Interview: Author Christina Benjamin

christinaheadshot03.15_Edited_WEBAuthor Bio: Christina Benjamin is the Award-Winning Author of the Young Adult fantasy series The Geneva Project. Benjamin’s writing hooks fans of mega-hit YA fiction like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and offers them a new series to obsess over.  She paints a vivid world full, where magic and imagination run wild in her epic tale of adventure, courage and friendship. Benjamin resides in Florida. She’s dedicated to giving back to the writing community. She speaks at schools to inspire creativity in young writers and has created Page-Burners.com, a site to promote fellow YA authors.

www.christinabenjaminauthor.com


 

Geneva Cover FINAL FINAL EBOOK VERSION

Her first book is PERMAFREE!

Truth Overview

Trapped on a flood ravaged island full of orphans, natives and wealthy citizens of the prosperous city Lux, a

young girl named Geneva finds herself enslaved at an orphanage with no future and a past she can’t

remember. That all changes when she meets someone who promises her that there’s more in store for her

than she ever could have imagined.

Truth (FREE Download on all platforms)

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (AU)

iTunes

Kobo

Barnes and Noble


 

Interview:

How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I’ve always been an avid reader. I used to read on my lunch break every day at work and one year I finished the last books in Twilight, Harry Potter and Hunger Games. I had a mega book hangover and I got the idea that if I wrote my own books I wouldn’t be sad about them ending because those characters and worlds would be mine and I could revisit them and continue them any time I liked. So that’s really what gave me the spark. I started using my lunch breaks to write instead of read and that’s how my first book, The Geneva Project – Truth, was born.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I’m a hybrid. My series The Geneva Project, is published through my own publishing company, so I consider it indie. I love the total involvement and creative control of publishing your own work. It’s helped me learn so much about the publishing industry and myself as a writer. I’ve definitely seen my writing evolve because of it. It also allows me to have a close connection to my amazing readers. And I’ve decided to expand my publishing company and will be published books for others writers this year. I really want to focus on helping young writers break into the publishing world. I also have a few anthologies out and they have been published by other publishing companies. I love the ease of it and the different distribution options. I think a mix of both types of publishing works best for me.

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Are you a plotter or a panster?

Unfortunately I’m a total pantser! I wish I cold plot. I tried it with my 3rd book in The Geneva Project but ended up ripping everything up and starting over. Being that I’m writing a series I kind of have an idea of where I’d like the stories to go, but the fun for me is letting my characters lead me. They’re often full of surprising twists. The cool thing about being a pantser is that I get to discover the story as I write it, so it’s sort of like reading in that aspect, and that’s why I fell in love with books to begin with – the limitless possibilities.

What draws you to writing in the dystopian genre?

I’d say I’m more drawn toward Fantasy than anything else. When I wrote The Geneva Project I wasn’t intending for it to be dystopian, but the readers dubbed it that, and I think that’s awesome. I purposely left the time period vague and left out details that would date it like weapons, electricity, contemporary history. I love to leave as much interpretation to the readers as possible, while still building a visible world. To me, that’s what’s fascinating about books – two different readers can view the same book so differently. I love fantasy because I love to escape into a world where magic exists. I think dystopian mixes well with fantasy because when things are at that point of total rebuild, perhaps other worldly things such as magic could find a way in. And I can totally see how The Geneva Project is very dystopian, because the world the characters live in has been decimated my a mystical event and the inhabitants of this island have lost everything, having to rebuild from scratch while they hope for some sort of salvation that will bring them back to a better way of life.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

I love BOD! I met ER Arroyo and a bunch of the other awesome BOD authors at Utopia Con last year. They are such a close knit group and still so inviting and welcoming. I love the community that BOD offers authors and readers. It’s so great to connect over the things we love and have that wonderful support system. Plus, man they have some fun events and incredible authors and fans!

Where did you find inspiration for your series, “The Geneva Project?”

Mostly my wild imagination and vivid dreams! I dream about conversations my characters have and then have to get up and write them down. But I do take things from my every day life too. I let my environment influence me a lot. I grew up riding horses and hiking in the woods of Pennsylvania so I know that seeps into my writing. Living if Florida helps me with the geography of the island and the beaches. I even visited a rainforest recently to make sure I was describing them accurately in the books. I get a lot of inspiration from music too. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a song and have to pull over because it totally sparked an idea for a book!

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

No. I get asked that a lot because Geneva, the main character and I are both short, pale and have blue eyes and blonde hair (though mine is dyed). But I actually try not to flavor my characters with traits of people I know. I want them to exist on their own and have their own voice, their own story and be able to take control of the plot and surprise me and the readers along the way. I start them out as teens and it’s been really fun to watch them grow into young adults in the 4th and final book that I’m currently writing. I’m proud of them. I do, however, use my animals shamelessly in my writing! I have two cats and a dog and they always attack me while I’m writing so I got this idea early on that they were trying to tell me they wanted to be in the story. So I created mythical characters to represent them and use anagrams to hide their names. For example, Niv, the marmouse in the story is based on my dog Vin. He’s a fan favorite and I had a blast using his comical features and personality as I wrote Niv.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?

Not really. I’m pretty open minded. Even if I’m not particularly into a genre, movie, etc it’s fun to see what other people dream up. I love YA! Anything paranormal, fantasy, magic, etc. I can’t get enough of the unlimited possibilities that are present in that genre. YA characters are at the precipice of their life. It’s so cool to see what they make of it. Pretty much anything on the CW is my jam! And I’m a die hard Survivor fan.

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Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Do it! Don’t make excuses like you’re not good enough or you’ll do it when you have more time. Everyone has to start somewhere. If you have that passion in you or a story that’s dying to be told. Sit down and write it. You never know where it will take you. I started writing because I was tired of missing books that would always come to an end. I never dreamed I would publish them. But I took a chance and I’m so glad I did. My books have literally taken me all over the world. I quit my job and write full time and travel to school to help inspire other young writers. I can’t imagine where I would be if I let the little voices that said “you’re not good enough,” keep me down. Life is short, tomorrow isn’t promised. Fill your life with what makes your soul happy today. For me, that’s writing.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

OMG so many! I’m hoping to publish 9 titles this year! My 4th and final book in The Geneva Project series is due this summer, along with two more prequels for the series. Then I have two anthologies coming out, Debut Collective – Acts of Bravery and Utopia Revolutions. I’m co-authoring and illustrating a children’s book, Auntie LEA’s Nighttime Nonsense due out at the end of the year that will help raise money for foster families. Then I have three non-fictions coming out as well. Plus, my audiobook for Truth is coming out this year! So excited for that! I got to work with the incredibly talented Beth Crowley for the soundtrack and the actors, Whitney Morse and Jason Goedken are doing an incredible job of bringing my characters to life.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’ve met so many incredible authors during my time in this YA world. So many of them have helped and inspired me. I’m always looking for ways to give back, so this year I launched Page Burners! It’s a place where readers can find new YA books to read by some amazing authors they may not have met yet. I feature 2 YA books each week and giveaway a monthly mystery box full of books and awesome bookish swag. If you’re a YA reader make sure you sign up for the mailing list. If you’re an author and want to be featured please check us out and fill out our author form. If you’re a blogger and want to review books we’re featuring, we love sharing guest reviews. Check out Page Burners! http://page-burners.com/

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! I’d love to let your readers know that they can all download a free copy of my first book, The Geneva Project – Truth. It’s available on Amazon, B&N, iTunes and Kobo for free!

Thank you for visiting me on THE KATY today, Christina!

