AN INTERVIEW WITH ARMAND ROSAMILIA
Today folks I’m proud to announce that as part of his month long Blog Tour author and editor Armand Rosamilia has kindly chosen to knock on the doors of Ginger Nuts Tower.
GNOH– Hello Armand, how are you doing?
I’m doing well,smack-dab in the middle of the “Skulls World Blog Tour 2011″… yes, Ireally wanted to be a rock star when I was growing up… still growing up, Iguess…
GNOH– I love knowing the derivation of peoples name, what’s the derivation of yourname?
I’m half Italian andhalf Irish. My actual first name is Armando, which is very Italian and what thefirst male in the family is always named (Gerald being the second male)… thelast name Rosamilia translates into ‘thousand roses’ in Italian… in my youngerdays I’d use that as a pickup line in bars, with very mixed results, lol…
GNOH– Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Born and raised inNew Jersey on Bon Jovi and Springsteen and tons of great Heavy Metal music. I’ma huge Boston Red Sox fan despite being raised in Yankees territory… as a childI read all of my mom’s King and Koontz horror paperbacks.
GNOH– What’s the appeal of horror for you?
For me it was alwaysthe unknown that got me going. I wanted to keep reading to know where themonster was, how our hero could possibly escape against such horror and odds,and how he could get the girl to safety. I escape into reading and horror pullsme in the hardest.
GNOH– Can you remember what first kicked of your love of the genre?
My mom’s huge horrorpaperback collection. She would read 3-5 books a week, and whenever I waspunished (and that was often as a kid, my brother and I were horrible) I wouldhave to go into her room. While I was in there I started reading her books anddidn’t mind being punished so much. Dean Koontz really hooked me when I wasyoung.
GNOH– Is there anything you don’t like about the genre?
I read 3-5 books aweek myself, and I’m always looking for the next author to follow. When I firststumbled onto Brian Keene, Scott Nicholson and Joe McKinney I was blown away,because here were guys who knew how to write! However, for every Keene,Nicholson or McKinney I see there are dozens of ‘hack’ writers who are puttingout badly written, poorly conceived knockoffs. The horror market is nodifferent than any other genre in that it has such a glut of choices but notall of them are worth reading.
GNOH– When you speak to people who aren’t fans of the genre, you generally get afunny up turned nose type look from them. What do you think is the biggest misconception the general public has ofthe genre?
That it’s dead. Withmost bookstores (especially the chains still alive) lumping horror intofiction, people assume it’s a thing of the past. To them horror means Twilightand True Blood. When I tell people that I write horror they usually wantto know why I have a day job, as if having a dozen releases on Amazon means I’mrich or well-off. I wish!
GNOH– What are your three favourite horror movies and three favourite horror novelsof all time?
Tough question. Threemovies off the top of my head: “Seven”, “Night of the LivingDead”, and “Halloween”… all three affected me deeply when Ifirst saw them, and those are three of the few movies that I will watch whenthey are on TV, no matter if I’ve missed half the movie… for novels the threethat had the most impact as a kid were Watchers by Koontz, Salem’sLot by King, and Dracula by Bram Stoker…
GNOH-Do you think it is important that horror writers have an awesome beard?
I know it definitelyhelps! I’m currently growing my goatee as long as it will grow, since the headon top ran away. People say I look like Kerry King from Slayer, and I won’targue. He’s a badass dude, right? The best horror authors have beards… at leastthe guys…
GNOH– Is writing something you fell into, or was it always something you felt youhad to do?
I wrote thesehorribly cliché stories as a kid, which are long lost (thank God) now. As akid, while my friends wanted to be firemen and cops, I wanted to write. That’sthe truth. My wish was granted, although if I could go back in time I’d wish tobe an author AND rich off of it, lol…
GNOH– How would you describe your writing style, and which three authors would youmost like to be compared to in a review?
My writing style hasbeen described in more than one review as straight-forward andcharacter-driven. Again, when you grow up reading Koontz and King, you fall inlove with the rich and varied characters they created. I always start with agreat concept for a character and what his/her flaws and strengths are, even ifthey never make it into the story. I want the reader to come away loving and/orhating the characters, from the main hero to the main villain to the secondarypeople making a quick appearance.
GNOH– You have a huge love for zombies in particular, what is the reason forthis?
