Friday, October 31, 2014

Interview with Author Robert Pruneda

On this stop of the Devil's Nightmare Halloween Blog Tour, celebrating the release of the second novel in the Devil's Nightmare series: Devil's Nightmare Premonitions (which I highly recommend to any fan of the horror genre), author Robert Pruneda sits down with me for an interview to discuss the series, his inspirations, and writing in general.

1.       Tell everyone a little about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests outside of writing?
I’m from south Texas and working towards living the dream of becoming a full-time novelist. That first step was making the decision to leave the traditional workforce. I spent the last few years working from home as a small business administrative support specialist. During that time I’ve also written two horror novels, Devil’s Nightmare and Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions. When I’m not taking care of my administrative duties or working on my next novel, I’m either reading, watching TV, or hanging out with my gaming buddies playing online on the PlayStation 4.

2.       When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t start to seriously think of being an author until 2001 or 2002. This was after I lost my job and had difficulty finding work. I decided to tackle a pet project that had considered doing for a while. I had a lengthy time of unemployment and working part-time jobs here and there, so I figured with so much extra time on my hands I followed through and wrote the 488-page behemoth that is Pursuit of a Dream. I self-published my debut novel in 2004 through a vanity press (rookie mistake, I know). Having a printed copy of a novel I spent three years writing felt like a huge accomplishment. I started a short career in the newspaper industry shortly after publishing that novel.

3.       What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Marketing by far. Writing is the fun part. Finding readers is the hardest thing to do, especially for a new undiscovered author swimming in a sea of hundreds of thousands of other hatchlings hoping to find readers. It takes a lot of hard work, belief in yourself, patience, and perseverance. Some people think you can write a novel, hit the publish button, and then just sick back and collect the royalties. After writing three novels, one of which has been moderately successful on Amazon, I know that writing is just a small part of the publishing game. The rest has to do with running a business. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, learning from your mistakes (and boy I’ve made plenty), and building a platform. Social media is where I’ve connected with a good percentage of my readership. It is also where I have met other authors, both traditionally and independently published. Finding the right balance between marketing and can be a tricky thing. Finding the right balance between social media and marketing is the tricky part. I’ve discovered that you can get away with self-promotion if you spend more time being yourself and engaging you’re your followers on social media than only saying, “Buy my book.” Nobody likes a spammer.

4.       For anyone who hasn’t read the Devil’s Nightmare books, tell them a little bit about them.

Devil’s Nightmare is technically marketed in the horror genre, but it is more of cocktail of horror, thriller, suspense, and cop drama, with occult and supernatural elements mixed in. I wrote the first book from the perspective of Detective Aaron Sanders, while the sequel is in third person. Here are the blurbs for each book:

Devil’s Nightmare

Detective Aaron Sanders' abilities and fortitude are put to the test when he investigates a brutal double-homicide where a boy's parents are found mutilated inside their home. The boy is the only witness to the crime and his clothes are stained with his parents' blood. His clothes are also tainted with the blood of other victims from a separate and even more horrific crime scene at a nearby cemetery. All of the victims appear to have been killed in the same manner and the boy knows the true identity of the evil responsible for the multiple deaths, but he is unwilling to talk. No one would believe him. A threat on the boy's life and a disturbing nightmare causes Detective Sanders to question his beliefs and his own sanity. This investigation ultimately leads Sanders in a fight to save himself and the life of an orphaned boy from an unimaginable evil that is spawned from the curse of the devil's nightmare.

Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions

Sequel to the Amazon bestselling horror Devil's Nightmare, Robert Pruneda brings fans of the first novel another horrific thriller full of twists, chills, and a shocking conclusion. Two years have passed since Aaron Sanders retired from the Austin Police Department after what the media has called The Saint Hedwig Massacre. He moves his family out of the capital city to start a new life as a small town cop in Lost Maples, Texas, where the population count is updated more often than the murder rate. That bit of reputation is about to change when Aaron is once again caught in the middle of a mysterious investigation that has an eerie familiarity. This time, however, he is certain what is responsible for the violent deaths . . . Or is he?

Evil knows no boundaries, and it is up to Aaron to figure out how to protect the residents of his community, and his family, from becoming its next victims.

5.       Where did you get the idea for Devil’s Nightmare and Devil’s Nightmare Premonitions?

Devil’s Nightmare is very loosely based on an incident I experienced when I was a kid regarding playing (and getting obsessed) with a Ouija board by myself. As a child, I believed an evil spirit haunted me or it could have just been a figment of my imagination stemmed from a terrifying dream. I woke up from a nightmare one evening and felt something pressing down on my chest, which made it difficult for me to breath. I saw something hovering above me with a pair of sinister amber eyes. I tried to move, but this force kept me down. I lay there frozen in bed, starring at this demon. I was finally able to scream in terror. Moments later, my parents burst into my bedroom and turned on the light. The silhouette with the hideous eyes disappeared. I told my parents what I saw, and of course, they didn’t believe me; it was just a nightmare. Maybe it was. Maybe I imagined it all. Perhaps it wasn’t real. I know one thing that is undeniable . . . I’ve never felt more scared in my life.