Social media links

https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaBenjaminAuthor

https://www.facebook.com/TheGenevaProjectBook?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/AuthorCBenjamin

https://instagram.com/authorcbenjamin/

https://instagram.com/thegenevaprojectbook_fanpage

http://authorchristinabenjamin.tumblr.com/

https://google.com/+ChristinaBenjaminAuthor

https://youtube.com/c/ChristinaBenjaminAuthor

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ChristinaBenjaminAuthor

http://christinabenjaminauthor.com/

http://www.thegenevaprojectbook.com/

https://squareup.com/market/thegenevaprojectstore

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGenevaProjectBook

Amazon Author page link

http://www.amazon.com/Christina-Benjamin/e/B009UZM14O/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads Author page link

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6588515.Christina_Benjamin

Link to Trivia Quiz on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/quizzes/results/29658

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiCohgNTKIg

Mailing List:

http://eepurl.com/_W72D

 

Interview: Author Kyle Perkins

Please welcome Author Kyle Perkins to THE KATY today!

kyleperkinsHey thanks for having me! A little bit about myself. I was born in the middle of nowhere, otherwise known as Xenia, Ohio. I moved to Florida when I was twelve years old and have spent most of my life here. I have traveled a lot in my adult life, but now I have settled down quite a bit to focus on my writing. When I’m not writing, I’m typically gaming or becoming one with the internet. PS: Becoming one with the internet actually means just watching funny cat videos on Youtube.

FIND AUTHOR KYLE PERKINS ONLINE

Reddened Wasteland Facebook
Author Facebook page
Amazon page

How did you decide to become an author?

Funny story actually. I never intended on becoming an author. Never even considered it until a couple years ago. I started a few online communities for text based roleplaying and a lot of people told me that I should probably write a book. I quickly realized just how much I loved writing, and took them up on it.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I’m self-published, the reason being was the fact that publishers weren’t kicking down my door to get my attention, so I decided that maybe I could get theirs.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Definitely a panster. Most of my ideas either come as fever dreams, or random thoughts in the bathtub. Seriously. My idea for this book for instance came to me during a bath.

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What draws you to writing in the Science Fiction genre?

I love the endless possibilities that go hand in hand with the genre. I love the idea of alternate time lines, far off worlds, alien races, advanced technology, and the unlimited potential for story telling that comes with it. I just love that it pushes you, you have to actually wrap your mind around concepts and ideals that are so alien to us. Then somehow figure out how your characters would behave in these scenarios. I love the challenge.

Where did you find inspiration for your debut novel, “Reddened Wasteland?”

I was sitting in the bath tub wondering about space colonization, as every normal person does, and the idea just came to me. I started thinking about the interactions people would have on Mars, how a government might look once Earth was gone, even what implications such a bottleneck on the human race would cause. Then I decided I should probably dry off and grab a pen.

Do you think we’ll eventually colonize Mars?

Absolutely. They are already planning a mission there in 2026. I believe that one day we will not only harvest the energy from our planet and utilize it to its maximum capacity, but also the energy of our Sun.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

There is definitely a bit of myself in each of the main protagonists. I would say that my general attitude towards things reminds me of Alerik, but my outward personality is more that of Thorin. The rest of the characters I have pulled from people in my life, and personalities I have come across.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?

Interestingly enough, I mainly read non-fiction, though there isn’t really anything I wouldn’t give a shot.

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

My main advice to aspiring writers would be to just keep going. So many people are perpetually doing projects and constantly switching gears. You may have loads of talent, but no one is able to see it if you don’t finish something. My mind constantly wandered to other projects all the time, but I forced myself back to this book and I’m glad I did. The feeling you get from creating something that will last forever is unrivaled.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Right now I am working on the second book in the Reddened Wasteland Series, and a Fantasy/Erotica book with another author named Samantha Harrington.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Think that’s it!

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Kyle!

Interview: Author Caroline Gill

Please welcome Author Caroline Gill to THE KATY today!

author's faceHey, Katy, thanks for having me here. A little about myself: I grew up in Coronado, California for the better part of my childhood, surrounded by the ocean on one side and the San Diego Bay on the other. Half of the peninsula is a navy base, so the military has always been around me. As a Navy kid, I felt like I was a part of something bigger. I spent most of middle school reading a book at the beach. And most of high school, reading a book while walking all over the small island. I graduated from UCLA and then from NIU. I live in the redwoods of northern California with my husband, five kids and two tortoises. My days are full.

Find Author Caroline Gill online!

Amazon
Website
Facebook
Twitter

How did you decide to become an author?

I lived in the library after school, spending summers racing through children’s books which led into fantasy novels. I inhaled Anne McCaffery, Robin Hobb, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury. I’ve fallen in love and traveled the world over and over, reading thousands of lives in fantasy and science fiction. I wrote at first in my journals, and then nine years ago, I had a vivid dream. Waking, i wrote for two hours outlining my first novel.

Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

Certainly, Tolkien, Rowling, CS Lewis inspired me to explore new worlds. So did movies like the Lottery, the Sound of Music, the Hunger Games, and True Grit.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I am a big believer in quality. The Internet, Apple and Amazon have changed the way we read, and the amount of writers who can now reach an audience. I published indie because we can.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I generally write a character’s opening based on a dream or a vivid image and then plot the rest of the main points and character intersects.

What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?

The chaos of the world around us. I think we all see it, the way our lives are interwoven, the way it could all fall apart. That is part of the fascination, “What would I do…?”

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group has been hands down the most supportive and wonderful group of readers and authors. Through my participation in the anthology Prep For Doom, I met so many talented, wise, and generous people. Those authors were the first I really was able to share my writings with, the first to answer questions when publishing confused me, and the first to be my friends.

How did the idea of flies come to you for your debut novel, “Flying Away?”

I was rocking a child to sleep. It was a beautiful afternoon, no sounds anywhere except right above me in the air: a fly hoovered. And he did not stop. Instead of landing and grooming, he flew in the air above me in some kind of invisible pattern. I wondered what the insect could possibly be doing. And then I realized. Hidden Magic.

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Your cover is beautiful! You created it yourself, correct? Are you traditionally an artist as well as an author?

Thank you, so much.Yes, I did create it, drawing each element and composing them together. I am self-taught using photoshop and a wacom tablet. I use each layer of photoshop the same way a traditional printer does. I have always loved drawing women and I feel really lucky that Iolani turned out so perfectly.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

There is a great deal of myself as a child in Lani, a sense of stubborness, a brutal honesty. For sure the characters I have in Flying Away are parts of people I know. Many in fact, I have met in the online world. Sometimes a few interactions in text or chat really distills a personality. One character, Ginny, is based on a friend of mine who is currently fighting cancer. She was in the middle of chemo when I wrote her character into the story. Goodness should be remembered.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?

I can’t watch horror. Suspense? Yes. Thrillers? Yes. But not horror. The images, corny though they are, stay in my dreams like black ink on a white sheet.

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Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Revise. Share. Edit. Cry. Revise. Publish.

Write every day, even a few sentences. Those are yours. No one can take that from you.Even if my kids have made a fort in the front room and spilled popcorn everywhere, I still have my words, safely tucked away. My own personal pile of ideas and characters that I treasure. Little by little, you can move a mountain.

I made the mistake of publishing a novel in 2012 without hiring an editor. And I had to take it down. You need outside eyes on your baby. Trust someone to help you make your words shine.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Flying Blind, book two of Malcolm and Lani’s story, is in edits and Flying Free, the final book is finished and is on its way. I am madly working on their covers and preparing for a wild year.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am incredibly grateful Katy, to you for your support and listening ear. You always go above and beyond to help others and it makes a difference. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and for all you have done over the last year.

Thanks for joining me today, Caroline! I enjoyed interviewing you and wish you the best as you continue your journey as an author.

 

Interview with Author E.R. Arroyo

Please welcome Author E.R. Arroyo to THE KATY today!

E.R. Arroyo is the author of YA dystopian series, Antius Ascending, and co-founder/owner of Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans, a Facebook community, blog, and company that champions dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic fiction. E.R. is passionate about books, music, and her family, and she loves to talk shop with other authors and with her readers.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreadsBand of DystopianAmazonAudible

ER Arroyo Graphic

ER: Thanks so much for having me on THE KATY!

