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Interview with Scott McGlasson – our Pitch and Page winner!

Back in January, as part of the launch for our Year Of The Zombie novella series, we announced a Pitch & Page comp where budding writers could pitch an idea for a novella, along with a one page excerpt, to our very own Dragon’s-Den-esque panel of David Moody, US literary agent, Gina Panettieri and Michael Preissl of German & English language publisher, Voodoo Press. The winner of the comp was Scott McGlasson, whose novella NOCK is October’s YOZ release. We caught up with Scott to talk about his experience so far as P&P winner and debut author.

Hey Scott, congrats on the release of NOCK. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got interested in genre writing.

sm-profile-picI’ve been reading science-fiction and horror since I was twelve.  My father used to bring home paperbacks from business trips and I’d tear into them, usually juggling three or more at the same time.  I always thought I’d try my own hand at writing, but never got around to it.  A couple of years ago at a birthday party, one of my old friends talked about a multi-book series he was working on and that sort of jump-started me into working on my own.  I had always been sort of a peripheral fan of zpoc novels and movies, but after Max Brooks’ World War Z came out, I was hooked.  Post-apocalyptic stories have always fascinated me, but there’s something about the unique threat that hordes of undead add to the mix that makes it much more fun for me.  I got a singular idea for something in the zpoc genre that I hadn’t seen done before and started researching and writing a story that took on a life of its own.  That one is still down in the laboratory, lashed to a table, trying to escape.  Nock was an off-shoot of that work.  A completely different world, situation, and characters, but I never would have thought of Stace and Rob Tomlinson without doing all that zpoc research first.

Nock is as much a story about family as it is about zombies. What inspired you to approach the story in this way?

Simply put, being the father of two sons and two daughters.  My oldest daughter, Evelyn, took an interest in archery a couple of years ago, so Stace is based on her.  I’ve always felt that zombie apocalypse stories need to walk a thin line between vacuous cannibal porn on one side and season three of The Walking Dead on the other.  The entire story can’t just be about gory zombie kills  no more than it can just be about slow-paced trudges through character relationships and wondering where the hell Carl is this week.  It’s got to be both (sans Carl).  Setting up Nock to be viewed through the eyes of a father-daughter dynamic seemed to be the best way to stay on the tightrope and still tell a good tale.

Nock is your first novella-length release, I believe, but have you had any short stories published?

Nock is actually my first attempt at getting something published.  I’ve got one big project in the works (hear that banging coming from the cellar again?) and a short story I committed to a charity, but getting into YOZ is really the beginning for me and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.

Which do you prefer: writing short stores or writing longer form, such as novellas/ novels?

Short-stories are a double-edged sword to me.  If you’ve got a great little idea, you can jump on and crank it out without extraneous research, world-building, and character arcs.  On the other hand, if you’ve got a great kernel of an idea, it wants to heat up, expand, and pop, goading you into exploring every facet. Looking forward, I will explore both forms, but I think I’ll lean toward bigger, more epic story lines.

Your pitch and page very much impressed our judges. What, in your eyes, makes a good pitch. And what ways did you try to draw the reader (judges) in with your first page?

You’ve got to wring out the very core of your story and then you’ve got a phrase it in such a manner that it comes across as different or unique.  When I got into the craft of writing, I surrounded myself with working writers.  One of the things they bemoan is the pitch.  Everyone’s got to have that “elevator pitch” ready to go at a moment’s notice, right?  Coming up with one appears to be a thorn in quite a few writers’ sides.  The P&P’s 25 word limit was far more constricting than the proverbial elevator ride, so it really took some doing.  I started off trying to work everything in, but, of course, that was doomed to failure.  In the end, I boiled it down to the very essence of the story: Stace’s desire to get outside the walls and run.

Do you think you’ll return to the world of Nock or is it a done-in-one? What’s next for you in terms of writing?

I think so.  The initial feedback seems to be pointing towards wanting a bigger story set there.  I’m told it reads like a part of a much larger world, which I think is a good thing.  There’s a lot to explore.  In the story, from Stace’s point of view, dociles are simply a part of life.  There’s no examination of how the fundamental humanity of the living has been affected by essentially turning docile undead into draft animals.  Can you call something a slave that has no self?  There’s a lot of “there” there, so to speak.

As mentioned prior, I’ve promised to do a young-adult story for a kids cancer survivor anthology and it can be on anything, so I think I’m going to try a hand at a lunar colony cyberpunk story in the near term (what would it be like to frolic in a swimming pool in 1/6th gravity?).  As soon as that’s finished, I’m going to head back down into the lab and continue poking at that epic zpoc thing that’s strapped to the table.

Find out more about Scott at his official Infected Books page.

Buy NOCK right here. 

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Interview: Adam Baker author of KILLCHAIN (Year of the Zombie #1)

 

We interview Adam Baker, author of KILLCHAIN (Year of the Zombie #1) about all things zombie and ask him what advice he would give to entrants of our YOZ PITCH & PAGE comp.

Who are you?

That’s a pretty deep question. I mean, do any of us really have a continuous, unified self? Is our backstory, the elaborate persona that loads each morning when we wake, simply an encumbering fiction?

Anyway, existential angst aside, here are some random factoids:

I am the son of a Gloucestershire priest.

I’ve worked as a gravedigger and cinema projectionist. I also spent a summer fixing slot machines in an Atlantic City casino.

I do karate. Badly.

Killchain by Adam BakerTell us a little about Killchain.

Well, here’s the blurb:

‘Elize arrives in Mogadishu with instructions to assassinate a Russian embassy official. She has tactical command of a US kill-team, CIA operatives, rookies and veterans of a dozen war zones. It should be a straightforward hit but her luck is about to run out. She will soon find herself trapped in a city gone to hell, struggling to complete her mission in the face of betrayal, a spreading pandemic and a population hungry for flesh…’

The inspiration for the novella came from a conversation I had with my doctor. I went for a routine blood test and got side-tracked into a debate as to whether it would be possible for a suicide bomber to hide explosives inside their own torso. I have a pretty cool doctor.

Favourite zombie book.

Adam BakerTempted to pick Matherson’s I am Legend because, despite featuring vampires, scenes in which the protagonist barricades himself in his home as a hoard of monstrous creatures try to force their way inside established a lot of the core tropes of zombie fiction. (If you watch the first – and best – film adaptation Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price it is very obvious one is watching a precursor to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.) But instead I’ll pick HP Lovecraft’s Herbert West ‘reanimator’ short stories because they are gloriously icky and pre-date almost all landmark zombie stories with the debatable exception of Frankenstein.

Favourite zombie movie.

My instinct is to say Dawn of the Dead (original) because it’s the big-daddy of zombie flicks and established a lot of the staple genre tropes. But instead I’m going to recommend a movie called Pontypool, because not many people have seen it and it deserves a wider audience. It’s a no-budget Canadian flick in that unfolds in real-time as a DJ called Grant Mazzy begins his early morning radio show and starts to receive reports of folks going crazy and attacking friends and relatives. There’s very little on-screen violence, not much in the way of action, but the film is wonderfully tense nevertheless.

YOZ cover question markWe’re running a ‘pitch and page’ comp as part of YOZ, the winner becoming our 12th novella author. What advice would you give to those submitting to such?

I suppose Elmore Leonard’s rules for fiction are a good place to start for anyone about to start a story.

My most important rule is the one that sums up all ten: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Grab KILLCHAIN right now for only 99p/ 99c.

Find out more about Adam Baker right here.

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Infected Books Announces YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE

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12 Authors.

12 Zombie Novellas.

Welcome to Infected Books’ YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE.

To celebrate 15 years since the publication of Infected Books’ first novel, David Moody’s Autumn, we’re declaring 2016 YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE.

We’ve signed up 11 authors, many of whom you’ll know from having penned your favourite zombie horror bestsellers, to write a novella each. We’ll be releasing one novella every month throughout 2016.

But wait – 11 authors? Didn’t we say 12 novellas? That’s because we’re reserving a spot to give to a brand new voice in zombie fiction – could that be you?

Yes, as part of YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE, we’ll be running a very special Pitch & Page comp via the Infected Books facebook page. The comp will be judged by our very own Dragon’s-Den-esque panel of bestselling horror author and IB head honcho, David Moody, US literary agent, Gina Panettieri and Micheal Preissl of German & English language publisher, Voodoo Press. The winner will join our 11 established authors to have their novella released as part of Infected Books’ YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE. How cool is that?

And if that ain’t enough, we’ll have a few more surprises along the way, as well as a heap of zombie-themed prizes and giveaways courtesy of our sponsors.

So hang onto your hair, kids.

2016 is YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE.

And it’s going to be brutal.

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#FRIDAYFLASHBACK: Autumn: The Human Condition…

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Yes, today we’re looking back at the classic zombie antho, THE HUMAN CONDITION, Moody’s final book in the acclaimed AUTUMN series. Part-companion, part-guidebook and part-sequel, AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION follows the individual stories of these desperate survivors through their final dark days. 

“This book is my last word on AUTUMN,” Moody explained back when the book was released. “This collection of stories wraps in, out and around the five main novels and adds hugely to the scope of the overall plot. I killed billions of people on the first page of the first book – this is my opportunity to do a little digging into some aspects of the apocalypse you don’t usually see… to look into some of the darkest corners of the dead AUTUMN world…”

You can grab the book on signed paperback or limited edition hardback by following this link to the IB store. But, for e-book readers, you just can’t beat this deal where AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION is part of compendium, THE ULTIMATE UNDEAD COLLECTION, along with 9 other titles including books by fan favourites Timothy W. Long and Joe McKinney…

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Believe it or not, this mammoth collection is just 99p/ $1.50. More info right here.  

As ever, fellow Infected, have yourselves a great weekend!