I’ve always lovedzombie movies growing up but never read too much until Brian Keene. He showedme as a reader and a writer that you could do so much with zombies. I gave it atry after so many years of staying away from vampire, werewolf and zombiestories. Now I have several releases, a bunch of short stories in variousanthologies, and I keep writing them.
GNOH– Do you have a favourite type of zombie, and should they run?
To me there’s nothingscarier than a mass of zombies, grunting and groaning, arms extended, shufflingand shambling along at you. No runners, please.
GNOH– What do you think makes for a good zombie story? Should the story be more concerned with thehumans, or should the zombies take centre stage?
With my own writing,the character needs to be the story. If you don’t care about the person, whenhe dies you don’t care, and if they live you feel cheated. I’ve read manyzombie tales that I’d wished the zombies had won, and that’s not good.
GNOH– What was the first zombie story you had published?
It was a flashfiction piece for the Daily Bites of Flesh 2011 anthology for Pill HillPress, a simple story of a guy, Randy, on the roof with a gun and some beerafter the start of the apocalypse. He became the star of my Highway To Hellextreme zombie novella I then wrote another with a female lead named DarleneBobich killing her father with her prized Desert Eagle gun for the same antho(and added a couple more for good measure!) and then Darlene took on a veryreal life of her own and became center-stage in my Dying Days extremezombie novella.
GNOH– You have recently published Dying Days, can you tell us about that?
It continues what wasstarted in the “Anything But Luck” short story just mentionedstarring Darlene Bobich. The name actually came from a one-off comment I madeon facebook one day while I was writing the initial flash piece. I asked ifanyone had a good name for the female character and the real DarleneBobich said to use her name. It fit. Dying Days tells the story ofDarlene surviving and travelling into Florida, where she meets a group ofsurvivors. It’s actually the third story with her, because the bonus story inthe Highway To Hell novella, “Rear Guard”, stars Darlene aswell. In the future it’s my goal to put all of the Darlene Bobich storiestogether, add the missing points in-between, and finish her story in one hugevolume.
GNOH– How aware are you of other zombie fiction, when you write your own?
With anything, youneed to know what else is out there. I read so much zombie fiction I but almost every zombie anthology there is- but I try not to let too much of it slip into my own style. I write what Icall ‘extreme zombie’ stories, with them being pretty brutal at times. I’ve hadpeople who couldn’t get past the opening line to Highway To Hell, andI’m fine with that. It’s not for everyone, but for the people who like it theyseem to love it.
GNOH– There are some quarters of the genre that thinks it is time to put the zombiegenre to rest, what do you say to that?
With any subgenre,when the fresh ideas run out its time to move on. Look at vampires! It’s beendone to death, and most horror fans have stopped reading about them. Of course,there are always a few exceptions but generally it has its peaks and valleys. Ithink with “Walking Dead” on TV it brought zombies to the top, andnow authors tell me that their zombie stories/books are selling great, but itwill bottom out when people find the new thing (Werewolves? Fairies? Mummies?)and then only the small but rabid zombie fans will be left to pick through thecrap and find the diamonds still being published.
GNOH– You have also just released Undead Tales, how did you become involvedin this?
I decided to puttogether a zombie anthology for my small-press company, Rymfire eBooks. Butinstead of just opening a reading period to anyone I got the insane idea toinvite some of the guys I read and admired, never thinking they would agree. Iwas wrong! Joe McKinney, Scott Nicholson, Eric S. Brown, W.D. Gagliani… a tonof names sent me stories… I was blown away, and the collection is amazing.
GNOH– How inspiring or uninspiring was it going through the submission pile?
After getting about adozen stories set from the guys I admired I started quietly asking others thatI knew had written zombie stories but wasn’t too familiar with their workpersonally. Some of these writers – like Mark Tufo, Scott M. Goriscak, ChantalBoudrea, Jeremiah Coe – had some of the best stories in the collection. Someauthors I really wanted couldn’t commit and/or had other obligations, butperhaps a second anthology will be out in the future and I can snag the rest ofmy favourites.
GNOHWithout naming names, did anyone react badly to not being included in theanthology?
Not really. I hadonly one author pull out at the last minute because they had sold the story formore money elsewhere. Some guys didn’t think the pay was enough (and itwasn’t!) or had many, many questions about distribution. Rymfire eBooks is asmall small-press and I basically handle all of it myself, trying to put outstories that I love. It’s a break-even with the hope and the drive to make itinto something bigger. In the meantime, there’s only so much you can do. I alsohad two authors that sent in stories after the anthology had already beenfinished, contracts signed, and it was formatted and ready for print.
