Name Nerys Wheatley
Age Classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you
Where are you from Originally, Essex in England
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is the release of Mutation, book 1 in the Twenty-Five Percent series, which is part zombie, part action, part buddy movie!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was an experiment, to see if I could keep focused for long enough to do it. I’m easily distracted!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I just write what I see in my head, then I try to make it sound good. I think if people notice the style to much, I’ve done it wrong. The words are there to convey the story, not sound clever or highbrow. Not that anyone would accuse me of that!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’m rubbish at titles, I will admit! Twenty-Five Percent refers to the amount of people who survive the cure for the disease that turns people into mindless flesh eaters. My hero, Alex, is one of them. Mutation refers to the new strain of that disease that leads to the city where Alex lives being overrun with eaters.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I didn’t set out to convey any message, although I suppose there is one of tolerance. The survivors of the disease suffer injustice and prejudice on a daily basis and Alex has to battle that even when civilisation is collapsing around him.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I tried to make it as realistic as possible, within the framework of the story. I like things to make sense, so I do think through everything before I use it. The disease itself is loosely based on the fungi that take over insect’s brains to make them do things to aid in the release of spores and the behaviour of the eaters all has a reason. I don’t throw in random occurrences. If it happens in my books, there has to be a reason why.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
While I think there is a part of me in every lead character I write and I use locations I know as inspiration, the events aren’t based on anything real life, no.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?
As far as my life is concerned and as a Christian, it‘s impossible to overstate how much the Bible has influenced my life. Literature-wise, as I child I read voraciously and I think that gave me a good grounding in grammar and style, enabling me to write now.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m trying to decide what to read next. I’m wavering between the third Flypaper book by CK Vile or Slow Burn 7 by Bobby Adair.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
A few. I like Jason Brant, Nick Pirog, CK Vile, Bobby Adair, Jan Holly, Brian Harmon, Robert Black, John L. Monk.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently hard at work writing Twenty-Five Percent Book 2 which has a provisional title of Survival.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
As I mentioned before, I’m a Christian and God’s support is more important to me than anything else. The Bible verse is true that says apart from Him I can do nothing. Because I’m a bit useless on my own!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love it to be, yes. I work hard at it so that maybe one day it will be.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I might change the title! As I said before, I’m rubbish with titles! Anything else, no. I’m happy with how it came out.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always daydreamed and had lots of ideas for stories. I suppose it came from that.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is from Mutation (Twenty-Five Percent Book 1), which is available now.
Alex turned back towards the horde of eaters in time to see the final car pull out, zigzagging across the road as its panicked driver looked at the eaters instead of where he was going. Alex’s eyes widened as the car headed straight at him. He grabbed the bag and dived out of the way, crashing into a parked van as the car careered past, right where he had been standing moments before.
“Seriously?!” he shouted at the car’s retreating bumper, rubbing his shoulder where he’d collided with the van.
As the sound of its engine faded, he heard two things. The moaning of at least a couple of dozen eaters all determined to make him dinner, and the repeated turning over of a car engine.
Scrambling to his feet, he ran back towards the white Nissan. The engine caught and revved as he approached and he heard Micah whoop. He jumped into the passenger seat. The engine promptly died again.
“What? No!” Micah said, staring at the dashboard in horror. He looked at Alex. “What is it with you and cars?”
“What do you mean me? You shouldn’t have taken your foot off the accelerator.”
“I had to get into gear.” Micah turned the key again. All the effort produced was a few lacklustre revs.
Alex stared out the window at the approaching eaters. “Now would be good.”
He turned the key again. The starter rolled sluggishly over and over. The eaters lurched closer, the first few within ten feet now.
Suddenly, the engine caught.
Micah exhaled loudly and sat back, revving for what seemed like an age.
“Don’t you think we should be leaving, Mike?” Alex said from between gritted teeth.
“Do you want it to die again? And it’s Micah.”
“You can call me Micah or you can call me Mr Clarke, but don’t ever call me Mike.”
The first eater reached the car and slammed a bloody palm onto the window next to Alex. “I’ll call you sweetheart and bake you cupcakes if it will get us moving.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing is challenging all the time, to do it well. Specifically, I would have to say action scenes. Being able to make them exciting can be difficult and I have to work hard at it.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite author now. When I was a child it was Tolkien, then Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (I was a fantasy nut back then!), but now, no-one specific, just lots of different writers. The whole self-publishing thing has opened up the world of literature so much, why choose just one?!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Only in my mind!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I do my own covers, for now. That may change in the future.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Translating what I saw in my head to the words on the page and making it sound good. But that’s the trick. If it was easy, everyone would do it!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write every day, even if it’s just a few hundred words. It soon adds up. And read a lot. Learn what good writing is so you can write well yourself.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books! I honestly could not be more grateful. Every time I read a review from someone who has enjoyed my writing it feels so good to know I’ve created something that gives people that pleasure. Without readers waiting to read what I write, writing becomes ten times more difficult.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, it was a long time ago! I imagine something with lots of pictures!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lots of different things. Modern Family makes me laugh!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Good riddance. She was making the rest of us look bad.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I play the piano and work out. But not at the same time.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like action, science fiction, that kind of thing. Mostly American TV and films.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favourite food, just about anything with sugar in it! Favourite colour is red. Music-wise I like rock, pop etc. My favourite bands are Mr. Mister and Def Leppard. A friend and I actually run the official Mr. Mister Facebook page.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Lady of leisure. Sadly, I’m not rich enough.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?