How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

ER: It was a strange, roundabout series of events, honestly. I got into screenwriting back in 2008-ish and pursued that for a number of years. I’m a huge movie fan so it made sense at the time. In late 2011, I began reading ebooks while on a treadmill at Planet Fitness and in no time, I was devouring books for, really, the first time in my life. (I was a slow reader growing up and it caused me a great deal of stress, resulting in only reading what was required for most of my life, never reading for pleasure.) With my newfound love of fiction, my writing began to make a natural progression into prose. I wrote a short story for a competition, based on a dream I’d woken up gushing over. My mentor convinced me to turn it into a novel. That story became the opening sequence of Sovereign. 🙂

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

ER: I’m self-published. I pursued agents and publishers for a short while before I committed to the indie route. A lot of what I was hearing at the time was that dystopian was a dead genre so far publishing houses were concerned. So I decided to go it alone!

Are you a plotter or a panster? 

ER: I’m a pretty detailed plotter. I use something called the Snowflake Method, though I have modified it a little to suit me. When I’m writing short stories, I’m far worse at pre-planning. I usually have the plot kind-of worked out in my head for shorts, but not detailed and I usually don’t write any of it out.

What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?

ER: When I was starting out, I was obsessively reading dystopian, so it was just the kind of frame of mind I was in when the story came to me. I love post-apocalyptic and dystopian, but it’s not the only thing I’ll ever write.

I enjoy writing dystopian because I get to make up the rules, create a world that’s similar to our own and rooted in reality, yet operates completely differently than what we know today. I like exploring human nature (good and bad) in scenarios I’ve never and will never have a chance to actually witness.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

ER: Band of Dystopian is a tribe. We’ve created a space (and I mean we as in BOD at large, not just myself and Cheer) where we can fly our freak flags, enjoy offbeat stuff, and totally geek out with no fear or inhibition. These people GET each other, and have a common interest that bonds us. And we just really enjoy having a good time together and finding great new books to read (or movies or shows to watch)! It’s an incredible source of pride for Cheer and myself to witness what BOD has become, especially that it’s such a happy place where people love to be.

Tell us about Cori. Even though she lives in a place full of rules, she follows her own path. Where did the idea for Cori or Sovereign come about? 

ER: Sovereign was the result of a dream about the wing-stunt in the first chapter. The character was surrounded by lots of concrete, the whole imagery of it was dull, oppressive. All I knew was she was trying to escape. The rest just kind of built on from there.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

ER: The main character, Cori, was indeed the result of… well, me. She’s like me in many ways, some being her tomboy-ish-ness, her struggle to be vulnerable and express emotion, and even her hypersensitivity to being touched. I am a person who has a lot of resolve. Once I make up my mind, I don’t waver – and I think Cori is like that as well most of the time. Also, like me, her opinions are strong ones. In contrast, she’s all the parts of me I wish were more dominant. I’d like to be braver. More physically capable like her. I’m certain we share flaws as well.

What’s your favorite genre to read/watch? 

ER: I love young adult! Dystopian, apoc, post-apoc, contemporary, teen romance, sci-fi… Favorite? I’d hate to narrow down too much further than speculative fiction! (But really, I don’t like fantasy, so I would exclude that. I lean far more science fiction.) So my favorite is YA! lol

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

ER: Yes. SLOW THE BUS DOWN. There may be a number of contributing factors, like our instant-gratification society along with the fact that it has become so easy to publish your own work, but it seems people feel like, 1 – they HAVE to publish the first thing they ever write (which they don’t), and 2 – they need to publish it ASAP. Revising a novel should be a patient, deliberate process. PATIENCE, young grasshoppers! Also, maybe find a mentor if you can! Maybe tackle some short stories first. Enter some contests or submit to anthologies. Learn and grow. Learn and grow. And never stop. 🙂

Tell us about your audiobook that was just released! I’m so excited for you. 

ER: Yeah! Sovereign, the novel, was released a few years ago, but I’ve just released the audiobook version, narrated by Corinne Bupp. It’s been an awesome experience and a blast hearing the book come to life. Corinne did a great job!

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

ER: I’m finishing up a short story for an anthology called The Doomsday Chronicles, which I’m super excited about. The Chronicles family is doing awesome, wonderful things in the short fiction business. After that, I have two half-written stories in the Antius Ascending Series (Sovereign prequels) that I plan to finish up as soon as I can! I can’t wait to finish the series and put it all out there for my readers.

Anything else you’d like to add?

ER: Yes! Band of Dystopian is hosting a release party for my audiobook Friday, December 11th from 7-9 CST! We’ll be giving away audiobooks, ebooks, and swag. Sure to be a great time!

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, ER! 

ER: Thank YOU!

credits for trailer

Blurb for Sovereign:

Chemical warfare has obliterated most of the world, including America, and the survivors have turned into feral beasts, save one colony, Antius, the last remnant of civilization. Seventeen-year-old Cori (aka Citizen 1206) only longs for wide open spaces and freedom. But Antius has no use for such things, just mindless drones to serve in a place with walls, fences, and laws – a lot of laws, which Cori constantly breaks. So she’s spent years plotting her escape, which is the only thing that will save her from the colony’s deranged leader, Nathan. She isn’t looking to be a hero, and she certainly isn’t looking to fall in love, but she just might do both.

Sovereign Links: AudibleAmazon

 

Interview with Author Christina L Rozelle

Please welcome Author Christina L Rozelle to THE KATY today!

Check out my review for Soultakers here!

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Author Christina L Rozelle! Woo!

Thank you so much for having me, Katy! My name is Christina and I write stories. I’m also mother to a toddler, a teen, and two middles, as well as a Chihuahua from hell. I love chocolate, blueberry Redbull, Daryl Dixon, clouds, and storms, and am entirely obsessed with end-of-the-world scenarios.

Here are my main social media links. (I have a ton, so the rest are listed at the end of the interview)

“The Treemakers” on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015DC4Q5E/

“The Treemakers” on Audible: http://amzn.to/1EZvvlP

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1HYTjRo
“The Rozelle Army” Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/68sS9

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1f4Km1u

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/cl.rozelle

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/clrozellesouth

Twitter: @CLRozelle

Instagram: christina.l.rozelle


 

How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I started writing poetry when I was 14, and from that point on I knew I wanted to write. But it wasn’t until I saw how enthralled my eleven-year-old was with “The Hunger Games” that my intrigue with YA Fiction was sparked. Before then I had never thought of myself as someone who’d one day write a novel. I was terrible at finishing things. I was a short story, poetry, and prose kind of girl. But my daughter and I started toying with plotlines and scenarios, characters (a group in particular known as shadow animal people… *giggle*), and the bonding this created between us was an amazing experience. I sat down and started writing . . . something. Haha

That story went down in flames fast, but another—“The Butterfly Prophecy”—was born. I finished that dystopian scifi in nine months, and although it wasn’t publishable, many of the themes and some of the characters and settings were transplanted into my third novel, “The Treemakers.” (Emerson and Ms. Ruby were two of my faves from “The Butterfly Prophecy” who were transplanted.)

About halfway through “The Butterfly Prophecy,” my daughter twisted my arm and made me read “The Hunger Games.” I devoured that series in two weeks, and that’s when I knew for a fact—I wanted to write some badass YA Fiction.

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Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I finally decided to give up my search for an agent and self-publish The Treemakers last year. I tried a small pub for a couple months recently and decided I prefer doing my own thing. I love the independence, the confidence, and the control being an indie gives me over my own work, my writing career, and my future.

But if someone from the Big Five offers me a ton of money, hell…

*Packs kids and bags*

*Ditches Indie*

Are you a plotter or a panster? 

I once was a complete pantser. I just wrote and hoped it went somewhere good. LOL

I plot now, but considering I’m about to dive into the third book in my series, and my plots tend to be super complex, I kind of have to plot to make sure all loose ends are tied up. But if while writing the story wants to go in a direction that wasn’t plotted, I follow it where it leads me. Those dark alleyways and side roads, I’ve found, are often where the best scenes are hiding.

Interesting factoid about The Treemakers: When writing it for the second time after scrapping the first 100k word story, I had this kind of dark, but still mainly innocent idea of what I wanted it to be when I rewrote it. But it kept wanting to veer off into super dark territory that made me uncomfortable and nervous at first. In hindsight, I see that those are some of my best, most heart-wrenching scenes and the story wouldn’t be complete without them. I was so worried about what others would think at first, but eventually I just said “f*** it. This is the story that wants to be written and I need to honor that . . . And actually, I really don’t have much of a choice if I want to be a happy writer.”

