S.J Delos was born in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina and raised on a steady supply of books and comics. At the age of 14, he decided that telling stories was as enjoyable as reading them and set about weaving his own fantastical worlds.
In his non-writing life, he has been a banquet planner, a country club manager, a car salesman, and an accountant.
He currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with his extremely patient wife, two rambunctious children, and an enormous collection of comic books.
So Not a Hero is his debut novel.
How would you describe your story in one sentence?
An action-packed tale of a super-villain attempting to become a hero.
What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?
I have been into comics and superheroes my entire life. I thought it might be fun to write a story that shows some of the darker sides of that world and points out the tropes prevalent in the genre.
Which authors have influenced you?
Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Charlene Harris, Kim Harrison, Simon R. Green
Which are your favorite literary genres?
I’ve been a horror and mystery fan pretty much since I learned to read. It’s only been in the last ten years or so that I’ve become immersed in urban fantasy and science-fiction.
What makes a book/story special for you?
When the author knows how to talk to their audience. When I can pick up a book and immediately identify with the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) without much effort, then I know the author wrote from their heart.
Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?
Greensboro, North Carolina. My debut novel is set in the nearby city of Charlotte, NC and nearly all of my short stories not set in other time periods or other planets have a North Carolina setting.
How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?
I began So Not a Hero on November 1, 2014 as my National Novel Writing Month project. It was published on Amazon on May 19, 2015.
Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?
I hired a friend to do my cover art and relied on fellow writers as my proofreaders and editors. Looking back, I wish I’d have sent it off to a professional editor before publication for that last little bit of polish.
What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?
I learned writing the book is actually easier than marketing and promoting it. I’ve been fortunate to have friends who enjoyed my story and have pushed it on their social media. Next time around, I plan on getting the marketing groundwork in place before actually publishing.
What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?
Whenever I found myself getting stuck or unsure as to what to do next, I would read some comic books. Just relaxing in a world of superheroes and villains provided me with the push to continue working on my own little world.
What would you do differently on a next project?
Plan a little better. I have a tendency to write my chapters and scenes out of order, based on what new idea or sequence has come to me. Then I have to try to bridge all the various parts to make the plot flow smoothly. Next time, I’m going to map out the main points and try to stick to writing chronologically.
Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?
Just write. Don’t worry about making the perfect story in the first draft. That’s what revisions are for. If you’ve got a story you desire to share, make it. Don’t worry if it’s going to be good or original. Write from your soul and there’ll be people wanting to read it.
Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?
I don’t have a website at the moment. The best place to reach me is on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/sjdelos
What are you planning to write/publish next?
I am currently working on two projects simultaneously. One is Some Kind of Hero, a sequel to my first novel. The other is the first book in an urban fantasy series entitled Darkening of the Light.