Doubleshot Reviews is extremely pleased to have the privilege of interviewing Tony Faville, author of Permuted Press’s Kings of the Dead. He, also, happens to be my husband. As, I’m sure you can guess, I am very proud of his accomplishments with Kings of the Dead and with his writing, in general. Wanting to do something special for his interview with Doubleshot Reviews, I asked for some help. I contacted several of our author friends and asked them to contribute a question for Tony and these fantastic tellers of tales were more than happy to provide some fun and insightful questions for Tony to ponder. I hope you have as much fun reading Tony’s interview as I did putting it together.
Tony, thank you very much for taking the time to join us here at Doubleshot Reviews to answer some questions from your fellow authors/friends. I’ll start things off with one of my questions…
Our readers may not be familiar with Kings of the Dead. Could you tell us a little about Kings and how it came to be?
Kings of the Dead was written over a period of 22 days during the 2009 National Novel Writing Month. I decided three days into the month that I wanted to give the contest a try, and since my mind never shuts off I had a basic idea of a story floating around in there. By the end of the month I had something I was not afraid to let my family and friends read, but I also felt confident enough with, that I decided to let it go into the distribution channel and self published it.
The book is now available through Amazon
Rachelle Nelson co-reviewer at Doubleshot Reviews:
Did you ever consider writing before you participated in NaNoWriMo in 2009?
I played around with some writing in the past but I never really got serious about it. In fact, if you were to take all of the stories I started and never finished for one reason or another and I would likely have a few decent anthologies by now.
Jonathan Maberry, author of Rot & Ruin and the recently released The King of Plagues: a Joe Ledger novel:
Why should today’s readers take a chance and pick up a horror novel?
Because horror people are no longer the pasty skinned, pimpled faced teens sitting in their mothers basement. You will now find horror fans from all walks of life. That tells me that the quality of todays horror writers and horror stories have grown far beyond what they once were. Either that, or us horror fans have grown up and moved out on our own.
James Melzer, author of the anthology, The Other Side:
Did you try to go the traditional route with Kings of the Dead before self-publishing it, and if not, why? If so, please elaborate on what the process was like for you.
Well, I never really intended to sell Kings when I first wrote it, and decided to sell it at the last moment. Going through Createspace it was actually quite painless getting it self-published and online for sale. I think the most painful thing about being self-published has been the animosity from people who do not recognize that the publishing industry is in the middle of massive changes. Seriously, my wife and I have both been called heinous names simply because the book was self published.
Which is easier to kill: a zombified giraffe or a zombified elephant?
I would have to say that a zombie giraffe would be easier to kill. Yes, the head is significantly smaller than an elephant head, but look at that neck man! Lop that head off and take your sweet time drilling it in the melon. As for the elephant, right now I have no weapons in the armory that would penetrate an elephant skull…..give me 6 months and ask me the same question.
Janice Gable Bashman co-author of Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil:
What do you think people would enjoy most about Kings of the Dead?
The fact that it is easily recognizable as having been written by a true fan of the genre. Unfortunately there have been a lot of zombie stories written recently by people who are simply “cashing in” on zombies while they are “hot”.
Derek M Koch (aka Brother D) contributing author to Dark, A Horror Anthology:
With Kings of the Dead, you went from blogging your story during National Novel Writing Month to self-publishing your story as a novel and now you’re starting your run as an author published by Permuted Press. Obviously, the text of your story changed between each iteration of the story, but as a writer, how have you changed?
I feel that I have definitely grown as a writer, and my recent work shows that growth. I feel quite strongly that my work has gone on to become significantly more mature and compelling.
Did you find using the personalities of your friends and family an inspiration or a hinderance? Did your characters want to do things in Kings of the Dead that they would never do in real life? And if so, who won out, you or the characters?
Well, for the most part, it was an inspiration as I did not really have to create characters from the ground up, but instead I already had the foundation for most of my characters. For the most part, these individuals were just happy to be involved and recognized that it was nothing more than a piece of fiction. There were a couple of people who took things a little too personally, but nothing to the point where they truly objected to being utilized in the way they were in the book. As I said, it was a piece of fiction, nothing more, nothing less.
Edward J Russell, author of The Dead Infested: Second Bane:
Does you have a ritual to your writing. Preferred time of day? A special place? Do you listen to any music (if so what) or do you prefer dead silence? (pun intended)
Honestly, it really depends on my mood and how I am feeling. In other words, absolutely no routine. With that being said, more often than not, I tend to have a glass of bourbon next to the keyboard and headphones on when I am trying to focus. As for music, I run from Cash to AC/DC to Journey. What do you expect, I am a child of the 80′s after all.
