My guest today is another talented author, and a man I am lucky enough to call a friend. He is a fan of the darker side of fiction and is living the life many of us can only ever dream of. In a return visit to my humble little blog, ladies and gentlemen is if my pleasure to share with you the words of Mr. Armand Rosamilia
You and I chat quite a lot online, but for those people not cool enough to hang with us, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’d rather not…
I am a very serious horror author who has no real time for humor. I live only to write about my ex-wives and all those who’ve wronged me in my past (and present and future) by making fun of my mullet as a teen, and playing Dungeons & Dragons (I was a kickass Dungeon Master, bitches!)…
You are a very talented writer, and you currently write full-time. What did you do before you started living the dream?
Currently write full time? I don’t like the sound of that. Do you know something I need to know? Damn you. Before this dream I was living the nightmare of retail management. Long weeks, salary and PITA customers. I hated every minute of the 20+ years I did it, and swore I’d eventually get the balls to just quit and write. I didn’t quit but was given the opportunity to go my own way. I did.
Zombies are currently your main subject, but you have written a range of other horror stories. What is it about the undead that attracts you so?
The money. Actually, I’m trying to be funny, but my Dying Days series is by far my biggest selling work to date. I wrote what I think is my best horror novella yet, Tool Shed, but the sales pale in comparison to my zombie stuff. It’s amazing how loyal a rabid zombie fan is for new stuff. I’m humbled they read me, like me, and constantly ask for the next one.
The zombie fan base is diehard, but the arrival of the Walking Dead has seen interest in the genre increase. Do you find many people use that show as a new marker for what they expect in fiction, and compare everything against it?
Not the zombie fans who’ve been reading zombie fiction for awhile. I do get some new fans who’ve never read zombie stuff but because of TWD they dove in, and they are pleasantly surprised by what they are finding for the most part. I hope more people dive in.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 12 and read Dean Koontz. And I did write… all kinds of stupid crap back then, and I’m glad it’s all gone now. But it planted the seed and I never stopped writing, although I had long periods of dormancy between fits of writing.
Can you still remember the day you sold your first piece of work?
Yes. It was the short story “Beastie”, which is included in my Skulls collection as well as the Skulls And Bones collection. I thought I was on my way, in my twenties and ready to quit my day job. I did, only it took another 20 years to actually do it.
You have a foot in both the self-publishing and indie publishing worlds. Which one do you find the more appealing?
They are both appealing, and I try to use them for different means. My own publishing has a strong base of fans, and I use the small press publishers who publish me to draw in new fans who might have missed my work in the past. The combination of the two will hopefully build my backlist into sales and new fans.
You are able to write full time thanks to some contracted stories that have come your way, is that correct?
I was writing full time before they came along, but they have helped me get a bit of a cushion with my writing and allow me to relax a little bit and settle into my routine. It will hopefully allow me to get out there more and allow me to write more stuff I want to during downtime from contracted work. Remember the story idea I told you about a future world run by damn dirty apes? It’s coming.
Did the publishers approach you, or did you go to them with a pitch for something?
Someone approached me for someone else… if I seem vague, it’s because I am being vague. Once they saw my work ethic and how quickly I could write a decent first draft and pump out massive amounts of words on a regular basis, they offered me even more work once the first project was done. I hope to write a thousand of them before all is said and done.
Your most recent published work is a zombie series Miami Spy Games. Can you tell us a little about it, and how that opportunity arose?
It was from the aforementioned vague people and published through the great Hobbes End Publishing, who are a real pleasure to work with. I am hoping I can keep working with them in some capacity in the future because they have quite a talented roster of authors.
You have quite the output, your daily word counts are certainly an inspiration to me. How does a typical day look like for you?
I begin my day dropping my son off at high school and get to Kokomo’s coffee shop in Flagler Beach Florida at 8 am. By 9 I am into enough coffee to wake up and checking important e-mails, then from 9 until noon I write my 2,000 word daily goal. I eat lunch and do my blog, interviews, more e-mails, too much Facebook and anything else until I have to pick him up from football practice.
Do the staff at your local ‘haunts’ know you to the point of you not even needing to order when you arrive, or are you not a creature of such repetitive habits?
