By Denny Patterson
Looking for a book with thrills, chills, and more? Then we would highly recommend that you check out Daniel Ortiz’s debut book, The Inbox.
Following 23-year-old Devon Owens, he has no idea what to do with his life. However, everything changes when he receives an inoffensive message over the internet. What seems pretty innocent quickly turns into a sinister game.
Recently moving to Fort Lauderdale from Queens, New York, Ortiz has always been enthusiastic about creative writing. He says the recent move to South Florida was therapeutic in ways and allowed him to focus on this book which has been praised by iHeartRadio, listed as one of the “Top 10 Best YA Horror Books” on www.JoelBooks.com, and has been featured on www.Book-Boost.com.
OutClique had the opportunity to sit down and chat more with Ortiz about The Inbox.
Denny Patterson: Hi, Daniel! Thank you for taking some time to chat with me about your new book, The Inbox. Without giving too much away, can you tell us more about it?
Daniel Ortiz: The Inbox follows the story of a young 23-year-old who is trying to get his life together. At the same time, he still has a lot of growing up to do. So, he is stuck in between growing up and still being this young boy who has his mother taking care of him, looking after him, cooking for him. He is trying to grow out of that, and he is looking for a place to live away from home. He winds up searching for an apartment, he hops online, and comes across an odd inbox message offering him a place to stay. Things escalate from there. He winds up trapped in this inescapable nightmare, and he can’t seem to get out of it. He cannot convince his friends and family that he feels something is after him through his inbox message.
DP: How exciting is it to publish your debut book?
DO: [It’s] very exciting and very overwhelming. There are times I look at the cover and I just cannot believe I see my name on there. I am super excited about sharing it with everyone, sharing it with the world.
DP: What inspired you to write The Inbox?
DO: The Inbox came from two things. One, this nightmare that I could not forget since I was 17. I thought it would be fun to put it in a story. Two, I had an experience with a person who kept emailing me and emailing me. I had to let this person know my thoughts of, “I don’t know where you got my email or my information, but I would appreciate it if you stopped.” The emails I was receiving were from a young girl from across the world. I have no idea how she got my email or information, and she would write to me as if I was her diary. This is spam mail. Why is it going to my inbox and not my spam or junk? It kept on for about two weeks, and she just kept going no matter what I would say. “Please stop emailing me.” She would send me pictures of her, so it was really odd. So, I thought how interesting it would be to combine this inescapable nightmare that I felt I could not get out of regarding a succubus, and then put this inbox message together and create this story.
DP: The Inbox is part of a series?
DO: Yes. I am currently working on the second part, and it should be released sometime later this year.
DP: Have you always been fascinated with the horror/thriller genre?
DO: Yes. I am a 90s kid, so growing up I loved Goosebumps, watching the show, and reading the books. I always thought to myself, “I want to be just like R.L. Stine.” It was always an interest.
DP: You recently moved to the Fort Lauderdale area from Queens, New York. What brought you down here?
DO: My partner. He is a doctor at Holy Cross Hospital. He is doing his residency there right now, and we were doing long distance for quite a while. He was going through the process of a match, so he did not know where he was going to be. He applied to Chicago, Florida, and he had interviews in New York. Unfortunately, he did not get the one from New York or Chicago, and Florida was the one that accepted him. So, that is why we are here now. We decided to end the long distance. I said, wherever you are for residency, I will follow. I will be there and we can finally be together and not do the long distance stuff anymore.
DP: How did you discover your passion for writing?
DO: I would say, third grade. We would do dioramas, and with that came a story. I would always create my diorama and just create a story to go along with it. From there, I just thought, “I could do this. I can be good at this.” I would write every day in my journal when I got home, and that continued well into college.
DP: What do you hope readers take away from The Inbox?
DO: Honestly, be careful who you trust online. Not everyone you think you know over the internet is who they say they are. There is no other way to put it.
DP: How has The Inbox been received?
DO: So far, really good! I am surprised about the feedback I have been receiving. It is intended for young adults and teeangers, but I find that a lot of adults enjoy it, too. That makes me very happy.
DP: Besides the next part of The Inbox, do you have any other upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
DO: This is what I am sticking to at the moment. I want to get this series out, and from there, I honestly have a lot of projects on my mind. This is something that I wanted to get out there first.