Fiona: Hello, and welcome back to my blog, Author Interviews. How long has it been?
Aurelio: Hello, Fiona. It’s good to be back. It’s been two years, I think.
Fiona: Wow. That long? Let’s not waste any time then. Tell our readers who you are.
Aurelio: My name is Aurelio Rico Lopez III. If that seems like a mouthful, most people just call me Thirdy. I’m a fiction writer and a poet.
Fiona: And where are you from?
Aurelio: I am from Iloilo City, Philippines.
Fiona: Tell us a little more about yourself.
Aurelio: I’m a practicing OB Gynecologist. No punch line. It’s what I am. Really. My dad is a retired civil engineer, and my mom is a retired English teacher.
I am the author of 18 books, with 2 more set for release later this year and a couple more slated for next year.
I’m also a bit of a night owl by nature. When I’m not reading, writing, or causing all sorts of trouble, you’ll find me on Facebook.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Aurelio: Night Horse Publishing House has recently released my kaiju novella Kaiju Double Barrel, and HellBound Books has also published my poetry collection Detours and Dead Ends.
Currently, I am putting the finishing touches on my latest horror novella Not the Forgiving Kind.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Aurelio: Back when I was in Grade 4, we were required to write short stories for our English classes. That was, without a doubt, my favourite part during class.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Aurelio: I considered myself a writer when my first book Food for the Crows was published by Crowded Quarantine Publications in 2012. It was a zombie apocalypse novella set in Iloilo City.
Fiona: What inspired you to write it?
Aurelio: I had read a lot of zombie novels, but most of them were set in Western countries. I thought it would be fun to write a zombie story set in my city, incorporating familiar streets and establishments.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Aurelio: I honestly can’t recall. (laughs) I just remember I didn’t want to use the word “zombie” in the title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Aurelio: Most of what I’ve written is horror (with the occasional sci-fi, dark fantasy, and thriller novella). I’d like to think my stories are fast-paced with characters readers can connect with.
One of the challenges I often face is creating an exciting story that differs from the millions of stories out there. Sure, you can write a zombie novella, but if it pales in comparison to the other novellas in the market, why bother?
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic? Are any of the characters and scenes based on people you know and events that have happened to you?
Aurelio: I believe in the rule “Write what you know” so I always leave a bit of myself in any story I write. Have I ever hunted werewolves, been chased by giant centipedes, or fought against an alien race? No. But I might have coffee with a friend one day, and he might say something funny or creepy. Then the writer in me goes, “Hey, that’s actually pretty cool. I could use that.”
Fiona: To craft your stories, do you need to travel?
Aurelio: Travelling isn’t necessary, but it’s certainly a plus. It exposes you to new sights and sounds, and it’s also an opportunity to try new cuisines and meet new people. Sometimes, it’s the small details that pull the reader in.
Fiona: Who designs your book covers?
Aurelio: I’ve had the honor of working with extremely talented artists like Alex McVey (Old School), Dennis Hubag (Mongrel Blood), Arik Dela Cruz (Wretched), Luke Spooner (No Grave Too Deep), Cycy Berlin (Kaiju Double Barrel), Liza Vasquez (Raising Hell), Chipe (Detours and Dead Ends), and many others. Their art is amazing, so please check them out.
Fiona: Is there a message in your books that you want readers to grasp?
Aurelio: If I had to pick a singular message, it would be: Bad stuff happens.
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?
Aurelio: Jasper Bark and Jeff Strand are two authors whose work I have grown quite fond of.
It’s difficult to pick a favorite author. To do so would be like selecting a favorite finger or toe. However, I do enjoy Joe Lansdale’s dialogue, and Brian Keene’s ability to create tension seems so natural to him.
Fiona: Outside of family members, who supported your commitment to become a published author?
Aurelio: I owe a lot to Marilou Hormigos and Girlie Libutaque. Miss Marilou was my grade school English teacher, and Miss Girlie was my English teacher in high school. Even if there was no way these lovely ladies could have known I’d become a writer, I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Aurelio: I’ve been writing for a long time. Sometimes, it’s a gig I wish I could do 24/7, but I’m not quitting my day job.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your latest book Kaiju Double Barrel?
Aurelio: I’ve learned that you don’t mess with a guy trained to use a Barrett M82 sniper rifle. (laughs)
Fiona: If Kaiju Double Barrel were made into a film, who would you like to play the lead roles?
Aurelio: That’s a pretty fun question. Here goes…
Jimi “Hendrix” Hoffman to be played by Ethan Hawk
Fritz Ardales to be played by Jon Seda
Team Leader Maddox to be played by Stephen Lang
Fiona: Any advice for aspiring writers?
Aurelio: Read. There are no shortcuts. Also, stay clear of fancy fonts.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Aurelio: Thanks, mom and dad.
Seriously, to my readers, thank you. I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Aurelio: Deadrush by Yvonne Navarro
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Aurelio: The Vision by Dean Koontz
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Aurelio: The show Brooklyn Nine-Nine always makes me laugh.
As for crying, a swift kick to the nuts will do that. No doubt.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Aurelio: That’s a tough question. I’d love to meet the past me, if only to tell myself to lay off the doughnuts.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Aurelio: I am a tarantula keeper and a cap collector. I also collect books faster than I can read them.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Aurelio: I watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Bob’s Burgers. I’m also looking forward to the next season of Stranger Things. My favourite movies include Jaws, The Evil Dead, the first Matrix film, and Dog Soldiers.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Aurelio: I love pizza, doughnuts, a local Filipino delicacy called batchoy, and coffee. I’d mention more, but it’s making me hungry.
I listen to a lot of heavy metal and rock and roll.
I have an affinity to the color black, and anyone who takes time to tell you that black is actually the absence of color deserves a dunk in the River Styx.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Aurelio: Sit around and wonder whatever happened to my hands.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Aurelio: Easy. “Wrong Head Stone.” Now, that would confuse the heck out of everyone, I think.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Aurelio: Here’s a link to my Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Aurelio-Rico-Lopez-III/e/B00JPFRHW0/
Readers can find me on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org