Over the next week or two I am going to be highlighting some of their authors. Today is is Dina Tosto's turn.
Ms Tosto was nice enough to answer a few questions for me. After the short interview, you can find some links provided by Ms. Tosto.
RA for All: You seem to incorporate quite a bit of research into your novels, can you tell me about how your library helped you.
Tosto:I used to be a teacher, so we have a lot in common. I did most of the research for my latest novel at my local library. In my recent novel, Halo of the Damned<, I used research about the ancient Yezidi religion (spellings vary). The Yezidis originated from northern Iraq and spread throughout the Kurdish community, eventually making its way into Europe. Yezidis worship angels, especially Malak Tawas (spellings vary). The peacock symbolizes this angel who many believe to be Satan. Malak’s story in the Koran matches the same stories in the Bible and Old Testament about a rebellious angel who wages war with a third of all of God’s angels against God and the remainder of angels in Heaven. Once defeated, God sends all of them to Hell.Yezidis believe God created Malak first, before all other angels, in His image, therefore he is also God. They also believe the world was first created as a pearl. Their holy books are Black Book and Book of Revelation. Their afterlife ideas are vague, but lean towards reincarnation. I found the religion fascinating and used it as part of the plot.
RA for All: What are your recollections of discovering horror books at the library?
Tosto: I fell in love with the idea of free Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice and Tom Harris! I Took full advantage and still do. I love horror, thrillers, and biographies. Romance has never been my thing, although I reviewed a couple of romance novels and surprisingly liked them.
RA for All: I have an entire chapter in my book about Satanic horror. Why you are drawn to that topic as a writer?
Tosto: Halo of the Damned addresses the age-old question of 'what is good and what is evil.' It's the central theme of the book. I've always struggled with that concept along with free will and the afterlife. Although there is a great deal of religion in the story, it's never preachy, only honest. Andel, the main character, is evil yet human and easy to connect with. I'm currently writing a sequel.
RA for All: I love the irony of Wheaton, IL with the Satanic stuff in Halo of the Damned.
Tosto: Maybe you already know this, but if not, Wheaton is a Chicago suburb that has the most Christian churches per capita in the country-at least it used to. It used to be dry, alcohol free, and still is lily white and wealthy.
RA for All: What draws you to writing dark fiction?
Tosto: I'm fascinated with both politics and religion-the two things you're never supposed to talk about! Both give a writer reams to work with in terms of evil.
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