I am a definite creature of habit. I try to get there at the same time and get going the same way, sitting at the same table. The wonderful owners hand me my coffee and around noon start to smile and tell me what the special is, although they post it on their Facebook page and tease me enough to try it. I enjoy the customers and I’ve inspired a woman to get her butt in a seat near me and keep writing her own story each day. I love it.
I know you are currently working on several different projects, but which one excites you the most?
Right now definitely Dying Days 3, because it is always my main story I am writing no matter what else I have I’m working on. I want to keep this series alive, and when a guy like Mark Tufo starts writing and publishing faster than me, I take it as a challenge. Plus, the bastard is a great writer, so I need to keep pace.
Who is the favorite character you have written.
Since I legally can’t take credit for creating Wolverine, I will say Darlene Bobich of the Dying Days series. She is awesome. She’s not a super human fighter, she’s a normal chick who worked at the makeup counter at the mall and then gets thrown into some pretty shitty experiences and manages to come out alive with panic attacks and crying and plenty of bruises.
Personally, I cannot plan to save my life. If I do, the only certainty is that the finished article will looking nothing like the plan. Are you a writer that meticulously plans his work, or are you more of a free spirit?
Total free spirit or I get bored. I look at it like I’m dictating a biography of this person, whether they fight zombies or kill children or inherit a screwed up farm. The characters tell me the story and I try to keep up with the writing of it. If I can’t get to that, I know the story will suck.
As of this moment in time, you have not had any released this year, anthologies excluded, and you recently wrote on your blog about how you are changing your publishing strategy a little. Can you explain a little to people your reasoning behind this change?
I spent the first two months of the year writing contracted work which might not come out for some time. My own stuff was neglected or worked on here or there, but not with any set planning. My goal until the next set of contracts comes in is to catch up on my stuff in March and into April and then space out some releases, but only my Dying Days zombie work will be self-published at this point, while the rest will be submitted to small presses I fancy. I want to get out to as many different readers as I can. I even have an agent wanting to read my Chelsea Avenue horror novel, which is cool.
The indie world is filled by two main kinds of writer, the professional, those that put in the work, the blood, sweat and tears, and produce something, and then there are those that expect to hit the bestseller lists with unedited work and are above all critique. Do you see any change in the industry that will help separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak?
I see a ton of books by first-time authors and perhaps a second release, but not a prolonged amount of books by an author unless they have their shit together. You need to put out the best work you can, get it edited, and hook a reader who will want to read everything you have to offer. I’d like to think, in a perfect world, the bad ones will shake out. But I also hope some learn from their mistakes and get better and do well, too.
You have co-written a novel recently with Tim Baker, and if I am correct, you have plans to write another, but what about writing with another author. Who would you most like to co-write with?
There are so many authors I love to read who I’d love to write with: Brian Keene, Douglas Clegg, John Everson, Joe McKinney… the list goes on. But it’s important that we mesh well together and can write as a unit, which Tim Baker and I were able to do. We’ll do a sequel to Dying Days: The Siege of European Village sooner rather than later.
If you had to describe your writing in three words, what would they be?
Sexy and smart. No, wait, that’s describing me. Character Driven Intensity. How’s that?
What are you currently reading? Do you read outside of the horror genre much?
When I’m writing (which is almost always) I tend to read mostly non-fiction biographies and autobiographies. I just finished ones by Belinda Carlisle, John Taylor (Duran Duran), Sammy Hagar, Brandon Webb (Navy SEAL), Jim Breuer, Ace Frehley, Terry Francona… I read 3-5 books a week. Just started the Adam Corolla one today.
Is there any one author, indie or not who, when they publish a book, it goes straight to the top of your TBR pile?
Bryan Hall. Seriously, the dude has some damn fine writing chops. His characters are rich and his plots are killer. I always make sure his latest gets read first.
As we have already discussed, you are a hard working writer, how do you switch off, what do you do to unwind?
I don’t usually. I am constantly working, although my girlfriend definitely helps me to unwind and forget about a tricky chapter just by being so positive and cool with me. She lets me vent and get through a sticky situation just by listening to me and letting me bounce ideas off her. I play on a trivia team on Monday nights (I personally suck, but it is fun), I like to read (obviously), and I spend time with my kids. What more is there in life? Besides writing 24/7, of course.
If you are interested in reading some of Armand’s work, below is a link to his website and also his Amazon Author Page where you can indulge yourselves in his fiction.