That’s when I learned to walk the fine line between plotting and pantsing.

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What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?

The light in the dark, the mystery, the adventure, the coming together of strangers to become unlikely families, and so much more . . . When society crumbles, the ‘weak’ can become strong, while the ‘strong’ can collapse. Everyday people become heroes. Our slate is wiped clean and we are all on an even playing field of sorts. Now we get to see who we really are. When faced with the bare bones reality of survival of the fittest, people change. They are pushed to the limits, to the edge. We get to see if we will fall . . . or fly.

This concept fascinates me. As does the idea of a still world. Everything stops, crashes down, dies. And the strong will rise again to recreate the new world. What will it be like? What will we do? Will we survive? Will the world be a better place? Or will it become a hell like none we could ever even imagine? These questions have spawned a thousand amazing stories.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

I love BOD. It’s honestly the best group on Facebook. I love the camaraderie, the bond we share because of our fascination with all things end-of-days. And zombies. Let’s not forget those guys. 😉

BOD is a place where lovers of the genre, both readers and writers, can hang out and talk dystopia and post-apoc with others who “get it.” And we aren’t being spammed with constant sales posts, so… fist bump to Cheer, ER, and Angie for their superior admin ninja skillz. Love those ladies!

Oh, and their release parties are amazing. And free! Though, IMHO, they should charge because they’re outta this world fun and fab. ❤

May I ask where the inspiration came from to write The Treemakers? It’s such a unique and interesting storyline. 

On October 24, 2013, the Treemakers came to be during a perfect storm of various muses. My children and I lived in a bad neighborhood near these gigantic powerline towers, and I’d always think how they looked like mechanical trees. We had just ended another terrible summer (we live in Texas) where the kids stayed inside to play most days (bad neighborhood, plus heat) so the idea started brewing that summer. These orphan kids were in my head, and they were responsible for building these mechanical trees. They couldn’t go outside because of the bad air and the heat. The world was destroyed. Their lives were full of misery and despair, but they had each other, and their love for one another would pull them through….

In my house during that time we hung pictures of different paradises everywhere, to remind us that there was a better life somewhere, waiting for us. We’d get there one day, but first we had to weather the storm, push through the darkness of poverty and other obstacles to find the light. This was the emotional inspiration for the story, I think.

As far as the characters directly: my Nana was an orphan who was a mother figure to her twin baby sisters, and later she became a foster parent at the orphanage she grew up in. We’d go visit on Thanksgiving and I remember being fascinated with these orphan girls, inspired and in awe of my Nana’s ability to love so much, to feed and care for 10-20 girls on a daily basis, and do so with grace, strength, and nurturing.

And The Treemakers were born…

Another interesting factoid: The first edition cover of The Treemakers was actually a slightly modified version of an original painting by my Nana. (You can win a copy of it, or other cool prizes in my Rafflecopter here: http://gvwy.io/wcegq9)

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

As with all of my characters, they just kind of hop into my head and say “okay, it’s my turn now.” So far I’ve only based one character off of an actual person, but I can’t tell you who it is because it’s a character from book two, which some of you have yet to read. 😉

I think my characters are a montage of everyone I’ve ever met in my life. Different qualities, traits, quirks, looks, habits, etc., originated from someone, somewhere in my life, but they flesh into their very own special beings in my head, becoming their own unique selves.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch? 

I’ve always had a hard time with anything historical. For me, it’s a snooze-fest. I prefer speculative/future/scifi/fantasy because the possibilities are endless and my imagination can run wild. I’m honestly quite hard to appease, as far as books are concerned. The books I like most are well-written in first person present, and yank me into the story by my heartstrings against my will. If a story does this, I don’t care what genre it is.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

#1. Go to that place inside you which scares you the most, set up a little desk for your laptop, and write your heart out from there. Write things that scare you. Make yourself laugh, cry, get angry—whatever. Just make sure you are feeling whatever you’re writing. If you aren’t feeling anything the reader won’t either.

#2. Get an amazing editor. I hear all the time “I can’t afford one.” And to those of you I say “How bad do you want this thing?” If you want to be a successful author you HAVE TO HAVE AN EDITOR. Sure, there may be what others perceive as exceptions to this rule. Maybe they are very clean and superior word-slingers. But I promise you they’d be twice as successful if they had an editor who helped them polish their writing and cultivate their craft.

#3. Quit making excuses. If you love something you make time for it, and you make a way for it.

P.S. Kimberly Grenfell (my editor) is amazing. Her prices are beyond reasonable and she’ll work with you on payment plans, if needed. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without her. No doubt in my mind about that. Here’s her FB link. Feel free to shoot her a friend request and a message. She’s super sweet, too. https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.grenfell?fref=ts

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I’ll be busting my butt on the third and final book in the Treemakers Trilogy for the next year. Other than that, though, I’m constantly taking notes for new stories. So far I have 16 files on my computer of stories spanning a wide variety of speculative fiction—and other—genres. What will I write next?? I haven’t quite decided yet. Guess you’ll have to stick around and find out!

Pink eye skull ASITDP

Anything else you’d like to add?

I want to thank everyone who is reading this, and those who have read my work and shown their love and encouragement by sharing and reviewing, and saying such beautiful, uplifting things. Knowing people enjoy reading what I write means the world to me, and helps to push me forward every day.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Christina! 

Thank YOU for inviting me to be here, Katy! I appreciate it so much, you’re a sweetheart, and I love that you are such a supporter of the indie author community.

More links:

Wattpad: http://w.tt/1GW0lW2

The Treemakers on ifList: http://bit.ly/1QYc7a6

Google+: http://bit.ly/1Kua9Mb

A Spark in the Dark Blog: http://bit.ly/1NmGJQl

A Spark in the Dark Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1JSEmWz

The Fansite of Christina L. Rozelle: http://christinalrozelle.com/

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/user/christinalrozelle

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thetreemakers/

 

BOD ZOMBIE BLOG CRAWL INTERVIEW with Publisher Jeffrey Clare!

Please welcome Jeffrey Clare to THE KATY blog today!

About:
12122592_1644651219151429_3575436745961946353_nI… am not an author. I’m on the right with the glasses. Hi. That guy on the left? That’s Eric Shelman. He’s an incredible author. One of my favorite, actually. And he also is an incredib- …Oh. me… right. Jeffrey Shawn Clare. I’m from the suburbs of Cincinnati where I still live. I have two kids, a couple of fluffy cats, and an amazing girlfriend, Shannon Walters (another writer- go figure). I work as a clinical therapist during the day and a publisher and group admin at night. Well… I work as a group admin 24/7. But that’s hardly work. More like a reward or privilege. I do, however, write short stories for anthologies. Such as the one coming out next month or so. How about some links, yeah?

Here is our Publishing company’s page:

Facebook page

Amazon

Check out “Tales of the Nothing Man”

Check out “A Very Zombie Christmas”

How did you find yourself so involved with the book world?

Geesh, that’s a good question because I’ve never really thought about it. I suppose I got involved so much by providing a group that wasn’t swimming in Amazon links. Haha! But to be serious? Mostly through being an avid reader, growing trusting friendships with authors, and promoting their works through various contests in ATZ. From there I just thought “Why not publish?”. Hence, ATZ Publications was born.

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

No. I don’t think zombies will ever be a real thing. The premise doesn’t make any sense.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie? Which one and why?

Book: WWZ because of its innovation and epic scale.

Film: probably Zombieland or Shaun. They just make me laugh. I dunno.

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Two simple things. 1) Don’t you dare stop reading. 2) Seek criticism. And if you can’t handle critics- quit. Seriously. Quit. Nobody wants to buy a book written by a baby. Fact.

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Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

YES! Scheduled for a November Release is ATZ’s next anthology, Chronology of the Apocalypse. It’s shaping up to be incredible. I’m amazed at how great these books turn out. The authors really know how to come out swinging.

Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

If you don’t guess zombie- just… go away now.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Jeffrey!

BOD ZOMBIE BLOG CRAWL INTERVIEW: Authors Heath Stallcup and JJ Beal

CHECK OUT MY MAIN POST FOR THE BAND OF DYSTOPIAN ZOMBIE BLOG CRAWL HERE (INCLUDING THE GIVEAWAY)!


Please welcome Authors Heath and Jessie Stallcup(JJ BEAL) to THE KATY blog today!

AUTHOR BIOS

heathstallcupHeath Stallcup was born in Salinas, California and relocated to Tupelo, Oklahoma in his tween years. He joined the US Navy and was stationed in Charleston, SC and Bangor, WA shortly after junior college. After his second tour, he attended East Central University where he obtained BS degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He then served ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with his local Sheriff’s Office. He still lives in the small township of Tupelo, Oklahoma with his wife and three of his seven children. He steals time to write between household duties, going to ballgames, being a grandfather to five and being the pet of numerous animals that have taken over his home. Visit him on Facebook.com or heathstallcup.com for news of his upcoming releases.

FIND AUTHOR HEATH STALLCUP ONLINE

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jessiestallcupJJ Beal was born and raised in Oklahoma. Having attained BS degrees in Business and Education and a Masters in Library Science, she has served over ten years as an educator. She still lives in southeastern Oklahoma with her family of seven children and five grandchildren. She steals time to write between household duties, going to ballgames, being a grandmother and being the pet of numerous animals that have taken over her home.

FIND AUTHOR JJ BEAL ONLINE

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INTERVIEW

How did you decide to become an author?

Heath: Well for me, it was always something I wanted to do but never really took seriously. I started and never finished probably 75 or more ‘great American novel’ projects before my first ‘finished’ work was ever done. I put quotes around finished because it was the first book in the Monster Squad series and the series isn’t done.

Jessie: I’ve always been an avid reader. It’s my escape. Others use television or movies, video games or whatnot. For me, reading was a gift and I enjoyed the gift whenever I could.

After Heath started writing, our girls asked him to be in a story. He had an idea but it didn’t sit well with them. They are avid zombie fans so I thought, I’ll give it a go. Possibly the only people to read it will be my girls and Heath. I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the reviews it has gotten. I’m sure that once I can put more time into writing and follow up with the sequel, I’ll see even more reviews.

Any books, movies, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

Heath: Wow, umm. No, I can’t say that I was inspired by any of that…at least, not in the beginning. What inspired me to write was my missus. She basically challenged me to do it, then teased me relentlessly until I started the project, but like all the others, I walked away from it. It was probably 9 months later that I stumbled upon the file on my computer and re-read it. I thought… “Hmm, this has potential.” And went back to work on it.

Jessie: I think my girls inspired me the most. I know Heath provided a lot of tips and hints and was always very supportive of my effort, but it was for my girls. I really wish my mom could have read it. I think she would have really enjoyed the story.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Heath: I started with a small press out of Oregon. They really got the ball rolling for me. In the beginning, Mark Tufo gave me a LOT of helpful suggestions, but I was so intimidated by the whole process that when I was offered a shot to go with a small press, I jumped on it. I did eventually break away and go full indie. That was more of a financial decision than anything. I know that the stuff I learned from the publishers was invaluable and I still call them with questions every now and then, but I made connections in the world and there are really a lot of good people out there willing to help, share knowledge, even teach you how to do things. Now that I am indie though, I still find myself calling on Mark and Tracy Tufo pretty regularly. Tracy is a marketing genius.

Jessie: I went full indie simply because Heath had paved the way for us. He knew what needed to be done by the time my manuscript was finished and he had all the right connections. I pretty much handed it over to him and let him run with it. I’m glad he had those connections, too because if I had been left to my own devices, I really don’t know if I would have seen it through.

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Are you a plotter or a panster?

Heath: Definitely a seat of the pants writer. When I break ground on something new, I know the beginning and the ending. Whatever happens in the middle is just as surprising to me as it is to the readers.

Jessie: I’m kind of a hybrid. I have an idea in my head and I know that I want my characters to be at a certain point in the story by a certain depth into the book. I don’t write it down and plot, but I have it in my head. If the lead characters are going to be at Point A in the first third of the book, the rest of the action and dialogue has to match in order for them to reach that point. I still allow the story to develop its own twists and turns along the way, but I have to maintain momentum and remain on pace.

What draws you to writing about zombies in particular (along with other supernatural beings)?

Heath: In the Monster Squad series, there are very few zombie outbreaks and the few that do occur are quickly quashed. I knew that my girls were nuts about zombies so for Caldera I decided to delve into that world for them.  All they had really been exposed to were the slow, shambling Romero type zombies. I wanted to give them something different. The rage-virus fueled zombie. True, they’re still technically human, but ravenous cannibals that never tire. Which, by the way, are the scariest zombie to me. In a Romero Z outbreak, I think my slow, out of shape self might stand a chance. But with FAST zombies?
Nope…I’d be zombie chow.

Jessie: I’d been a fan of zombie stories for some time and noticed a certain lack of Young Adult Zombie stories. Using teens as the lead characters, cut out most of the profanity, innuendos of drugs or sex and the unnecessary violence. Trying to pen a YA zombie story was challenging, but from the reviews LTZ has gotten, I think I’m at least headed in the right direction.

What do you see as a future?

Heath: More writing. I want to branch off into other genres and have actually broken ground on a political thriller that I hope will measure up. I have some very informed and well trusted betas that will let me know if I’ve achieved the mark or not.

Jessie: Just finding time to write would be nice. It seems that even when I do find a few moments, there’s always something else that needs to be done. I actually wanted to hold off on publishing LTZ until I had the sequel penned or at least a major portion of it done. Heath wouldn’t let me. He insisted that we get it out and let people start reading it now.

Are zombies a possibility?

Heath: If you ask my girls, not only is it possible, but it’s how the world will actually end.
As for me? Well, yes. I think it’s a possibility. Either through some natural procedure or man-made chemical warfare or…whatever you want to call it. Especially the rage virus type. I think that’s a lot closer to being the zombies we would see than anything.

Jessie: I remember as a young girl watching the Serpent and the Rainbow. That movie scared me more than anything I had ever seen. Do I think it’s possible? Wasn’t that movie based on a true life story? So, you tell me.

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Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know?

Heath: In my Monster Squad series, most all of the characters are based off somebody I used to know. In Caldera, I did the same thing. I took real people, changed their name, put them into the situation and wrote it. I think it makes it easier to keep your characters separate from each other if you have someone to fall back to…someone they are based on.

Jessie: My story actually is centered around my twin girls and their friends. It was a lot easier to write their stories because I let them each display the traits they already have.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie?

Heath: Wow…um…The Walking Dead is a good one to fall back on.
Mark Tufo, Shawn Chesser, John O’Brien, Joe McKinney, all excellent writers. Those are just the ones off the top of my head. There are others, but I couldn’t begin to list them all.

Jessie: Walking Dead, definitely. We DVR it and can’t wait until we hit the 20 minute mark so we can jump through the commercials. Every episode we swear that there’s less ‘show’ and more commercials. It’s one of the few shows that all of my kids watch. My girls claim that it’s a training video for surviving the ZomPoc!

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Heath: Write what you care about. Don’t try to write to the whims of others. If you write about something that YOU care about, that quality will shine through and you’ll have a better finished product. “If you build it, they will come.” That premise holds true with writing, too. If you produce a quality product, they will find it. Then they will tell others about it.
If you just pump out blah after blah because it’s the ‘in’ thing to write about, it will feel like every other cookie cutter production out there and people will dismiss you.

Jessie: If it’s something you really want to do, don’t let others talk you out of it. Surround yourself with positive people who will help inspire you and uplift your efforts. I’ve heard expressions like, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” To me that means, if you really want it, create the time, create the habit, create the story. Give it your best shot. You’ll never know what you could achieve if you don’t try.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Heath: I’ll soon be releasing Monster Squad 8 – Specters. It closes out the second saga in the Monster Squad series. I’m also working on a political thriller and I have either the first in a new series or I may just let it be a stand alone book about a Vampire Hunter. Of course, I’m working on the sequel to Caldera. And a King-ish type story about a fellow who can see the sins of others. It’s getting a bit darker than I am usually comfortable with, but, I might tone it down a bit.

Jessie: Oh heavens…I have started the sequel to Lions & Tigers & Zombies, but with my work schedule, it will have to wait until after the holidays before I can put any real effort into it. Being the music director for Pre-K through 12 and with the Christmas season quickly approaching, I have no time to spare.

Please tell us about your donation to the giveaway!

Heath: I figured an autographed copy of Caldera would be fitting.

Jessie: I’m offering up an e-book copy of LTZ to a winner in the Continental US.

We are excited to hear about it! Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

Heath: I’m going to be that grumpy old man who sits on his porch and yells at kids to ‘Stay off my lawn!”
Actually…I’m that every day. The only difference with Halloween is, as they’re running away, I’ll throw candy at them instead of rocks.

Jessie: I don’t dress up for Halloween any more. I have more fun taking the grandbabies around to Trick or Treat.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Heath and Jessie!

Heath: Thanks for having us.
Thank you!

BOD ZOMBIE BLOG CRAWL INTERVIEW: Author Edward P. Cardillo!

CHECK OUT MY MAIN POST FOR THE BAND OF DYSTOPIAN ZOMBIE BLOG CRAWL HERE (INCLUDING THE GIVEAWAY)!


Please welcome Author Edward P. Cardillo to THE KATY blog today!

12038429_899016426819558_9093231998540824357_nEdward P. Cardillo, a member of the Horror Writers Association, writes horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. He is the recipient of three Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards as well as J. Ellington Ashton Writer of the Year 2013 and JEA’s Fire and Ice Award 2015. He has two novels and one short story in the Facebook Zombie Book of the Month Club Hall of Fame. By day, he is a clinical psychologist working in geriatrics as well as with children, teens, and adults with Down Syndrome and on the autism spectrum. By night, he writes for Severed Press and J. Ellington Ashton Press. He is a husband, father, pool player, and classic car enthusiast. Find out all about him and his work at edwardcardillo.com


FIND AUTHOR EDWARD P. CARDILLO ONLINE:

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18360456How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I always wrote for fun when I was younger, mostly short stories and poetry in the horror and dark fantasy vein. However, once I decided to pursue a career in clinical psychology, my writing took a back seat for a while. Once I became established, the hunger to write returned, so I began to write again. Little did I know that what I was working on was my first novel. When I finished a collection of related dark fantasy/horror short stories, my wife ran it by a friend who used to work in publishing. This friend said I should try and get published, but that there was a better market for novels than short stories. So, I drafted a backstory, a family drama, linking the related short stories. The result was “The Odd Tales of an Old Man,” tales within a tale, much like Tales From the Crypt in style.
I began to search for agents/publishers and continued to write. Right about the time when our military was looking for Osama Bin Laden and suspected that he was hiding in the vast cave systems in Afghanistan, I was struck with an idea. I was watching the news one night, and I was listening to the reporter complain that our military couldn’t achieve maximum penetration of the cave systems due to limitations like dehydration, hunger, and such. So, the way my twisted mind works, I pictured the military herding hordes of zombies into the caves like cattle rustlers. Zombies are already dead, so there are no physical limitations. They never tire. They could just walk the caves and eat whoever they found. They would save American lives by keeping soldiers out of harm’s way, like a type of infantry drone. Hell, they could wander for months, even years and smoke out terrorists dug in like ticks. Hence, “Automaton” was born as a sci-fi/horror zombie novel.

An agent I was consulting at the time suggested that I enter a contest or two. She said that if I had placed in a contest, it would garner the attention of publishers. So, I entered “Automaton” as an unpublished manuscript into the Readers Favorite International Book Contest, a competition including unpublished, indie, and Big-5 authors from eleven different countries in various categories. While I waited for the results, I began writing “Automaton 2: Kafka Rising.” As it ends up, not only did “Automaton” autoreceive the Honorable Mention Award in the Terrorist Thriller category in 2012, it placed with NY Times Best Seller Daniel Silva’s book and was the only unpublished manuscript that finished in that category. I quickly landed a contract with Severed Press for what became “I Am Automaton,” and “The Odd Tales of an Old Man” was picked up by the brand new J. Ellington Ashton Press. The unpublished manuscript “Automaton 2: Kafka Rising” went on to win Honorable Mention in the Readers Favorite competition in the Science Fiction category in 2013 and was published by Severed Press. “I Am Automaton 3: Shadow of the Automaton” won Honorable Mention with Readers Favorite in 2014 as a published book in the Terrorist Thriller category.

And so I was off and running, having established relationships with two excellent publishers, writing more novels, and getting involved in the Facebook Zombie Book of the Month Club, meeting readers and interacting, having a blast in the process. I do not have an agent, but at this time I have no need for one. I recently became a member of the Horror Writers Association, and I just attended NYC Comicon, helping out and autographing books in the HWA booth. This past summer I was invited to join a family-friendly charity zombie anthology called “Bite-Sized Offerings: Tales and Legends of the Zombie Apocalypse,” benefiting a wonderful girl with Down Syndrome, helping with her medical bills. I’ve appeared on Jackie Chin’s Zombiepalooza and JEA’s Wicked Little Things podcasts. In November, I’m going to be a part of Armand Rosamilia’s Winter of Zombie blog tour, and I’m going to be interviewed on his podcast as well. I served as a fiction workshop leader at The Bronx Loaf, a writers’ conference in New York City, helping inner city youth develop their work and identity as writers. “I Am Automaton” and “The Creeping Dead” were Amazon Best Sellers, “The Creeping Dead” selling over 4,000 copies so far.

Life is good.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I self-published “The Odd Tales of an Old Man” initially to garner reviews as a litmus test, to see if I “had the chops.” After receiving some very positive reviews, I decided to go the traditional route. Severed Press was actually my first choice, because they published precisely the books I wanted to write, and they had a good reputation. So, I was over the moon when I landed a contract with them in 2012. The benefit of a reputable traditional publisher is that they have a following, which helps sell your books. Severed Press has a tremendous following, which has been wonderful. After signing with Severed Press, I witnessed the birth of J. Ellington Ashton Press, an up-and-coming publisher with a family-style atmosphere. They’re going to be big as well, and I’m glad I’m along for the ride.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I was a plotter for the “Odd Tales of an Old Man” (now “Legend”) and the “I Am Automaton” Trilogy, was both for my vampire collaboration “Feral Hearts,” was a totalpantser for “The Creeping Dead,” and am both for the space opera I’m currently working on for Severed Press and the dinosaur collaboration with J. Ellington Ashton. A little bit of “pantsing” is good, because I think that it lends an organic feel to the writing. I was a total pantser for “The Creeping Dead” because it was a zombie novel taking place on the Jersey Shore, which has been my summer home-away-from-home since I was four-years-old. It came very naturally to me. No research needed; it was already conducted in my youth. I think that sci-fi needs more structure and planning. I tried to pants my current space opera work-in-progress, but I had to break down and storyboard it due to its complexity, just to keep characters, worlds, and subplots straight.

creepyWhat draws you to writing about zombies in particular (along with other supernatural beings)?

Zombies are fun to write about because, not only are they terrifying, they reveal truths about human nature through society’s reaction to them. When writing about zombies, there is ample opportunity for social commentary, which (being a psychologist) I enjoy including in all of my novels. In the “I Am Automaton” saga, the zombies represent an end-justifies-the-means approach to the war on terror. In “The Creeping Dead,” in which there is a zombie infestation of a Jersey Shore town during a superstorm, they represent the destructive power of nature. In “Feral Hearts”—a vampire collaboration with Amanda Lyons, Catt Dahman, Michael Fisher, Jim Goforh, and Mark Woods—the vampires represent the decadence of some of society’s baser instincts and the corruption of values. In my short story “Manly Monday,” a father-son tale in “Bite-Sized Offerings: Tales and Legends of the Zombie Apocalypse,” the zombies represent the corruption of the outside world threatening the sanctuary of the home.

