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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Audiobook Lovin 2017 Presents: Santino Hassell Interview

Hi everyone and welcome to Audiobook Lovin, presented by Books-n-Kisses and Viviana, Enchantress of Books. We’re excited to have author Santino Hassell with us here today! 

Viviana: First, we wanted to take a minute and say CONGRATULATIONS on the RITA AWARD nomination (category: Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length) for “Fast Connection” which you co-wrote with Megan Erickson! 

Santino: Thank you so much! It was an honor and a surprise, and we pretty much jumped up and down and shouted at each other in excitement after getting the calls. 😊 

Viviana: Let's start by having you tell us a bit about yourself, how long have you’ve been writing and how did you get started?

Santino: I’ve been writing for going on 15 years now, but the first 12 of those years were in fandom and then original slash (I wrote the free series In the Company of Shadows with Ais). I started writing professionally in 2014 when I decided to write romance, and it’s been full steam ahead since then.

Viviana: In the three years we’ve been hosting Audio Book Lovin, we’ve discussed the process of selecting a narrator with both authors and narrators. We’ve discovered instances where authors were heavily involved in the process or provide ideas of what they wanted and those that some were 100% involvement in the selection of the narrator. On the opposite side, there have been authors were not part of the process at all. What was your level of involvement with your books being formatted to audio books? (i.e. casting, narrator selection, what did you like about the narrators, etc. etc.)

Santino: So far, with the first 4 Five Boroughs books (Sutphin Boulevard, Sunset Park, First and First, and Interborough), I was able to select a narrator based on auditions. Same with my gothic romance Stygian. It’s actually a challenging process because I’m not a good auditory person, and I can’t tell how readers would respond to one person over the other, or whether something sounds off to me but good to someone else. The narrator for Sunset Park turned out to be a fan favorite, though. He did SP, FF, and IB!

For Cyberlove and The Community, it’s been a different process. Me and Megan’s agents helped to get audio deals for Cyberlove so it was very hands off, and Riptide found a really awesome narrator for The Community. His name is Greg Tremblay, and he has a big following of his own!

Viviana: What did you think or feel when you learned that your books were being formatted into audiobooks?

Santino: Ecstatic! Audiobooks are a new world for me, and I’m not a big listener myself, so the idea of someone narrating my books was really exciting. When I see the number of reviews my audiobooks get, I’m always amazed!

Viviana: Illegal Contact (The Barons) releases on August 15, 2017. Will it be available in audio? (if so, please provide information you can share like release date & narrator… )

Santino: Oh, I hope so! I know Berkley/Penguin has done other audiobooks for the InterMix line, so I’m crossing my fingers.

Viviana: What are you currently working on and what’s next for you?
Santino: At the moment I’m celebrating the release of OVERSIGHT, book 2 in The Community trilogy (my queer psychic romance), writing CITYWIDE, book 6 in the Five Boroughs series, and preparing for ILLEGAL CONTACT to come out in August!

Viviana: If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator and why?
Santino: El-P from Run the Jewels. He’s the epitome of New York from his accent to his Yankees hat to his attitude.

Viviana: Let’s have a little fun and get to know you with some “Lightning Round Questions” … answering these quickly… Ready?

Cats or Dogs? Cats although I have a soft spot for my tripod
Vanilla or Chocolate? Swirl
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Texting or Talking? Talking. Always
TV or Movies? TV
Facebook or Twitter? My FB Group (Get Hasselled)
Five minutes to get ready or an hour? 5 minutes

Favorite Snack? Cookies
Favorite Holiday? Christmas
Favorite Song right now? Swang by Rae Sremmurd
Favorite TV show that is current? American Gods
Favorite TV show of all times? Dead Like Me

First Book you ever bought? As an itty bitty Santino, I bought Where the Wild Things Are. When I was older, I remember buying the A Song of Ice and Fire books because I could no longer get things from the library.

First CD you ever bought? Oh man, I don’t remember. I think it was Nirvana or something because I was excited to get my hands on it after losing my old tapes. Back then, there was no Internet to look up music on!

First Audiobook you ever listened to/bought?
One of Jordan Castillo Price’s Psycop books

What’s Your Worst habit? Smoking
What’s your Biggest Pet Peeve? People giving me advice I didn’t ask for
If you had a talk show what would it be call? Get Hasselled (that pun will never die)
What weird food combinations do you really enjoy? Hot sauce and ketchup on fries

If your job gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days? Write!

Thank you so much for hanging out with us Santino!! 

Upcoming Release

Illegal Contact 
(The Barons Series, Bk 1) 
by Santino Hassell

Available on August 15, 2017

Pre-order at 

Audio Sample

 Purchase at Amazon | Audible | Nook

Purchase at Amazon | Audible | Nook

Purchase at Amazon | Audible | Nook

Purchase at Amazon | Audible | Nook

About The Author

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance 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.

You can find Santino at

Now, go visit Kelly!!!

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