The Fifth Dimension is proud to be able to produce the transcript of an interview recently undertaken with Horror author, Armand Rosamilia.
Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey native currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he's not watching zombie movies, the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music...
Besides the "Miami Spy Games" zombie spy thriller series, he has the "Keyport Cthulhu" horror series, several horror novellas and shorts to date, as well as the "Dying Days" series:
He is also an editor for Rymfire Books, helping with several horror anthologies, including "Vermin" and the "State of Horror" series, as well as the creator and energy behind Carnifex Metal Books, putting out the "Metal Queens Monthly" series of non-fiction books about females into Metal...
You can find him at http://armandrosamilia.com and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal: email@example.comInterview questions.
(FD) Due to the fact those who read this interview will be scattered throughout the world, tell us more about where you are from and where you live.
(AR) I'm a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida. But I will always be a Jersey guy at heart. I am currently sequestered in Flagler Beach, where I get to sit around all day in a great little coffee place called Kokomo's, and watch the tourists on the beaches and the whales and the dolphins. Sometimes I don't get distracted and actually write.
(FD) Tell me about your average writing day, if there is such a thing!
(AR) I drop off my son at high school at 7:30 am and head to Kokomo's, where my table and coffee are waiting. I go through my e-mails until around 9 am until I'm almost awake, and then write for the next three hours and hope to hit my 2,000 word goal. Lunch is usually something unique they whip up and I like to try the specials. Then I waste the afternoon, getting more writing in but mostly playing on Facebook, doing e-mail interviews, answering e-mails and reading way too many blogs.
(FD) When did you first start writing fiction and why?
(AR) I was twelve when I started, and it was all Dean Koontz's fault. I loved his paperbacks as a kid and wanted to write like him. And I did! I wrote exactly like him, stealing ideas and sentences I liked from his books and making my own horrible stories that made no sense. But my parents encouraged me and I kept it up.
(FD) Aaah, Dean Koontz - a particular favourite of mine. I remember being completely knocked out by the the first book of his that I read, 'Ticktock'… amazing stuff. Could you nail down your favourite?
(AR) It was definitely "Phantoms" for me. I can remember reading that book, especially the first act, as a kid and being scared lying in bed reading it. I've never seen the movie and I have no intention of seeing it, because it ran in my mind already as a teen and it creeped me out for whatever reason.
(FD) Why do you write predominantly in horror genre?
(AR) I love it. I always have. I've been reading it since I can remember, thanks to my mother's huge horror paperback collection. She would read 3-5 books a week and I tried to keep up through my teen years. It was just natural for me to write it, and I've dabbled in fantasy (thanks to RE Howard), but horror has always been my main passion.
(FD) Why do you think it is that the sci-fi & horror genre’s are looked down upon by many in the literary world, and does that bother you?
(AR) It doesn't bother me, because the real fans are all that matter. I've been writing mostly zombie fiction in the last couple of years, and there is a small but rabid fan base for it. You'll get some fans of The Walking Dead who will try it, which is awesome. But they aren't the fan I'm trying to hook in. I want the zombie reader who loves Mark Tufo and Ian Woodhead and John O'Brien to read my stuff.
(FD) What are your thoughts that Zombies seem to be the new vampires? The Walking Dead seem to be everywhere!
(AR) If it helps bring in new fans, I'm all for it. I know many people who started reading zombie fiction thanks to the TV show, but I also worry about too much out there, and zombies going the way of the vampire. I went and saw Warm Bodies with my twelve-year old daughter, and she loved it. She also loves Twilight. Me? Not so much. It's getting into those Jump The Shark moments and I'm getting uncomfortable with it.
(FD) Oh god, tell me about it - Bram Stoker will be turning in his grave! Since when did Vampires start to 'spangle' when they died?
(FD) When I was growing up, I was that nerdy kid ridiculed for my comic collection and obsession with all things Sci-fi and horror. So when was it that Geeks became cool & began to take over the world?!
(AR) I know! I was the mullet-wearing Heavy Metal dude who played Dungeons & Dragons and had a huge comic book collection. I was total geek in junior high and high school. Really bad. I wasn't ever thought of as one of the cool kids. Now, if you act like you're onBig Bang Theory you're cool. I don't get it. I never got laid telling chicks I played D&D, that's for sure.
(FD) Who in the horror genre (writers, film makers etc) inspire you?
