lambs. It’s a sad truth, but it’s a reality in today’s publishing world. My best advice? Use every tool possible to market yourself. That includes a constant presence on social media, maintaining an engaging website/blog, and spreading the word to every man, woman and child you know.
How do you find time to write? Do you have a day job?
I’ve been retired from my “day job” since 2010, so currently writing is my primary gig. But when I was working a traditional job, I tried to write early in the morning, long before my brain was crowded with distracting thoughts. Some days I would write only a paragraph because the juices just weren’t flowing. But on other days my fingers could hardly keep up with my brain. Whatever you do, don’t force the creative process. If it’s flowing, write. If it’s not, take a walk and have a glass of wine.
If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Wow! That’s a tough one. There are so many quality programs and series available today. I think my current cable service provides 190 stations. How can you decide? I guess if I had a gun to my head and had to pick one station, it would be HBO. Or maybe PBS. Or possibly the History channel. No, wait a minute. I think it’s CBS.
How often do you tweet?
To be honest, not nearly as much as I should. It’s a very important marketing tool for the wise writer. But I’m still trying to figure out all the hashtag nonsense. I must confess that I really need to stop making excuses and start Tweeting. Ugh!
How do you feel about Facebook?
Sometimes I love it but mostly I hate it. But like Twitter, it’s a very important marketing tool.
What scares you the most?
Getting old and discovering that there is no way to stop father time. You can slow it down with lifestyle, but eventually it’s going to catch up with you.
YouTube is . . . Awesome!!!
What five things would you never want to live without?
My family, writing, books, wine, chocolate.
Who would you want to narrate a film about your life?
3D movies are . . . Super-Cool!
If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
It would be overflowing all over the place. Have you ever driven on California Freeways?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Actually, I’m both. It just depends on the circumstances.
What's your relationship with your TV remote?
I’m in love with it!
Do you spend more on clothes or food?
Unless it’s for a special occasion, I go clothes shopping about twice a year.
What's your favorite treat for movie night?
Popcorn with about a quart of butter on it!
What is the most daring thing you've done?
Attempted to write my first novel about 25 years ago.
What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Hmm. Way too many to list.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him . . . The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself . . . All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” -George Bernard Shaw
What would your main character say about you?
“Man, he’s a hell of a good writer!”
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
My mother’s eulogy.
You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
Regarding my first novel, They Never Die Quietly, one reader said, “The worst book I’ve ever read!” I don’t think a writer ever gets over a harsh review. The second glass of wine helps.
Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?
What's your relationship with your cell phone?
Unlike most people I do not have a passionate relationship with it. I use it primarily to make phone calls and to check my e-mail. Yes, I know, I’m living in a past century.
How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Sleep? What’s that? Seriously, when I’m in the middle of writing a novel, not much. But between books, about 6 or 7 hours a night. That does not include the time I’m dozing in front of the TV.
What is your favorite movie?
The Wizard of Oz.
Do you have a favorite book?
Several, but my favorite is The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.
Do you sweat the small stuff?
I, unfortunately, sweat everything — even participating in this interview!
If you had to choose a cliche about life, what would it be?
“When all else fails, eat a piece of dark chocolate.”
How long is your to-do list?
Way, way too long.
What are you working on now?
A book titled More Than a Soldier, based on a true story about a WWII POW who escaped from the Nazis and was rescued five months later. He just happens to be my uncle.
Cake or frosting? Frosting.
Laptop or desktop? Desktop.
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill Murray.
Emailing or texting? E-mailing.
Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors.
Tea: sweet or unsweet? Unsweet.
Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile.
BOOK # 1 - They Never Die Quietly:
They Never Die Quietly tells the story of homicide Detective Sami Rizzo, who is assigned to head a task force investigating serial killings in San Diego. Simon, the highly intelligent, cunning, and deceptively charming villain, redefines the depths of human evil. He believes God has given him absolute authority to purify his unholy victims through a ritual that ends in a grisly crucifixion. Driven by warped religious beliefs and guided by his dead mother, very much alive in his subconscious, Simon abducts “chosen ones” and holds them captive in a Room of Redemption. There, the victims helplessly await their crucifixion. Detective Rizzo urgently yearns to solve the case and gain the respect of her male colleagues, but her obsession to apprehend the killer on her own clouds her thinking. When Simon outsmarts Rizzo and captures her, determined to make her his next victim, she must employ all her resources—both physical and intellectual—to outwit the villain at his own game.
Book # 2 - Resuscitation:Two years ago, Detective Sami Rizzo narrowly escaped a brush with death at the hands of a serial killer. After apprehending the killer and bringing him to justice, this life-changing event compels her to resign from the police force. In her heart of hearts, however, she struggles with the decision. But a second serial killer—a well- respected doctor gone astray—uses his charm to seduce his victims and then performs horrific surgical experiments on them. In a final act of depravity, he scatters their mutilated bodies throughout San Diego County. Feeling a sense of duty and obligation, Sami Rizzo appeals to the police chief and mayor, and they reinstate her as a homicide investigator. As the body count grows and the killer’s experiments become more and more brutal, Sami follows one dead-end lead after another, while trying to deal with a sickly mother and a turbulent relationship with her lover. But then the killer makes a crucial mistake: one of his victims survives. Sami does everything to protect the barely alive victim, but the killer has a different plan.
Book #3 - A Piece of You:
Homicide Detective Sami Rizzo is at it again! She never dreamed “America’s Finest City,” would be tormented by yet another serial killer, but for the third time in the last five years a depraved maniac is stalking the streets of San Diego. Based on her qualifications and prior successes dealing with multiple murders, who else would Captain Davison assign to head the investigation?
Different from Sami’s past experiences, this fanatic is like no other. His methods of killing defy everything profilers think they know about serial killers. As an intense investigation begins and bits and pieces of evidence emerge, no one can understand his motivation. He’s merciful, yet brutal. And just to make things even more confusing, all of his victims are blood-related. Is he settling a vendetta? Did he randomly pick a name out of the phone book and begin a rampage? Or is there a deeper story?
Based on very little evidence and a lot of gut instincts, Detective Rizzo pieces together a complex puzzle and narrows the field of possible suspects. She learns that the killings may connect in some way to powerful people within the judicial system and doesn’t know who to trust. Ultimately, she comes face to face with the killer for a battle of brain and brawn. Can she outwit the shrewd killer, or will she be his next victim?