Bec: Welcome to my blog, please start out by sharing a little bit about yourself –
I’m an author of mainly horror and dark fantasy. I currently have nine novels available, and my short stories can be found in anthologies across the world. I’m father to a nine month-old son, which is a lot more difficult than anything else I’ve tried my hand at. I’m currently working on a device that can mute nine month-old babies without causing lasting damage to their motor-functions.
Bec: What first got you interested in writing?
I started writing at a very early age. I was really into Richard Laymon and Shaun Hutson, and by thirteen I had read everything my local library had to offer by both authors. Stephen King was a massive influence; I read The Stand, which I think was the book that made me want to start writing. I was hooked on books by Whitley Strieber and James Herbert when I decided to sit down and give it a go, myself. I had an old typewriter and would just clack away for hours, creating these mini space-operas. I wish I still had those, now. It would be interesting, to say the least.
Bec: What are the worst struggles you think writers face, writing and marketing?
Certainly the Kindle has made a massive difference to the publishing industry; things are a lot easier, now. I think the main struggle is selling a book once it’s released. You’ve done all of the hard work, you’ve spent six months, a year, whatever, getting your manuscript up to scratch, and you’ve formatted and released it as an eBook. Why isn’t anybody reading it? It’s magnificent, better than half of the shit on the NYT Bestseller list, and yet it has ended up at propping up the charts. The main struggle, I think, is getting people to initially take a chance on an unknown author. Marketing is hard work, harder than writing the book in the first place.
Bec: Tell us about your book/s –
The books I am probably best known for are my zombie series. Dead West, Dead Cells, and the soon-to-be-released Dead Frost, are post-apocalyptic zombie novels, each with their own twist. I have a collection of macabre stories, Chasing Nightmares, a brutal re-imagining of a Charles Dickens classic – Olly, and a YA comedy-horror called Peter Crombie, Teenage Zombie. My first book to be published, Only In Whispers, is getting a re-release later on this year, and my comedy-fantasy books, The Ballad Of Dax and Yendyll and Grimwald The Great, are being released as an hardcover omnibus.
Bec: Are you working on a sequel/s?
I’m working on the fourth and fifth books in my Dead series, and a sequel to Peter Crombie, Teenage Zombie is also on the cards.
Bec: What other projects are you working on or involved with?
I have a lot of stuff coming out this year through various publishers. I’m currently working with Chris Taggart, my illustrator, on a one-shot comic of Dead Cells, which should be out in time for Christmas.
Bec: If you were the last man on Earth and there were twenty women, how would you handle the situation?
Not well. I think I’ve had this dream, and if I recall it ended very badly. Twenty women? That’s a lot for any man to have to try to deal with. Do I have a weapon?
Bec: What’s your favorite color?
Purple, or black. No purple…erm, I don’t have one. Anything darker than my soul.
Bec: Do you like to listen to music while you write or have complete silence?
I sometimes write in complete silence, and other times I have to listen to the most ear-grinding death-metal I can get my hands on. If I’m writing a particularly nasty scene, I think the music helps.
Bec: If you had to wear bright pink spandex or blazen orange polyester short suit to go on TV, which would you wear?
Pink Spandex, every time. I think a certain element of eccentricity can be expected from an author. I’d probably wear a top-hat with it, and carry an umbrella.
Bec: What genres do you most like to read/write?
I read everything I can get my hands on. Horror, Sci-fi, Fantasy, anything except romance. I can’t be doing with all that nonsense. I’m rereading the classics at the moment: Jeckyll And Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1984, The Martian Chronicles. I haven’t read The Stand yet this year, which is very strange, indeed.
Bec: Do you find writing a lonely profession?
I think that it has to be. In order to tell your story – and that’s what it is; your story – you have to fully submerse yourself in it. There is no other way to do it. Often, my wife doesn’t even know what I’m working on. I’ll tell her a few months down the line that a story has been picked up, and she’ll say something like, “That sounds like a great story. Why didn’t you tell me about it?” The fact is, we work alone, we think too much, and we’re brooding. I’m just glad I quit drinking when I did.
Bec: Gum or breath mint?
Gum. Breath mints are dangerous if you don’t approach them with the caution they deserve. Always read the instructions, and never attempt more than one at a time.
Bec: What would you share with a beginning writer?
Learn to deal with rejection. If you cry at the sight of negative feedback, then choose another profession.
Bec: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first started your writing journey?
See above. I cry a lot, but I’m stubborn.
Bec: Fuzzy critter or feathered friend?
Fuzzy critter. I have two rabbits and a cat. I inherited the cat, and can’t say I’m a massive fan as it is a minion of Satan, but I love the rabbits. I’m hugely into owls, though. I’d love an owl, just sitting in the corner watching me work. My wife won’t let me get one, though, because you have to feed them mice, and she’s against all forms of animal cruelty, even if they are frozen.
Bec: Do you think having other writers as friends is a good thing for your growth as a writer?
It is massively important to surround yourself with like-minded people. Writers are apt to go crazy if left alone for too long. There comes a point where you have to stop writing and network, and the best way to do that is through social sites such as Facebook or Twitter. You will find critics, editors, reviewers and readers all through networking, so I would say get to know as many writers as possible. If nothing else, at least you’ll have somebody to cry with when the rejections start to roll in.
Bec: Take out the trash or do the dishes?
Trash. It takes twenty seconds, maybe less. I’m all about the maths. By the time you get back into the house, the sink would still be filling up. Though, I do both. My wife thinks that being a writer means that I don’t actually work, not in the conventional sense, and so I do everything around the house, including nappies, bottles, baking, and occasionally a bit of writing.
Bec: What’s your favorite book? Why?
For me, it has to be The Stand. It’s just magnificent; a tale of Good Vs Evil. I find myself drawn to both sides every time I read it, which is why I urge everyone to pick it up.
Bec: Who’s your favorite author? Why?
Stephen King, purely because I wouldn’t be a writer today if I hadn’t read everything he’s ever put out. It’s a close call, though, as Terry Pratchett is also a major influence.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Yeah. My wife likes Twilight. That is all.
Bec: Thank you for stopping by and sharing! Best of luck with your book and future project!
©Rebecca Besser & Adam Millard, 2012. All rights reserved.