Interview with Author Bo Savino (aka: Catherine Chase, Dr. Kim Savino, AJ Rand)

You never know which personality might arise from this author who writes under several pseudonyms to keep the genres separate in the hearts and minds of her readers. In particular, she chose to separate her genres with pseudonyms to add a level of parental control so that the young readers of her Reggie & Ryssa series won’t go browsing through the more mature content of her other various titles.

Bo Savino is also the author of the spiritual fiction book, Sacred Steps, published in 2003 by TGS, Ltd, under Dr. Kim Savino. Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery is her first journey into the realm of books for young adults, under the name Bo Savino.

Under the pseudonym of A. J. Rand, the first book in her Broken Wings series, Broken Wings: Genesis, was released through Aisling Press in 2007. The second book to the series, Broken Wings: Alpha, is expected to be released later in 2008, along with another contemporary sci-fi, Sky Gold, in early 2008. The upcoming Grigori/Fallen Angel series will intertwine with the characters fans are coming to love in her Broken Wings series.

Her fantasy series is written under the pseudonym of Catherine Chase. Keeper of the Flame is the first book in the series, while the second book, Initiates of Light is soon to come.

Savino/Rand/Chase currently resides in Florida with her husband, 2 of her sons, her mother, and a few dear friends—a full support team.

Interview with Author Bo Savino:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Bo Savino: Nope. No “Real” job. Actually, I run a media company that covers all aspect of media including books, graphic arts, website design, audio, etc. The parent company is Oculus Media Group, and we bill ourselves as the “ABC’s of Publishing,” although “publishing” extends to all aspects of the media with which we work.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Bo Savino: Dreams. I wrote my first book when I was 18, and it was based off a series of recurring dreams that I had. Ironically, a lot of my books still come from dreams…and when you consider some of the content, I think it gives the readers a clue as to how truly disturbed my mind really is.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Bo Savino: Yes—pretty much since I was in high school. I always loved the writing aspect of English and Language Arts.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Bo Savino: Well, there are a lot to list! My first published book was Sacred Steps. It is a spiritual fiction that can best be explained as the Celestine Prophecy meets Native America. From there I went on to publish Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery. It is the first in my young adult fantasy series, published under Bo Savino. Next up came Keeper of the Flame, which honestly was a self-published title that I wanted to experiment with for the self-publishing division of our media company. I never expected it to go anywhere, and wanted to provide a title for sample of the quality of our books.

Once people started reading it, I have been getting multiple requests for me to continue on with the series, which is a paranormal fantasy romance. After that came Broken Wings: Genesis, which is a fun, sassy & totally irreverent contemporary fantasy about the beginnings of the second war of the angels and Armageddon. I love my Reggie & Ryssa series, but I think the Broken Wings series is right up there at the top of my favorites list.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Bo Savino: Always! At the end of April, beginning of May, I have a sci-fi title coming out: Sky Gold. Sometime in August, the second book to the Broken Wings series, Broken Wings: Alpha, is scheduled for release. If all goes right, the Second book in the Reggie & Ryssa series, Reggie & Ryssa and the Scavenger Hunt, will also be released by the end of the year. The fun part with that one is that there was a contest held for kids to do the artwork that goes at the top of each chapter. The sales of the book will produce a percentage of royalties for the winners, which will go into a scholarship account for college. The second book in the Keeper of the Flame series, Initiates of Light, is currently in the production stage, as well as a spin-off series from Broken Wings, which will be a paranormal romance series involving the Grigori, a specific faction of Fallen Angels.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Bo Savino: Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery took 1st Runner-Up in the AllBooks Review Editor Choice Awards for 2007.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Bo Savino: That’s a funny story. It was pretty cool with Sacred Steps, but Reggie & Ryssa takes the prize. I heard the UPS guy honking, announcing the delivery of what I knew was the first galley copy of Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery. I ran out, signed for it, and ran back in the house, tearing open the package on the way. When I finally opened it and looked down, I burst into happy tears. I felt overwhelmed, awed, and stupid at the same time. A few minutes later, while I am still in tears, my mom called me from work. She instantly asked what was wrong, and she laughed when I told her. Her comment to me was :”Of course you’re crying…you’ve been in labor for over a year and just gave birth to twins!” (Referring to the twins in the book, Reggie & Ryssa). I’ve never gotten over that feeling.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Bo Savino: Ugh. None. I love music, but it distracts my mind to the point where I can’t write. It’s either throw myself into the words of the book or escape into the words of a song. My brain doesn’t allow me to do both at the same time!

