Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is James D. Dean and I am 42 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Chicago. Now I live in a Chicago Suburb.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I hold an associate’s degree in electronics technology and work as a technical support specialist for an international manufacturing company. I’m married with two children, and a parakeet. When I’m not working or writing, I can usually be found working with my other obsession, meat smoking in my offset smoker.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve just released the second book in my zombie apocalypse series This Dying World. This Dying World: Abandon All Hope is now available in e-book and paperback, with the audio currently being produced.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
The first story I wrote was back in 3rd grade. It was called The House in the Woods. The teacher made several copies and handed them out to the class and we read it out loud. I’m not sure what drove me to write the story. It wasn’t a class assignment or anything. I think I just wanted to tell a story that people wanted to hear. I don’t remember exactly what the reaction was, but it wasn’t bad enough for me to stop writing forever.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not really until I released my first book. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve written several short stories over the years, ranging from horror to sword and sorcery. But I never really considered myself a writer until I put out a book with my name on it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’d been talking about writing a book for years. Whenever anyone asked me what I did for a living, I would answer I was an aspiring author. My brother in law lent me his copy of World War Z, and I devoured it. I started picking up every zombie novel I could find, and at one point I was reading 2 to 3 a week. Then one night in the shower an idea came to me, and as soon as I came back downstairs I grabbed my laptop and banged out the first chapter.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The original story title was Rally Point: Alpha. For various reasons I stuck with that title until the last couple chapters were almost done. I was in the middle of a paragraph when I wrote the words “this dying world” and the phrase resonated with me. I changed the title of the book that night and never looked back.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I just asked my daughter that question, and her answer: “You like to write humorous assholes.” So I suppose that’s it. Honestly, I like a lot of my story to be told through conversations. I like the reader to discover things right along with the characters, so they get to join in on the fun right along with the main characters.
I think the biggest challenge with writing in the zombie genre is the difficulty in standing out. The genre is very popular, and there are a lot of talented writers putting together great tales of the ZA. Fortunately, the fans out there are just as ravenous for new stories as the zombies we write about, so there’s always room for new blood.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A lot of my characters are based on real people, both family and friends. Many of the locations are real too. But as this is a zombie novel, it’s hard to say any part of the main story is taken from real life. The man character Dan does share a lot of my own quirks and personality, where his wife Abby has a lot of my wife’s traits. Many of the events in Dan’s backstory are real events that did happen to me, with a few changes to protect the not so innocent…
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Only if you count climbing stairs to my writing desk. Though sometimes when I am driving I see a sight or a situation that plants an idea in my head that could eventually lead to a scene in whatever I am working on at the time.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My first book, This Dying World: The End Begins was designed by Jeffrey Kosh. The second. This Dying World: Abandon All Hope was designed by Christian Bentulan.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I just want people to be entertained.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I’ve been reading David Simpson lately. He has a pretty awesome series called Zombie Road. The next on my list…is literally called The List by Shannon Walters.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Eric A. Shelman helped me along by putting me in contact with beta readers, my editor, and the person who made my cover. I’m sure I irritated the bejesus out of him as I was working through the process, but he pushed me in the right direction right up to the release of the book.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I sure hope I can turn this into a full time career. But whether I can or not, becoming a published author was always a dream of mine. I’ll be happy as long as people still read what I scribble.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Honestly, I would change the amount of time it took for me to put it out. I took way too long to publish book 2, and I need to make sure that never happens again.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Stop being paranoid about every little word in the book. I need to get out of my own mind and just let the story flow.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Honestly, I have no idea. Dan is such an oddball character that it’s hard for me to imagine anyone playing him. A younger Bruce Campbell maybe?
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write constantly. Never stop writing.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you like a book you have read, please leave a review. A lot of our books live and die by reviews. Good or bad, the feedback you leave helps us to become better writers by letting us know where we can improve.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Zombie Road: Bloodbath on the Blacktop
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
LOL probably something with a picture of Big Bird or Cookie Monster on the cover.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Ever slam a hammer into your thumb? That’ll make you cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I know when I get asked this question I’m supposed to have a person that holds deep meaning and significance to me. The truth is, I have no idea. I’m not really big on celebrity stalking, or musician hunting. I’m not really one to get star struck either. I like meeting people I talk to on social media because those are the people I connect the most with. There are a few authors that I wouldn’t mind kicking back and having a beer with, for no other reason than to chill out with cool people.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like to fish when I can. But recently I bought a stick burning meat smoker, and that has become an obsession.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like a lot of different films and movies. I’m a sucker for bad sci-fi movies and general schlock.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
For foods and music, my likes vary widely. A lot of it depends on my mood. As far as colors, black is my favorite absence of all color.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I have no idea. Now that I’ve started writing, I can’t imagine stopping. I guess I would fish a lot, probably use my smoker more.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies James D. Dean. Buried face down so the world can kiss his ass.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
This Dying World: Abandon All Hope https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0745WC5MY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1500759401&sr=8-2&keywords=this+dying+world