Guest Interview: Tabitha Freeman

Today, I’m honored to have indie author Tabitha Freeman give an interview here on my blog, one of several stops on her current blog tour. See the details of Tabitha’s latest publication below; for now, here’s TRF!

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1.) Your newest book “Iniquity” debuted August 19, 2014 and has already hit the bestseller status. Tell us a little bit about it!

TRF: It’s a New Age horror fiction read and it circles around a group of six people who committed a horrific crime five years earlier. They are brought together again by some pretty dark forces completely out of their control and the story spins into raw terror from there.

2.) Tell us why this is a perfect Halloween month read.

TRF: October is the one time a year we love to scare ourselves, isn’t it? INIQUITY is practically oozing with everything that makes a person not want to turn off the lights at night.

3.) What does your writing process look like? Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. Do you listen to music, sit in a certain chair?

TRF: When your career has you working from home the majority of the time, it isn’t always easy—especially for the wild imagination and short attention span of a YA author ;-). So, most days, I’m working in my office from around 6-7 a.m. into the evening around 6-7 p.m. There are definitely times I change it up, relocate myself to a coffee shop or wherever I might travel sometimes for story research or something—but most of the time, to keep my focus, I try to keep a usual routine. I have lots of quirky things in my office and on my desk and walls, which make me feel like I’m in a constant state of “down the rabbit hole”—which is awesome! And I have always made a soundtrack playlist for every book I’ve written to listen to while I’m in the writing process. What’s really cool is that now that I’m eight books in, readers and fans have taken to sending me ideas to add to playlists once my books release and that’s a fun and unique way for me to interact my imagination with my readers’. Something like that is so surreal.

4.) Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

TRF: Nothing too out of the ordinary—though I constantly talk to myself and I do periodically have to get up and pace around my house.

5.) If you could cast your characters in INIQUITY in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

TRF: I normally don’t give answers for this question because I really like to leave that up to my readers’ imaginations, however, I definitely have some Hollywood crushes I see playing Colin Serpan—I’m talking Chris Hemsworth, or Jensen Ackles.

6.) What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

TRF: Not being able to type 500 wpm…I could write so many stories so much faster if my typing could keep up with the speed of my imagination!

7.) Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

TRF: Nothing is off the table for me. I think at this point, after eight books in that are all completely different genres from one another, my readers and fans expect a surprise every new release I do. It’s become like my M.O. as an author.

8.) Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

TRF: I like to keep my stories as “clean” as I can while not risking the integrity of the story so that more readers can enjoy them.

9.) What are you working on now? What is your next project?

TRF: I’m working on some pretty exciting stuff right now! A spin-off novel from my Ghost Story Trilogy, a dark, apocalyptic project, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions since the release of INIQUITY about other horror reads in the works: the answer is yes, you can definitely expect some more scary-ness in the 2015 year.

10.) You have 6 incredibly relatable and complex characters that lead the story in INIQUITY. Tell us what’s on their tombstones.

TRF: Oooo, this is a fun question!

Ronnie-I Guess I Did Need That Map

Tori-Vanity is Definitely My Favorite Sin

Gabriella-(A carving of Grumpy Cat in her tombstone)

Sam-That Third Wheel Eventually Ran Me Over

Mandy-Who Knew Indecisiveness Could Kill?

Colin-At Least I Looked Like Hercules

11.) What about yours? What would your tombstone read?

TRF: “This isn’t where I parked my car.”

12.) Why the theme of guilt? This story is practically dripping with it.

TRF: I think the scariest part of the entire story is just the reality within the fantasy of it: can we really ever escape guilt?

13.) What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

TRF: I’ve always been a big fan of the horror/occult genre, whether it’s in books or movies. I had the most fun writing this story, however the drafting and editing processes were brutal because I was so particular (and nearly obsessed) with not hitting cliché walls. The horror genre and its basics can be extremely predictable sometimes, and have been done over and over and over. I wanted to make sure that I could keep the basic building blocks of a horror novel intact, while still providing a unique perspective that sticks in readers’ minds and sets itself apart from others like it.

iniquity

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Tabitha, thank you for being here today! Be sure to pick up a copy of Tabitha’s work on Amazon!

-jdt-

Interview with Michael Esser

Today we have as our guest author, Micheal Esser, of the “Deadz” series “The Deadz” and “Vegaz Apocalypze”.