And I’ve never touched a Ouija board ever since.

6.       What authors have inspired you the most?

Stephen King on the traditional side and Michael R. Hicks from the independent publishing side. Reading “The King of Horror’s” book  On Writing gave me the inspiration needed to write horror. Michael Hicks is a great example of an independently published author who worked tirelessly at pursuing his dream of writing for a living while working a full-time job. He now has written about a dozen best-selling novels and is living his dream. He is down to earth who does not let success get to his head. Over the past few years, he has also become a great friend (and mentor) who has given me sound advice that has saved me from a few major headaches.

7.       Have you always had an interest in the horror genre?  What other genres do you like to read and write?

Yes. Horror has always been my favorite genre, both in print and on film. I also enjoy reading fantasy, thrillers, and have recently started reading science fiction. I also enjoy reading Christian fiction, particularly novels written by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.

8.       Some people take a walk, others bang their heads against a wall. How do you handle writer’s block?

After banging my head against the wall, I typically step away from my current project and work on something else. I may also read a book in the same genre.

9.       How much alike are you and your protagonist, Aaron Sanders? Is his character based on anyone you knew/know?

Aaron isn’t based on anyone specific, but he does carry some of my traits (both good and bad) . . . and of course, he’s also a classic car enthusiast like me. I’ve actually been criticized for this, which I find amusing.

10.   What can we expect in the future for the Devil’s Nightmare series?

Without giving any spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read one or both of the books, I can say that you should expect more surprises. I plan to continue the series where Book 2 left off and also plan on exploring the past in another book, which may end up as more of a spin off than an actual prequel. 

11.   If the Devil’s Nightmare books were made into movies, who do you envision playing the main characters?

This question also came up during the “The Next Thing Blog Hop” in 2012 while I was writing Devil’s Nightmare. Here is the cast I chose then:

Detective Aaron Sanders . . . Christian Slater

Cody Sumner . . . C.J. Adams

Chief David Hernandez . . . Nestor Serrano

Donald Luther . . . Robert David Hall

Maria Jimenez . . . Jennifer Lopez

Samantha Jimenez . . . Rhiannon Leigh Wryn

Detective Steven Riley . . . Drew Roy

Jackson Smith . . . Liam James

Robert Smith . . . Nicholas Lea

Dr. Jerome Hadley . . . Gary Oldman

Father Henry Marwick . . . Ben Kingsley

Joseph Michaels . . . Spencer List

Pamela Houston . . . Queen Latifa

12.   Do you find that you base your characters on real life people, or are they entirely fictional?

All the characters in Devil’s Nightmare are entirely fictional, but there are a few characters in my debut novel Pursuit of a Dream that were inspired by real people. There are also a few people that have inspired some ideas for a few future characters, but that’s only natural, right?

13.   Do you have any writing essentials (i.e. music, silence, coffee)?

Not really. I don’t have any writing rituals or anything that I absolutely must have or do in order to get the creative juices flowing, but I do find that coffee and music can help, but the music must not have lyrics. I can’t write to music with lyrics because my A.D.D. kicks in.

14.   What made you decide to write horror novels?

I decided to try writing horror after reading On Writing by Stephen King. I love to read and watch horror, so it only made sense for me to write in my favorite genre. I had a lot of fun writing the first two Devil’s Nightmare novels, so I think I have found my niche genre.

15.   What is one of the first things you remember writing? Do you still have it?

The very first thing I wrote (and drew) was a military sci-fi/horror comic called Katie vs. The Amoeba. It was one of those Godzilla style stories. Katie is a giant snake and The Amoeba is a giant monster that has the ability to regenerate. I was just a kid, so never mind the fact that an amoeba is a tiny microscopic organism. I still have the comic buried in a box somewhere. Hopefully, I’ll find it someday, so I can share it with my readers.

16.   Do you have any advice for those wanting to take the plunge and begin writing?

First you need to decide why you want to write. Are you considering this as a potential career or are you doing this as a hobby. Making this distinction is very important because if you are seriously considering writing as a profession, be prepared for a long and difficult road where you are required to make sacrifices. Most importantly, don’t give up, because it is very easy to get discouraged. Focus on your love of the craft instead of sales or whether or not people like your work and you’ll have a lot less headaches. It’s easier said than done, but you need to enjoy writing or else what’s the point, right? If your decision to write is revolved around making money, then you are writing for the wrong reason. Can you make money in this profession? Absolutely! However, I think the most important thing to focus on as a writer is improving your craft and enjoying the process. If you make money doing it, then that’s just an added bonus. 

