Santino Hassell

Tell us about your recent Riptide release. What was the inspiration behind it?

INSIGHT is the first book in a trilogy about queer psychics who fall in love while working together (after initially working against each other) to defeat a Big Bad. In this case, the Big Bad is the community that is meant to protect psychics from the rest of the world. Each book in the trilogy has a different pair of main characters with a complete romantic arc before switching points of view in the next book.

My inspiration was first and foremost a desire to write about psychics. Out of all the paranormal themes and tropes floating around, psychics intrigue me the most because there is so much under that umbrella. I really wanted to explore the difficulties a psychic would have while interacting with others, and I really wanted to explore the mental connections a psychic has when they're having sex. Yes... it always goes back to sex with me.

What can readers expect when they read a story from you? What would you like potential readers to know about you and your books?

Readers can almost always expect my characters to be very flawed. Whether they have a vice, trust issues, they're shy or awkward, or have a past that prevents them from easily opening themselves up to others... they work on themselves while trying to find love. There is also almost always a lot of sex and liberal uses of certain four letter words.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing your latest release?

That writing romantic suspense is damn hard. After working for a year and a half on primarily contemporary romances, having to work on a mystery with different threads of subplots and foreshadowing for future books in the trilogy was rough.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Two months for a first draft, and a couple more to get beta feedback and make initial revisions before sending it off to my editor.

Describe your workspace.

There's a few pieces of inspirational artwork on the walls around my desk, but the most useful thing about my workspace is a large white board that I use to brainstorm and outline new projects.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to cure it?

I do get writer's block, and the most effective way I've found to cure it is reading books by authors I love. There's something about losing myself in a good story that brings out my own desire to write again.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

The Community trilogy will wrap up late this year, a few more books in the Five Boroughs series, and some sports romance!

Do you have a favorite quote?

"Mornings are for coffee and contemplation." Chief Hopper in Stranger Things

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

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