Today I welcome horror writer Armand Rosamilia to Exquisite Corpse. Armand is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he drives his fiance Kim crazy watching zombie movies, the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music. He is 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.
Q. First, the superficialities. There’s been a bit of talk on Exquisite Corpse about horror writers and their physical appearance. It seems that if you’re a female horror writer, you’re expected to look all dark, brooding, gothic and tattooed to be taken seriously, and if you’re a male horror writer and look all dark, brooding, gothic and tattooed, it’s the opposite; people think you’re a poser who is in it for the image and not the craft.
I hope I don’t offend, but in your profile picture, you look scary – big and mean and not to be messed with. Have you found your physical appearance to have helped or hindered your writing career in any way, or is it a non-issue?
A. My physical appearance – initially – backs people off, but once you get to know me I’m a big teddy bear. I have that ‘biker pro wrestler’ look, and the long goatee and Slayer or zombie shirts don’t help dispel that. Plus, whenever I go to a convention there are so many of the gamers and, uh, not to be offensive, but sometimes it looks like a casting call for a “Big Bang Theory” movie… so I tend to stand out, but I talk with everyone, I am a super flirt with the ladies, and like to tell stories, as long as you’re buying me a drink at the bar.
Q. Still with appearances, but getting down to the writing now…Judging by your blog and the number of titles you have available, you’re a disciplined, focused and prolific writer. Any tips for the sluggish and lazy among us to lift our game?
A. I used to set these goals like ‘write a novel in six months’ and then never get close. Now I do small goals like 1,000 words a day and add 50 Twitter friends and read three submissions for the next anthology… I am also very bad with banging out an entire novella in five days (did 25k in 5 days for a publisher right before New Years) and thrive on that last-minute pressure. But I don’t suggest writing that way. I’m nuts.
A. I hope to be able to do this comfortably for a living. I’m not shooting for big cars and houses, just want to be able to pay the rent and utilities and afford enough snacks to kill me. I set daily goals and use index cards every day to map out where I’ll be this night and this week’s goals and were they hit. Usually, they’re hit.
Q. For someone who is entirely new to your work, where do you suggest they start?
A. If you love zombies, you can’t go wrong starting with “Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer”, which kicks off my “Dying Days” series of books… “Dying Days 2” has just been released, and there will be a slew of “Dying Days” books in 2012 and beyond…
Q. So tell me more about this Dying Days that I keep hearing about.
A. The series follows the survival and exploits of Darlene Bobich, a twenty-eight year old mall makeup counter gal from Maine, and her quest to live. She travels from her home to Florida, meets some bad people and undead, and is emotional. She’s a real person. My goal is to eventually do a “Dying Days 3” as well as several off-shoot books with other characters and new characters, all set in the “Dying Days” world. Oh, and Reality’s Edge Film company bought an option for the rights to “Dying Days” so that might be happening in 2012 as well.
Q. I’m stealing…I mean, borrowing this question from Suzanne Robb – tell me something about you that no one would believe.
A. That Suzanne Robb is a stalker. Google her name, mine and anthologies and you’ll see she weaselled her way into a ton of them I’m in! She probably told you to ask that question so she could see her name on yet another page with mine. Actually, she’s a great writer and I end up reading her story first in the ToC’s we share.
Q. If for some reason you couldn’t be a writer, what would be your backup career choice?
A. Unfortunately, my only real option is retail management. My dad always told me to find something you like doing for a living because you’ll do it until you die. I wish I had, because I hate retail. But I’ve been doing it for 25 years… I’m currently unemployed and living off my writing (trying, getting close) but know I’ll eventually have to dive back into retail. Not going to be fun.
Q. Here’s a test of your creative skills – in 250 words or less, write me a flash fiction piece based on the above picture (whilst bearing in mind that these two are somebody’s daughters i.e. mine).
A. That’s a tough one, but I’ll try to write it in one shot…
“Mom, can we stop posing already? Please just take the picture,” Little Red said. She wanted to be done with this and get back to her iCarly.
“One more flash blinding me and I’m going to use this scythe on the camera,” Skeleton Carnifex said, evil lurking behind her corpsepaint makeup.
All they wanted was to be free of this daily picture-taking. Mother wouldn’t listen. Day after day new costumes would be left out and there was no television, no homework, and no snack until pictures were done.
Little Red had loved Friday’s costume: a mermaid, with a wig and a rock in the living room to sit on. Alas, it was destroyed with all the other costumes.
Mommy was looking for the right combination. At least that’s what she said.
The doorbell rang but they knew not to move as mommy opened it, pulling in three large boxes.
Of course, the delivery people usually rang the bell and ran back to their truck before mommy tried to drag them inside and dress them up or use them as background people in the shot.
And her permanent witch costume – it was a costume, right? – scared them off.
199 words, I think… now I want Halloween candy… thanks…
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Want to know more about the “Dying Days” series? Want to win free eBooks and maybe print books of them? My contest is simple: e-mail me at armandrosamilia (at) gmail (dot) com with DYING DAYS in the subject line and I’ll enter you into the daily giveaway… also, post a comment here and you get another chance… follow my blog at http://armandrosamilia.com for yet another chance, and friend me on Twitter (@ArmandAuthor) and simply post DYING DAYS to me, and you’ll get another shot… nice and easy, right? If I get enough people joining in the giveaway there will be a print book given away that day!
“Dying Days” series information can be found here: http://armandrosamilia.com/dying-days-series/