Saturday, March 24, 2012

G.A. Zanni Unleashed! Well, Okay, Interviewed!

Beth Hurd of the Johnston Insider interviews G.A. Zanni, author of “Deceitful Things”

Gilbert A. Zanni has wanted to be a writer since his early teens. Now he’s found time to put some of his many ideas on paper, and has published – as an eBook – his first novel.

Called “Deceitful Things,” the novella is actually the first part of a trilogy.

Just released at the end of February at for Kindle and B& for the Nook, the title quickly jumped up the charts.

The title has been published under what Zanni, a life-long Johnston resident (who is not fond of his first name, which is the same as his father’s), calls the semi-pseudonym of “G. A. Zanni.”

“Finding a publisher was the hardest part. It took me a year and a half to find an agent – Joyce Hart – and two years to find the right fit with a publisher,” said Zanni. “We had people asking me to make changes [that we didn’t really want to make]. They fell in love with the story at Trestle Press, and they took the time to make it into an eBook, and, after editing, make it into print. They’re all set to be released one after another – the eBook for the second part comes out at the same time the first part is published as a print book.”

Called "Christian fiction" by his publisher, Zanni says his novel much more than this – it is also a suspense thriller, which also has humor and even a love story within its pages. Although Zanni doesn’t have a theology background, the book involves gods of the past, as well as demons.

“I call it thriller, suspense," he said.

Zanni's reading subjects and books of choice include the Bible.

“I just read a lot,” he said. “I have about 20 stories in my head that I want to get out – I’m working on two other projects.”

Zanni said he spends a lot of time at Brewed Awakenings, bringing his laptop along to get some work done.

“I tried to write a book when I was younger, at 13. I actually had a publisher on the phone, but I was too shy,” he recalled.

Following graduation from La Salle Academy (where he had many teachers who fostered his interest in writing), Zanni did a stint – four years – in the Marine Corps, and started writing again in his late 20s. Currently employed full-time at St. Mary’s Home for Children in North Providence, his goal is to be able to write full time.

“The military changed me,” Zanni said.” I lost five years trying to find an agent."

He counts among his inspirations in the genre authors Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins and “The Left Behind” series.
“Stephen King, also,” he added.

The setting for the trilogy is Boston, Massachusetts, during harsh snowy weather.

“I like Boston, I always have. The weather – a blizzard – adds to the desolation,” Zanni said. “It’s not typical – there’s a lot of different genres. It’s about the humans, good and evil, and love.”

In "Deceitful Things," when three ordinary people are granted supernatural abilities, they find themselves in a world that is darker than anything they could have possibly imagined.

The main human character is Carter Dawson, who Zanni describes as having “spent the majority of his years chasing wealth and power;” he begins to catch glimpses of horrifying images all around him.

“He ‘wakes up’ in the beginning, he sees things and thinks he’s going crazy. Another character undergoes physical changes,” said Zanni.

Feeling that he is going mad, Dawson seeks medical council and finds that whatever ails him is not due to any known medical condition. All he knows for sure is that he is falling in love with his secretary, Rebekah Branton, a Christian woman who would only serve to distract him from his life objectives.

Rebekah’s brother, Jack “Bear” Branton is a Boston homicide detective on the trail of the fabled serial killer, the Devil’s Hand Killer. As he closes in on the Satanic madman, Bear begins to feel unique changes in his body chemistry. As the days pass, he recognizes that his speed, strength and endurance surpass that of any professional athlete and are at the very least unnatural.

As their worlds are turned upside-down, a host of angels stands between them and a horde of Deceitful Things from the pit of hell poised to steal their destinies and take possession of their fates.

“It’s a very fast-paced book,” Zanni said. “I didn’t know if it was any good – I let my mother-in-law read it, and she loved it.”

And although he respected her opinion (she is also an avid reader), he sent the project to someone in the industry for a more objective opinion. He also liked it – so much so, the man offered to act as a coach to Zanni.

“He said I was great at describing characters,” Zanni recalled.

He said the hardest part was describing the angels and demons.

“The fact that they have to introduce themselves by saying ‘Don’t be afraid’ – they’re scary things,” Zanni said.
Originally, the trilogy was a single work of 180,000 words, called “The Possession of Men.”

“They asked me to cut it into three novellas, which was easy,” he said. “I’ve always been able to tell a story.”

The storyline is now split into three sections, entitled “Deceitful Things,” “Dreadful Places” (originally titled “Quiet Noise”) and “Revelations Worth.”

“Being split up, the third novella is actually the climax – I needed to slow it down, add some things,” Zanni said. “I’d be curious to know who readers identify with – either Carter or Bear.

Zanni’s brother, Scott Zanni, a graphic artist, created the cover art, manipulating a photo of a street in Boston. His brother is also working on the covers for the next two installments.

The books are dedicated to Zanni’s first reader – his mother-in-law – as well as his to his wife and three young children. He said he’d love to see the series made into a movie.

“I see it visually. I could do another three books on this series, I left so many threads,” he said.

Zanni is also working on another project with his oldest daughter: a book about a mermaid, which he said is encouraging her interest in writing.

The first installment of the trilogy is available for downloading: it costs $4.99.

"The book is doing very well, being out only 8 or 9 days,” he said.
Zanni is using Facebook ( and Twitter to spread the word about the series, as well as talk about upcoming projects.

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