Interview with Author Israfel Sivad

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.

Author Bio:

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 ReviewThe Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal.

 

Websites:
 
Israfel Sivad: www.IsrafelSivad.com
Mailing List/FREE Book: https://tinyletter.com/IsrafelSivad
Amazon Bookstore:  amazon.com/author/israfel-sivad
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The Adversary’s Good News by Israfel Sivad Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book deals with themes of suicide, drug use and abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

An intense fantasy horror adventure takes a troubled young man through the bowels of the afterlife in author Israfel Sivad’s The Adversary’s Good News. Here’s the synopsis:

A divine comedy – inverted. Christian Michael Anderson hasn’t been doing so well lately. He’s out of work, out of money, and out of alcohol. But when he loops a stolen rope through the exposed rafters in his ceiling and places that noose around his neck, his adventure has only begun… Encountering joke-telling gargoyles, the “Great Beast” imprisoned in a cage, a drug-dealing Tinkerbell, and much more, Christian eventually realizes he’s entered a psychologically haunted world far beyond anything his nightmares ever envisioned. But it’s not until his final imprisonment in the serpentine city of Pandemonium that he realizes he’s been tricked into confronting his own, personal demons.

The story of Christian was an exhilarating and terrifying journey through death. I would describe it as a much more horror filled version of Alice in Wonderland on acid. A world filled with dead artists, gargoyles, demonic sirens and more, these creatures help establish the chaotic world the author has created. The story itself is one of the most thought provoking I’ve read in 2018. The novel deals in some pretty serious themes, and helps show the reader why it’s important to examine the life we lead and make the most of it. Our lives are filled with ups and downs, and we often make mistakes. However this book felt like more than just a horror story. It felt like life, in which we all have to find ways to accept the things we cannot change and move on to rebuild our lives once more.

The writing was phenomenal. The protagonist Christian was complex and filled with inner turmoil. While he felt a desire to do the right thing, his addictions and fantasies held a massive pull within him, tearing him apart from the inside out. The imagery was strong throughout, creating a colorful and sometimes gruesome world where up was down, black was white and the people spoke in constant riddles.

Overall this was a great read. While filled with some triggering topics, the story overall was powerfully intelligent and allowed readers to think about the broader aspects of life, as well as the inner turmoil of their own lives. It was a breathtaking horror adventure through the afterlife, and if you haven’t yet you have to check it out for yourself. So be sure to pick up your copy of The Adversary’s Good News today!

Rating: 10/10