Meet Dominic Pistritto
Dominic Pistritto loves to create worlds from words. First published in his high school magazine, the Bear Scratch, in 2017, he was published again in Tidewater Community College's eighteenth and nineteenth volume of Channel Marker. Growing up in the golden age of the cinematic superhero, he became fascinated by the idea of the superhuman. With his debut novel he tells his very own classic tale of the superhero from a more realistic point of view.
When did you first realize you wanted to become an author?
As a child, I imagined myself as a diver, or maybe a firefighter; however, as middle school approached, I’d draw primitive small superhero comics. I was very proud of them and made over thirty heroes, some original and others inspired by pre-existing characters.
In 2017, I was enrolled in Tidewater Community College working on an associates in General Studies. Writing a story behind the scenes on campus was attractive to me as well as the ability to tell a story that no one else had ever heard before. It was then I knew that I wanted to become an author.
Do you have a favorite author who inspired you to write?
Mark Twain, Ernest Cline, Stephen King, and Harry Turtledove. Each voice has their own style of storytelling. All of them have such a way with forming rare words to articulate themselves. I aspire to have a voice like those to keep readers plugged in and engaged.
What kept you motivated while writing your debut novel, The Marksman – A Knight’s Tale? Do you have a special writing spot or inspiration on tap?
Mainly I held true to a quote that I always told myself. “Thirty minutes a day keeps procrastination away.” In-between studying for my next major quiz or test, I made it a mission to write at least thirty minutes a day and eventually I’d make it to the end of my novel. Understanding an important secondary principal also helped avoid writer's block and prolonged the creative flow - “Everything can be edited later.”
In addition, growing up, I’d love to pull up YouTube and watch videos on how some of my favorite movies and books were made. Something about watching the process on how projects are created was always fascinating. In writing my debut novel, I identified with those videos because I felt that I was in the same boat as a movie director or a major novelist.
What genre does The Marksman – A Knight’s Tale, fall under?
The Marksman – A Knight’s Tale falls underneath military, drama, fantasy, and science fiction. We really had a difficult time in identifying which genre this novel was. Considering it was an amalgamation of multiple genres, the publisher assisted us with a classification for their webpage. After carefully reviewing their genre lists, we finally settled on those categories.
Rachel Vredenburg - Art Credit
Please share a brief synopsis of The Marksman – A Knight’s Tale.
Excalibur has been discovered in the hands of a deadly terrorist organization, the Souls of Death. Recovered by Lincoln Thaw and his best friend, Thomas, who almost killed the organization’s leader in the process, the legendary sword falls under close scrutiny, and an incredible discovery is unearthed: a gateway to a new plane of existence containing multiple, concurrent realities.
Rachel Vredenburg - Art Credit
When Raheem, the heir apparent of the Souls of Death, infiltrates the lab, he also finds more than he expected in an encounter with the goddess of life, known only as “the Aura.” Given the ability to teleport, Raheem begins killing at random, and the president calls upon Lincoln Thaw to combat this enraged foe. With the help of an elusive scientist, Lincoln undertakes a supernatural battle for victory—in which wills will be tested and fears will be confronted in a clash of technology versus divinity.
Rachel Vredenburg - Art Credit
Your story involves the supernatural and the tale of a new superhero created by you. Did you engage in research to bring an air of authenticity to both the story and the building of your superhero character? If so, can you briefly explain your research process?
In-between my thirty minutes of writing a day, Google became my best friend. Militaristic slang, equipment and vehicles were a huge factor of the authenticity of the book overall. Furthermore, Historical facts, mechanical terms and scientific definitions had to be fact checked as well.
Did you hire a professional editor to edit your novel? If so, what kind of editor did you opt for? (Proofreader, Line Editor, Developmental Editor, or Manuscript Assessment?
Editing was a rather tricky and intricate process but my girlfriend helped. We hired an editor that was local. We quickly discovered that while much of the grammar was technically correct, the flow of the text was insufficient. As a result, she and I took it upon ourselves to re-edit the manuscript in its entirety. Out of the three different types of editing styles you listed, we achieved all three of them. We dedicated extensive hours to being on the computer and edited everything we saw that wasn’t quite right both grammatically and plot-wise.
Please explain the process of finding someone to contribute a blurb for your novel?
Quite honestly, this was one of the hardest parts to publishing a novel. In emailing many of the authors and literary agents, most declined and few accepted. We were very grateful for the ones that responded. Author John J. Jessop, and Mary Ellen Gavin from Gavin Literary Agency left equally outstanding endorsements.
Aspiring authors are often torn between whether to seek representation from a literary agent and go down the traditional publishing path or to self-publish. Which route did you choose and why?
The question solely depends on the author’s situation. For a brand-new author, traditional publishing with a company would have to be the best bet. Self-publishing looked very intimidating with a multitude of moving parts. All the responsibility would be on the author’s shoulders, and I had wanted the workload spilt between us and the publisher. Overall, I’d recommend traditional publishing to any aspiring author trying to break into the field because they are shown how to publish step by step without the fear of doing it completely by themselves.
Once you decided your publishing path, how did you find the right publisher for your project?
Choosing a publisher was surprisingly difficult. I finally found one that was local in our area and investigated further. After sending the manuscript over to them, the turnaround time was relatively quick. The publisher had a sixty-seven percent rejection rate, but we made the cut after passing a screen test from the board of editors and we were quickly accepted. Then the publishing process began.
What was your experience like working with the publisher you chose?
The overall experience was up and down. There were days when specific tasks were easy and straight forward and then there were days where it was stressful and difficult. However, the publisher was more than happy to assist us through every step. With each meeting, we were more than comfortable asking the necessary questions to understand those steps. Once the publishing process was completed, it was then up to us to market the novel to a bigger audience through social media/website traffic.
Did you design the cover for The Marksman – A Knight’s Tale or did you hire someone to do the artwork?
My girlfriend graduated from ODU with her bachelors in Studio Art. She and I had collaborated on a front cover design displaying the chest of our hero as well as the illustrations. However, to our dismay, the publisher wanted their own artists to digitally create the front cover. We then received an email from the publisher with a rather interesting task: the publisher was going to post a poll through their website showcasing the two different front covers they designed, and it was up to the masses to decide on which cover they preferred. We hadn’t expected something like that to come around in the process, but it was definitely an interactive experience with not only the publisher and I, but with our audience as well.
How long did it take to go from idea to publication?
The initial character idea came around when I was about twelve years old. I’d create stories for this character, and he didn’t even have the same name as he does now. Seven years (ish) later, I resurrected him from the confines of my desk and revitalized him as The Marksman. I’m very proud of the attributes that we had changed within him and made him into a more grounded character. Back in the day, I had never given him a real name other than his superhero title. Implementing character flaws, strengths, and behaviors was a fun experience.
The same goes for the villain in the novel as well. The Golden Spector is the son of the leader of the Souls of Death; a terrorist organization hellbent on the destruction of America. In writing this character, it was almost equally as entertaining coming up with the powers and abilities that he possesses to fight against Lincoln Thaw (the Marksman). The Spector’s untapped anger and vengeful rage from his childhood was peculiar to explore. We tried to come up with a multitude of reasons for how he became the man he is today. In addition, we had wanted him to digress from a villain with a sole purpose, to a scared man afraid of losing the fight and what he’s willing to do to escape his father's ruling and overbearing shadow.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while drafting your novel?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this process is that everything is collaborative after the novel is written. Everything from the editing, artwork, and publication. I was frankly surprised at how many hands were into this project and I had to understand that everyone wanted to see it reach print. While yes, it was my “baby” of sorts, I repeatedly had to acknowledge the fact that everyone was on the same team for the same goal. I’m very happy I learned that lesson relatively early on.
Will there be a sequel to The Marksman – a Knight’s Tale or do you have any other novels in the works? If so, can you share a tidbit?
I ended The Marksman – A Knight’s Tale on a cliffhanger because I truly didn’t wish to say goodbye to the characters I created. Their story was done, and the book had to end somewhere. I left it with the door cracked open ever so slightly because there will be a day when I return to that world and its characters, but that won’t be anytime soon. At the moment, I’m inspired to pursue new and unique ideas and worlds yet to be told.
Currently, we’re working on a new project which will take on a whole new story and list of characters. We’re diverging away from the superhero story and delving into a relatively more serious topic that’s affecting the world as whole. This next novel is a little closer to my heart and I believe that audiences will relate to the overall story and beautiful artwork put together by my partner. We’re hoping to wrap production within the year and after then its only a question of when it will be released for purchase.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors just beginning the process?
Following your gut instinct with a story is the best piece of advice I can honestly give anyone. Maybe that sounds cliché, but I don’t believe there’s a single piece of better advice out there. Trust the process and don’t give up on it if you absolutely know that it’s a good idea. Too many young writers out there give up prematurely because someone told them that their idea was terrible, or they should reconsider. If you know in your heart that you can write a novel or short story and you have the fearlessness to accomplish such a feat, always try to complete it. You’ll have to go back over it many times, but you’ll be happy that you wrote it.
To learn more about Dominic Pistritto or to purchase his book, visit: