Name: Ray Wallace
Where are you from?
I currently reside in the Tampa, FL area.
A little about yourself.
I’m a self-taught writer who followed the old adage: read a lot, write a lot.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Year of the Dead: Book One, the first installment of a four part zombie apocalypse series, will be released shortly by Severed Press. My semi-Lovecraftian novella, Days of Rain, is scheduled for release this April from Nightscape Press.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
After years of avid reading (mostly in the fantasy, SF, and horror genres), I decided to try my hand at writing and started to craft semi-coherent short stories in my early twenties.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the late nineties, I won Chizine’s second annual short story contest. That made me realize I might have some aptitude for this whole writing thing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My short story “The Nameless” was published in an anthology called The Blackest Death. The publishers of the antho let me know they’d be interested in a novel length version of the story. So I went ahead and wrote it. And that’s how my first novel, The Nameless, was born.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m sure I do although I couldn’t specifically define it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Nameless are supernatural entities hiding in plain sight within human society. Unknown. Nameless.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In the night, one can encounter any number of dangerous entities, none more so than The Nameless.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Not much. Although I hope it seems realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
The list of influences is a long one that would include Stephen King, Clive Barker, H. P. Lovecraft, along with Robert McCammon, Joe Lansdale, Edward Lee, and a slew of others.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m about halfway through Jeff Vandermeer’s Veniss Underground and it’s excellent, as expected.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I just finished reading Josh Malerman’s Bird Box and thought it was great.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m wrapping up a few shorter works along with a novel that’s been mostly finished for a while now entitled A Man Possessed. Then it will be on to Year of the Dead: Book Two along with a sequel to Days of Rain.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Winning the Chizine contest and then going on to write reviews for them for many years introduced me to the idea of the horror genre as a community.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m certainly working toward that goal.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I’m happy with the way it turned out.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think it was just a natural progression from reading so much, having all those ideas rattling around inside my head, wanting to get out.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s a brief passage from Year of the Dead: Book One:
“The zombie moved ever further north, never tiring, driven by a will that was not entirely its own. Night and day, through lashing storms and blistering heat, it continued to walk, to trudge and shamble and stumble its way along sidewalks and streets, through dense woods and wide swaths of open land, putting ever more distance between itself and the city where it had been reborn as this red-eyed, ravenous thing. It did so based on a wordless command, a promise that the journey would be well worth whatever suffering it might endure along the way. And suffer it did. Gunshot wounds. A knife to the abdomen. A short but fairly severe beating at the hands of one of its victims. Oozing sores along the bottoms of both feet. And the constant harassment of flies, drawn by its foul odor and the wounds inflicted upon its flesh that never quite healed. Yes, it suffered, most of all when the hunger grew strong and all powerful, when it squeezed what remained of the zombie’s psyche in its burning fist…”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Creating unique and interesting characters is always a challenge. It’s something I’m always working on.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
If I had to pick just one it would probably be Joe Lansdale. A great writer who creates memorable characters and infuses his stories with a dark sense of humor.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. Thanks to the internet.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Various artists. The one I’ve worked with the most, so far, is Zach McCain who did the cover art and interior illustrations for all three of my One Way Out novels.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
With Year of the Dead, I envisioned an epic tale told in a series of 365 chapters, one for each day of the year. Each book would encompass a season—summer, fall, winter, spring—containing ninety or so days. And each of these chapters had to be a flash fiction piece of less than 1,000 words. Conveying back story, fleshing out characters, and moving the plot along under this limitation proved to be a challenging (and fun) undertaking throughout the creation of book one. Only three more books to go…
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
How to edit/tighten up my prose even more than I had before.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Writing is work but it can also be a lot of fun if approached with the right attitude. Don’t try to put too much pressure on yourself or set your expectations to high or it could all very easily overwhelm you.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
To anyone who has ever read or purchased any of my books, believe me, it is greatly appreciated.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not specifically. I know The Hobbit and A Wrinkle in Time were among the first along with a bunch of Choose Your Own Adventure books.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
Carl Sagan. I’m a big science nerd and no one spoke more eloquently on the subject.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
This isn’t much of a concern of mine. I figure that since I’ll be dead, it’s not going to matter to me one way or another.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Reading (of course), listening to music, watching movies/TV shows.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
That’s another long list. As for some of my favorites…
TV shows: True Detective, Fargo, The Knick, Banshee, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Wire, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Movies: Fight Club, Se7en, 12 Monkeys, Bladerunner, The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Shawshank Redemption.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors / Music
Foods: Chicken and fish as I don’t eat red meat.
Colors: I don’t know if I have a favorite color. If I had to pick one, I guess I’d go with red. Or black, if that counts as a color.
Music: I’ve been into metal since my teenage years. I also enjoy industrial music along with an assortment of electronic genres.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Something in the science fields, particularly astronomy/cosmology/astrophysics. Or anything to do with quantum theory. I would love to work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon page www.amazon.com/author/raywallace