Red was busy making iced coffee for the afternoon crowd when the unmistakable smell of Zombie wafted across the Coffee Shoppe. She crossed over to the couches on the south wall, and there was Armand Rosamilia showing books to three other patrons. She waited for them to shuffle away before she sat Armand down to talk about the undead.
M3: While you wipe that off your hands, tell the M3 Readers who you are.
AR: New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes about zombies, heavy metal, horror and steampunk. But not necessarily in that order…
M3: That should make for interesting company. To whom would you like to send out a thank you?
AR: My mother, definitely. I wasn’t really a good kid growing up, my brother and I were monsters, so I spent more time punished in her room than playing outside. I started reading her King and Koontz books, then every horror paperback she had. My mother read several books a week, and several at a time, so there was plenty to read.
M3: No author can discount reading as an essential influence. So, where is it you got your start?
AR: I started in my teens writing horribly bad King and Koontz rip-offs that I never bothered to submit. In my early twenties I combined my love of Horror and Heavy Metal music and started Black Moon Magazine, which lasted from 1994-1997, back before the Internet was anything worthwhile. Wish I had today’s technology back then.
M3: I think we all do! Tell the noobs in the M3 audience your best piece of advice.
AR: It’s the old cliché to write your first million words and then throw them out before becoming a writer. I wrote more than that before I started writing actual stories instead of rambling scenes or pieces of a story.
M3: Talk to me about your day job.
AR: I used to be a retail manager, working 50-60 hours a week, exhausted from customers, corporate crap, and employees working for beer money and not caring. It drains you, but it paid the bills and did it nicely.
M3: With that kind of schedule, how do you find time?
AR: Unfortunately (or, fortunately, if it works out) I am unemployed. For the past several months I’ve turned up the notch on my writing and promoting and hit about 10,000 words a week when I’m on a roll. Right now I have nothing but time to live my dream.
M3: Oh, so the state of the economy has affected your performance.
AR: Very much so. It’s given me more time to write now that I’m unemployed, which is good on one hand but bad when the mailman fills the box with bills.
M3: I can appreciate that. Do you ever just take a break and go on a hiatus?
AR: Never. To me, it’s all about momentum. I have the typical fear most writers have that if I stop, even for a weekend, I’ll lose it all. Everything I’ve built up, all the ideas waiting to be written. And there’s always something to be written.
M3: Which leads me to believe you have something in the works…
AR: There’s always something. Right now, I’m trying to finish Dying Days 2, the sequel to my Dying Days zombie novella. At the same time, I have the screenplay for Dying Days to finish, because Reality’s Edge Films optioned the novella for an independent movie. I’ve been dabbling in steampunk for some time and have short stories to finish, and my Metal Queens Monthly non-fiction series about females in Heavy Metal is still rolling. Busy, busy.
M3: Good grief! I should have asked when you found time to sleep! Let’s talk business. Any bones to pick with the traditional industry?
AR: Nah. A guy like JA Konrath talks of 500 rejections, but I’ve had a few dozen. Of course, I never submitted anything close to him. I prefer writing flash fiction, short stories and novella-length stories and submitting them. Most come back. I’ve had one short rejected sixteen times in the last three years, but I keep rewriting, listening to comments, and putting it back out. Will it sell? Who knows. It’s all luck, isn’t it? The right story hits the right desk at the perfect time, the stars and moon align and you’re published.
M3: The mystery of discovery. Have you had any triumphs over the industry?
AR: Anytime you sell a piece is a personal triumph, no matter how big or small. I’ve had a winning streak of eight short stories accepted in a row for anthologies, and just mailed out five new ones. Fingers crossed.
M3: You will get plenty backing from the M3 Readers! How important is your own marketing to the success of your stories and books?
AR: About 75% of my time right now. Does it help? Only time will tell. At the end of the day I want to know that I did everything possible to sell my books, whether by twitter posts, blog posts, meeting new people, guest blogs and interviews, or responding to questions in e-mails.
M3: Knowing how much work you are putting into it, do you feel like the traditional industry looks down on self-published material?
AR: I don’t worry about traditional industry because I think they’re clueless, and helped to cause this mess they’re currently in by ignoring and ridiculing the technology that is now crushing them. What is inferior is way too much of the writing out there now, people rushing work to get published without editing, and the readers are suffering and making more informed choices.
M3: You are in the majority with the complaint about rush jobs. Talk to me about your colleagues.
AR: When it comes to fellow authors, most of them are great. There’s a few very supportive authors I’ve met through Facebook, Twitter, Google +, my blog, their blog, etc. that promote me and I promote them. I’ve read some great books over the last couple of years from writers that I connected with and ended up helping by buying their eBook. I became a fan when they were good writers.
M3: Now, let’s talk about your book. How is it different from the other zombie books out now?
AR: The main character, Darlene Bobich, is a late-20’s former makeup counter girl from the mall, tossed into a sea of zombies that not only want to eat her, they want to violate her. She’s emotional, she cries, she feels sorry for herself, but she’s human. She can pick herself up, dust herself off and survive. She’s not superhuman, she’s you and I trapped in a world gone mad.
M3: Realism in a zombie book…novel (pun intended). You are so passionate about this. What makes Dying Days so special to you?
AR: When it comes to zombies, I’ve been a huge fan since I was a kid. I watched every zombie movie I could find in the ’80’s and ’90’s and some classics from before then, but never read too much fiction. Then I found Brian Keene and The Rising, and loved it. I decided to write zombie fiction as well, and have about half of my 30+ releases in the zombie subgenre of horror.
M3: That is consistency. Tell me something fun you would rather the whole world not know about you.
AR: There are a few things, but if I tell you they’ll call you an accomplice after the fact. (laughing) Here’s a good one: I’m a horror writer, and my zombie fiction is labeled extreme, I tend to go overboard with blood and guts and violence in spots. But in real life, the sight of even a drop of blood makes me queasy and I’ve passed out several times in my life seeing blood
M3: Isn’t that always the way? Put on your best advertiser hat and give me a buy line for your book in 15 words or less.
AR: Think zombies are cliché, unoriginal, and not scary? Try Dying Days. I’ll prove you wrong.
Darling M3 Readers,
Please take a few moments to check out Armand Rosamilia and Dying Days. Visit Armand’s blog to learn more about the author, his books and stories. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on Dying Days 2.
Thank you for your unwavering support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.