GNOH– One of the main reasons for you popping over here for a chat is as part of ablog tour for your new book Skulls. How has the tour been going? Atleast by doing a virtual tour you don’t have to stay in some dodgey digs?
Yeah, this is a bitdifferent from the book signings I’m used to. I once did a book signing in aswimming pool supply store during a hurricane, twenty feet from the beach, andhad more sales that day than any other. So far the tour has been excellent;I’ve had a chance to do interesting interviews (like this one), blog postsabout certain stories in the Skulls collection, different posts aboutbeing an author and a publisher, and so many other great ideas. Each blog stophas been different and unique and I hope people have been following along sincethe beginning and learning something new about me.
GNOH– Can you tell us about Skulls?
It’s a collection ofsix of my short stories, most of them written in the 1990’s. I wanted to putthem together so people could read some of my non-zombie works and see
how farI’ve come as a writer. The very first story I ever had published,”Beastie”, is there as well as a story I’d recently finished called”Memorial Site.” It also includes a preview of my Death Metalurban horror novella release.
GNOH– How did you go about selecting the stories that appear in it?
I wanted to showcasesome special pieces that I liked, even now. As most of them were written yearsago, I went back and re-read so many shorts until I decided on the best and theones that showed me fully as a writer.
GNOH– Do you have a favourite of the stories?
That’s hard.”Beastie” was the very first sale, so it is special to me.”Stairs To The Ocean” was based on an actual dream, “Vacation’sEnd” was about my first wife in a way, “1920 Gallery Card #4″was about baseball cards, which I still collect, “Crow Mill Bridge”was an old story that was quirky and I had fun writing, especially with all theclichés, and “Memorial Site” was a new idea and the last story Iwrote before putting Skulls together, and it came out of the crazinessof the Casey Anthony trial. Does that answer your question? Didn’t think so…
GNOH– It contains a preview of your urban horror novella Death Metal, canyou let slip any details as to what this one is about?
Death Metal was originally released in 2009 by Sam’s Dot Publishingand was my first novella sale and one I’m still very proud of. When rightsreverted back to me I decided to put it out myself through Rymfire and so farit’s been doing well. It stars a YA novel author with a secret past as a DeathMetal musician. At a book signing the two worlds clash… the novella is filledwith drugs, alcohol, kidnapping, Death Metal music, betrayal, drugs… you getthe idea.
GNOH– As well as being an author you have also recently taken over Rymfirebooks. How did this come about?
David Rose started itup, thinking it would be a quick money-maker. He’s got money and buys up smallcompanies and then does that big corporate thing with them, stuff beyond me. Hedecided to put together Rymfire, let it grow in a few months with a greatbacklist, and then maybe sell it. It doesn’t work that way. Within six monthshe got bored and more or less handed everything over to me, because I washelping him out with the actual anthologies and submissions. So far Rymfire hasreleased some great anthologies like the State of Horror series, Undeadof Winter zombie anthology, an upcoming Rymfire Erotica, and so manymore.
GNOH– Could you tell us what the ethos of Rymfire eBooks is? What would you say sets you apart from othersmall press publications?
I think what you seeis what you get. I’m an author so I try to treat everyone working with us withrespect and as a family. We’re not going to get rich off of this but we can geta few bucks out of it, further our careers, and have some fun. So far it’s beenmostly positive reviews and a positive atmosphere and I’ve met some greatpeople, either in person or online. I hope to be able to continue this for along time.
GNOH– Can you tell us any future publications that are coming from you guys?
The State ofHorror books will continue. We already have Texas, New York, Pennsylvania,Louisiana, Massachusetts, and have Nevada, California, North Carolina and morecoming… and I add new anthology guidelines tohttp://rymfireebooks.com/submissions.html all the time.
GNOH– So what does the future hold for you?
Secret lotterynumbers, supermodels, pounds and pounds of M&M’s… actually, I hope tocontinue to grow my writing career by releasing great stories, keep putting outgreat anthologies by Rymfire eBooks, and keep meeting new fans and fellowauthors and making long-term relationships with them… and eating M&M’s…
GNOH– Thanks for popping over, I hope the rest of your blog tour goes well, just rememberdon’t drink the local water.
Point taken! Thanksfor the interview!
You can Purchase all of Armand’s and Rymfire’s books by following the links on page below
DETAILS OF ARMANDS BLOG TOUR AND COMPETITION