Sunday, August 2, 2015

Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda Interview & Giveaway

Devil’s Nightmare
Devil’s Nightmare Series
Book One
Robert Pruneda

Genre: Horror

Publisher:  Forsaken Imprint
Booktrope Publishing

Date of Publication: July 15, 2015

Cover Artist:  Laura Hidalgo

Book Description:

Veteran homicide detective Aaron Sanders thought he’d seen it all, but nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of a kid’s parents or the equally vicious deaths of three boys at another crime scene.

As Aaron works to solve the cases and protect his only witness, an orphaned child, he learns of an ancient curse that leaves him questioning all he’s ever believed. Now, to save himself and the child, Aaron must confront his own inner demons, and some he never knew existed. But if he does, will he make it out alive? 

Devil’s Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil’s Nightmare series.

About the Author:

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though.

He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Austin, Texas, but I now live in the south Texas crossroads near the coast. I’m not much of a beach-goer, though. I prefer the wilderness.
Tell us your latest news?
I just re-launched my Amazon best-selling supernatural occult horror novel Devil’s Nightmare through Booktrope’s Forsaken horror imprint. This is an exciting time for me, because up until now, I’ve been independently published. Moving from self-publishing to hybrid publishing (which is a mix of traditional and independent publishing), has been an amazing experience. I love my Forsaken Horror Hooligan family. 
When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first novel Pursuit of a Dream while seeking employment after a layoff in 2001. I had always wanted to write a novel, but had never found the time. Being unemployed seemed like the perfect time to tackle that task. Writing was more of a hobby at first, and publishing a novel was just a personal goal of mine. I didn’t know anything about publishing, so I basically put together a generic cover and paid a vanity press to distribute and print my first novel. I highly discourage this if you are just getting started in the industry. I’m still getting sales calls from that “publisher.” While I regret using a vanity press to publish my first book, it does not diminish my feeling of accomplishment when I held that first physical copy Pursuit of a Dream, which I proudly display on my bookshelf.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I considered myself a writer after publishing Pursuit of a Dream in 2004, but it wasn’t until after I published Devil’s Nightmare in 2013 that I seriously considered writing novels as a profession. I had only expected to sell a few books to friends, family, and other writers in my social media network, but something magical happened later that year. For the first six months, I was happy to sell twenty books in any given month, but after running a special Independence Day promotion, sales spiked not in the United States, but in the United Kingdom. I felt like a dream when my book rose through the ranks and almost reached No. 5 in Horror Suspense. Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep was at the top of the list, but Devil’s Nightmare was just a few slots down. Over the next several months, it hit Amazon bestseller lists in several paid categories in the United States. You can imagine how I felt after that. That was a turning point for me as an author. I’m no Stephen King, though, nor will I ever claim to write as well as he does, but it’s a great confidence booster that people other than friends and family have enjoyed reading Devil’s Nightmare. Of course, there are also those that absolutely hated it too. I won’t lie and say that those comments didn’t bother me, because they did sting, but I don’t dwell on them. Every reader has different tastes. What one person may like, another may dislike. If we were all the same and had similar interests, the world would be a boring place to live in. 
What inspired you to write your first book?
A personal experience I had when I was around eleven or twelve years old inspired me to write Devil’s Nightmare. Playing with a Ouija board also had some influence. I played with the “spirit board” for weeks (by myself; a big no-no), asking childish questions about fame, fortune, girlfriends, etc. I didn’t know if I was actually summoning spirits or if I was subconsciously moving the marker with my fingers. It didn’t matter; I was having fun with it.
The fun and games ended after I started having nightmares. Late one night, I woke up and felt something pressing against my chest. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t move. Then I saw a pair of demonic eyes floating above me within a transparent silhouette. I’ll never forget those eyes. I wanted to scream and run away, but my body froze, and the pressure in my chest continued to obstruct my breathing.
Suddenly, I was able to take in a gasp of air and then screamed in hysteria . . . but I still could not move. Moments later, my parents rushed through my door and turned on the light; the eyes and silhouette disappeared. I shot up from my bed and darted towards my mother for protection. My shirt was drenched in sweat, my face flowing with tears, as I cried about the demon that I had just seen. It was the most horrifying experience I have ever had in my life.
Was it a dream? Was it my imagination, waking sleep paralysis, or was it truly a demon oppressing me because I had broken some spiritual rule of the Ouija board? I don’t know for certain, but I can tell you this . . . that Ouija board went in the fireplace the very next day, and I have never messed with one ever since.
Do you have a specific writing style?
One thing that I find consistent in my writing is my character development and pace. Whether I’m writing horror or a family-oriented tale, I try to write in such a way that builds a relationship between the reader and my characters (and relationships between the characters). I also use somewhat of a Hemingway style of approach to writing that isn’t overly complex. In other words, you shouldn’t need a thesaurus nearby when you read my work. It’s one of my own pet peeves when I read novels that require a doctorate-level education in language arts to understand the writing . . . or maybe I just need to go back to school and improve my vocabulary. Until then, I’m taking advantage of that built-in thesaurus in my Kindle. J
While I admit there is room for improvement, I also try to let my reader’s imagination paint the scenes by giving them just enough information without going over every minute detail. For example, I usually don’t explain too much about clothing or even physical appearance, which allows my readers to form a mental picture of what they think the characters look like and maybe even sound like based on their dialogue and personality. Some people prefer complex and poetic scenes with lots of detail. I don’t, because I think it just slows down the story.
I find it interesting to read reviews about my writing style because there’s a mixture of contrasting opinions. That’s why I often encourage aspiring authors to not take negative reviews personally. I used to get all bent out of shape and insecure when I read reviews that compared my writing to that of a third-grader, insulted their intelligence, or that ninety-nine cents (or even free) would be too much money spent on my book. And those were the nice ones. What I’ve learned is that you can’t change your style because of a few negative reviews, especially when the vast majority of the readers enjoyed the novel. Authors must have thick skin when reading negative reviews. Some people will love our work. Others will hate it. We just need to keep doing what we love and sharing our stories with the world.
