Interview with Author Dael Sassoon – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Dael Sassoon

Author Dael Sassoon was born in Switzerland in 1995, and he grew up in Milan, Italy. Moved to the the UK in 2014 to undertake his studies at The University of Manchester and during his spare time he has always tried to keep his creative flare alive. While studying to become an environmental researcher, he would write short stories, articles and his novel “The Lightbringer” as a means of self-expression. His greatest passion, however, remains travel. Thanks to his job, he has explored diverse environments, from the depths of the Amazon rainforest to the frozen terrains of Iceland. Each one of his travels has been memorable and has shaped who he is, teaching him valuable lessons in life and about our beautiful planet.

Much of what he writes is inspired by nature and travel, grounded in his background in geography and conservation, but he’s also deeply drawn to the myths and legends of ancient cultures. Initially, he came up with the idea for “The Lightbringer” when he was only fifteen years old, and since then, the story has evolved from various short versions into a fully-fledged novel. He also had to transcribe the original version from Italian into English. Through his writing, he tries to evoke a sense of enchantment and escapism, inviting the reader to travel with him to mysterious lands full of unexpected challenges, inhabited by eccentric people and with a few twists and turns along the way.

Tell me more about your latest book

“The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone” tells the story of photographer Jason McAnnon, who finds himself thrown into the fantastic world of Valkadia after his ship sinks off the shore of Greenland. He meets a mysterious man in the woods from whom he acquires the legendary Flare and is subsequently found by the eccentric Alamor Eklund, who teaches him how to use his newfound power to become a Lightbringer. Before he can go back home to London, he must travel across Valkadia and save the enchanted kingdom of Erythya from evil tyrant Emperor Darkstrom and his disciple, Lok the Shadowcaster. The book introduces readers to a new and richly detailed fantasy world, in which you journey with a cast of characters discovering its secrets along with them. Aside from the magic and mystery of the story, my book also seeks to show how the excessive use of nature and thirst for power can irreparably damage the environment. In the story, humans had arrived in the land 600 years ago and since then Valkadia has suffered. As a consequence of Emperor Darkstrom’s rise to power, much of Remara (the human inhabited lands) and its nature have been destroyed, and the power-hungry tyrant wants to do the same to the enchanted land of Erythya (home to all of Valkadia’s other creatures), in order to expand his territory. Lightbringers therefore function as protectors of nature, as well as paladins of justice. 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

I began writing versions of this story when I was only fiften years old and in Italian. The more I went on with my studies and the more I travelled, the most challenging aspect became aligning my evolving life with finding the time to write. It took me a while to pin-point the main events of the story and achieving a stage of world-building I was happy with. As time went by, the story has grown together with me and it now represents a part of my transition from childhood to adulthood. Since moving to the UK for my studies at university, I kept this project going, although sporadically, but it was always in the back of my mind. After rewriting the story many times, still in Italian, I decided to attempt writing the story in its final edition in English. In 2019, I began writing the version of the story which has now been published.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

Since this is my debut novel, I can only speak to my limited experience. For The Lightbringer”, I went through the self-publishing route using a company called AuthorHouse. The reasoning behind this is the ability to retain all rights to my story while I’m still testing the waters of the literary world. The process is not the most inexpensive, but the results have been satisfying.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

It’s definitely a therapeutic practice. Going through the process and having my creative juices flowing always brings me joy.

How many books have you written so far?

“The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone” is my first novel, although a sequel is in the works!

What’s the best way to market your books?

The best way I found so far is being active on social media and forums. Self-promotion is free and people really seem to enjoy being approached by an author. I have also done a giveaway of a few signed copies of my book, which had a great response. One thing I found extremely successful is having an author landing page where I can keep all the information about myself, “The Lightbringer” and links to purchase the book in one place. Another great way I found to market my book has been adding it onto online listings and review forums like Young Adult Book Central.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

As this is my first book and I’m still at the start of my journey, establishing myself as an author is proving relatively hard. There are so many authors and new books appear on an almost daily basis, so my novel is always in danger of being pushed to the side lines. The world of self-publication and self-promotion is particularly tricky, as everybody is trying to stand out. Still, people are picking up the book up and the feedback has been great, so I’m using these positive moments to fuel me and keep the promotion going.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

If you have an idea for a great new story, go for it! It’s easy to doubt yourself and wonder if your book will ever be good enough, but sometimes the best thing to do is let other people see what you’ve created. After ten years of writing, I took a chance and wrote an email to AuthorHouse. Two months later my book was published. The whole journey, from the inception of the story to the moment my author copies arrived home has been truly great. I recommend everyone who’s got an idea for a book brewing in the back of their mind to take the red pill and see what happens!

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