(AR) I think there are so many out there that inspire me, and I owe a nod to. Obviously, Dean Koontz from when I was a kid, and all the schlocky B-movies I saw as a teen, with names like Bloodsucking Freaks. Writers like Brian Keene got me into zombie fiction, and authors like John Everson, Scott Nicholson, Douglas Clegg and Bryan Hall kept my love for horror fiction alive.
(FD) How familiar are you with British horror?
(AR) Not as much as I should be. I read quite a few British authors but I never go out of my way to find them, they just happen to be from across the pond. I'm always looking for recommendations, so…
(FD) Well you have some of the classics such as Horace Walpole, Gregory Lewis, Mary Shelley Wheatley then some of the contemporary writers such as James Herbert, Peter James, Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterson and Clive Barker. I'd love to hear your opinion of them if you get the chance. Plus, perhaps the greatest British horror movie ever ( in my opinion) - 'The Wicker Man'.
(AR) As a teen I read sci fi and "Dune" was one of my favorite series, but as I got older I got more and more of of sci fi and firmly into horror. Campbell and especially Masterson are big parts of my bookshelf collections, and I always try to find new reads from them. I also grew up on a steady diet of those great Hammer Films and saw "The Wicker Man" years ago, which I liked. I also like the Iron Maiden song based on it, haha. I saw the remake with Nic Cage… that's all I will say.
(FD) What is more important to you, writing character or plot driven story lines?
(AR) They are both important, but the main reason people keep reading a story is because they care about the character. Whether you love or hate them, you need to feel invested in what happens to them. A mindless plot of action sequences and more action sequences won't get people involved, but a great character will.
(FD) Oh I completely agree, you have to emotionally connect to even the most unsettling of characters and sometimes even try and see things from their point of view. If there was one classic horror character that you wish you had written, who would it be and why?
(AR) Harry Keogh from the Necroscope series. I absolutely love the evolution of the character in the books, and Lumley is such an immense talent. And a British guy… hmm.
(FD) Leading on from that, who is the favourite character you have created and why?
(AR) Darlene Bobich, hands down. She stars in the "Dying Days" series and I created her wanting to stay away from the cliché main characters like cops, military or super humans in a zombie apocalypse. She's less Milla Jojovich and more the normal woman.
She is not a stunning beauty but she is very pretty, she is a bit overweight, she works behind a makeup counter in the mall, she has panic attacks and cries… she is just normal.
(FD) You have a single choice; Make money from writing or being critically praised for your work?
(AR) I like feeding my kids. That is the bottom line because I do this full-time and in order to keep doing it full-time I have to keep writing, and sometimes write a little out of my comfort zone. I chalk it up to learning experiences and being able to adjust my writing to strict deadlines and ideas that aren't originally my own, but making them mine. Critical praise is more of an ego thing, and I have more than enough ego for several people.
(FD) So do you think the advent of the Internet, social networking, self-publishing etc have become a help or hindrance to fiction writers to make money these days compared to the past?
(AR) Both. It depends on how much time you are spending online. My thought is writing is 25% writing and 75% promoting it. But really promoting it, like doing interviews (thanks, by the way!) and talking about your books and selling you as a Brand. But then chit-chat on Facebook and Twitter, while helping to sell you as a person as well as a writer, can easily get lost after hours of talking about stupid things (which I do all the time), and not advancing your career. I love self-publishing but I'm also realistic to know each author has a ceiling for sales unless he can generate new readers. How do you get them? By engaging them online, at book signings, and word of mouth.
(FD) Can you tell us what you are working on at the moment?
(AR) About fifty projects, it seems. Dying Days 3 and Dying Days: Origins zombie novellas, final edits on my Chelsea Avenue horror novel, and a non-fiction book called Metal Queens: Models 2. I keep adding more and more projects as they come up.
(FD) So its safe to say that either by nature or necessity, you're something of a multi-tasker?!
(AR) I am a multi-tasker out of fear. I need to keep working and keep the ideas flowing or I feel like I'll lose my momentum and/or mojo. I need to get out as many projects and stories from my head as is humanly possible before I die. Or before this weekend…
(FD) Finally, possibly the most important question of this interview; Marvel or DC?
(AR) Make mine Marvel. 'Nuff said.
(FD) Aaaah, a man after my own heart! :-)
This interview took place between the 11th and 16th of March. I would sincerely like to thank Armand for his time.