Armand and I share a few things in common. We are both transplants to Florida from the northeast, we both like our music a little loud (although I have some Adele on my Ipod), we both agree the Yankees are the better than the Red Sox(okay not true), but mostly we both love zombies. While I’m infecting the southwest area of Florida with my particular virus, Armand set his Apocalypse in Florida’s northeast coast. Zombie authors love zombies and zombie fans can’t get enough – but commercial viability of the subject is pretty darn low unless you’re working on the hit series The Walking Dead – so let’s discuss being a zombie writer with guest Indie author Armand Rosamillia –
Armand: Thanks for having me… but don’t even joke about me being a Yankees fan. Not cool. While Jeter was playing golf my beloved Red Sox were winning a World Series title. Even though I was born in New Jersey I’m a diehard Bosox fan. Now, let’s get back to friendly…
WIDW: I can’t think of a better way to put distance between an author and an agent than to write “another zombie” novel. You have written several – what attracts you to the sub-genre?
Armand: I love it. Plain and simple. I knew when I got serious about writing more than just a one-off zombie novella (which was my Highway To Hell extreme zombie book) there would be a small but rabid core of zombie readers. I’m never going to sell a ton of books but the ones I do sell are to serious readers, and they really get into my Dying Days series. They keep asking me for more and as long as I keep getting ideas I’ll keep writing them.
WIDW: When I was writing my first “zombie” novel, I was pretty naive about how many were on the market. What was your level of awareness and if you knew then what you know now, would you still write about zombies?
Armand: I wrote my first zombie book’s first draft in 2008 but was aware even back then there was an explosion of zombie titles. I read as many as I could and knew what I liked and hated about them. But I knew if I wrote a good story that wasn’t a typical one like every other one out there it would rise to the top. I hope it has.
WIDW: I can’t speak for all zombie stories, but I think non-fans are unaware of the various themes that play themselves out in zombie novels. For example, I use it to discuss issues of love, loyalty and sacrifice. Do you have a theme that you are working out within the hordes of living dead?
Armand: I don’t think consciously. I’m not writing zombie stories for the betterment of man or to promote social issues, I’m just having fun with them. I think fiction should be an escape from the real horrors in our lives.
WIDW: For non-zombie fans, what reason would you give that they should consider discovering what we love about the sub-genre?
Armand: Most non-readers think the stories are going to be stupid and will be boring rewrites of a George Romero movie, with people trapped in a building at night with zombies trying to eat your brains and/or intestines. Or they think The Walking Dead is good enough and they can watch it and not have to read it. They would all be wrong.
WIDW: Like movies, for every great zombie story on the market there are probably twenty terrible ones. Where do you think authors go wrong in their zombie writing?
Armand: Not creating main characters that are real and worth the time spent by a reader to really care about them. Too many times, I see a one-dimensional He-man running around shooting perfect headshots and fighting off a horde of zombies without a scratch, like a videogame. It gets boring quickly. Even though zombies might be the main focus, give the reader someone to follow and cheer for.
WIDW: Hating the thread mill almost as much as I despise “loving” vampires, I find “fast” zombies are a little more frightening than the slow breeds – although in truth that makes it less classic zombie and more new age infected. You went with the slow zombies, why do you think that makes for a better story?
Armand: My stories are more about the survivors and how they interact. I wanted them to at least have a fighting chance. Besides, in the Dying Days series the zombies don’t only want to bite you… they want to sexually violate you. I thought running raping biting machines would be too crazy, I guess.
WIDW: I think men with an appreciation for “metal” music have a stronger appreciation for the strength of their female counterparts. I worked in what I would call a heavy metal bar and the women there were perhaps more dangerous than the guys, do you agree or disagree and how does that opinion show itself in your female characters?
Armand: My main female character, Darlene Bobich, is a tough chick but not cliché. She cries, she has panic attacks, but she knows when to step up and kick ass. She’s a real person to me. I wrote a series of non-fiction books called Metal Queens, which interviewed females into Heavy Metal music. It was awesome. Nothing better than a Metal fan, especially a female one.
WIDW: I write to a playlist and that play list contains its fair share of AC/DC and Black Sabbath. Do you see a connection between zombie stories and heavy metal music?
Armand: Definitely. I have always loved Metal and horror, and they seem to go hand in hand. One lends itself brilliantly to the other. Many of my stories combine the two, in fact.
WIDW: My anthem for the survivors is AC/DC’s For those About to Rock (umm maybe Hell’s Bells) – if you had to pick an Apocalyptic Theme Song what would it be and feel free to throw in a why?
Armand: I’d have to say Highway To Hell, since I named my first zombie book after it. But most Metal will do, right?
WIDW: We both grew up in the Northeast but choose Florida as our starting point, why did you choose that setting?
Armand: I’ve been in Florida since 2001. One day I was driving home from St. Augustine on A1A and thought how beautiful it was. The beach and ocean on my left, the Intracoastal Waterway to my right. Gorgeous setting. Then my screwed up mind took over and I imagined zombies crawling out of the surf and attacking people. It clicked. Who wants to read another zombie book set in a city, with it dirty and dark and the buildings burnt out? Sand, surf and zombies was the key for me.
WIDW: In Dying Days book one, the pandemic is in full gear, what was your main reason for starting after the initial outbreak?
Armand: It was a personal choice for me because I didn’t want to get bogged down in the Why of it all. I hated reading zombie books that spend half the book explaining what happened and everyone trying to find a cure. Maybe people are trying to find a cure but not in Dying Days stories. They’re just trying not to get killed.
WIDW: Once I started writing zombie fiction, I felt I needed to take a break from reading other zombie stories to remain focused on my story, but before then I had my favorite. What is your favorite zombie story (I mean besides yours and mine) and in what way did that inspire your own writing?
Armand: The short story “Dead Like Me” by Adam-Troy Castro is probably my favorite, but the book that got me into zombie fiction was “The Rising” by Brian Keene. I rarely read zombie fiction anymore, though.
WIDW: Do you think Zombie authors are more or less competitive amongst each other for readership?
Armand: Only the stupid ones are competitive. The smart ones realize we can help one another to sell books and zombie readers love to read as much as they can. I do a blog tour each year with other zombie authors to help promote all of us. Guys like Joe McKinney, Mark Tufo, John O’Brien, James Cook, Robert Chazz Chute… the list goes on.
WIDW: What do you think is the future of this sub genre, will it fall out of fashion?
Armand: it will eventually fall out of fashion but there will always be readers that love zombie fiction, and those are the people I hope will keep reading my stuff long after the fad goes away.
WIDW: Where can readers find you and your stuff?
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Armand-Rosamilia/117384194954715
Rymfire Books: http://rymfirebooks.wordpress.com
SmashWords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/armandrosamilia
Armand: Thanks for the great interview! I love to talk to readers and zombie fans, and I’ll have quite a few new zombie releases coming out this month, so check my website for those!
WIDW: No thank you for joining us. For readers, don’t forget to check out Armand’s books and show your support for Indie Authors…but be warned the series is not your typical PG-13 stuff!
About Dying Days
Sunny Florida, beautiful beaches, no traffic on A1A… Zombies roaming the dunes in search of the living… Darlene Bobich in a fight to survive, find food, safety and ammo for her Desert Eagle before its too late…
Dying Days are upon us… The Undead Roam the Earth… Searching for the Living… To Eat… To Feast… To Rip Apart… Extreme Violence… Extreme Sexual Situations… Extreme Undead… Continuing the Darlene Bobich story begun in “Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer”…
Categories: IAI - Indie Author Interviews