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Bo Savino: Dreams, as I said, or little fragments that come to me here and there in the wired thoughts that constantly run through my mind. I think my biggest motivator is when fans come up to see me and ask: “When is the next book in ‘such and such’ coming out”? The fact that they love my writing enough to ask about the next book in whichever series also seems to kick start me into writing, no matter how much of a block I may have at the time.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Bo Savino: My kids. I have three sons, Joshua, Aaron, and Random. They are part of my heart and soul. I am so proud of the young men they have grown into, and it humbles me to even think that I had any small part in it.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Bo Savino: I have a wonderful husband, Tom, who is very supportive of me in my writing. He is also the first round of my edits. When I am in the middle of a project, I read out loud to him, chapter by chapter, before bed each night. It’s the “reading out loud” part, and his questions about the story that helps me work through the first round of edits and storyline stuff. Like I said, I have three sons, and a stepdaughter, Amanda, who is a good kid. Although I guess I have to laugh at thinking of any of them as kids, since the youngest, Amanda, has just turned 18. Not so much kids anymore as young adults starting to make their own way into the world. I also have two grandchildren by my oldest son, Josh—Chase and Catherine. My Mom is an awesome supporter, and sometimes I think she is my biggest fan. She not only has a copy of all of my books (a given), but she also has a scrapbook of any and all artwork, business tuff, etc. that I have done over the years. Sometimes I think she has a bigger portfolio of my stuff than I do! I have two younger brothers and two younger sisters who are also very supportive of what I do. I guess I am very blessed to have been born into the family that I was!

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Bo Savino: With Reggie & Ryssa, the main characters are pretty much based on my youngest son, and my stepdaughter. There are a lot of their personality traits found in the first book. For Broken Wings, I never thought of the character being close to me, but those who know me well say that it is like reading a book about me when they here the attitudes of Yeshua Star. I never considered myself to be *that* sassy, but I guess we never view ourselves in the same ways as others do!

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Bo Savino: I don’t have a writing mentor, but I have a great group of readers (prior to publication) who keep me in line. I think a few of my favorite authors are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, P. C. Cast, Robert Jordan, Geroge R. R. Martin, and of course, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I think I was totally tickled by Laurell K.’s sassy writing style, because it reflected the way I liked to write. I developed the Grigori/Fallen Angel series long before I had even touched any of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books (I discovered her Dark Hunter series just this past year), but fell in love with her similar storyline development. So I guess maybe I don’t emulate them as much as I love them because of some of the similarities I see.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Bo Savino: Of curse, I was head over heels in love with the Nancy Drew series while growing up!

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Bo Savino: Sherrilyn Kenyon. I discovered her only this past year, and quickly collected the 13 novels she had out in her Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series. My favorite genre is contemporary sci-fi/fantasy, especially those that have romantic elements to them!