Welcome, Michael!

Michael, “The Deadz” is the first of a series of zombie books you’re working on. What made you want to write zombie fiction?

I moved from a big city to this little town and one day I was looking around and thought to myself, “What would happen if a zombie outbreak happened here?” We seem so isolated that I thought it would be a real problem! So, the idea was born.

Do you have a special fondness for that area of horror or do you have any plans to branch out into other areas?

I do have another zombie storyline or two I’m throwing around. I might like to do a mash up of sorts. My daughters sparked an idea to write, “Vampires vs. Robots” and I’ve set it in the last decade of the 21st century. The rest is under wraps, but let’s just say the vamps aren’t the hunters in this one.

Zombie stories in general are apocalyptic, especially since the Romero classics. Why do you think that is?

It’s the fantasy of getting to see the end of it all. Zombies are a human element at work, not like a meteor or atomic bomb, and if you’re caught in this disaster you become part of it.

How does that influence your work? Does it constrain you or liberate your work?

I think it liberates it because in my world I can destroy the whole damn thing and still have a setting to tell my story.

Speaking of your work, tell us about your writing process. How do you come up with your stories? Do you plot your stories, outline them, or are you a “pantser” (writing the story off the cuff, by the “seat of your pants”)?

I am constantly capturing ‘ideas’ for stories. Then, when I have something I’ve mentally mapped out, a beginning, middle, and end, I outline it like I’m watching it as a movie. (This happens, then this, and this, and so on capturing the main points in a little more detail.)

Are you one of those writers who always seem to have a notebook or pen handy when the Muse tickles you? Or are you like me, scrambling around for a pencil or pen and some scrap of blank writing surface to jot down the idea before it vanishes?

I used to be a notebook FREAK! I could leave the house without pants before my pad, but nowadays my phone has become the new pen and paper. Although, I am a ‘jot down the idea before it vanishes’ kind of guy to the highest degree.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What drew you to writing?

I was nine. I had a dream about my buddies and I going off into the desert for the night and when we returned it was twenty years later. I was so awed by the future world I woke up and scrambled for a crayon and the back of some old homework to jot it down. I’ve been in and out of writers anonymous ever since.

Which books or authors influence your work the most? Do you try to emulate anyone in particular?

I like a few authors, couldn’t say I love anyone. The first books I read, and still love, were comic books. I remember the “Narnia” series from middle school. Lately, I ran through the Hunger Game books rather quick a couple years back, Brian Keene is cool, I loved and can’t wait for Warm Bodies to hit the screen, that was another one I tore through.

My style is and always will be a mix of manuscript and screenplay writing. I want to attract that, “I’ll just wait for the movie types” to read something that plays out in their mind like film. I’ll set up the world and guide you through it, but I want you to color the pictures in.

Tell us about your new book “The Deadz Won’t Rize”, and when do you expect to publish it?

I threw up a rushed version a few months back to get input. Those that read it, liked it. I re-read it and decided to clean it and Vegaz Apocalypze up a bit and make them more cohesive. I’m shooting for October 2012. The protagonist, Michael, has been fighting the deadz as an altered dead himself. But, when he thinks his family has been killed he snaps and goes cannibal on the cannibals and for the first time we see him lose it on a murderous level. Then a cure starts to take effect and everything is again flipped.

Besides writing, what do you like to do with your time? What hobbies and activities do you involve yourself with when you’re not being a key-jockey?

I am a geek. So, you name it. Midnight movies, quirky video games, sci-fi TV shows, I collect movie posters and superhero memorabilia. My kids love me when I go into the kitchen. I’ve created ‘zombie sauce’ and my own special rubs for meats and, I really like to bring out the crazy. (Crazy good!) I’m gonna open a zombie themed diner or food truck when I get old.

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Check Michael’s work out on Amazon.com and his own website, http://thedeadz.wordpress.com/.

The first two installments of my zombie series “The Deadz” and “Vegaz Apocalypze” are available NOW at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/michaelesser.

(D3 “The Deadz Won’t Rize” is COMING IN OCTOBER!)

Author Interview: Bryce Beattie

OasisToday, I’m pleased to have as my guest author Bryce Beattie, whose work includes the self-published zombie-pulp thriller Oasis, and its sequel (on his blog for now), The Journey of St. Laurent.

