1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always written. The first story I ever wrote was a sequel to Return of the Jedi after I saw that film as a little kid. I didn’t want the story to end. So, I kept it going. After my parents divorced, I started writing song lyrics every night to help me fall asleep. That’s when I first discovered how cathartic writing could be. I based the structures on all the lyrics I read on the liner notes of my cassette tapes. But it wasn’t until I graduated from high school, when I realized I was sick of playing in punk rock bands that I started taking my writing very seriously. I realized writing was how I communicated with the world, and I wanted to do that directly. I didn’t want my audience to have a mediated experience. I’ve modified that stance since then, but I’ve never not considered myself a writer since then.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
The Adversary’s Good News was inspired by seeing a copy of Dante’s Inferno one morning. A roommate of mine had left it on the kitchen table. I’d recently finished my first novel, and I was looking for a new project. I took one glance at that book, and I realized, I’ve had visions of the afterlife. I want to write that story.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I want readers of The Adversary’s Good News to think about life and love and the value of both.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
With The Adversary’s Good News, I didn’t start with any particular genre in mind. As the story went on, I realized more and more that it was a kind of horror story. Since that was where the writing had naturally taken me, I decided to embrace it. I went back and reread Stephen King, Clive Barker and Dean Koontz for inspiration (in addition to the classics I was reading to help me construct a literary version of hell – Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost). Once it was done, and I took a closer look at it, I decided it was its own kind of genre, which I refer to as “Literary Horror.”
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
If I could sit down with any character in my book, I’d sit down with Evius. As the impetus for the entire cavorting story, I’d want to know what makes him tick, why he acts the way he does. Why does he lead Christian on this journey through the afterlife, and is there any reason to his rhymes? Also, I’d like to know who he actually is. What’s his name? Where does he come from? Who is he, really?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Facebook and Instagram have definitely been the most instrumental. Each site has its own values, and its own abilities. But I’ve heard back from specific readers on both sites who have discovered my books there.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Don’t give up. Find a story you believe in. Write it and promote it. It’s worth getting your voice out there. It’s what “we” do.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
More writing. Always. I have a new collection of poetry scheduled for release this summer. It’s called We Are the Underground, and I’m very excited about this collection. It includes my “Zodiac” cycle, which contains one poem for every sign in both the Western and Chinese zodiac systems; although, true to form for me, which one is which is not always the easiest to spot. That’s what I think makes the cycle so interesting, trying to figure out which poem represents you and your sign. Poems from this collection have recently appeared in The Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal. If this collection sounds like something you’re interested in, I urge you to join my mailing list at: https://tinyletter.com/IsrafelSivad. As a mailing list member, you’ll know precisely when We Are the Underground is released, and I’ll send you a link to purchase. Also, when you join, you’ll get a free copy of my selected poems in the member’s only collection Lunar Surfaces.
Israfel Sivad is originally from Whittier, CA. He is the founder of Ursprung Collective, which has been referred to as “fantastic brain food” on ReverbNation. His first novel, Crossroads Blues, has been compared to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Palmetto Review). His second novel, The Adversary’s Good News, was a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Paranormal Book Award. His stories and poems have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, The Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal.