Author Interview with Sean Vincent Lehosit

May 6, 2009 

Today we have the privilege of interviewing Sean Vincent Lehosit, author of the fantasy/horror novella, Lucifer and Lacious.

Welcome to THC Reviews, Sean.

1. I read in your author profile that you were born in Arizona and moved to Ohio. I did the exact opposite: I was born in Ohio and moved to Arizona. What do you like/dislike about each state?

A: I was born in Tucson, Arizona, but my family moved to Ohio to find work back in 1986. My uncle was working as an air traffic controller for Port Columbus and offered to board my parents until they found a stable job. I visited Arizona with my mother up until adolescence; however my memory of Arizona is quite dimmed. I somehow have been able to remember my last day as a child living in Arizona. My parents were loading up the car; I could see them from inside the house. We were preparing for our trip across the country, and my grandmother's dog lay in the doorway, the Arizona sun hitting his back. I always wonder why I'm able to remember that. 

2. Lucifer and Lacious is a very imaginative story. As a child did have a wild imagination?

A: Yes, as a child I had a very overactive imagination. Sometimes I think I even got caught up in my own fantasies. When I was a child I had a bad habit of stealing Jolly Ranchers from the local grocery store. Now I don't condone stealing, however it is a fact. I can distinctly remember a month long scheme I came up with to trick my younger brother into believing that every morning as I pretended to find candy underneath my pillow, that the candy man, a mythical being I had made up was bringing me treats as I slept. I guess I always had a good imagination, because I could always appreciate a good story. As a kid I'd use writing as a way to deal with emotions. From the time I was a child to present day my friends always ask me to tell my stories. There are a few stories they love to hear over and over; I wonder at what point they'll find some of these stories old.

One of their favorite stories is the "butter story." When I was a kid I was playing in my backyard with a group of neighborhood friends. While playing on a fort that my family had bought in a magazine, my knee had gotten caught between two planks of wood. I couldn't get it loose, so I sent my friend Wesley to fetch my father. My father arrives on the scene, but can't seem to wiggle my knee loose. He thinks for a moment then turns to Wesley, "go inside and get some butter." He was planning on using it to help slide my knee out I had guessed. Wesley runs inside, my brother chasing after him. After a few minutes Wesley comes running around the corner with butter in hand as he was instructed. To our dismay though, right behind him is my younger brother... carrying a loaf of bread! We all stare at him in confusion and my father asks why he brought out the bread. My brother smiles, looks up, and replies, "aren't we making sandwiches?"

3. What made you want to become a writer?

A: The answer to that is strongly attributed to the question I just answered: I'm a storyteller. I love stories, especially when told right. Hell, I'll even take a bad story if I'm bored! At an early age I got caught up in books. Summer reading contests and local libraries really got me fueled into reading in elementary school. The fact that authors like Bruce Coville, who wrote such books as Space Brat, and An Alien Stole My Homework had sequels come out every year kept me going to the libraries. It only made sense then that when I went to libraries on a weekly basis I'd find other gems. Books were also a great way to more deeply explore my favorite obsessions. I loved Star Wars, then found out the characters continue on for dozens and dozens of more adventures between paperback bindings. I fell in love with vampire movies; before they were scene [meaning "popular" - ed.], and found out they lived off screen as well. There were so many worlds to explore, so many characters to become, and eventually I had a few worlds of my own I wanted to create, a few characters of my own to let others explore. 

4. Your author profile says that you are a journalist, poet, playwright, blogger, ghost writer and novelist. Do you prefer one medium over the others? If so, why?

A: Before I answer this question, can I make an observation? I've found that whenever I share one of my poems with somebody, they immediately want to show me their life's collection of journals they've written in? However, it's very less often that you show somebody a book you wrote or are writing and they show up the next day with a Kinkos box.

To answer the question at hand though; I find them all rewarding in different ways. I was the editor of Cougar News at Columbus State in Columbus, Ohio and currently write freelance for The Lantern at The Ohio State University, and journalism is definitely the easiest. There's a lot of research and interviewing involved, but the self-doubt that pops up in other disciplines pops up much less. Also, if you write a bad article it's forgotten the next week, which is not the case for the latter.

I find poetry and blogging more self-rewarding, even though I write for an audience and hope readers enjoy what I'm writing about. I [think of] the two more as immediate memoirs that can get things off one's chest and be looked at later to review how you dealt with a certain situation, theme, or phase in one's life.

My favorite of the titles I have, and the scariest, are that of playwright and novelist. Both leave the writer very open to the public eye. We hide behind our keyboards for months, sometimes years and live within a world where we control every facial expression, action, and conversation. Then suddenly that world is thrust upon the world, which can wrap warm arms around it and sing sweet lullabies of praise, or pursue us with unsheathed claws already stained with the blood and flesh of writers before us.

Was that too graphic? I thought I was doing so well with sounding docile.

5. How many books have you had published?

A: Lucifer and Lacious was my first book. For the last couple years, I was running a college newspaper without the help of any faculty. I also wrote and directed a one-act play entitled, "Dysfunct," the same year my book came out. Since then I've been racing to finish up my Bachelor's program. However, I have been working on two new books. One of which I've got about 20,000 words put down to paper, but have to go back over it and switch it from first to third person after realizing that it would carry the story better.

6. Everywhere I've looked, Lucifer and Lacious seems to be primarily categorized as Horror. While it does contain certain elements of the horror genre, it seems to fall more neatly into the Bangsian sub-genre of Fantasy. Do you have any plans to market the book to fantasy lovers as well?

A: I'd really like to market towards the lovers of fantasy. From what I've seen, they're a great community of readers to have on your side. I am a fan of fantasy myself. An old coworker introduced me to R.A. Salvatore, and all I can say is I inspire one day to be able to detail combat like he does. It was actually quite hard to try and decide what group of readers would be the best target demographic for book promotion. I've had Lucifer and Lacious paired with horror, mystery, Christian, fantasy, and even occult. I like to see it as the book is globally transferable from one genre to the next. I was not aware of Bangsian fantasy until recently though, and I really like that term.

No matter what community the reader is from, I've found that they either embrace my book or stone it. I'm not speaking strictly about reviewers though. When Lucifer and Lacious first came out I actually received an email from somebody who without reading even the synopsis attacked me: "I can't believe you wrote a book about Lucifer completing his mission!" I'm guessing he was very religious and assumed right away it was a book about Satanism, even though his assumption was solely based on the title alone. I replied with, "Have you read it yet? Why do you think its purpose is to glorify Lucifer?" I received one last letter from him saying, "Oh, I thought you were trying to get people to worship Satan."

I've got to say one thing though, the rougher critics seem to remember every scene, every piece of dialogue, know the characters backwards and upside down. I personally think they secretly loved it, but don't tell them that!

7. Your inclusion of real dead people in the afterlife is similar to what John Kendrick Bangs (for whom Bangsian Fantasy is named) did in many of his novels. Have you read any of his books or were you in any way influenced by his work or the work of others who have used real-life characters in fictional situations?

A: I've actually never heard of John Kendrick [Bangs], however I'm not very interested in reading his work. If I had to name a writer that influenced my writing, I'd have to say it is Piers Anthony, author of the Incarnations of Immortality. I read his book, On A Pale Horse, and found [I] loved the way he made the subject of death amusing and so interesting. John Connolly, a crime writer also is great at mixing light hearted situations with grim and bloody stories. When readers comment on how my book, while dark, never gets too heavy I'd like to think that was the influence of these two writers.

8. Was your writing of this story in any way influenced by Dante's Inferno?

A: I get a lot of comparisons to Dante's Inferno. That is totally understandable since both tales take place in Hell, and they both contain historical figures throughout the text. However, believe it or not, while I've read about Dante himself and his life, I've never actually read Inferno. I'd like to pick it up though to personally see how many parallels they share unknowingly.

9. Did you draw on any particular religious beliefs/traditions regarding hell, heaven and/or the afterlife while writing this book?

A: In third grade my grandfather passed away, which triggered my parents to become religious. They even joined a charismatic bible group. The leader of the bible group was really into demonology, and aspired to do an exorcism. I have one memory as a child, waking up in the middle of the night to a woman screaming demonically in my downstairs living room. It was my parents turn to host the weekly group session, but they didn't know the group leader was bringing a woman who claimed to be possessed by a demon. My mother was very concerned, but there wasn't much she could do at that point. The woman was thrashing around the living room, a giant crucifix was taken off the wall, holy water was being splashed, bible verses were being chanted in Latin. Whether or not the woman was actually possessed, the situation was intense. Somehow my younger brother slept through the whole thing. After that happened, I began to read religious texts, not only Christian texts, but Gnostic works, pagan works, etc., etc. I personally don't belong to an organized religion, but that night was a launching pad for my interest in spiritual writing. Some of the information in my book has been taken from these texts, and those that have read them will find some amusing moments in Lucifer and Lacious. Since publishing Lucifer and Lacious, I've learned a lot more, which I plan on exploring through writing in the future.

10. Was any part of this story intended to be allegorical?

A: I've been asked many times if Lucifer and Lacious is a parable. It is not intended to have any specific lessons within it, rather as a side effect of the story, readers may do some religious exploration on a personal level. I wrote the book to be the story about a man. I placed that man in the "mythological" canon of Christianity, but I could have just as well placed him within the world of the Norse Gods. I think what you'll find is a statement about humanity, because no matter what "world" or "religion" a man or woman is placed in, the internal struggle, the pain and pleasure will always be the same. I think that is a larger lesson then a specific religious principle.

11. I thought that there seemed to be a slightly open-ended note in the final chapter of the book. Do you have any plans to write other stories involving these characters?

A: The simple answer is, yes. I've actually written a few chapters of the sequel to Lucifer and Lacious. There is a sect of Catholics that believe that once a person dies they have seven days to roam the world of the living, to console the loved ones they've left behind. The sequel will deal with this idea. Lucifer and Lacious is a novella that introduces the characters of the world I'm creating. The sequel, will introduce readers to the world the protagonist has departed from, and the events that unfold as he can merely watch and not intervene. They will be introduced to the wife the protagonist left behind, who is caught up in the scheme of a succubus that has an eye on her; the detective investigating his mysterious death, which throws him into the world of the supernatural; a runaway boy who succeeds in escaping the turmoil of his life only to stumble upon the plot of a high ranking demon named Gadrel; and how it all ties together That is, if people want to see this continuation.

12. Many of your blog posts are quite funny. What made you decide to write a story that explored such dark, morbid subject matter?

I sometimes wonder that myself! My one-act play, "Dysfunct," was produced in August, 2007 and is actually a family comedy. I've got two modes: dark and light. I find that I alternate between the two; I like to take a break from one or the other now and then.

It can be related to what I like to call "late night modes." There's some nights I get home and search the channels for a good comedy to end cap my night. While, there [are] other nights when ending whatever adventure I was on, that I'd like nothing better than to scare myself to sleep with a good horror movie. It can all relate back to the way the human mind works. We love a good funny story, and we love to hear news about horrible events, no matter how much we'd like to deny it.

13. Based on your blog posts, you seem to have a talent for finding the humor in everyday life. Have you ever considered writing a comedy story?

Yes, I love stories about outrageous and hilarious events. I've sat down and written outlines for a few comedies. Most of them are inspired by things that I've personally gone through. "Dysfunct," is a play about a man who is getting engaged to a woman he's dated for almost a year, but had hidden his crazy family from her in fear of scaring her way. His fiancé accepts his engagement on one condition: she meets his family. So, she gets to meet the brother who lives at home and inspires to be a poet (even though he's horrible), the meddling mother, and dirty alcoholic grandfather who has a strange use of chipmunks as a fishing tool. However, the lead character Trenton learns an important lesson when it's the meddling of the mother, awkwardness of his brother, and strange advice of his grandfather that save his engagement at the end of the day. Oh, and did I mention there's chipmunks involved?

I greatly enjoyed writing that story, and the audience really enjoyed the play. So, I'd really love to write some more comedies. I've been toying with an idea of a comedy that involves a man and his kidney stone.

14. What are you currently working on?

I mentioned earlier that I'm slowly hammering away on a sequel to Lucifer and Lacious, and another novel about a group of criminals that come across an island, which is inhabited by a peaceful group of people never before exposed to the sins of murder, rape, and stealing. Another project I'm working on is a chapbook of poetry, which I'm compiling. The president of a local poetry magazine suggested I put one together after reading a few of my poems I submitted to her magazine. Besides that I've just been writing news pieces for The Lantern at The Ohio State University.

Thank you so much for visiting THC Reviews to share with us about yourself and your work. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Read our review of Lucifer and Lacious.