Are you an avid reader of fantasy? Are you a fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones? If you are, then you will enjoy this month’s featured author, Dylan Saccoccio. You may recognize his name from his roles in film and television, but to his loyal following on Twitter, he is the author of The Tale of Onora series. Check out Book One here.
Dylan Saccoccio grew up playing every sport you can think of, then at eighteen years old, he moved to Manhattan to pursue a career in acting. He starred in several independent films and television roles, all the while writing screenplays and his magnum opus The Tale of Onora, a fantasy series steeped in metaphor and social consciousness. An, actor, writer, and reveler, Dylan Saccoccio always strives to attain his highest and best self.
Dylan Saccoccio is a philosopher at heart, and his works carry strong themes about corruption and freedom. Although his photograph features him with a weapon, he doesn’t need a sword or a gun to fight corruption; he has his words, which are very powerful. If you enjoy conscious storytelling with a message, check out his works. You won’t be disappointed. In fact, you might come away enlightened.
On with the interview!!!!
Lit Chic: You are well-known as an actor and as an athlete. Tell me what inspired you to become a writer? .
Dylan Saccoccio: I began writing around the same time I started acting, that way I could leverage myself into making the films I wanted to make instead of waiting around for people who have no life experience in what their writing to create something that I’m attracted to. Hollywood is a very competitive environment that’s overcrowded with the world’s best looking psychopaths that will do ANYTHING to succeed, and if one thinks achieving success in Hollywood has anything to do with merit or with talent, I would encourage them to turn on a TV to dispel that childish notion. So I write what I want, when I want, and how I want. Wherever I want. It’s very fulfilling to explore other dimensions and frequencies when I write, very similar to when I play music or act in a really good scene.
Lit Chic: Tell me about your recently published novel The Tale of Onora: The Boy and the Peddler of Death. What inspired the series?
Dylan Saccoccio: The series is a metaphor for my life, the places I’ve been, and the people I’ve encountered. While there is an ensemble of characters, and the series brings to life their truths and perspectives, the character that symbolizes me in this story is Aithein. His face on the cover of Book Two is referenced from a photo of me when I was twelve years old. That’s also me on the cover of Book One. (Which I think is very cool!)
To get a little deeper into your question, there are a lot of dark things in this story. Even though the first few books of the series are YA by the ages of the main characters, the content is as real and as mature as it gets. It’s bad ass, gritty, real man’s fantasy, and women love it too because women love real men. (That, we do. Haha)
I wrote The Tale of Onora because I became caught up in a conspiracy that was too dangerous to talk about. It’s too interlocked and pervasive to get away from or to try to solve at the same level of consciousness in which the conspiracy was created. But namely, there is a parasitical element of society that is hell bent on keeping the masses fighting amongst each other so that they don’t wake up and see what’s being done to them. They control everything. They rig all the markets, the media, the education systems, the legal systems, the monetary systems, the government, the military industrial complex, the healthcare systems, the food supply, etc. It is so vast, and many of us are full participants in it without even realizing what we are a part of, the same way Albert Einstein didn’t realize his work was being used to create the atomic bomb in the Manhattan Project.
One of the themes in my work is that all power rests with the individual, and it is he that gives his freedom up. Without your consent and capital, this parasitical entity will starve. You don’t need to fight evil. All you need to do is expose it, and when most people understand the ramifications of what they are serving has on their way of life in the long run, they won’t go along with it. But it’s the cleverly disguised process of using businesses and schools/universities to indoctrinate people, as well as capital as a means for controlling them, that must be identified. When people think critically and ask logical questions, they will be able to recognized these pitfalls and the arsenal of ploys that tyrants use to trick them into giving up their freedom.
The Tale of Onora is here to let readers know that it’s never too late to do the right thing. The only time that exists is now, and every moment may be wrought with redemption. There is no one coming to save you. No one will take better care of you than you. You are the one you’ve been waiting for, and if not you, then who? If not now, then when?
Lit Chic: Tell me about the series. How many books can we expect?
Dylan Saccoccio: I wrote rough drafts of the screenplays first, which tend to be about 150 pages each (which is equivalent to over 150 minutes of film), and so I began the process of converting them into books in 2013. Books One through Three are literally only about 30 pages into the first screenplay. I don’t know how many books there will be, but it will be a lot. I like my books to be short and digestible, like TV episodes. I know some hardcore bookworms may not be crazy about this, but you’ll find more content in 100 pages of The Tale of Onora than you will in almost any fantasy novel that’s a thousand pages. I know this because I’ve read a lot of the greats since finishing Books One and Two.
