Can you provide a brief summary of your novel, Run?
Zombies! Run! Brief enough?
What was your motivation(s) to write this particular book/series?
I love the genre. I’ve read tons of books and seen so many films. Fully 80% of them suck, but you still have to turn the page or keep watching. I thought to myself, “Self? What would you like to see in a book or movie?” Boom. Run. Hope it doesn’t suck…
As a real world chemist with a background in prepping, how did that affect your writing?
I like to blow shit up. I always have. I can blow lots of shit up with the chemicals under your kitchen sink. Gimme a Brillo pad and some ammonia and I can burn your playhouse down. You let me in the garage… well that’s a party. Let me ask you a question: Do you have a spare tire? A smoke detector? An extra pen? Yes? You’re a prepper too. Preparedness is a state of mind. I don’t want the world to end… ok maybe a little, I just want to be ok if it does. When TSHTF, after my girly giggles and hand-clapping are finished, I will be sitting pretty with the food and water I need. I will also have the stuff to protect my family and said supplies. I tried to apply both my love of things going boom, and my awareness of what can go wrong and being equipped for those things to my stories. There’s more of the boom and lots more guns in the second book, Crossing, but Run is chock full of boom too.
How was the experience of seeing your work move from an idea to a rough draft to the finished product?
Totally amazing. I mean, who am I? I’m just some dude who clacked away on his keyboard at lunch. I asked a couple of people to read my ramblings, they did, and they liked it. One guy, whom I’ve never met, said, “Dude, become a writer.” So I did. I mean technically I was already a writer as I had already written the story, but a published writer was something else. When I saw Run on Amazon I was proud, but also immediately thankful for those who pushed me.
When you sit down and write what is your perfect writing environment, i.e., quiet, music, a specific room in the house?
Depends on my mood. If I haven’t slept in a couple of days (I’m an insomniac), then I bust open a 20oz Mountain Dew and turn on the Metallica in the basement. If I’m at work and on my lunch hour, I listen to the people around me or whatever music is playing. My perfect writing environment would probably be inside the Playboy mansion with a bucket of suds. Now that’s inspiration. Tough to explain my kids running around to Hugh though…
What helps get you in the mood? Watching classic horror films or…?
I’m a collector of films. Yeah that means DVDs and Blu Rays. I can binge watch horror movies like a fat kid eats cake. Sometimes they inspire me and I write twenty pages. Sometimes I delete the last twenty pages I’ve written because I read it and falls into the category of B movie reject crap. When I don’t have to work through lunch, and I know I will write, it’s my day that gets me in the mood. I can’t wait to hit the keys, and that’s where I pump out some of my best stuff.
Who are 5 people, besides immediate family and nearby friends, that you would want to be ‘stuck’ with or in a group with during an apocalyptic event. Not exactly a zombie outbreak but something that would affect life as you know it on a global scale. Why?
Hard to leave out my wife and kids, and my dad is a straight up super-hero when it comes to doing anything. Five people. Hmm. I’d want military expertise, but not somebody who was so gung-ho that they got me killed. I’d want team players, and folks that were adequately prepared or willing to learn. I guess Chris Kyle, may he RIP, would be first. You want a direct action guy who can also shoot the wings off of a mosquito at 1k yds. (Like my dad) Second would be the guy I train Kenpo karate with. I would call him my sensei, but that makes me sound like a dick. Guy could kill you with a look, no shit, but he’s also the nicest guy in the world. I’m decent hand to hand, but this guy is the real deal. I would need somebody who knows how to farm in harsh environments (My dad again), so a subsistence farmer. I can’t sail very well, so a sailor. At some point I would need to be on the water, unless this APOC was water based. Last two guys are James Bond and Santa for obvious reasons. Dunno which of them has better toys when I think about it, but if I double up, it’s win- win.
So: Chris Kyle, My Kenpo teacher, a farmer, a sailor, James Bond, and Santa. This makes me the stooge in the group, but hey, I can do all the stuff I mentioned above, just not as well as they can do it. Again, real world, you can keep them all and I take my dad for the win. I just hope he doesn’t eat me when the spam is gone.
In a hypothetical apocalypse, what would be your preference; viral outbreak, extraterrestrial event, zombies, natural disaster, etc, and why?