How do you feel that being a clinical psychologist has helped your writing?

It has certainly helped me develop realistic characters. I know people. I know how they present, warts and all. I know their quirks, their strengths, and their vulnerabilities. I’ve also included a Down Syndrome character in “The Creeping Dead” and an autistic necromancer in one of the tall tales in “Legend.” Psychologists appear in “The Creeping Dead” and “Feral Hearts.” However, most importantly, I know what frightens people. Being a psychologist who has treated anxiety and phobias, I know what buttons to push to really freak people out. I’ve had many readers say that my books had them checking in the closets and under their beds. I made a fellow horror author jump out of his skin during a certain part…

…of my family-friendly short story.

“Cardillo managed to create a nightmare that I won’t soon forget; I am not easily frightened but Cardillo left me checking in the closets and under the bed.” 
-Anne Boling, Readers Favorite, about “I Am Automaton”

“While the book is a thriller complete with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry on one level, on another it is a sharp, and at times humorous look at modern American society. The satire is pointed and stinging and the emotions this book evoke run from hilarious to horrifying. It is a well written roller coaster ride.” 
Ray Simmons, Readers Favorite, about “I Am Automaton 3: Shadow of the Automaton”

“The book is fast, bloody, funny, and has heart. And that’s quite a lot to say about a book about brain munchers.” 
OutlawPoet, Amazon Vine Reviewer, about “The Creeping Dead

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

Zombies are certainly possible. As a psychologist who was a director of the counseling/health center at a college, I’ve had training on pandemic response and infection control. However, due to the nature of physiology and its limitations, I do not believe they will be undead or reanimated corpses. If anything, they would be the result of something like the “Rage Virus” in 28 Days Later, living people who become violent. As the medical community develops vaccines and cures for diseases, nature invents more. It’s the perpetual struggle of man vs. nature, nature being viruses and disease.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

I try not to design characters entirely after people I know. I base them more on personality types and subtypes, of which I have an endless mental library of reference given what I do for a living. Pieces of me appear in some characters, like Vinny and Tara in “The Creeping Dead.” I try to render characters with a realistic mixture of good qualities and weaknesses. I’m not a huge fan of “good guys” and “bad guys” as people rarely present that way in real life. Even good guys can be jerks at times, and even total nasties are nice to someone in their lives. Maybe even a few people.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie? Which one and why?

“World War Z” would have to be my favorite zombie book. I love Max Brooks’ wit and humor. I also like the way the apocalypse is broken down into a collection of vignettes presented as news/press pieces from all over the world. It’s involved, yet it has great pacing.

My favorite zombie movie has to be the original Night of the Living Dead. The black and white is eerie, and I love the fact that the zombies look almost human. I’m not a huge fan of the ragged, flesh-torn skeletons that you see appearing more and more in the genre. I believe that the more human any monster looks, the more disturbing it is, like vampires or demonically possessed people. They are human enough that we can identify with them, thus triggering the primal fears of disease, death, loss of control, and being eaten alive. They represent a perversion of the human form. They represent something that we can become.

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Always write. Never stop. When you finish one manuscript, begin another while you’re shopping the first one around. Don’t obsess about finding an agent, unless you want to approach big publishing houses. If you want to go small press, you don’t need them. There’s this myth that you can’t query publishers directly. Look out for open submission calls online; this is when a publisher tells you exactly what type of manuscript they want and when they want it. Many accept unagented queries, but make sure that is okay with the publisher first. On their websites they should outline their rules/conditions: types of queries (agented vs. unagented), manuscript format (if asking for a sample), email vs. snail mail submissions, etc. Make sure you follow each publisher’s rules to the letter. Oh, and learn how to write an excellent query letter. Writing query letters and novels involve two completely different skill sets. There are plenty of books and websites out there on how to write query letters. Read them all. Look at examples of both well-written and poorly-written queries. Don’t be afraid, once you believe you have a polished manuscript, to enter it into contests. Winning helps you get noticed, but read the rules and terms carefully. Some contests are scams.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I’m currently working on a space opera for Severed Press, which could potentially become a series, and a witch short story and dinosaur collaboration for J. Ellington Ashton Press. Also, even though I wrote “The Creeping Dead” as a standalone, I’m getting many requests for a sequel, which will happen after book one of the space opera is finished…if Severed Press agrees to it, of course.

Please tell us about your donation to the giveaway! We are excited to hear about it!

(CHECK OUT THE GIVEAWAY HERE!)

I am donating a Kindle version of “The Creeping Dead: A Zombie Novel” (Severed Press).

Synopsis: It’s the summertime rush in the Jersey Shore resort town of Smuggler’s Bay, as tourists flock to the beach, boardwalk, and rides…but it’s not all fun and games. As a superstorm looms, threatening to destroy the town, something else threatens the Bay…something lurking in the shadows…the creeping dead. As a mysterious infection spreads, the town must pull together if they are to weather the storm and survive a plague of living dead.

Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

Why, a zombie, of course! Although my seven-year-old son, Alexander, wants us to be zombie pirates, so I guess I’m going to be a zombie pirate.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Edward!

Thank you for having me!

BOD ZOMBIE CRAWL INTERVIEW: Author P Mark DeBryan!

Check out my main post for the band of dystopian zombie blog crawl HERE (including the giveaway)!


Please welcome Author P Mark DeBryan to THE KATY blog today!

Picture1Hello all, I have always been a bit of a vagabond. Born in Washington, raised in California. I joined the Coast Guard after high school. During my Coast Guard career I was an Admiral’s driver in San Francisco, a deckhand on a 378’ cutter in the Bering Sea, and an Aviation Electrician in North Carolina, Texas and Southern Florida.  After I left the Coast Guard I worked security, first guarding MX nuclear missiles, then at a nuclear power plant in California. Eventually I went to college in Wisconsin, only to drop out after meeting my future wife. I went on to finish college at 36 and own a Miracle Ear franchise. I went into publishing for a short time before becoming an Information Systems Specialist. I currently split my time between West (by God) Virginia and Surfside Beach, SC.

Find author p mark debryan online

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His website

His blog

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How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I have always been a voracious reader, and once I read Stephen King’s “The Stand” I was hooked on post-apocalyptic genre. I read everything I could get my hands on. Back when King’s book came out there wasn’t a lot of it, so I exhausted most of what I could find. Just recently I began reading some Dystopian and Zombie Apocalypse books and found an author I really liked. John O’Brien wrote a series that really gripped me and I friended him on Facebook. Sometime later he ran a contest of sorts. He asked his fans to write a short story in his world… long story short (story haha) he chose my story “In For A Dollar In For A Dime” to publish along with three other fan stories and a bunch of his own in his book “Untold Stories”. He then graciously allowed me to take the short story and expand it to a full length novel. That was the birth of Family Reunion and that’s how I became an author.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I am self-published, but that is kind of deceiving. Very few people do it all by themselves. John gave me my start, and one of the other fan authors has since become a good friend and awesome editor and writer in her own right. That would be Sara Jones who runs Torchbearer Editing Services. There are many others that had a hand in bringing Family Reunion to fruition, but technically I am self-published.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I would have to say I am a little of both. I start out with a plan and then the characters jump in and drag me around by the seat of my pants.

fam

What draws you to writing about zombies or the apocalypse in particular?

As I said earlier, it was a combination of several different circumstances that led me to write in this genre. My love of reading, Stephen King, and eventually John O’Brien was the impetus that got me going. I think the Zombies, or in my case “Freaks”, and the apocalypse are not the main focus of the story. They are something the characters have to deal with and that lend to the book’s excitement and tension, but hope and human relationships are really what any good story is about.

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

Anything is possible. As a species we are always thinking of ways to destroy ourselves… lol.

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

Write what you know, is what I was told. So, yes I draw heavily from my past and that of those around me. If you read the book and still wonder, give me a call.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie? Which one and why?