Bryce, you’re too young a man to be familiar with the pulp-era style, so how did your love of pulp come about?
Well, It kind of stemmed from my love of the era itself. There was this one Christmas where my parents gave my brother and me some tape sets of The Shadow, Cape Cod Mystery Theater, and some hard boiled detectives, I can’t remember which ones. So I started to like some of the popular genres of the time. Over the years, I liked other stuff about the era as well. In high school, I got into Big Band jazz, and then swing dancing. I kept doing that for a long time. I even ran the swing club at the University of Utah for a while. Dancing is how I met me wife.

What was I supposed to be talking talking about?
Right, The pulps.

Somewhere along the high school portion of the timeline I picked up this collection of shorts called Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames. It was my first real exposure to pulp literature. I loved reading that brick of pages until just about disintegrated. A couple of years later, I was pouring over the shelves of my local used bookstore when I came across a shelf of Doc Savage paperback reprints. They were cheap, and the covers looked pretty sweet, so I picked up a handful. I wish now that I’d bought the whole lot, because Doc Savage is quite possibly the awesomest man to ever (fictionally) live. I’ve written about him a few times on my blog.

Back when Blackmask online was still Blackmask online (and not munsey’s), I got into more hardboiled detectives, then Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. That is where my love of pulp novels exploded. I soaked up tons of it. The work that stood out the most for me was that of Robert E. Howard. First I read all the original Conan stories, then the Solomon Kane yarns, and then his horror work, then lots of his other stuff. Recently I read a bunch of his Sailor Steve Costigan boxing stories. Those are kind of like watching Rocky except without all the sissy parts.

What are the most powerful influences on your writing? Is there any one writer you try to emulate most?
I would like very much to have the energy of Robert E. Howard in my work. I doubt very much I’ll ever get there, but I’ll keep trying. As far as current authors go, I’m working hard on my writing voice, and I’d like to work into my narrative the kind of conversational personality that Jim Butcher uses in the Dresden Files series.
Of course, if I could cram in some subtext like Jane Austin, that’d be good too.

How does your writing process work? Are you an outliner or a “pantser” (writing without any structure)?
For both Oasis and The Journey of St. Laurent, I wrote a high level outline, and then worked into it mentions of a few scenes that I absolutely had to have. Then my outlining process totally broke down. Most of the time I do write down the major hits in a scene before writing it. I’ve noticed that the writing itself is way easier the better of an outline I use. You’d think then that I would outline the heck out of everything I write. Nope.  At least not yet.

I’ve already got outlines going for several more books, though. At least one of those I’m going to outline thoroughly.

Do you have a particular genre you favor more than others? A particular style?
Oh, as far as my reading goes, I am as variable as the wind when it comes to genre. I go through “classics” periods where it’s all Dickens and Austin and such. Then it’s all detective novels. Then it’s urban fantasy. Then it’s espionage. Then it’s NYT bestselling thriller time. Then it’s cowboy fantasy time (wink, wink). My imagination must be like a pretty dry pile of pine needles, because it doesn’t take much to light it on fire. I read out loud to my kids pretty much every night, too, so I’m always in to Children’s literature.

I do often return to Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers, and Adventure novels, though. I’ll call those my favorites.

How much time do you spend reading about the craft of writing?
This is just another one of my phases. I’ll read nothing but writing theory for a month or two and then not touch it for a year or more. I’ve read “Techniques of the Selling Writer” a couple of times, and I consider it probably the best book on writing that I’ve ever read. I used to read several writing blogs almost religiously, but that’s tapered way off recently.  I’m convinced what my writing needs now more than anything is just more butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard time.

Your last two projects were zombies and aliens. What’s next on the horizon for you?
Let’s see. I have a batch of short stories (including one that will appear here on your blog shortly), a hard boiled detective novelette, three Children’s fairy tale type books, a couple of mainstream thrillers sketched out, and at least two sci-fi series I’d like to someday write. That’s my “to write” pile anyway. Immediately will be a detective short and novelette, then one of the Children’s books.

You can find Bryce all over the Internet, on Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, which is where you should go for all the other connections. And of course, check out his novel, OASIS, on Amazon and other retailers.