17.   Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?

The list is long, but here is what I’ve come up with off the top of my head . . .

Favorite authors: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Steve Alten, Michael R. Hicks, Lorna Suzuki, Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins, C.S. Lewis, Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman, and R.A. Salvatore are just a few.

Favorite books: Devil’s Nightmare (of course), It, Cell, Needful Things, Jurassic Park, Whispers, Prey, Disclosure, Meg, Extinct, Season of the Harvest, A Warrior’s Tale, The Oath, Thr3e, Left Behind, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the list could go on.

18.   If you could be any character in any book, who would you be and why?

I would have to say Jonas Taylor from Steve Alten’s Meg. Jonas Taylor is the lead character of this novel about a giant prehistoric shark (the megalodon) that is supposed to be extinct. Jonas Taylor is the only survivor during a top-secret dive in the Mariana Trench where Taylor discovers the giant relative of the great white shark. Nobody believes Jonas, of course. It was a very fun novel for me to read, since I have a fascination of sharks, especially the megalodon. So, living the life of Jonas Taylor would be exciting.

For Fun:

                Coke or Pepsi?
                Laptop or Pen and paper?
                The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones?
                Yes. To ask me to choose between the two is just plain evil.

                Day or Night?
                Night, because it’s when I write best.

                Outline or let it flow?
                Let it flow.

                Favorite color?
                Red, Black, and Blue (equally)

                Favorite food?
                Pizza. Duh!

                Cats or Dogs?


Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is author of the Amazon Kindle bestselling horror novel Devil's Nightmare and contemporary family motor sports drama Pursuit of a Dream (Victory Lane: The Chronicles). He lives in south Texas and has called the Lone Star State his home all of his life. Pruneda is also very active in social media and an avid gamer who can often be found fighting side-by-side with his friends on his favorite first-person shooter . . . but he prefers survival horror.

Connect with Robert Pruneda:

Official Website:
The Devil's Nightmare series is available at at the links provided below:

Devil's Nightmare                                                           Devil's Nightmare Premonitions


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Redemption (Enigma Black Trilogy, Book 3) Now Available!

For those of you who have been anticipating the final novel in the Enigma Black trilogy, the wait is finally over. Redemption is now available on Amazon and has already received its first five-star review!


Wow...I have waited SO long for this book and I'm not even sure where to start. When I first read 'Enigma Black', I knew exactly what I wanted to happen and how it should end. But along the way, the characters changed some of my ideas, and now that I have finished the trilogy, I don't know whether to celebrate or cry. (Actually, I am crying!) Celaine finally learns the truth behind the Man in Black and the Epicenter, and the events that follow are absolutely heartbreaking. Ian, Chase and all of the other characters we've loved over the course of the trilogy must face evil along with Celaine, the results of which will change everyone's lives and futures.

This is one of those books that I'm SO glad I read, yet I'm not sure when I'll be able to read it again because the emotions I'm left with are so intense. But to me, that makes the book even more of a treasure, because Sara was able to create such a compelling storyline and amazing characters that I will remember for a long time to come."

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Redemption Release Date: October 11, 2014

Final edits have been made and Redemption is on its way for formatting, which will take a few days. After that, it’s on to Amazon! So, without further delay, the release date for Redemption is…Saturday, October 11!

The first three peopl...e to comment on this post will get their copy for free when it becomes available.

In all, I’m only about a month behind schedule. As I said before, Redemption ended up being about 20k words over what I initially projected and is a lot more involved than the previous books in the series, so my early time estimates were pretty futile.

I want to thank all of you for the support and words of encouragement you’ve given me throughout this entire process. I know it’s a clichéd statement, but I honestly couldn’t have done it without you all, and I truly hope Redemption lives up to your expectations. I’ve spent many hours agonizing over the ending, but after much thought, I decided to stick with the one I always envisioned for the series. I’m not big on happy endings, where everything is wrapped up in a nice little bow, mainly because they aren’t realistic. War changes people; life experiences change people; time changes people. Yet, with that said, I’m not one for bleak, depressing endings, either. To me, an author should leave their readers with a sense of hope for the future. I hope I’ve done that here.

I have a lot planned for the future. I’ll soon be working on a contemporary romance novel that I can’t seem to get out of my head, which should be released in 2015. I’ve also been asked to write a play for a local venue in my hometown for a performance set for April 2015. Finally, I have plans to expand upon the Enigma Black trilogy with a series of novellas based on some of the secondary characters because I can’t kid myself by saying that I’ll be able to walk away from it forever.

My goal is to have the entire trilogy available in print. I’m going to start on Enigma Black soon and will keep you updated on its progress.

As soon as Redemption is live, I’ll post the link on this page.