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Bo Savino: Bo Savino/A. J. Rand made a fun contribution to contemporary fantasy literature! I don’t take myself seriously enough to think that I will make a huge impact on the literary world, but I would like to think that those who find my books will at least have fun for a brief moment in time while they escape into them for a while. As far as for me, I hope they’ll say I was fun and down to earth, always easy to talk to—someone who cares about others. Those are the personality traits I think will stay with me for life.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Bo Savino: Yes—I grew up and lived in all of the above at some point in my life. We moved around a lot, but my residences were usually confined to the upper Midwest—Minnesota and Wisconsin. Now I live north of Tampa, in what could currently be considered a “bedroom” community. Small, not quite rural, but not quite city. There are suburbs around me, but I’m not necessarily part of one. Our home is back from the main road, and because of being surrounded by trees, I can’t really see any of my neighbors, so it’s easy to feel a little more isolated, but we’re only a hop, skip, and a jump from anywhere we want to go in the Tampa Bay area. I can’t imagine, at least at this time, living anywhere else, although I wouldn’t mind a getaway retreat in the mountains for when the summers heat up a little down here.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Bo Savino: We recently had our “tribe” pet, Diamond pass away from cancer. We have a new German Shepherd, Sage, who has come into our lives. He is quickly working his way into our hearts. We also have a porch kitty, Tommy Cat, who was at one time a feral cat that we started taking care of, but now comes around and hangs with the rest of us to get the loving he has figured out he needs.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like?

Bo Savino: Well, to do that, we wouldn’t be going *into* my home. I do the majority of my writing out on my porch, in the early morning hours as the sun is coming up, and before I have enough coffee in me to wake up. Everyone else is still usually asleep, or getting ready to go to work, so it is very quiet and private, except for what nocturnal critters might still be hanging around in the wee hours of the morning.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Bo Savino: I am almost exclusively a Sci-Fi Channel kind of girl. I catch a few shows off channel, but I think I use shows more to escape the whirlwind of writing stuff in my head.

What about movies? Same as above.

Bo Savino: I rarely have enough time in the day to watch movies. I usually catch up on shows taped to DVR, so I can actually keep up with the storylines. I guess my favorite movies are Action/Adventure, better yet if they have a paranormal or Sci-fi twist to them. This past week my husband and I sat down finally to watch Resident Evil 3, which is right up my alley.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Bo Savino: Sky Gold is the one that will be coming out next, but I am in the final stages of writing Broken Wings: Alpha. Who do I think the writing style is most like? I guess Laurell K. Well, except for the intense sex stuff…and there’s no vampires or werewolves, or…Maybe they are both only similar in the way that they are first person, sassy, irreverent, tough chick perspective. That would be as close as it gets, really.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Bo Savino: It all varies, I guess. The first book to Reggie & Ryssa took me 3 months from start to finish. The first one in the Broken Wings Series took me 6 weeks. Some books have been in various stages of writing for years, but I think really, when I sit down to actually pound through it, it can take me 3-6 months, depending on my mood and the space-time continuum.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Bo Savino: Wow…I have so many people in my life that have been encouraging and supportive. I wouldn’t want to forget anyone. But I guess the biggest would be both my mother and my husband. The coolest part is that most of the stuff I write really isn’t their style, but they are still my biggest supporters and encouragers anyway.

Is there any one particular book that when you read it, you thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I’d written that one!”?

Bo Savino: George R. R. Martin’s series, another that I only found in this past year or so. They are incredibly detailed, and very cool.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Bo Savino: Yes. I would have worked a lot harder in my earlier years to refine my craft, instead of thinking…wow…I’m really good, and sending it off to a publisher. When I look back now at some of my earlier writing, before I really “found my voice”, I cringe and say…“I can’t believe I actually thought that was good enough to send out.” Seriously. I have my own publishing company, and *I* wouldn’t take a second glance at some of my earlier stuff.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Bo Savino: For people to be able to have fun, for the most part. But the biggest goal I would like to accomplish has more to do with the Reggie & Ryssa series. Making money as an author is tough, no matter what people think. For me, Reggie & Ryssa especially is not about making money. I am, and always have been, a voracious reader. It is hard for me to fathom people who can’t find fun and escapism within the pages of a book. I think this is even more true nowadays than ever before—especially when it comes to kids. J. K. Rowling accomplished one very amazing thing as far as I was concerned. Kids who would never even think to pick up a book before were reading! If I could accomplish one thing, it would be to keep going what Rowling started—keep kids enthused about reading.

