It’s my great pleasure to present this interview of Stephen Prosapio, the author of Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum, a really fantastic novel. Read my review here.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living when you aren’t writing?
Hey Brett, thanks for having me. When I’m not writing, I’m an executive recruiter in the medical device industry, but I’m actively looking for something in corporate training or customer service. Anyone got anything?
- Introduce us to your fantastic book, Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum.
Here’s my one-sentence pitch: Forced to work with a rival TV ghost hunting show, a paranormal researcher—who is himself possessed—investigates a 19th century asylum and uncovers as many dangerous secrets as he does spirits.
- Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum is set in one of my favorite towns, Chicago. How familiar are you with that fine city?
About 26 years familiar with it having lived there through my college years. I grew up in the southwest suburbs, and then went to school at DePaul University living in the city. I loved Chicago (except for the weather). I don’t think that I fully appreciated it until I moved away. Great town.
- One of my favorite aspects of your book is the inclusion of a paranormal investigation team—two actually—and their hit television shows. Given the level of detail you include in the investigation, I have to think you have done some paranormal investigation yourself.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t until *after* having written the book that I went out on an investigation. I researched by watching a ton of the paranormal shows.
- There’s also a heavy dose of Catholicism in the novel. Are you Catholic, or just good at faking it?
Ha about faking it…I claim to be a recovering Catholic, but these characters seem to keep popping up in my novels. I guess it’s to be expected considering I had nearly two decades of Catholic-school education!
- Is Rosewood Asylum based on any real world location?
No. It’s an amalgam of a number of the psychiatric hospitals which were investigated on the paranormal television shows. The interesting thing was that after I’d written most of the book and had such a clear picture of it and the grounds and the surrounding buildings, I went to Pullman to investigate the actual location and it was odd to *not* see the area as I’d envisioned it.
- Have you ever had paranormal experiences similar to those in your book?
I have. I don’t reveal that much about it/them because I don’t want to influence people who’ve not yet read the book. But if you come closer, closer still…I’ll whisper to you the truth. Yes, the event in the first “Zach’s Past” chapter is a dramatized version of an actual event when I was two years old.
- What’s your biggest source of inspiration for your writing?
Having been an avid reader since I was a kid, there’s that amazing feeling of transportation a great novel provides. Knowing that I can provide that feeling to others is absolutely intoxicating.
- Your book has gotten rave reviews on Amazon. What do you think it is that draw people to ghost stories and other tales of the paranormal?
I think it’s the same phenomenon as when we get on rollercoasters. We love being scared, living vicariously.
- What scares you?
Rollercoasters. No. No. Kidding. The Mothman Prophesies. For some reason that story freaks me out.
- Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?
Hands down, Stephen King. Favorite book is a tougher one…I’d probably go with A Christmas Carol. See? A great ghost story even changed how we celebrate Christmas.
- What’s the most disappointing book you have ever read?
This is a tough one because, knowing how difficult it is to write a novel and have one published, I’ve come to not want to denigrate other writers but let’s just say it’s a book by DB with the title A&D. I even read it in Italy where it was set and it was dreadful. Ended up making a decent movie though.
- What is it about horror that attracts you? Why not write books about ponies?
I like what Stephen King says. “What makes you think I have a choice?” Honestly, I don’t know how to answer that question. My writing just seems to take me that way. Ironically though, I’m working on my 2nd screenplay and they’re both comedies.
- When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I found out all the millions to be made! Woo hoo! Nah. I told my mom when I was nine or ten that I wanted to write a book.
- Obviously the electronic book is on the rise. What do you think about that? Greatest thing ever? Or creeping Communist subversion?
Greatest thing ever. I bet back in the 1450s people were talking about Gutenberg’s movable type was going to end civilization. Anything that gets people reading more than playing video games is a good thing. I’ve had people read my entire book on their iPhones.
- What are your opinions on self-publishing vs. the more traditional publishing route?
Things have changed so radically in the past few years. Two years ago my agent suggested, because we’d been unsuccessful at selling my first two novels to the big houses, that I took at Indie publishing (a term I prefer over self publishing) Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum. Having read it, can you fathom that NO ONE wanted it at any of the Big House imprints? It’s ludicrous.
The Gate Keepers have slept on their watch far too long for us to trust them anymore. I’d say that moving forward many new upcoming authors are going to need to build an audience first through Indie Publishing. And with the money being paid as royalties on Amazon and other sites, some will just stay down that path and make far more than they ever would with a publisher. Regardless, it’s great to have options, and as writers, we’ve more options these days than we’ve ever had at any point in history.
- What book is next on your list to read?
I’m reading a nonfiction book about the life of Abraham Lincoln right now. I like changing things up.
- If you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?
Keep writing. Don’t fall in love with one particular piece of your work. If you’re querying something and it’s not catching, move onto your next project. If you’ve self published something and it’s not selling, get the next project completed and out there.
- Your next big project is a sequel Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum. You were kind enough to provide a preview at the end of the novel, and I have to tell you, I was hooked. What is the new book going to be called, and what can we expect?
Thanks Brett. That preview really has people talking. It was one of those amazing jolts of inspired writing that happened flying back to San Diego from San Francisco. I was still working on Ghosts but this idea hit me full force and I just went with it. I wrote the whole thing during the flight, polished it up the next day and didn’t need to substantially change it.
In any case, yes. That novel is just recently completed and called The Atchison Haunting. I’m hopeful that will get out this summer.
- Where can we follow you and your career on the web?
Thanks for having me, Brett!
facebook page http://www.facebook.com/stephenprosapio
Goodreads author page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4348183.Stephen_Prosapio
9 responses to “My Interview With Stephen Prosapio, Author of Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum!”
Great interview! I can’t wait to read the next book, as the first has me hooked. Your (and Mr. King’s) advice is so true – keep writing!
I’d love to know more about your paranormal experience … Can I bribe you into details? 🙂
Tricia – maybe some day!
Anyone else with questions or comments, I’ll try and check back a few times today and tonight!
Thanks again, Brett!
Definitely looking forward to that sequel. Great interview.
Fantastic job Brett!
Oh and Stephens gonna be on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journaljabber tonight at 8 cst just an FYI
The whole Mothman event freaks me out. I did extensive research on it, even speaking with the son of one of the key witnesses (he’s now a member of TAPS). When I took a trip to West Virginia, I asked a friend to take me to the scene of the old bridge collapse. He refused. He said for those who grew up around there, the Mothman even is TOO real. Creepy!
Can’t wait to read the sequel!
Informative! I can’t believe Stephen hadn’t been involved in a ghost show. Fooled me. Stephen King best author ever! Oh Mothman freaked me out too!
Wow Heidi — that’s pretty high praise. Thanks! Sounds like we’re of very similar minds. Poor you.
Thanks Shelia, Jenn and Jay!