Tonia Brown, author of Lucky Stiff:
Do you find yourself influenced more by novels or film? Do you think newer work affects you more or do the oldies but goodies bear more influence on you?
I would have to say that I am significantly more influenced by film than I am by books. Yes, there were zombie films prior to Night of the Living Dead from 1968, but they were mostly the voodoo style zombies, and while those are cool, I much prefer my zombies to be flesh eaters ala George A. Romero. As for other films that have influenced my choice of genre, I would have to say this list will give you a good idea of what does it for me: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Night of the Comet, A Boy and His Dog, The Omega Man, and Escape from New York. As you can see, it is mostly “older” films that offer the most influence for me.
Lori Titus, author of Lazarus:
What three or four elements make a good story, in your opinion?
Characters are the foundation in my opinion. Without a believable character, whether they be “good” or “bad”, it really doesn’t matter. You just have to believe this individual could exist. Environment is next. Sure, you could write a story completely set in an empty void, but you better have one heck of a good story to make it work. Passion is third, and not a lustful passion, but more along the lines of does your story make the reader think? Does it grab your reader by the throat and say Holy hell! That is a great idea! If not, then it’s time for a rewrite.
Jonathan Moon, author of Houdini Gut Punch:
Kings of the Dead is one of the most unique views of the dead rising I’ve seen recently. Would you follow the same loose set of rules the main characters lived by in the book?
As a matter of fact, yes I would. When I was writing Kings I thought very hard about every situation and whether it was plausible and if it was how I would handle it myself.
David Dunwoody, author of Empire and the upcoming sequel Empire’s End:
We’ve all thought about how we might act in apocalyptic scenario. What personal challenges or pitfalls would you likely be forced to confront in such a scenario?
Well, my biggest issue would actually be my health. I have a messed up neck and knees from the military, I am overweight, and I had a heart attack back in April 2009. That is why I will not be doing a lot of running from the zombie masses, but instead will be standing my ground and holding on to what I find most dear. With that being said, I am an obstinate SOB and it will take a lot to take me down.
Jennifer Hudock, author of The Goblin Market:
What your zombie apocalypse weapon of choice, and why?
This might sound like a chickenshit answer, but my weapon of choice is the one I have on me. Why? Because while an M-60 machine gun might be my real choice, it’s not exactly something I can carry on me at all times. For the record, no, I don’t own an M-60. Talk to me again a year after Kings is released.
S.G Browne, author of Fated:
If you were a zombie and had to eat either your mother, Paris Hilton, or Roseanne Barr, who would it be and why?
Paris Hilton. Mostly because I have always preferred rich foods, but also because I could not do that to my mom. In regards to Roseanne Barr, two things, I hate the taste of failure and I would rather eat a bowling ball.
Jake Bible, author of Dead Mech:
If you were forced to become a cannibal during the zombie apocalypse, how would you prepare your meat? Follow up: what cut of meat would you use?
I would most likely treat it very similar to veal. With my method of preparation I could take my cuts from any part of the body. Trim and cut down to a nice cutlet roughly the size of my hand. Pound it out slightly with a meat tenderizer then dredge the meat in a lightly seasoned flour. In a hot pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and butter I would quickly cook the cutlets until golden brown. Then I would remove the cutlets from the pan, deglaze the pan with a little lemon juice and white wine, throw in some chopped shallots and a small handful of capers. When the wine is reduced, add in some cold butter and incorporate off the heat. Plate your cutlets, add the sauce, then add in your side dishes. A little Long Pig Piccata if you will.
Wendy Wagner, contributing author to the anthology Rigor Amortis:
In honor of my character in the book, I have two questions:
Tony, do you practice any martial arts or have trained with any non-gun
I was a US Navy Hospital Corpsman that spent my entire time with the Marines. In that time I spent a lot of time on different training ranges and picked up a thing or two here and there. While I have never formally practiced any of the martial arts, I have what I consider to be like 4X4 knowledge….just enough to get you into trouble. I guess that is why I have focused primarily on firearms, I would prefer to remove the threat from a distance. Oh, and as a Chef, you pick up a knife skill or two over the years.
Do you have a favorite vegetarian recipe?
Years ago I had friends over for dinner. She was a full-blown vegetarian, which made him a resistant vegetarian in training. I fixed them a pot of wild mushroom Bolognese that had him returning to the pot three times.
