On Fridays right here, writers talk about their books, their process, where they’ve been, and where they’re going. Today Vincent Robert Annunziato joins us to celebrate the launch of his novel, 33 DEGREES, a Kindle Scout winner published by Kindle Press.
It is said that in the depths of the Underground lies a weapon so powerful it will save the Northern herd from the cruelty slavery has put them under. It is said that anyone who holds the Pulse, holds the power to freedom. It is said… well after so many years, no one really believes it anymore.
18-year-old Javin has grown accustomed to death. His world is surrounded by the ravages of slavery. Burdened by a new ice age, little food and very little fuel for heat, only the strong survive under the threat of nature and the cruelty of the South. There is one hope: a train ride that can’t be missed, because missing it can be deadly. Every day the herd lines up waiting for it to come so that they can feed their families and heat their homes one more day. And somewhere in the Underground lies the weapon that ended all wars. If it is found, the South has promised freedom.
Desperation is the norm and most Northerners would rather die than live. Many say that even the sun has turned its back on them, because it lies somewhere behind the Southern wall. No Northerner will ever see the sun, because no beast is allowed behind the wall the South has built. Javin doesn’t care about the Pulse or the wall. No, his only care is vengeance. He waits for an opportunity to kill so that he can have his life ended and be freed of the torture of this life. That’s the plan until he discovers a new found love and unexpected hope.
As the rage inside his soul cools, Javin finds himself a leader amongst his tribe. He alone must rise from the depths of despair to lead his people and help them find a way back to their rightful place amongst men. A daunting task for anyone living in a world where it is too warm to die, and too cold to live.
33 DEGREES will chill you to the bone in this suspenseful new novel by Vincent Robert Annunziato.
- What were the most challenging aspects of writing this book, and what came easily?
I am a stickler for character development and I struggled with the motivation of one of the main characters. Although I could physically have him do what I wanted, I couldn’t find the resolution inside and get the ending solidified. I decided to move through the story and deal with it after I completed the second run through the draft. Fortunately, I found the motivation in one of my secondary characters to drive the decision. It took me almost three months to figure it out.
The initial idea of using a train as a backdrop came from my real life experience in commuting. It inspired me to take the actions of the people who ride commuter trains and embellish them. It’s not a put down, since I did it myself, but people tend to get habitual. As we get older, habits help us to segregate the less important from the important. We use habits so that we don’t have to focus on everyday occurrences. In 33 DEGREES, I really embellished that and used it to show how people became accustomed to violent activity.
- Tell us about your main characters and what drives them.
Javin – Dropped into the underground by his parents at a young age, he’s never known why. The people who were supposed to take care of him gave up on life and ended it by taking part in what is called a Culling. When we first meet Javin, he is a slave to the Southerners and all he wants to do is kill a guard as revenge for what life has dealt him. He changes due to two characters and I think readers will really love how he is turned by Tiny and a new love interest, named Miesha.
Miesha – Miesha is a dynamite character. Strong, but sensitive. She desires a relationship, but won’t let anyone get close enough to have one. She is shrouded in mystery and readers will not see her face for at least a third of the book.
Tiny – One of my favorites. He is strong, funny and has special insights that no other person has. He is very young and has recently lost his father, but not his spirit.
Francis – A spiritual leader who is treated much like a monk. He seems crazy, but may be the most rational of all the Undergrounds. I don’t know if people will identify with him, like the other characters, but he holds the heart of humanity in him. He is prophetic and helps Javin find his true self.
- Can you describe your journey to publication: the torment and elation, the times none of it made any sense, the moments when it all came together?
Oh my goodness. Roller coaster! The hardest part after getting accepted into the contest was waiting 30 days and doing everything I could not to fall off the “Hot and Trending” list. I lived and died on category. Ironically, I was on the list all thirty days and fell off only certain hours. Of course when you fall off it feels like your life is over. Now that I'm through that I'm laughing about it, but man, that was tough.
- You get to the end of your life, and there to escort you through the tunnel to the light beyond and show you around is a philosopher / author / artist / scientist / celebrity you've always revered. Who is it, and why him/her?
Jennifer! I hate these questions! If there is a heaven, I would just like to be there and not really care who greets me. But since you asked me, I will answer. Sigh….I would love to talk with Mary Shelley if I could for just a day. How a fifteen year old was able to master the English language at such a young age is incredible. The story of Frankenstein that she produced in what I believe was three days based on a contest was and is simply incredible. Sheer genius at such an early age. It takes my breath away just thinking about it.
- Tell us about your other books, past or in the pipeline.
My first book, STATUS THE GAME, was self-published last year and has done incredibly well. The reviews have been outstanding. I love the whole concept of people getting so engaged in an internet game that they play it in real life as well as on the internet. The book as a whole is a statement on achieving what the game calls Status. We see internet sensations rise up from the dust of obscurity and fall to the same in rapid succession. It is a great crossover book that both adults and their teens will enjoy.
I am working on the sequel right now, called STATUS RISES. It's the first time that I've had all the back story of the characters, and I'm really enjoying finding out what happens to them. Both books carry a lot of mystery and I hope readers will enjoy the next and final installment.
I am also starting 34 DEGREES (working title:).
Vincent Robert Annunziato started his writing journey over 25 years ago when he pursued a screenwriting career in Hollywood. After several failed attempts, Vincent left the entertainment field and took a job with the government in order to provide for his family.
"It was a difficult choice to walk away from the entertainment field with such a strong leaning toward writing. When I married my wife Nancy, I needed a solid job to support us, so I did the responsible thing and put my dreams on hold. 26 years later...."
...And with three kids, Vincent returned to writing.
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