Wow, do you have about a month? We could go on and on… O’Brien, McKinney, Christy, Rosamilia, Chesser, Tufo, are all authors in the genre that I love and that doesn’t even start to crack the file on books for me. Movies have all fallen in the so-so category except for the classic, Night of the living Dead, has to be at the top of almost everybody’s list. World War Z was good, but after the book it kind of left me wishing they could have followed the story closer. I am always a reader verses a watcher.

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Sit down and write! Get it from your head and onto the paper, or computer. (backupbackupbackup). Then find a competent editor. This is not as easy as it sounds, but it is imperative! It will cost you, but there are so many badly edited books out there today that no one will read past the second page if it is full of typos and grammatical errors. Have several people (not related) read it and give you their opinions. Don’t give up! Writing is fun, but being an author is work.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I have been working full time on promoting Family Reunion since it released, but I have already started a second book to follow on with the same characters… the ones that made it.

Please tell us about your donation to the giveaway! We are excited to hear about it.

Well, there are several things that I plan on adding to the pot of goodies. To start with, a signed copy of Family Reunion with a signed bookmark. Both of which were designed by Justin McCormick and how about an 11×17 signed poster that is a reproduction of the book’s cover, with a copy of the ebook?

CHECK OUT THE GIVEAWAY HERE!

Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

A writer… lol! I have a book signing on All Hallows Eve. I might go as a character from the book, haven’t decided, but carrying an AR-15 around might not be a great idea.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Author P Mark DeBryan!

No, thank you! It has been my pleasure.

BOD ZOMBIE CRAWL INTERVIEW: Author Emily Shore

If you missed my BIG ZOMBIE CRAWL giveaway post click here!

Today, we welcome Author Emily Shore to THE KATY!

Author Bio:

bestheadshotEmily Shore has enjoyed writing books since she was very young. With time, her passion only increased and drew her to earn a B.A. in Creative Writing from Metro State University. Since graduating in ’09, she’s penned seventeen books. She is represented by Allison Singer of ZSH Literary out of New York and Boston for her anti-sex trafficking dystopia due to ship out to publishers soon! Emily writes full time and is a stay-at-home mother to precious toddler, Emmy. In her free time, she enjoys baking, acrylic painting, interior decorating, scrapbooking, campaigning against sex trafficking, and spending time with all her gorgeous nieces!

FIND AUTHOR EMILY SHORE ONLINE

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CHeck out Emily’s post for the BOD ZOmbie Crawl ON HER FACEBOOK PAGE, complete with amazing giveaway!

Interview:

How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I don’t think I really chose. Ever since I learned to read, I started to write. I never could write short stories very well. From the beginning, it was always long fiction. From Boxcar and Nancy Drew type books to epic fantasies (i.e. thank you, Lord of the Rings) in high school to paranormal series in college, I have always felt drawn to long fiction and specifically the YA market. When working at Barnes and Noble, my favorite thing to do was recommend books for teenagers and tell them about my books. I love connecting with YA audiences and influencing the next generation, particularly females, to be stronger and more empowered.

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I actually was a victim of self publishing once upon a time. Years ago, I signed with a marketing agent who I believed was a professionally literary agent. Turns out he only did the literary agent gig on the side. After pressuring me into self publishing two of my beloved paranormal works and having a failed turn around, I ended my contract, removed my books as quickly as I could, and rewrote one from scratch. It is all the more improved from that re-write, and I took the few reviews I received from it to better the work. It was a lesson on my journey as a writer, and I’m glad it happened since I started focusing on my anti-trafficking dystopia, The Menagerie, which is now signed with Zachary Shuster and Harmsworth.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Depends on the book. I’ve written seventeen of them after all. One I researched plot outlines in depth and spent hours at a coffee shop until I’d hashed out the entire plot. Others, I begin with an idea and go with the flow like my Greek mythology meets Modern Day inspired by a fanart picture online or my Sci Fi/Alternate Universe novel crafted from a dream sequence.

FlesherCoverjpg
Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

I think most of my characters have bits and pieces of me in them. Some more than others. The Menagerie book has a good amount of ‘me’ in my main character. My Roseblood, vampire book’s MC is very much based off of me and my family and those in my inner circle. Only a couple characters I’ve written aren’t like me at all.

What draws you to writing Dystopian literature?

Initially, I got my feet very wet with dystopia during the Hunger Games craze. My first dystopia was a total flop in my opinion (though it has since become seed ground for a new idea). My second dystopia became The Menagerie, but that has been a work in progress for the past five years. It has gone through a fierce evolution but all has revolved around one question: What would the world look like if prostitution were legalized across the board? That gave birth to a host of images – ones involving museums where girls are displayed as living art. And The Menagerie’s world came to life from those images.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

I love this group. I came upon it by happenstance. I enjoy the support authors give each other. I found one of my all time favorite indie authors through this group, and I can’t imagine my reading life without her *cough Lauren Taylor cough* It’s encouraging to see all the work that goes into this group with the many posts and threads and little contests. And of course sharing photos and quizzes is always a plus.

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

I tend to see terrorism domination more of a likely scenario, possibly a police state, or even a new Civil War based off racism, but I don’t experiment in those when it comes to writing. They terrify me. I’ve written three zombie series, but I don’t dabble too much in current events leading to an apocalypse.

Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie? Which one and why?

Favorite zombie book: The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I love Carrie Ryan’s symbolic-style writing, the vividness of her world, and the coming of age struggle of her characters. Favorite movie: The Returned. Probably the most creative zombie film I’ve ever seen-based in a dystopia type of society as well!

Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?

Get involved in contests as much as you can. If you can’t afford to hire an editor (like me), then enter as many Twitter pitch contests as possible where editors and agents are prowling to find new authors. This is how I was chosen by my fabulous freelance editor, Kate Angelella formerly of Simon and Schuster, who selected me from 2000 other candidates for The Menagerie, and I will always be indebted to her. Trust me, editors know what they’re talking about! Their input is priceless, more valuable than gold! I can’t imagine my book without my editor’s experienced hand.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Just be on the lookout for Menagerie news and any upcoming book deals because we are sending out to publishers soon! And Rick Richter’s name will be attached to the project. He represented some little known titles oh *scratches head* trying to remember…oh that’s right! The Mortal Instruments Series, The Uglies, and The Spiderwick Chronicles to name a few. He also happens to be the former President of Simon and Schuster, so it’s pretty doggone amazing that he’s reading my book and offering his support!

Ok, really important question here. What are you going to be for Halloween?

Actually, my family doesn’t do Halloween, we just spend the evening away from the house going on a family date. But if I were to dress up, my husband and I would go as Westley and Buttercup from the Princess Bride. Or I’d go alone as Rapunzel, my favorite Disney Princess.

Thank you for stopping by THE KATY today, Emily!

 

z crawl schedule

Zombie Crawl 2 – Blog Party

October 22 – 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don’t miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 – Thursday

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host)

Jo Michaels Blog (author)

Rissa Blakeley (author)

OCTOBER 23 – Friday

Claire C. Riley (author)

2 Girls & A Book (blog)

Emily Shore (author)

OCTOBER 24 – Saturday

Kathy Dinisi (author)

Us Girls & A Book (blog)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)

OCTOBER 25 – Sunday

Casey L. Bond (author)

THE KATY blog (blog)

OCTOBER 26 – Monday

Saul Tanpepper (author)

Warren Fielding (author)

The Leighgendarium (blog)

OCTOBER 27 – Tuesday

Kody Boye (author)

Rhiannon Frater (author)

ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 – Wednesday

Allen Gamboa (author)

Armand Rosamilia (author)

Ethan @ One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads (blog)

OCTOBER 29 – Thursday

Kate L. Mary (author)

aftershockzombieseries (author)

Eli Constant (author)

OCTOBER 30 – Friday

Aria Michaels (author)

Brian Parker (author)

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)

OCTOBER 31 – Saturday

Cindy Carroll (author)

M. R. Pritchard (author)

Toni L.H. Boughton (author)

Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don’t forget to join the group on Facebook!