Name Ricky Fleet
Where are you from
Dorset in the UK
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have been a voracious horror fan my whole life, in both book and movie form. There is something primal in all of us that can only be triggered by being scared witless.
I left education with poor results (Totally my own fault. Kids, stay in school!) and decided to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a plumbing and heating engineer. I loved the practical work and science behind the whole industry. After seventeen years and running my own company for seven of those, I developed severe carpal tunnel and reached a crossroads. If I continued plumbing I would have to have an operation which would help in the short term, but ultimately the condition could come back.
I chose a different path. I enrolled in night college and gained the PTLLS (The entry qualification for post education teaching) From there, I applied to become a lecturer at Bournemouth and Poole college, teaching the skills I had accumulated over my career on the tools. I have been there since August 2012 doing my part for the engineers of the future. It is an extremely rewarding profession and I am lucky that I thoroughly enjoy most days.
I got married to my wife, Carla Fleet, in 2002 and we have had three children. Jordan (15) Tyler (14) and Jade (10). They all make me proud each and every day and they are my primary motivation.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am just about to release the first in my Zombie Apocalypse series; Hellspawn. It is being released in January by Optimus Maximus Publishing.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing properly in August 2015 after hurting my back doing some maintenance around the house. I was bored of TV so sat down and started tapping away. 100000 words later and I had completed Hellspawn.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t, and probably never will, consider myself a writer. I will always be the plumber who should have listened in school.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I love all things Zombie. Ever since pestering my Mum to buy me the original Romero trilogy from our local video shop I was hooked. Despite the implausibility of a zombie apocalypse, I have always wondered how I could protect my family in a society that isn’t armed. My conclusion is that it wouldn’t be easy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I have been told it is quite descriptive and vivid. I find myself in the situation and look around, seeing the scene and writing it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Pretty much every title I came up with comprising zombies, the grave, dead and any combination of the words was already taken by the established faces. Hellspawn came to me when I was thinking of my next book series and it seemed to work.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The main messages would be that protecting your family is everything, and that we should never lose our humanity in the face of such horror.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
You mean apart from zombies taking over the world? Lol. I would like to think everything in the book is realistic. The weapons and killing machines that are forged I could construct myself. I wanted to bring a new level of realism to the end of mankind. I try and develop the characters too, their qualities and flaws all have an impact on the story.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I have killed countless walking corpses in my own life. Granted they were part of computer games but it still counts. The characters aren’t based on anyone I know specifically. Instead, they are created and take on a life of their own as I imagine their reactions to a given situation.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I can’t give credit to just one. I suppose my favorite authors would be Richard Laymon, James Herbert, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Shaun Hutson, Stephen Laws and Brian Lumley.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading Mike Evan’s: The Orphans: Origins Vol 1.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Would you believe that up until writing my first novel about zombies, I have never read a single book in the genre. I am now working my way through the established names: Mike Evans, Shawn Chesser, Craig McDonough, Armand Rosamilia, Mark Tufo, Eric Shelman among others.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am working on book 2 of the Helllspawn series and the release will follow 3-4 months after the first is out. I also have several single book ideas and one definite series that will follow Hellspawn, but it’s not zombies.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Without a doubt, Christina Hargis Smith at Optimus Maximus Publishing. She answered my message in Kindle Zombie Books on Facebook and after reading my first few chapters she was supporting me the whole way, providing insight and edits for the novel.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
That would be the dream, but I realize that competition is tough and success will only come with luck and hard work. If it becomes a sideline that I love that makes me a little money, I would be happy with that.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. In fact, with the aid of Christina we have made some changes to the story that you will never know about. It has helped with the overall development of the novel.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always dreamed of becoming a storyteller and the injury provided me with the opportunity and free time.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Please use caution, this is one of the graphic bits.
Kurt had seen enough. He turned and ran, grabbed his toolbox and headed for the stairs. The screams of the woman fell silent and were replaced by the agonized wails of the good Samaritans. As Kurt reached the bottom of the first flight of steps and turned to continue down, he was blocked by one of the things that had heard him on the balcony. In a split second, he took it all in. This thing was once male, but now quite obviously dead. Maggots and worms spilled from the eye sockets, mouth, and nose. Its skin was different hues of green and yellow, with liquids running from splits in the skin where it had tightened over expanding corruption, and torn as it clawed its way free of the grave. The clothing was hanging in rotting tatters, covered in fresh soil. Unable to see, still it ‘saw’ Kurt, and took a lumbering step forward on legs whose loose, wet flesh was hanging over the burial shoes. The smell hit Kurt like a physical blow, the flat he had been working in was a perfume in comparison. Equal parts horror and disgust pulsed through him. Lifting the tool box, Kurt roared, and ran forward to meet the dead man, smacking him square in the chest. Putrid liquids splashed on the box from the impact. He pushed with all his might, even as the man tried to reach and grab him. The rotten cadaver hit the protective railing, the spine making a loud crack and the body folded backwards. Dropping the box, Kurt took hold of the remains of the bottom of its trousers and lifted them over. They followed the rest of the body thirty feet onto the concrete path below. The sound was like a raw steak hitting a kitchen worktop before tenderizing.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding time. Around work and family, it can be tiring. I have yet to experience writers block thankfully. When it comes, I will try and work around it as best I can.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Brian Lumley or Stephen King. King because he is the master, he can create dread and euphoria as easily as we draw breath. Lumley because his Necroscope series was incredible.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet. I plan to attend conventions and book signings if I ever become popular enough.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jeffrey Kosh Graphics. He is an amazing talent and I will be using him again for the next in the series.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing and realizing how much work would be involved in promoting and getting my brand known. I have been lucky and met a few of the household names that I mentioned above (Evans, Chesser, McDonough, Shelman) They have been extremely helpful and given me sound advice.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that you can become too immersed in the process and other important things can get forgotten. I also learned that I can tell a story that people enjoy reading. That blows my mind.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up. You have to work hard at it, like any job. Make sure you love the process as your writing will suffer if it is a chore.
Find a good editor and take criticism without taking it personally. The people that will advise you can see the story from an angle you can’t.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
At present they are only my beta readers. I want to say thank you so much for giving up your own time to help me with feedback and advice.
To my future reader/s I say thank you. I hope you love the characters as much as I do. Oh and don’t get too attached to anyone, the Zombie Apocalypse can be unforgiving.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Salem’s Lot by Stephen king. I can still remember the cover. The head vampire, bald with fangs showing. The damned townsfolk stretching into the distance.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The ramblings of my students provide constant amusement.
The antics of my children and the dog.
Anything with Will Ferrell
Cry? I am a man; we don’t do things like that. I absolutely did not cry at the end of Armageddon when Bruce Willis died. Or at Marley and Me.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Will Ferrell because I think he is a comedy genius.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Hopefully he won’t come back as a zombie.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Around working, family and writing I am sad to say not really. Reading? That’s kind of integral to writing so it doesn’t really count. That sounds really bad…
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Walking Dead, obviously.
Game of Thrones, love it.
American Horror Story, incredible.
I love all types of film but the faves would be Horror, Action and Comedy.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Sunday Roast with all the trimmings.
Fish and Chips.
Yeah, I’m English, does it show?
Colour: Red and Black. I write horror J
Music: I like most forms of music but given the choice I am a dance freak at heart. House, Trance, Techno, Hardcore. I was born into the rave generation.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have loved to be a firefighter, but I am afraid of heights so that career would be problematic. I could always spray the hose from the ground. And ride the engine with the lights and siren going.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
At the moment no. My website will be up and running within the next couple of months.
I am on Twitter @AuthorRickFleet
Also on Facebook Author Ricky Fleet