Shockingly, as one who is prepared, I am misunderstood. I know I said above I would be happy about an apocalypse, but that was a joke. I don’t want any type of scenario where most of the world dies. I’m not going to try to take over the world or collapse society. I don’t want that. I don’t want to live on a farm constantly fighting off the hordes of whatever is trying to eat my food or me. But I’m ready for it. This having been said, zombies, duh. Or, better yet alien zombies! I certainly don’t want a viral outbreak, germs are icky.
What advice can you impart to authors just starting out who want to break into the horror/apocalyptic genre?
My advice? Write. Shit or get off the pot. Don’t talk about doing it, do it. And you don’t need another writer to read your work for it to be good, you need readers. Stephen King doesn’t want to read your stuff, (yet) but Joe Zombiefan does. Come up with a great idea, write about it, and if you like it, post it someplace or get beta readers and let them tell you what’s what. Don’t be afraid to take your licks either. Some people just won’t like it. You can’t please everybody. RESEARCH! Don’t just google “run flat tires” or “prions”, read the wikipedia page, and think you’re an expert. Talk, actually speak to somebody who knows, or that somebody could read your book and say “Uh-uh. That couldn’t happen because…” then they give you a review with caveats, or worse, a shitty review. Also, and this is very important, don’t be afraid to kill your last chapter because it doesn’t work. If it sucks, kill it and move on. Once it’s pretty, put a bow on it and find a publisher. I checked out some pay-to-publish houses, and they wanted like, 15K in addition to half my ammo and my first born. Nope. So I sent my stuff in to the premiere post-apocalyptic publishing house. They went through a reorganization while my story was on their hard drive, and let a bunch of their established authors go, so I decided to move on. Shockingly they still haven’t gotten back to me and I sent them my work six months ago. A guy from Severed Press got in touch with me and said he liked my stuff. That was a good feeling. He told me he could get me published quickly, and he did. That felt good too. Then he sent me the cover and I was sold. Interesting that all the promises of fame and fortune from the pay-to-publish folks didn’t mean squat, but that book cover made me jump in bed with Severed. Severed has come through on every promise so far, and that proves that there are people out there who aren’t just looking to screw you for a buck, but who really believe in you. There would be no finished product, no feeling of pride without so many people. I’m thankful to all of them. There’s also self -publishing, but I don’t know much about that.
Who do you feel is directly responsible for your entry into the field of writing and specifically the inclusion of zombies or zombie like infected/creatures into your work?
You want me to say my high school English teacher, or that guy who was like a father to me, or someone who told me I could do it and nurtured my hope. Nope. It was me. I loves me some zombies, and I wanted to tell a story. I did. Does this make me a prick? Maybe, but it’s true. Ok, so me and George Romero. He helped. A little.
What and who are your favorite authors and books not in the zombie/horror genre? Tell us a little bit about them and how they may have affected your work.
Wait… there’re books that don’t have zombies in them? That’s ridiculous.
If you had to do it all over again, the research, the writing, the publishing, etc, what would you do any differently?
I would have started earlier. I didn’t begin until I was > 40 yrs old. That was dumb. I also would have done more research on the military aspects of my stories so when I submitted them to my military advisor at The Ward Room, he didn’t make me feel like a little kid. A dumb little kid. If you have any type of military aspect in your book, from clothing to vehicles to tactics to weapons, The Ward Room is for you. The Ward Room is here: https://wdrmmta.wordpress.com
How do you feel your writing will effect readers of this particular genre?
I would like to think that if they want to read, someday they might want to write. Hopefully some famous writer contacts me in five years and tells me his book is all my fault. That would be cool, and I want to read that book. Of course, they would need to read my stuff to get the proverbial ball rolling. For someone who doesn’t ever want to write, I think they will enjoy this story and want more. I know I want to write more.
Do you have any plans to continue writing when you finish your current project? This might be other projects in a different genre.
I’ve got several story lines going. I’m working on book 3 of the Run series, and I’ve got another series called Conspiracy Theory going too. I’ve got a sasquatch story in the works, and several other short stories as well. Tons of ideas, miniscule amounts of time. I have twin 12 year olds…
Where can readers and fans alike find out more information about your books and upcoming projects that you’re involved in?
You can check out some of my stuff on Home Page of the Dead.com or my blog (Conspiracy Theory) on Zombie Fiend.com or Zombie Fans.com. I don’t have my own website yet.