How has having a book published changed your life?

Bo Savino: What life was that again? Wow…it has kept me busy. I have had to learn to restructure my time and actually keep a calendar/appointment book with me at all times. I have also learned that, no matter how important and way cool it would be to be invited to sit on a panel at a conference, say with Larry Niven, my family is still a priority. It broke my heart to turn that offer down, but my youngest son was graduating the same weekend, and would be heading off to Marine Boot Camp. So I guess the biggest thing was learning not only how to prioritize, but also the realization of what really was top priority in my life. It sometimes surprises you.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Bo Savino: Reggie & Ryssa was probably the most difficult. I literally have spreadsheets full of all of the characters from the story, broken into houses, ages, magic, Teams, etc. In some ways it was easy. Since each was affiliated with a house/element, quite a few of the names fell along the same lines: “Pyro Flamebringer”, “Daisy Landstrider”, “Whisper Windcall”. But the other names, even Reggie and Ryssa? They literally named themselves. The same with Broken Wings. A lot of the characters are angelic, or mythological in nature, so it was easy to find a name. But again…the others named themselves. My characters are very much like my own children. No matter how good or bad, whatever quirks or faults, I still love them all. But it always seems to surprise me, once I start remotely thinking about their personality, their names just jump in my head. They seem to tell me who they are.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Bo Savino: That happens to me a lot. For the most part, I roll with it. Those scenes and ideas usually turn out to be some of the best ones/ideas as a whole. When the characters in Broken Wings: Alpha started doing that to me, I was actually upset about it and put the manuscript away for over a year. It wasn’t until I recognized how the series needed to tie in with the Grigori series that I discovered, once again, my characters were right and I was wrong. They must get frustrated with me being so slow on the uptake at times.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Bo Savino: I guess the one sort of common thing that runs through all of my books is that we’re all different, each with our strengths, weaknesses, and differences in opinions and the way we handle things. No one person is better than anyone else, and a lot of times we can accomplish more with the help of others than we can be trying to do everything ourselves.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?

Bo Savino: You can find most of where I am going to be on my events page at: www.BoSavino.com. I think one of the most fun upcoming events I am looking forward to (other than sci-fi/fantasy conventions, which I love!) is my launch party for Sky Gold on June 21 at the Barnes & Noble in Carrollwood, Tampa. I am doing it as a “featured” author in an event we put together: “Fantasize your way through the summer with local authors in science fiction, fantasy, and horror!” There are seven authors currently signed up to participate, although we have space for up to eleven.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Bo Savino: Honestly? Don’t let me put it out the door without editing. Some of the crap the editors catch makes me scratch my head and say, “What was I thinking?” Is it easy to go through the editing process? No…not at all. It is difficult to cut out some of what you think is great stuff, only to have your editor raise a questioning eyebrow at your sanity. It is also difficult to realize that even though *you* might understand what you have written, people who are reading it may have no clue, because you didn’t explain it well enough. It is a tough process to work through, but that I think the fans are grateful for when they get to see the final product.

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Bo Savino: Absolutely. I think early on, I made the mistaken thought that most writers do, in that the hard part is done when you’ve finished the manuscript and get the book to print. It was a rude awakening to find out that the true work is only beginning! Promoting yourself, and your books, is not easy, and takes a lot of time, dedication, and perseverance. I think that’s where the really benefit comes in having a strong and caring group of people who support your efforts, and help you keep believing in yourself. Without them, I would have probably given up a long time ago.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

You can catch up with me at any of the various events I’ll be at, which you can usually find listed on my personal web page at: www.BoSavino.com. Reggie & Ryssa is also coming out with a set of character cards, with the wonderful artwork of Chad Jenkins, which you can also find samples of on my site. Check out my publisher’s site at: www.AislingPress.com as book releases get close—it’s the best way to get advance copies at a cheaper price than you’ll find when it actually hits the streets!

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