I want to attract more people to reading that are intimidated by picking up a big book for fear they will never finish it. Also, tomorrow isn’t promised, and I’d rather put out a series of short books instead of waiting 3-4 years in between each novel. I like being able to interact with my fans and I like to be able to grow as a person in between books so that I’m evolving as the series is evolving. I should be able to write about one book every 4-6 months, depending on how hard I have to work to earn my living in between.
I’ve changed as a person so much since I finished the screenplays, that I didn’t like how they ended. The end is going to be different from what I had originally envisioned, along with many other parts of the story, and what I think will happen now may not happen by the time it comes for me to write it. There’s incredible power in being able to allow the universe to manifest itself through you and trust that you are everything you need right now to tell the story as it needs to be told in this moment. So that’s what I aim to do.
Lit Chic: What can we look forward to in Book Two?
Dylan Saccoccio: Book Two will introduce you to new characters that help train Aithein and turn him into a proper swordsman. It will also explore the relationships that he has with people like Ellia and the girl he dreams about, as well as his growing relationship with Dani, his guardian fairy. It will also reveal a dark side of Aithein and his reckless nature that stems from growing up without a mother or father. A scary, unnatural creature will also be introduced to the forest to compound the already looming threat of the arms confiscation that’s occurring in Amori Village. It’s gonna have a violent scene that is depicted on the cover, but this book is more about Aithein finding himself as a warrior and learning to channel his inner demons into a force to be reckoned with.
Lit Chic: I know I’m not the only one who has raved over the cover art, but they are amazing, absolutely gorgeous. Who is your artist and what role have you had in the creation of those eye catching covers?
Dylan Saccoccio: The cover artist for Book One is Virginie Carquin. I was one of her biggest fans, so I reached out to her via Facebook, we exchanged emails, and then she created that masterpiece. I tried to reach out to her for Book Two’s cover, but she didn’t respond in time, so I reached out to another one of my favorite artists, Marco Ivancic. Here’s his website for those who want to share his work and those who want to commission him.
Lit Chic: For you, what is the most rewarding and most agonizing part of being a writer?
Dylan Saccoccio: The most rewarding thing is experiencing all the emotions that my characters feel. There are some scenes that I wept like a lost love while writing them, and I went through everything that my characters did. I think that’s also why people can’t really tell who is good and evil in my series, because I try to make sense of everyone’s perspective, so even when someone does something that is terrible, you’ll at least feel how the ends justified the means. It’s a beautiful experience to explore different worlds and allow yourself to be used by the universe to create something.
The second most rewarding part is to leave behind a message that I won’t be alive to deliver to the people of the future, yet they will read my message all the same as though I were right there with them in that moment. People all over the world have my book in paperback form. I have left something tangible behind. How many people can say that they did that?
The most agonizing part about being a writer is that it’s time consuming, and your body goes to shit from all the hours of sitting around writing and thinking, etc. Plus, if you’re an independent author, you’ll probably work at another job (I have three sources of income), plus spend 100+ hrs/week marketing your book (if you’re as driven as I am), and you’ll feel like you’re at your breaking point over and over again, but something within you will tell you to keep going, don’t save anything for the way back because you’re not going back. You’re going forward, and sometimes you have to burn a bridge or two to make sure you’re not being chased.
Lit Chic: What is your advice for other writers?
Dylan Saccoccio: My advice is simple. Don’t take advice from anyone whose work doesn’t resonate with you, or who hasn’t done what you want to do. You might say, “Well, I can’t very well meet J.K. Rowling, can I? I’ve got to listen to someone.” Yes, listen to them, but don’t follow them. Walk your own path. Do what you can, research as much as you can, but take action. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. The distance between you and your dreams is merely action, and you must not delude yourself into thinking you’re working harder than you really are. I shall ask a familiar question. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Again, you are the one you’ve been waiting for.
I hope you all enjoyed Dylan Saccoccio’s interview. He’s an author I’ve been following on Twitter, and I always enjoy his interaction and updates. If you’re interested in connecting with the author follow him on twitter @DylanSaccoccio or check out his website.
Once again, I hope you enjoyed August’s featured author. The next author will be featured the first Friday in September. If you or someone you know would like to be featured on my blog, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on twitter @kbbetzner.