Happy New Year! Hope you all have recovered from your hangovers already. I know I haven’t!
Last week, I got the chance to interview Armand Rosamilia, the very talented author of over a bajillion titles. Well, not really. But pretty close. We talk about a lot fun of stuff, everything from his new books to his writing process. Armand is always entertaining, so make sure you not only check out his books, but listen to his various podcasts over at the Project Entertainment Network. Okay? Good. Now, enjoy the interview!
TIM MEYER: Hey Armand! Thanks for stopping by the blog. Let’s talk about your newest release, Dying Days 7. What is the Dying Days series about? How does it differ from other zombie books?
ARMAND ROSAMILIA: Thanks for having me, Tim! Dying Days began as an extreme zombie story, where the undead don’t want to just bite you… they want to sexually violate you. Yeah, pretty nasty. They’ve since evolved in ways some readers didn’t see coming, and as the story progresses they keep changing and adapting, which is what the survivors are also trying to do.
TM: You’ve dedicated seven books to this one series. How do you keep the plot fresh? How do you find the inspiration to continue?
AR: I copy and paste the previous book and change a few words. Actually, I’m still getting ideas for the series and the characters are now telling me what comes next. It’s gone beyond a zombie story, too, which I think has helped to keep it really fresh.
TM: Is there an end for Dying Days in the near future? Any signs of stopping?
AR: Yes. Dying Days 8 will come out June 2017 and then Dying Days 9 November 2017. That will be it. The story will be done (for the most part). I’m making a conscious effort to end the series and give some resolution to the plot and characters. But never say never for a future series set in the world…
TM: Your newest addition in the Dirty Deeds (Book 3) series is due out soon. What kind of adventure awaits our favorite “problem solver”?
AR: James Gaffney seems to find himself in trouble wherever he goes. This time he’s called down to Philadelphia during a snowstorm to record a testimony for the FBI to keep himself out of prison. Dirty Deeds 3 introduces some new characters as well as brings back some old favorites. My goal is to have a new book release in this crime thriller series every 6 months.
TM: What inspired you to write Dirty Deeds?
AR: I wanted to write something more mainstream. I was getting burned out writing just horror and really ugly stuff. I needed a change, even for just a book. When I saw the Kindle Scout program and the contract offered by Kindle Press if they accepted your book I jumped at the chance and wrote it. I’m proud to say it won a contract and opened up my writing to a huge, new audience. I’m glad I decided to cut out the profanity, over the top violence and sex and try something a bit different for me. I love the challenge of keeping my Jersey profanity vocabulary out of this book, too.
TM: Of all the characters you’ve created, which do you connect with most on a personal level? Which is your favorite?
AR: Despite my protests most people who know me personally think I am James Gaffney, the main character in the Dirty Deeds series. I don’t see it but I guess because of some of his quirks and the way he looks at the world he is a big part of me. I guess it’s also easier to write him because most of the time I’m just trying to figure out what I would actually do in the situation. I wouldn’t be nearly composed as he is, and he’s pretty shaky at times with the stuff thrown at him.
TM: Let’s talk shop. Describe your process. Do you write every day?
AR: I have to write every day or I get in a mood. I recently broke my daily writing streak at 79 straight days. My goal is 1,096 words a day, which will give me 400k in a fiscal year. That allows me to write most of what I want to do. I also utilize something I call The Mando Method (patent pending) where I write for the first 15 minutes of each hour and then take the next 45 minutes to do other stuff and reset. I average about 600 words each sprint.
TM: What kind of music do you listen to while writing, if any?
AR: I usually have my headphones on while I write, especially when anyone is home. I am an old man (just turned 47) so I like old school thrash metal, hair metal, and getting back into black metal thanks to fellow author Chuck Buda.
TM: You write across a multitude of genres. I’ve heard some say this is a major no-no for authors, as it hurts their branding. It’s clearly working for you. How do you think genre-hopping has helped your career?
AR: I keep my voice despite the genre of the story. I am actually very character-driven in my writing and it doesn’t really matter whether I write a horror story or a crime thriller or contemporary fiction or anything else. The readers enjoy the characters and the situations they are getting in. It has definitely expanded my audience, who move into other genres I am writing in.
TM: What would you recommend to a brand new author: stick to one genre, or write across whatever genres their little hearts desire?
AR: Do what feels right to you. There is no magic formula, but I will caution to get a good sample size of stories and sales and then sit down and think of this as a business. Which it is. If you want to write as a hobby do whatever you want, but if you want to make a living off of this you’ll need to see what is selling for you and what is flat and readers don’t like. Keep experimenting with genres and stories if it feels organic. Don’t chase a trend.
TM: You’ve collaborated with other authors on various projects. Personally, I love the collaboration process and enjoy the results when others do the same. Has collaboration been a rewarding experience for you?
AR: Very much so. I wrote The Enemy Held Near with Jay Wilburn and it’s one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written. Going back and forth with another writer, especially one you are a fan of, has improved my own storytelling so much. It challenges you to write your very best and to get another angle on the plot and character development. I’m currently writing a second book with Jay and hope to have it shopped to publishers in early 2017.
TM: What’s on the horizon for Armand Rosamilia in 2017?
AR: I’m always busy. Dirty Deeds 3 will be out January 31st. Look for Shocker 3, a horror/humor book I co-wrote with Frank Edler soon, too. Green River Blend 3, a horror story about coffee, will be coming at some point from Devil Dog Press.
I also took over a podcast group. Project Entertainment Network has over a dozen podcasts including Arm Cast Podcast and The Mando Method Podcast (with co-host Chuck Buda and featuring Erin Al-Mehairi), both of which are mine. In addition we carry The Horror Show with Brian Keene, Three Guys with Beards (Jonathan Maberry, James A Moore and Christopher Golden) and many more. We’ll be adding new podcasts in 2017 as well.