How did you come up with the title?
I originally named the story Schizo, because one of the main characters (Cody Sumner) was a mental patient at an institute in Dallas, Texas. Cody witnessed his parents’ murders when he was eleven years old and suffered from schizophrenia. He rambles about a curse called the devil’s nightmare and claims that what killed his parents wasn’t human. In the original outline, the story takes place when he’s an adult and the main protagonist is a freelance journalist investigating a series of murders that were similar to what had happened to the “schizo’s” parents.
After outlining a complete draft of Schizo, I wrote a few chapters of the first draft, but I didn’t like where it was going. I didn’t like the main character, I didn’t like the setting, and I hated the title. So, scrapped the entire outline, changed the title to Devil’s Nightmare, and started over. I moved the location from Dallas to Austin, and instead focused on the events immediately after Cody’s parents died. 
The only thing similar to the original story is the prologue and the idea around the devil’s nightmare curse. I also changed the protagonist from a journalist to a homicide detective with the Austin Police Department. I grew up in Austin, Texas, so it made researching locations a little easier too.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I never really thought about this, but if I had a specific message, it would be simple. Don’t accidentally summon a demon. It won’t end well. J
How much of the book is realistic?
It all depends on how you look at it. Some of my readers have specifically said that they forgot they were reading a work of fiction and felt Devil’s Nightmare was realistic, while others have said they found it very unbelievable and disappointing. Again, I think it just depends on the reader’s tastes or even their personal spiritual beliefs. Certain scenes in Devil’s Nightmare are, of course, pure fiction (at least I hope so!), such as some of the supernatural and horror elements. However, readers can decide for themselves if the occult elements in Devil’s Nightmare are believable. The most important thing for me as the author was to provide an entertaining story that leaves my readers wanting more. As long as my readers are entertained, and want to read the next book, I’m happy.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I didn’t base any of my characters on anyone I know personally (and I’m sticking to that story). However, one of my characters from Pursuit of a Dream makes a cameo appearance in Devil’s Nightmare. I very loosely based the story on the sleep paralysis experience I mentioned earlier.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Stephen King’s On Writing has influenced me as an author the most. Stephen King’s memoir gave me the confidence and inspiration to pursue my dream as a novelist. I also love his no nonsense (his choice of words is more colorful) approach to giving advice to aspiring writers. I recommend that every author read his book.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Stephen King would be my first choice, but since I don’t actually know him, I’d have to say science fiction/fantasy author Michael R. Hicks. I met Mike back in 2011 on Twitter while I was launching my writing career and he was in the middle of transitioning from part-time to full-time author. Over the years, Mike has given me valuable advice regarding social media marketing, networking, and publishing in general. Not only do I consider him a mentor, but also a close friend. If you are an aspiring author, I recommend that you read Mike’s book The Path to Self-Publishing Success. Some of the information may be a little outdated due to the constantly changing industry, but most of it is invaluable and only a few bucks on Kindle.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King and Gristle & Bone by fellow Forsaken horror author Duncan Ralston.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, several new authors have grasped my interest. That’s one of the great things about the writing community. I’ve met so many talented authors and have read some great books (both traditional and self-published) because of these connections. A few of my favorite independently published authors are Michael R. Hicks, Jack D. Albrecht Jr., and Lorna Suzuki. The first book I read by Michael Hicks was Season of the Harvest. His writing style in that book reminds me of Michael Crichton, because of how he creates a fictional story based on science. Jack Albrecht and Lorna Suzuki both write fantasy. Jack’s Osric’s Wand series has talking animals, unicorns, magic wands, and dragons, so they are fun to read and are suited well for all ages. Lorna’s Imago Chronicles novels are for teens and adults. She also landed a major motion picture movie deal for the first three books in her series. I highly recommend all three of the authors I mentioned.
What are your current projects?
My editor and I are currently working on polishing my previously self-published manuscript for Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions. This is the second installment in the Devil’s Nightmare series. The first edition is still available exclusively on Amazon until Booktrope publishes the revised “Forsaken Edition” later this year. 
What would you like my readers to know?
My motto is “Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.” I hold those words close to my heart because of the personal and financial struggles I have faced over the years. No matter how difficult or unreachable you may think your dream may be, you must pursue it and never give up on it.
My adventure started as a hobby fourteen years ago while I was unemployed. I then spent seven years working at a newspaper with aspirations of a career in journalism. I started at the very bottom running an insert machine in production for over a year and then took a part-time job writing and editing obituaries, military, and birth announcements. I did this just to get my foot in the door. A few months later, management decided to move the obituaries desk to the classifieds department. You read that correctly . . . Classifieds. They made this move so they could start charging for obituaries while offering a free option (which no longer exists). It wasn’t so bad at first, particularly because it turned into a full-time job, which meant a raise in salary. They also hired me a part-timer.
Over the years, I learned a lot about the newspaper and funeral home industry, which I enjoyed. However, the newspaper slowly but surely turned my obituaries coordinator job into a sales position . . . and then idiots happened. I won’t go into the painful details, but it got to the point that I hated going to work. When I started having severe chest pains from all of the stress, I quit my job at the newspaper and promised myself that I would never work for someone else ever again.
That was four years ago. Today, I’m self-employed, working longer hours for less income, and sometimes wonder how I’m going to pay the bills. But I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been in my life because I’m pursuing my dreams and I’m never looking back. 

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  1. Thank you for the interview and joining the blog tour!


  2. Thanks for the interview, it was awesome.