Eric R Lowther, author of the upcoming Area 187, Almost Hell:
As a disaster/emergency preparedness advocate is there a single or specific “worst sin” you had to commit in your apocalyptic fiction, except for the zombies themselves of course, to make it work? (i.e. sacrificing a certain level of realism to make a story point or character etc)
I would have to say, the biggest sin I think I made in order to make the story work was basing the main character on myself. Yeah, I know, that is considered a cardinal sin by many writers. However, as I wrote the story I wanted to make sure the things I had the characters doing, would actually work. My short-barreled .50cal machine gun mounted to a bracket from the ceiling of the armored car? Yeah, it would work. More than one expert agreed that it would work. Yes, the shortened barrel would sacrifice accuracy, but that was not what the character wanted. He wanted something that would throw massive amounts of lead downrange while fitting inside the vehicle.
Patrick D’Orazio, author of the Into the Dark: Book 2 of a Zombie Trilogy:
Tony, congratulations on the deal with Permuted. The big question is, what’s next? Will you stick with the world you already created with Kings of the Dead and develop more stories for the world you created, or go in a different direction?
I originally thought there was more story to the Kings universe, but after writing the expansion, I feel the story is told. I do have a project I am working on that will stay in the genre, just a different universe.
Many know you as Zombie Hunter Tony, so of course, zombie tales are a big enjoyment for you, is there one particular thing that really attracts you to the genre?
I would have to say it is ultimately the survivability factor. How long can you survive in a land filled with the undead? Not just physically, but mentally as well. What would living like that do to you was something I truly tried to touch upon with Kings of the Dead. When you get down to it, even someone like a John Rambo would eventually crack from all of the death and mayhem surrounding them on a daily basis.
Have you ever written a scene of extreme violence, mayhem or similar material that you felt you needed to edit it down because you felt you went too far for the average reader?
Honestly, I have not really gone as disgusting or as violent as I could go. I did write one story for a bigfoot anthology that was freaking gross, but I did not feel the need to tone it back. The way I look at it, it’s the horror genre, if you don’t want to read about violence and disgusting behavior, feel free to go back to reading your romance novels.
Have you considered or do you think you will ever try your hand at writing other genres? I happen to know that you have quite a talent for telling pirate tales. If not out of the genre would you consider something other than zombies in the horror realm?
As you know, I have “dabbled” in the past with other genres. They say you should write what you know, and the fact is, I have a few things bouncing around inside my head that may one day find themselves sitting on the writers desk. In other words, nothing is off the table.
I already know the answer to this, but what are you currently working on? Do you have anything you can share with your readers to get them chomping at the bit?
I am slowly working on a book tentatively titled Slow Burn that starts with patient zero, goes right up to the edge of total collapse, and then falls into an almost siege pattern. If I can ever get the focus I need to finish writing the thing, it should be a hell of a story.
Where might our readers look to find more information about you and any future work?
Well, they can definitely follow my blog over at Tony Faville, a boy and his blog. Once my book is published I am sure there will be information about it over at Permuted Press and they are always welcome to follow me on Twitter: @tfaville
Last question, since you know I’m usually over-caffeinated, because I love my coffee and you indulge me in my obsession and, of course, since my rating system for reviews is based on espresso shots…what is your favorite coffee drink? If not coffee, is there another drink that is a must during your day?
With my job, Makers Mark bourbon is a must during my day. However, despite my hatred for the job, I need to have the job. My libations run the gamut from a Black Rock Coffee Rockstar Smoothie, to NOS, and including a Dutch Bros Double Torture with a little extra sweet.
And since I know you are dying to ask me this question, who is my favorite Muppet? Sticking purely to The Muppets, I have to go with Animal. Why? Replace those drumsticks with hatchets and turn him loose on the zombies, man. The undead will be re-dead for good before you even know it. A one Muppet zombie killing machine. My only request of Animal would be that he at least save a couple for me.
Tony, on behalf of Rachelle, myself and our Doubleshot Reviews readers, we thank you, again, for joining us. This had been a lot of fun and I look forward to reading more of your work.
Thank you very much for doing this for me. The support I have received from you over the past year in this entire endeavor has meant more to me than the iPad in your left hand or the Glock 19 in your right hand can tell you. I just hope that I have been able to answer the incredible questions offered up by everyone here. And speaking of them, thank you all so much for this incredible showing of support.
Yes, I, also, want to thank all the authors who took time out of their busy writing schedules to participate in interviewing Tony. I really appreciate it. Please, take some time to visit their websites (just click their picture) check out the book links provided and maybe make a few purchases. I have read something from each of these amazing authors and can honestly say, you won’t go wrong!
Kings of the Dead available now at Amazon.com and coming soon to a bookstore near you!